How to Make a DYI Outdoor Movie Screen

As many of you know I’ve been working with Disney this summer for the “Movie Night Under The Stars” project. I’ve truly loved introducing my kids to the Disney animated movies I grew up with. This past weekend was “The Lion King” that was recently released on Blu-ray and DVD August 29. It’s one of my all time favorite movies and I know all the words to every song (much to my 15-year-olds dismay). Since this is one of my favorite movies of all time I needed to build a proper movie screen.

“The Lion King” grossed $968.8 million, including $422.8 million domestically. The movie went on to win two Golden Globes; for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Original Score, as well as two Academy Awards, for Best Original Score (Hans Zimmer) and Best Original Song with “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” by Elton John and Tim Rice.

My kids love when we do movie night. We go to the Dollar Store and stock up on junk food ranging from candy to popcorn to drinks. However I really disliked the set up process. I live in apartments and its hard to string up a sheet from the down stairs neighbors deck. Since our last movie we have new neighbors and I haven’t had the chance to ask them about using their deck. So I set out to make a movie screen that was stand alone and would be easy to set up and take down. Sure there are loads of movie screens that you can buy on line, but who has that kind of money? Here is my DIY movie screen.

Frame

2×8′ 2″ PVC
2×6′ 2″ PVC
6×2′ 2″ PVC
4 caps
4 90° Tee
2 90° Elbow Joints

This works out to be exactly 4 10′ 2″ PVC pipes.

I used 2″ PVC pipe for the entire build. You could use 1 1/2 inch if you wanted but I wouldn’t go smaller then that. Remember once your screen is on it will catch the wind and you’ll need your frame to be strong. I went to Home Depot for the PVC but you could go to Lowels or any hardware store that sells PVC.

Since I wanted it to be able to assemble quickly and come apart easily, I used the above measurements. The sides of the frame are 2 6 food long pieces. You could break that down and have it be 6 2 foot pieces as there seemed to be loads of pre-cut pieces available at the store. But remember if you do that you’ll have to pick up 4 connector pieces as well.

If you plan on breaking down and storing your screen frame like I do, then you won’t need pipe glue. However, if you want this to be something more permanent you can glue the pieces together (make sure you do this outside!) to make them more sturdy.

If you have the tools at home to cut these pieces, perfect! I however do not so I had to use the cutting station at Home Depot. It’s convenient but since I was using a hack saw it made my cuts a bit uneven. Sandpaper helped a bit with the edges.

Assembly

 

Assembling the frame is pretty easy. I laid everything out on its side and then had my oldest stand it up. If you plan on having your frame be permanent you’ll want to add some weight to the bottom. You may want to use a rubber mallet or hammer to help get the pieces together. I found they went in pretty easily but I did need to hammer in a couple spots.

Tips:
Fill legs with cement or sand
Tie down the legs
Cement legs into 5 gallon buckets

Screen

 

Now this is the easiest part. Because I wanted something I could break down I went with two king size sheets. If you research there are a few different things people use for screens such as spandex fabric or blackout fabric. But I’m cheep so I headed to Amazon.

Now with a little bit of sewing skill this is the easiest screen ever. I took the two sheets and put them together. I sewed 3 sides together leaving about half and inch seam allowance. The seam allowance is important because with will be a tight fit, but that’s important because wrinkles ruin your movie. You’ll want to leave one side open, one of the long sides. This will turn your sheets into a pillow case. Now you can just slip your screen over your frame! Its as easy as that. Again, the fit will be tight but if you put both corners on at the same time it will fit.

I hope you enjoy your new screen! If you build this please let me know and post some pictures! If you come up with some hacks that make this build better or easier, let us know.

 

 

~Amanda

*The product(s) featured on this blog were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.*

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