Setting Up A DIY Backyard Movie Screen In 10 Simple And Easy Steps

friends watching movie

Getting bored of your old garden? Looking for new ways to have some fun in the comfort of your own home? Then you’re in luck because today we are going to see how you can set up your own DIY backyard movie screen. Read on to see some simple steps anyone can follow.

DIY Backyard Movie Screen in Your Own Garden

First, we are going to have a look at a permanent step-by-step guide to making your own outdoor home theater. Next, we will also see how can you craft a temporary and portable one, just in case you need to take it somewhere else.

DIY backyard movie screen projector showing movie on a screen

What You Need:

  • 2 wooden rods;
  • 2 screws hooks;
  • 2 planters;
  • 2 PVC pipes;
  • Duct tape;
  • Cement mix;
  • White sheet;
  • Glue gun;
  • Scissors;
  • Iron;
  • Decorative pebbles.

How to Do It

1. Put Cement in the Planters

Take the planters and fill them around 2/3 of the way with the cement mix you bought.

2. Place the Wood Rods

Put the wood rods in the center of each of the planters. Make sure they stay in place and use duct tape if necessary.

3. Mix the Cement

Add water to the cement mix and then let it stay for a couple of hours. Check from time to time if it’s hardened.

4. Start Making the Screen

Take one of the PVC pipes and insert it into the top fold of the white sheet you have.

5. Add the Second Pipe

Take the second pipe you have and put it at the bottom of the sheet. Measure enough material to cover the pipe. Then, cover the pipe with enough material to create a sleeve. With the hot glue gun, attach the bottom of the sheet to the pipe. The bottom pipe has an important role, namely weighing the sheet down and making the screen tight enough so you can watch a movie comfortably.

DIY backyard movie screen white screen

6. Iron the Sheet

The next step for your DIY backyard movie screen is to iron the sheet. Make sure there are no wrinkles if you want to convey an authentic cinema feel.

7. Add the Hooks

Place the screw hooks near the top of the wooden rods. In this way, you make sure they hold the top of the screen.

8. Set the Screen

Finally, now it’s the time to hang the screen. Insert the end of the top pipe into the screw hooks you set up earlier. Then, lower the screen.

9. Decorate the Screen

Now that you’re done with it, you can use the decorative pebbles you got to fill the planters and cover up the concrete. Of course, this step is not compulsory, but otherwise, your cinema might look unappealing. Alternatively, you can use potted plants around the screen if you want to obtain a natural color. Another useful idea is to hang paper flags above the screen to make it look more festive. Finally, there are countless possibilities to customize your DIY backyard movie screen, you just need to use your imagination.

10. Add Furniture

You also need a setup for the people who will join you in watching a movie outdoors, so don’t forget about adding some furniture as well. Whether you decide to use bean bags, small chairs, large cushions, or couches and armchairs, make sure they’re set. If not, you can store them in a place where you can access them easily. Bring some popcorn, soda, and sweets and prepare for a great evening!

DIY backyard movie screen red grill in the backyard

Portable DIY Backyard Movie Screen

For those of you who don’t have so much space in their backyard, setting up a permanent DIY backyard movie screen may not be the best idea. It can take up quite a lot of space, which is why a portable alternative can be a better option. Let’s see what steps you need to take if you prefer this alternative.

1. Choose the Screen Size

Being portable, you might think you can’t make a movie screen that big. However, you don’t need to sacrifice any quality just because there isn’t so much space. Moreover, you need to consider the fact that not all the movies come in a wide format. Ideally, you should take the widest wall of your home and measure it. Make sure you measure both width and height, to avoid being surprised by an older movie only taking up half of the screen space you have.

2. Gather Your Items

Make sure you have all the other materials you need for your DIY backyard movie screen. Here is a brief list:

  • 8 x 3’ pieces of 1” PVC pipe;
  • 10 x 1” PVC snap clamps;
  • 6 x 1” PVC pipe couplings;
  • 4 x 1” PVC pipe end caps;
  • Hooks to hang the frame;
  • D-rings;
  • Cinching straps.

3. Assemble the Frame

It’s easy to assemble the frame since you only need pressure to fit the pipes together. Under every cinch strap, place a D-ring and hang it from a hook that was previously screwed into the eaves. Once you assembled it, make sure you test it. Also, mark the straps and the pieces for future reference.

4. Set Up the Screen

For the temporary screen, you can use a rubber-coated blackout shade fabric. A recommended size would be 54” wide, but of course, you can adjust it to your own needs and wishes. If you have the possibility, you can ask the clerk at the store to cut the material for you when you’re buying it. Some stores have no extra charge for this, so why not take advantage of it?

DIY backyard movie screen movie night setting

5. Make a Flat Fell Seam

The flat fell seam refers to the way in which you are putting the material together. This is a great option because it leaves no raw edges to see or feel. It’s a strong, durable option, which is why you should consider it for your DIY backyard movie screen. Basically, you just saw parallel seams along both sides of the portion you need to fold. This will create a minimal disruption on the surface of the entire fabric.

However, the shade fabric we recommend can be quite slippery and stretchy when you try to sew it. Moreover, if you’re just using a home sewing machine, it may be a little complicated, but not impossible. It’s important to pin the fabric well, use white polyester thread, together with a needle of size 70 or 80.

6. Make a Casing

Wrap the top edge of the screen around the widest part of the top frame. Next, you need to measure the casing. In case you used a 1” PVC pipe, the casing would be 2 – 1/2” wide. Pin it there and sew a stitch. In this way, you are making a tube where you’ll be able to slip the frame into. Lay the top frame piece on top of your casing. Snip the slots for the D-rings we mentioned earlier to have a place to hang it through. The snipped pieces can be easily folded.

7. Hang the Screen

Now you have your screen ready for hanging. Slip the frame you assembled through the casing and then attach both the cinch straps and the D-rings through the slots. If the screen is too heavy or big, place it first on a table, then ask two people to lift the ends simultaneously. After you managed to hang the top frame, set the bottom frame and attach it to the screen with several snap clamps. Lastly, it’s important to secure the bottom with ties or weights, in case the weather conditions go bad.

Backyard Movie Night – Tips and Tricks

Now that you know how to have your own DIY backyard movie screen, it’s time to think about how you would organize a movie night. Here you have a couple of tips and tricks:

  • Ensure a Quality Sound

What movie night is that if you don’t have a quality sound system? You may use a laptop and a projector to see the movie on the big screen, but the laptop’s sound capacity may not be enough. It would be useful to buy a pair of speakers, especially if you have a large area to cover.

  • Be Careful with the Drinks and Food

You or your guests may be less careful with the food and the drinks, given you’re outside. However, make sure they don’t ruin any equipment by accidentally spilling their drinks. Not to mention that you would need to clean the screen in case such an accident would happen.

  • Check the Lights

When you’re watching a movie, it’s important to have a dark setting for the best experience. Make sure there is no public light right next to your backyard, otherwise it may ruin your experience. Try not to have strong backyard lights that would affect the quality of the movie.

DIY backyard movie screen four friends drinking


To sum it up, it’s easy to set up your own DIY backyard movie screen. You just need some fabric, PVC poles, and hanging systems. Finally, the best thing about it is that you can craft a portable one, to move it around or take it with you if you’re hosting a movie night at someone else’s place.

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