There are few things cozier than cuddling up with people you love to enjoy a homemade outdoor movie theater. You might consider making one on a campsite, next to a hot tub, or in an open grassy space where you have plenty of room to stretch out.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to how to optimize your DIY outdoor movie screen. An outdoor movie makes for a great first date, a family-friendly adventure, or a great informal documentary film festival.
If you want to be known for taking movie night seriously, get ready to string up some twinkle lights and break out the popcorn after following one of these methods to build your very own outdoor home theater.
Clothesline and clothespins
- 1 clothesline
- 6-8 clothespins
- 1 flat, white sheet (Full or Queen works best)
Simple, yet effective, the clothesline method of making an outdoor movie screen is ideal for a one-time affair. Use an existing clothesline for your frame or string up a clothesline between two trees or posts. Make sure the line is taunt (otherwise your favorite movie stars will have funny ripples on their faces).
Next, spread out a flat, white sheet to serve as your movie screen and secure it to the clothesline with the clips. Tada! Now you’re ready for outdoor movie night in your backyard theater. When you’re finished with the movie, simply unclip the sheet and throw it in the wash.
Concrete, planters, and drop cloth
- 1 bag of QuickCrete
- 1 6’ x 9’ canvas drop cloth
- 16 4 ½” clamps
- Duct tape
- 2 2” x 12” posts
- 2 large planters, 24” x 24” or comparable in size
If the clothesline theater is a big hit and you want to make outdoor movie night a regular thing, consider building a reusable backyard theater with concrete, planters, and drop cloth. First, place duct tape over any drainage holes on the planters. Mix QuickCrete with water (according to instructions) in the planters. Afterward, immediately submerge the posts in the center of each planter. The QuickCrete will take a while to harden, so make sure that the posts remain straight, readjusting them halfway through the hardening process if needed.
After the posts are set in the planters, use the clamps to attach the drop cloth to each post (eight on each side). Make sure that the sheet is taunt for the best viewing experience.
- 6’ x 9’ plywood sheet
- White exterior paint
If you want your outdoor movie theater to be a permanent fixture in your backyard, consider building it out of wood in these few simple steps. Paint one side of the plywood sheet with white exterior paint and allow it to dry. Then, apply a second coat. Once the second coat dries, your outdoor movie screen is ready to be mounted to posts, a fence or even just perched against a wall.
Once you’ve created your ideal DIY outdoor movie theater, it’s time to set up the projector, speakers, and comfy chairs. Hopefully, someone has read the manual of how to set up the movie projector so your night doesn’t have any hiccups. Regardless, your outdoor movie screen will be a surefire hit!