A DIY outdoor movie screen. The kids have wanted us to make one of these for some time, but when we looked at the tutorials for them online, most were just too fancy for our needs.
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We didn’t want one with a bulky frame to store, nor did we need one that would roll up or down. What we wanted was a basic outdoor screen that we could attach to the back of our house, and we could take inside and store when not in use so that the weather wouldn’t destroy it.
We made this outdoor movie screen in about 20 minutes…that included actually hanging it outside, and it cost about $10 to put together!
Supplies for DIY Outdoor Movie Screen:
How to Make an Outdoor Movie Screen:
First, a quick video overview/tutorial –>
1.) Determine desired size of outdoor movie screen.
The size of the screen you want will determine how many yards of blackout fabric you need to purchase, as well as how many grommets you should use. For a screen roughly 5′ wide or less, one grommet per corner should be used (a TOTAL of four). If you want a larger screen, you may want to add additional grommets along the top and bottom of the screen in the center to make sure the screen stays taut.
We decided on a 5′ wide screen based on the size of the area on the back of our home where we wanted the screen to hang. Blackout material is usually purchased in different widths, but we purchased the widest that is readily available, which is 54″. Our overall screen size became about 5′ x 4.5″ (minus a couple inches on each side for seam allowance).
2.) Sew edges of fabric (or go the no sew route).
To sew, or not to sew, that is the question. For me, this was a couple of quick, straight seams on my sewing machine, and we were done. NOTHING fancy. I folded the corners like I was wrapping a present, then just ran a straight seam along all four edges of the fabric. I’d recommend a seam between 1-2″ wide.
If you’re allergic to sewing, that’s ok. Just whip out that bottle of fabric fusion, and glue those seams. Your choice. Either works.
3.) Place grommets in corners.
Get out that little grommet kit and hammer away. If you’ve never installed a grommet before, now is your moment. It’s quick and easy, and the instructions will be in any kit your purchase. The gist is that a grommet has a front and a back. You sandwich the fabric between the two pieces, then whack the heck out of one side with a hammer…AKA a DIY’ers favorite form of stress relief!
Again, we used only 4 grommets for our screen, one per corner. But if you are making a very large screen, you may want to add additional grommets to keep the screen nice and taut when it’s hanging.
4.) Install your outdoor screen.
We simply used a hammer and a couple nails to affix our screen to the siding on our house. You can do the same if your home is brick, just make sure to use masonry nails. Nothing more fancy than that. It’s easiest to hang with two people so that one person can hold the fabric as the other person hammers.
Tip: Put the nails in so that they end up being in the outermost corners of the grommet. This positioning will keep the screen held tight, rather than loose so that wind could effect the quality of the image being projected onto it.
5.) Make the popcorn.
That’s it! Who wants to waste more time on making a screen, when there is popcorn to eat and movies to be watched!