Going to the drive-in movie is always such a blast – but our closest one is quite a bit away. So we decided that we wanted to bring the fun home – so not only could we watch one whenever we want, but we can also invite over friends and family to join in on the fun. Want to make your own DIY outdoor movie screen? This project is super simple – and the best part is that it all comes apart for storage in minutes. The entire screen cost around $50, so this plus the projector may have been one of the best Father’s Day gifts we’ve ever thought of.
For this project, you’ll need:
- 4 – ten ft long pieces of 1 1/2 inch pvc pipe
- 2 – 45% elbows (that fit 1 1/2 inch pipe)
- 4 – T fittings (that fit 1 1/2 inch pipe)
- 8 – 10 inch spikes (found in nail section)
- 1 full size white sheet
- 6 pieces of 3/4 grosgrain ribbon, 18 inches long each
You’ll also need:
- sewing machine
- compound miter saw (or handsaw to cut pipe)
Start by cutting the PVC pipe in these measurements:
- Cut the first two pieces so you get a 7 ft piece and then a 3 ft piece
- Cut the second two so you have a 6 ft piece and two 2 ft pieces
NOTE: If you use less than 1 1/2 inch it will not be very stable. I tried multiple types, but this kind will hold the weight and be stable enough to hold up well over and over again.
Using the graphic above, assemble the frame. The 7 ft pieces go at the top and bottom, the 3 ft pieces are the legs, the 2 ft pieces are the “feet” that holds it all up.
We drilled holes in the pipe at an angle towards the center to help the stakes get enough stability to hold up. Before you drive it into the ground, be sure to sew your sheet.
The sheet is the screen part, and it’s fairly easy to install. I used the top hem and turned it down one fold, then ran a stitch close to the edge to make a pocket for the top of the frame. I put it onto the frame, then measured where it needed to be hemmed on the bottom, then took it back off the frame and ran another pocket for the bottom. Sewing it just a tiny bit small means the screen will stretch out nicely and help against wrinkles. Before putting it back on the frame, I sewed the ribbon on the sides at the top, bottom and middle, by folding the ribbon in half and stitching it down to create tabs to tie it to the sides of the frame.
As for the projector, we looked at several before deciding on this Movie Projector we found on Amazon (that’s an affiliate link). It’s not the ultimate, best quality, but at around $100 it’s the perfect choice for movie nights at home. We’ve used it several times and I’d pick it all over again. It hooks up to a DVD player (we use our PlayStation). It can also be hooked up to other gaming consoles for larger than life video games.
It’s kind of hard to take good photos at night, but I did capture the first time we used it as a dive in movie (watching my fave Disney movie) – and it was just the hubby and me 🙂