Ever wanted your own, personal at-home theater? Or even better, at outdoor theater?
Nights under the stars can really be a magical experience for the entire family, especially in the warm summer nights. So, if this kind of family fun has been on your bucket list for a while now, you should definitely go for it this summer.
Luckily, this is an easy DIY project that the whole family can enjoy. Grab some of your staple DIY tools and head out for a day of building your own, at-home theater.
What You Will Need
The base of any good DIY projection screen are the tools you use, of course. So, before you head outside unprepared, go to your local store and get some of these basic and simple objects:
White Sheets – You probably have a few of these at home already, just make sure that they are completely white, king or queen size and ironed flat for your viewing comfort.
Clothespins – Naturally, you’ll have a few of these laying around as well. Any type of clothespin material looks great. In the end, clothespins materials aren’t really that detrimental to the success of the project.
Projector – Okay, so this may be a bigger investment if you don’t already have one. You can either borrow one from friends or look for used projectors in good condition.
Pillows – You can already imagine what these will be for, and this is another item you might already have.
Lights – Fairy lights or any other kind of lights can make the night even more magical and special.
Popcorn and popcorn buckets – Enough said.
How To Create a Perfect Setting
A great movie night is quite simple to create.
For one, you’ll need your king or queen size white cloth – this is where the movie will play out.
Pro tip – for a better picture, double up your cloth.
Of course, there are other options. For example, you could invest in a real sheet for projecting movies. However, this version is way better for the simple reason – it’s cheap and quick to set up.
The projector is quite an investment – a total opposite to the cloth, but you can find budget friendly choices online. Next to that, you will need a laptop and speakers so you can connect them to the projector and actually play the movie and have a good sound quality.
Here is what you need to do with the supplies mentioned above:
- Hang your white sheet over your clothesline and hold it in place with clothespins
- Make sure that your anchor your sheet with rocks or in any other way you find comfortable. This will ensure it stays put on windy nights.
- String some lights around for a better mood. Twinkle lights are quite cheap and putting them around your screen makes for a memorable night.
- Create a comfy seating with the pillows and chairs or add some blankets on the ground for the kids or for the entire family. You can also gather some furniture from your home and have an even more comfortable evening.
- Of course, what kind of a movie night would it be without some popcorn. You can also add numerous other snacks and sweets for your guests and your family to enjoy.
As you can see, playing movies outdoors and having fun isn’t that hard or expensive either. You can do it simply and all while having fun with your closest friends and family.
Tips On Screens If You Are Willing To Invest More
This simple set up works well. However, to make the most out of it, you have to apply a few simple tricks that will make your movie-nights truly unforgettable and way more comfortable.
Figure out the best spot for the screen
Before you even get started, you need to figure out the best place for the screen. Make sure that it’s placed somewhere in your yard where it can be comfortable for everyone to see. It should also be where the image from the projector can land comfortably on the screen without ruining the quality of the movie. The placement will also affect the size of the screen. You should make sure that the image itself ends up being 24 to 36 inches away from the floor so that you don’t get neck pain or your eyes get tired. The lights you place around the screen shouldn’t affect the image clarity too much. If they do, turn them off.
Pick the right screen material
So, cloth screens work perfectly if you just want something cheap, quick and simple. But, if you want to amp up your game a bit, investing in a real movie projecting material is the best way to go.
You have the choice between stretchable and non-stretchable materials. In your case, the stretchable one would be the best option as it’s easy to handle Make sure that the fabric is good for projections as well.
Here are some of your options:
Standard Matte White – The most commonly used type of fabric, best because it diffuses light and images properly.
High Contrast Fabrics – This type of fabric reflects less light and it results in a great contrast of colors.
High Gain Fabrics – Not the best choice because it doesn’t have viewing from all angles.
Perforated Screen Fabrics – If you want to place your speakers behind the screen, this is the type to get.
So, if you are willing to spend a bit more for a better movie-watching experience and cloth screen would just bother you, these are some of the best options to get.
In this case, you might choose a framing material. Here you can choose from wood, metal or a mixture of both. This will depend on a wide variety of factors. Your budget and mechanics have a lot to do with it.
This will make your screen more permanent and durable. For a less permanent solution, go for PVC or plastic.
Other DIY Projection Screens
Of course, you might not like the cloth idea but still be unwilling to invest in the pricier options mentioned above. This is perfectly understandable. For that case specifically, we have compiled a list of other DIY projection screen options you can try out.
Painted Cardboard Projection Screen – Cardboard and paint make for an excellent solid projection screen at a very low price.
Roller Blinds Projection Screen – This is a simple trick and a quick DIY projection screen that will allow you to have the perfect screen even if you have a small yard. All you will need are some roller shades and electric drill. You may decide to just project the movie on your window or you might want to mount it onto a wall.
Wall Paint Projection Screen – All you have to do for this project is paint your wall white in one section. You can use the side of your home.
As you can see, all of these options are quite simple and straightforward. No huge fuss or mess to make. Be prepared that the screen will stay on your outdoor wall if you use the paint-on projection screen. However, white color is easy to paint over and it can always stay there for the next summer. Make sure that this is a comfortable setup for your yard.
Some people have smaller yards and several of these tips won’t apply as easily but you can always think outside of the box – as is necessary with DIY projects – and adapt. One thing is for sure – you will have a great summer full of amazing family moments.