I had to keep the cat IN the bag for this one, because it was Mark’s Father’s Day gift, but the good news is that it has NOTHING to do with Father’s Day and EVERYTHING to do with a super fun summer activity! I DIYd a movie screen for around $50, and it only took an afternoon. (Materials list at the end of the post!)
How to Make a Backyard Movie Screen
Step 1: Cut PVC Pipe
Cut your PVC pipe. Our movie screen is 7 feet wide and about 4 feet high with 2.5 foot legs. Here’s the cut list:
1 @ 7 feet
2 @ 4 feet
2 @ 41 inches
3 @ 2.5 feet
6 @ 1.5 feet
Step 2: Assemble frame
Assemble the screen. It’s pretty obvious, but… the top edge of the screen will be the 7 foot length. Using the elbows, attach each of the 4 foot lengths to the top of the screen. These are the sides. For the bottom of the screen, use the two 41-inch lengths with a tee in the middle to connect them. You’ll also use tees to connect these to the sides of the screen.
The final step is to add the three legs and their ‘feet’. To make the feet, attach a 1.5 foot length to either side of a tee, and then stick the 2.5 foot leg into the middle. These three “T” shapes attach to either end of the screen and then one in the middle.
Step 3: Sew screen
Make the screen. A plain old sheet will work, but I stumbled across this heavy polyester curtain in the sale section of Homegoods, so I decided to make one a little more legit. I made my screen the same height as the curtain’s width so I only had to hem one seem. I did a little research and apparently this black felt tape helps make the edges of the image nice and crisp. It’s adhesive so I added that to the four sides of my screen.
Step 4: Install Grommets
Grommets. Have you ever done grommets? Me neither! They’re SO fun! And really easy. Most grommet kits come with the tools needed to install the grommets (a setter, an anvil and a hole cutter). Because my grommets were going through the thick adhesive felt AND the hemmed curtain, I didn’t bother with the hole cutter and just made an X with an exacto knife. I trimmed the excess and inserted the grommet up through the hole. Place the washer ontop of the grommet.
Rest the grommet onto the included anvil, align the setter around the washer, and give a number of firm taps with the hammer to set the grommet. You’ll want to be on a sturdy surface for this step, but it’s very cathartic to bang a bunch of grommets in place if that makes any difference!
I used 12 grommets and grabbed a pack of velcro straps to tie the cloth around the PVC pipe. I should have ironed the cloth first. Next time!
We set it up a little early on one of the longest days of the year, so the kids were good sports about being able to see the movie. But as it got darker, we could see how AWESOME this will be throughout the summer and as the kids get older and can stay up later. They sell similar rigs on Amazon but they’re all about $150 and up.
Enjoying a quiet evening at home with these kids was worth every minute of this DIY! It’s a simple project that everyone in the whole family will enjoy!
(Affiliates included for your shopping convenience.)
- 4 lengths of 1.25″ PVC pipe
- 2 PVC elbows (1.25″ sockets)
- 6 PVC tees (1.25″ sockets)
- 6 end caps
- miter saw or hand saw
- sheet/ white curtain
- sewing machine
- black felt tape
- grommet kit with #4 grommets
- velcro strips
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