Turn Your Backyard Into A Private Movie Theater With This Easy DIY Screen Setup - House Digest (2024)

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Turn Your Backyard Into A Private Movie Theater With This Easy DIY Screen Setup

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Turn Your Backyard Into A Private Movie Theater With This Easy DIY Screen Setup - House Digest (4)

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ByRon Baker/

For some people, projection is still part of a home theater experience. It's the sort of thing that happens in a dark basem*nt with acoustic treatments on some walls and $15,000 projection screens on others. They are outfitted with chairs so comfortable that any working person is far more likely to nap in them than to make it to the end of "Godland." But lots of people — maybe even most — have simpler needs and are perfectly happy to nap in an Adirondack deck chair and miss the end of "Talladega Nights" just this once. TikTok DIYer and crafter @hancdrake's mom used a drop cloth, a few PVC pipes, and a $45 projector to build her family's outdoor home theater, and she gets it just right.

Properly understood, home theater is a communal experience, the sort of thing you do outside on a summer night without worrying that your neighbors will complain because you just handed them their drinks. This scene is pure Americana and it's available to just about anyone for a few hundred bucks... less if you have a flatbed sheet to spare. If you're resourceful, you probably won't have trouble doing this project for under $100. That's a heck of a good deal for an experience like this. And there are even good reasons to completely ditch your TV and switch to a projector, though you'll probably want one indoors as well in that case.

Build your own, and they will come


you asked for it! Part 1/2 of more DETAILED construction instructions — audio/visual instructions coming soon!!! Love y’all! #diy #diyproject #fyp

♬ original sound - HanCDrake

Your personal screening of "Field of Dreams" requires, first and foremost, a screen. The hunt for the perfect silver screen can easily get out of control, and @hancdrake simple projects on an unaltered painter's drop cloth. Her mother used three 10-foot PVC pipes to make a frame. One was cut in half to form the sides; the other was cut into two 6-foot top sides and two 4-foot lengths for support posts, along with a few PVC connectors and electrical conduit straps to secure the screen to the deck railing. Pockets for the sides were sewn in a 9-foot by 6-foot drop cloth, and there's your big screen.

You can enhance the viewing experience with paint made for projection... and spend a lot of money doing it. All you really need is gray flat- or matte-finish latex of acrylic paint, applied directly to the cloth. (Using gray instead of white is fairly important. Try Behr's Cinema Screen tint.) If you're leaving the screen outdoors full-time, use exterior paint to ward off mold issues. Lots of other tips are available in our ultimate guide to creating a backyard movie theater.

Feel the need... the need for 480p

Turn Your Backyard Into A Private Movie Theater With This Easy DIY Screen Setup - House Digest (5)

Tatiana Gordievskaia/Shutterstock

The 480p projector, with a 4:3 aspect ratio, and the DIY screen, with a roughly 6:5 ratio, are slightly mismatched, which only means that some small amount of the screen will remain unused, and that's perfectly normal. 480p is low-resolution by today's video standards, but achieves a surprisingly pleasing viewing experience in the right setting... and your back deck is probably the right setting. The video signal can be supplied by a Macbook, as in @hancdrake's build, or by anything else with a signal that can be converted to HDMI... a tablet, laptop, desktop, or even your phone. The inexpensive projector is best when viewing in a dark area, but who watches a movie outdoors in the middle of the day anyway?

The sound part is pretty easy, too. @hancdrake's family broadcasts sound to a Megaboom Bluetooth speaker, which in its current (third) generation runs $169.99, but there's absolutely nothing stopping you from repurposing some old wired bookshelf speakers or ganking your teenager's sweet gaming speakers you don't allow them to use at night anyway. A pair of outdoor speakers connected to a Bluetooth receiver/amplifier is probably the way to go, so you don't have to pack everything up at the end of the night. The A/V equipment can be cleverly disguised on your deck or patio if you prefer. Happy viewing!


Turn Your Backyard Into A Private Movie Theater With This Easy DIY Screen Setup - House Digest (2024)


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