DIY Outdoor Projector Screen

DIY Outdoor Projector Screen

The joy and thrill of watching your favorite film on a big screen are unmatched. But going to theatres might not be a good idea in the current situation. Watching inside your home theater can also become boring after a while. The solution? Make a DIY outdoor projector screen in your backyard and enjoy every bit of suspense under the starry night.

It might seem to be a daunting task, but we will take you through all the details of making an outdoor projector screen without much fuss. From the materials to the smallest element of the system, you will get everything in one place. Let’s jump into it.

What Can I Use for An Outdoor Projector Screen?


If you don’t have a ready-made projector screen to enjoy film nights outdoors, you can make one on your own. Several materials are popular as projector screens. You can even paint a wall to transform it into a screen. Let’s get over the details.

What Can I Use for An Outdoor Projector Screen

Fabric

You can use screen fabric to cast films outdoors. These fabrics are easily available out there. But you need to mount them to the right frame to keep them stable while watching the film. 

Fabric

Tarp

An unused tarp can be a great asset to make projector screens. As these tarps have grommets, you don’t need to install them separately to hang them from a pole or rope. The smoother the tarp, the better will be the output.

Inflatable Screen

Inflatable screens are also readily available. You can buy a screen of your desired size and inflate it to create a projector screen. This will take the minimum effort and time to prepare the screen.

Inflatable Screen

Plain Sheet

If you have none of the previous materials, you can simply take a clean, white bed cloth and hang it to make a projector screen. But you need to iron the fabric to make it wrinkle-free so that you get a smooth output. The cloth should be tightly stretched to the sides so that the screen doesn’t move in windy weather.

Plain Sheet

Paint

Painting a wall or wooden board to make a projector screen has lately become very popular. You will get dedicated paints for film screens. High-quality exterior paints will also work. 

The surface you will paint should be smooth. You can choose dark colors, but white is the most popular for outdoor films sessions at night.

How to Make a DIY Outdoor Projector Screen?


No matter whether you use a screen fabric, bedsheet, or tarp, you will need to build a frame to hold the screen steadily. Wooden or PVC frames are the most popular for making outdoor screens. We will go over the process in detail so that you can easily make your DIY projector screen.

How to Make a DIY Outdoor Projector Screen

The process described here is for the PVC frame. But you can alter the material to wood and follow the same process. Let’s get going.

What Do I Need to Make DIY Outdoor Film Screen PVC?

You will need the following supplies to make a PVC frame for your projector screen.

  • 2” dia Sch 40 PVC pipes (Available in 10’ sizes)
  • 2” dia pipe cap
  • 2” dia tee
  • 2” dia elbow
  • PVC glue
  • Metal grommets
  • Velcro attachments
  • Fabric snaps
  • Hammer
  • Drill 
  • Frame Ladder
  • Measuring Tape

Outdoor Projector Screen Making Process

We will divide the process into several steps so that you can easily understand them and implement them without any issues.

Outdoor Projector Screen Making Process

Make the Base

Cut two four-foot sections of PVC pipes and insert a tee into each section. Place the tee at the center of the pipes and glue it to the pipes. Now you can close both ends of the pipes with pipe caps. 

Make the Legs

Take two more sections of two feet, and glue them to the tees previously used on the bases. Now you have two T-shaped bases to make the rest of the frame. Insert two more tees into the top of the legs and glue them.

This is time to insert the first crossbar. Take a long PVC pipe of 10 ft or your preferred size and glue it to the two ends of tees. It will start looking like a low-goal post at this stage.

Make Upper Legs and Crossbar

If you watch closely, there is an open-end in each tee facing the vertical direction. You need to insert a long pipe section of your preferred height into this tee and glue it properly.

Remember the elbows? They will come into the play now. Fit those elbows at the top of both pipes and make them face each other or the inner side of the frame. Take a long pipe of the same length as used in the lower crossbar. 

Make Upper Legs and Crossbar

Insert the pipe into the elbows and glue it. You’re almost done with the frame.

Fitting the Screen

It is time to attach your projector screen to the frame. Be it a bedsheet, screen fabric, or tarp; you should cut it in the right size according to the frame. Then attach metal grommets to the screen so that they can be fitted to the frame. You can also use velcro attachments to keep the screen steady.

You can drill the top and bottom crossbars to install metal snaps that will hold the screen in place. When installing the screen, it should be properly stretched to the ends so that the screen doesn’t wave while watching films. 

Place the frame in a suitable position so that it becomes easier to run the projector without any hindrance.

How Do You Make a Quick Outdoor Projector Screen?


Painting a smooth surface is probably the fastest way to make a homemade projector screen outdoors. Let’s see how you can do this.

How Do You Make a Quick Outdoor Projector Screen

What You’ll Need to Paint an Outdoor Projector Screen?

  • A leveled vertical wall or wooden surface
  • Sanding machine
  • Buffing machine
  • Primer
  • White Paint
  • Paint spray or roller brush

How to Paint an Outdoor Projector Screen?

How to Paint an Outdoor Projector Screen
  • Select a vertical surface in a suitable position in your backyard. The surface should be leveled so that you get a smooth output. It should be sanded and buffed further to remove any tiny bit of roughness.
  • Then you can apply the primer using a paint spray or roller brush. Using a paint spray will get the job done faster, but it requires some experience. If you are a newbie, choose a roller brush to get the job done easily.
  • Allow the primer some time to settle. Then start painting the surface with a roller brush. You can paint as much area as you can to make bigger screens of your choice.
  • The paint will require some time for drying and curing. After the surface is ready to use, you can start projecting your favorite films on the freshly made projector screen.

What Accessories Do I Need to Run a Projector Outdoor?


Just the screen isn’t enough for watching films with your family or friends. You will need some more items to enhance the experience. We assume you have already set up the projector and the screen. Here are the other items.

What Accessories Do I Need to Run a Projector Outdoor

Streaming Devices

If your projector doesn’t have the streaming feature built-in, you will require a streaming device to project the film on the screen. These devices come in compact sizes nowadays and can be directly connected to the HDMI port of your projector. Roku or Amazon Fire TV stick is highly popular out there.

Speakers

The built-in speaker of your projector might not amaze the audience. So, you should pair a good set of speakers with the projector to make the film night more awesome. 

Power Strip or Extension Chords

This is crucial for running the projector outside. Take a good-quality power strip to provide enough juice to all the devices in the setup.

Power Strip or Extension Chords

FAQs

Here are answers to some more frequently asked questions regarding outdoor projector screens. Have a look at them.

1. Can I use a black or gray sheet as a projector screen?

Darker colored screens are suitable for daylight or bright ambient light situations. You can still use them at night, but the brightness of the image will be lower than white screens.

2. Can you use any projector for rear projection?

The process of projecting an image on a screen from behind is known as rear projection. Instead of seeing a reflected image, the audience sees a dispersed image. The reverse projection is possible with any projector.

3. Can you play Netflix through a projector?

Yes, you can. If your projector has a built-in streaming feature or you have a streaming device, you can play Netflix through the projector.

4. How many lumens do I need for an outdoor projector screen?

The projector should deliver 2000-2500 lumens if you are watching at night. But if there is some ambient lighting, you should go for 3000 lumens.

5. What size outdoor screen should I get?

It depends on how many areas you have for the audience. The seating area should be four times the height of the screen. Adjust the width while keeping the aspect ratio in mind. We suggest getting at least an 80-inch screen to have a wonderful experience.

Final Words

If you have read this far, we expect you can make a DIY outdoor projector screen. Though the process might require some trial and error, you will perfect everything over time. 

Making projector screens is the most cost-effective way to enjoy films or games on larger screens and share the joy with your loved ones. Though it might take some time and effort, the result will be highly satisfying. 

Enjoying the intense moments of your favorite films or shows on a giant screen, that too, made by yourself, matches nothing else.

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