Under 2 hours
Presented by Charlotte Smith of At Charlotte's House.
Take your movie night to the next level with this fun and easy DIY movie screen project using basic materials from The Home Depot: PVC Pipes and PVC pipe fittings, a blackout curtain, duct tape and fabric fastener! The best part is that this movie screen is something that can easily come apart and store away when it’s not in use.
Gather Materials and Design the Screen
Gather the following materials for the next steps:
- (5) 1.5-inch 10-foot PVC pipes
- (6) PVC pipe 1.5-inch pipe elbows
- (8) PVC pipe 1.5-inch “T” joints
- (1) White black-out shade
- (1) Roll black duct tape
- (1) Roll 20-foot adhesive fabric fastener
- PVC pipe cutter
- Optional: Adhesive numbers (or use stickers or a permanent marker)
With pen and paper, ask the kids to draw a movie screen. Help them understand the basic shape of a movie screen: a rectangle with two legs. Seeing the shapes first will help them assemble the PVC movie screen later.
Measure and Cut the PVC Pipes
Measure each PVC pipe as follows and make a mark on each with a permanent marker.
- 4 lengths at 60 inches (5 feet)
- 4 lengths at 24 inches (2 feet)
- 4 lengths at 16 inches
- 4 lengths at 10 3/4 inches
- 2 lengths at 36 inches (3 feet)
You can use a miter saw to cut the PVC, but a special PVC pipe cutter uses a ratchet to easily cut through the pipe. With adult supervision, this is a simple tool that the kids can help use. Line up the cut and squeeze down on the pipe cutter to cut each piece of PVC pipe.
Assemble the Screen
- Once the pipe pieces are cut, it’s time to put the screen together.
- Start by laying out the pipes and the various connecting pieces.
- PVC pipes will be a little wobbly and loose at the connections so don’t hesitate to give them a little tap to help push them into place.
Add Labels to the PVC pipes
To make it easier to take it apart and reassemble the movie screen, use stickers (or a permanent marker) to mark which pipes connect to each other.
Cut the Fabric for the Screen
Now it’s time to add the curtain to the screen.
- Any piece of white fabric should work, but a blackout curtain is perfect because it’s a heavier fabric.
- Measure the outside dimensions of the screen area on the PVC pipes.
- Then measure and mark the curtain to match.
- Draw a pencil line and cut the curtain to size.
Attach the Fabric Fastener and Screen
- To attach the curtain to the PVC pipes, use the duct tape and heavy-duty fabric fastener.
- Starting on the front of the curtain, carefully stick a strip of black duct tape along the outside edges.
- Flip the curtain over and repeat the process, sticking a piece of duct tape along the edge of the back of the curtain.
- To cover any exposed adhesive, use one more strip of duct tape folded over the edge.
- Stick one length of the fabric fastener onto the duct tape on the top of the curtain and another strip on the side of the curtain.
- For this screen, the loop side of the fabric fastener is on the curtain and the hook side will adhere to the PVC pipes.
- Don’t put the fabric fastener all the way to the corner on the duct tape, as you need to leave room for the PVC corner brackets on the PVC pipe screen.
Double check that the screen is the right size before putting the final two lengths of fabric fastener in place. Once the curtain is attached to the screen, the four PVC pipes can turn slightly to tighten the fabric so there won’t be any wrinkles on the screen when projecting the movie.
Enjoy your new backyard movie screen!
To take the screen apart, use a tote bag for all the smaller pieces. Tie the larger pieces together and tuck into the corner until next time.