Introduction: Outdoor Projector Screen
Warm summer nights were made for enjoying the outdoors, and an outdoor movie creates a wonderful ambiance for you and those who you share it with. Unfortunately, putting on an outdoor movie can be expensive and a bit of a hassle. This screen was designed with those two issues in mind: On top of being insanely cheap and simple, it sets up fast and rolls up for storage.
Note: The principals and techniques for this design are applicable to all sizes of projectors screens, but the dimensions given in this instructable are for a 120" screen sheet. To get the exact screen sheet I used follow the amazon link in the materials list.
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- 2x 1/2" EMT Conduit (local hardware store)
- 50ft Nylon Cord (https://amzn.to/2PPenrb)
- 10 Yards 3/8" Nylon Strap (https://amzn.to/3iBmXGo)
- 120" Projector Sheet (https://amzn.to/3kGRuEP)
- 3/4" wood screws (local hardware store)
- 6" Zip Ties (https://amzn.to/3kGBIJS)
- Optional - Duck Tape (https://amzn.to/3iF6SzH)
Step 1: Cutting Conduit to Length
Cut your sticks of EMT down to 73 1/4". This can be done with a pipe cutter or hacksaw, but if you do not have those tools you can ask the hardware store to cut them down when you buy them.
Step 2: Preparing Conduit
Drill a 1/8" inch pilot hole through 1 side of the conduit roughly 1/2" from the top. Rotate the conduit 90 degrees and drill a 1/4" hole all the way through the conduit roughly 1" from the top. Rotate the pipe 90 degrees back so that the 1/8" hole is on top and drill another 1/8" hole 1/2" from the bottom of the conduit.
Step 3: Preparing Straps
Cut 2 lengths of strap at 123", then fold 2 1/2" over on each end and staple it to itself. The goal here is to create loops in the end. Use lots of staples for this and make an effort to get them all the way through. This is where the Duck tape comes in; use it to cover the staples if you would like, but this is only for aesthetics.
Step 4: Finishing the Frame
Take the pieces of conduit and lay them out so that the sides with the 1/4" hole are both pointing the same way. Put the pieces of conduit through the loops and screw through the strap into the 1/8" pilot hole that we drilled earlier. The goal here is to create a rectangle with the conduit being the short sides and the strap being the long sides.
Step 5: Attaching the Screen Sheet
Lay the frame out across the floor and lay your screen sheet out centered inside of the frame. Zip tie the corners of the screen to the strap roughly 4" from where the strap attaches to the pipe. Pull the zip ties tight to make sure that they do not slide.
Step 6: Tensioning Your Screen Sheet
Now that you have attached the corner you will need to find two heavy objects that you can set on top of your conduit after you pull it taught. Here you can see that I used two stools, but 2 friends standing on the conduit would work just as well. Making sure the the frame is pulled tight is critical to getting the zip ties aligned properly.
Start with the grommets in the center of the long edge of the screen sheet, and make sure to zip tie them to the strap without pulling them to the left or right. You want to create even tension across the whole screen so that there are no wrinkles. Zip tie the rest of the grommets on the top and bottom to the straps. When you zip tie the side grommets to the conduit leave them a little loose so that they can slide up and down the conduit and align themselves.
Step 7: Attaching the Guylines
The frame is now complete and the only thing keeping you from a great outdoor movie is the guylines. These will serve to hold the screen up and pull it taught. You will first need to remove the straps from the ends of the conduit with the 1/4" hole. Thread a 10-foot length of cord through the 1/4" hole on each side and up through the top of the conduit (see pictures). Tie an overhand knot in the lines to keep them from pulling back out the holes. Pull the knot down inside the tube and then reattach the straps.
To finish your screen add some loops to the other ends of the guylines to hook over some stakes (bonus points if the knot is a 1 way sliding knot because it will make tensioning the screen much easier). The stakes can be found on Amazon or at the hardware store, but more than likely you already have some around your house that you can borrow from a tent or something. Old metal utensils, rebar, long screws, and any number of other things can also work great as stakes.
Step 8: Setting Up Your Screen
This process can seem daunting the first time, but having another person makes it easier and eventually it will be less than a 2-minute process by yourself. The key here is just to get the thing up without worrying about getting it super taught, and then to pull back your stakes or adjust your sliding knots to tension it after it is already standing. If you are on pavement or some other type of thing that cannot be staked into simply replace the stakes with heavy bricks/rocks.
Now enjoy your movie!!
Step 9: Storing Your Screen
Pick one side of your screen to always roll up on the inside so that it stays nice and clean regardless of where you put it. Now simply toss the guylines on the inside, fold in half, and roll up to store. It's that easy!