Fun Backyard Cinema




There are a lot of projects like this online and there are many ways to build one.  I knew I wanted it to be portable, reusable and collapsible in a few minutes. I decided to opt for a left and right frame only, no top frame, no cross bar.  Instead, I anchored each side of the left and right frame to the ground with rope and stakes.  Total labor time was 1 hour.

Disclaimer:  It would take me about one hour to build this again.  Actual time to construct this was two weekends after figuring out what to do. 

Here is how I did it.

Step 1: Sketch Your Idea

It took me a day or so to come up with an easy way to make this.  After 3 or 4 ideas, I came up with this in Photoshop.

Step 2: Get Your Materials

  1. (8) old bed frame slats. W 3 3/4" H 3/4" L 26 1/2" (SULTAN LADE
Slatted bed base from Ikea would be perfect for this)
  2. (1) W 28" H 3/4" L 10" board, cut in half
  3. (4) 4" corner braces
  4. (6) 2" narrow utility hinges
  5. (8) #10 x3/4" wood screws
  6. (36) #6 x 3/4" wood screws
  7. (2) #210 screw eyes
  8. (12) 4 1/2" muslin clamps
  9. (6) latch toggle clamps
  10. 6'x9' canvas drop cloth
  11. 15" hardened teeth saw
  12. (4) 10-Inch Steel Tent Stakes
  13. Tent & Canopy Guy Ropes
  14. (4) small sand bags
  15. Drill gun with Philips head
  16. One person to help lift the screen in place

Step 3: Build the Frames Pt 1

Screw hinges on first.

Step 4: Build the Frames Pt 2

Screw latch clamps to opposite side.

Step 5: Build the Base

I built the first base to test part of a frame.  On the second base, I found it was easier to build the frames first.  The last photo in the step shows the frame collapsed.  

Step 6: Secure the Screen

Wrap about 1 1/2" of the drop cloth around each frame.  Secure the screen with the muslin clamps while the frames are on the ground.

Step 7: Balance the Screen

Secured each frame to ground with guy ropes and the tent stakes.  Attach one screw eye to top of frame.  You could use two stakes on each side if you want more balance.  For the entertainment, I decided to use my Roku to stream Netflix and Amazon movies.  On the next instructable, I will explain my entertainment set.

Step 8: Testing With Projector



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    9 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I think I have the perfect equipment for a similar setup. I have three 1978 Advent Video Beam 1000 one foir parts the other two for use.. It has an 84" diagonal measure screen. The screen is foiol covered and nas a phosphorus coating which when an image is projected upon it it brightens the image. The screen is also slightly concave sound is also projected upon the screen which reflects back to the audiance thus giving the real effect of being in a thearter. The projector looks like a giant Norelco shaver that sits on the floor. Currently I am in the midst of some repairs when working it is something to see even though it is in the NTSC format the colors and clairty are outstanding!

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Sounds like you have your hands full with equipment. Hope your repairs go well!


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks it is a challenge, fortunately when I started gathering these sets I was also able to acquire a service manual for them which has proved invaluable. Currently it appears I have a problem in the horizontal H/V output stage. I plan to post Instructable and possibly a YouTube video on the set.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice!

    Did something very similar for many years. Used to have "Backyard Drive-In Double Feature" for the neighborhood. Fifteen years later, kids are still talking about it.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Smart move on inviting the neighbors. I was thinking about doing the same thing. Very nice that you made memories with the kids. I hope I have the same results.