Outdoor Movie Theater With Snow Wall and Projector




About: I'm a journeyman Sheet Metal Mechanic with a passion for adventure and photography. Follow along with me on my Facebook page!

Are you looking for a fun project this winter?

Look no further:

Maybe you just want to build a snow wall and don't have a projector, that's fine I will still guide you through the process of building a massive wall of snow. This works even with powdery snow that doesn't seem to hold together.

Depending how big you want to go it could take a couple days of work for 1 person. Mine is 20ft x 9ft and it took me about 15 hrs to complete.

to see the one I am currently building now check out:

What you will need:

  • A shovel
  • A hand saw (made for cutting wood)
  • A ladder
  • Snow shoes, a piece of plywood or something large and strong enough for you to jump on to compact your snow
  • Drinking water and snacks
  • Some hot chocolate

Optional (but needed for theater)

  • Projector
  • Laptop or portable dvd/bluray player
  • Tape Measure
  • Shelter for your electronics
  • Source of Power (generator, power inverter in a vehicle, or 120v power from a building if possible)
  • Speakers or sound system

Step 1: Choose a Location

I chose to build my theater on a lake because it is a flat surface with a lot of snow.

But, because it was such an open area I was exposed to the elements and had no shelter. The wind even knocked some blocks off of my wall as I was building.

You also need to think about how you will power and protect your electronics. I have a power inverter in my truck so I am able to set up anywhere I want.

If you don't have a building near where you want to make the theater you might be able to put your electronics in a tent and use a generator. Just be careful about exposing your warm electronics to cold air and vice versa. Condensation may form.

Choose a location protected from the wind with lots of snow if possible but also you need somewhere to protect and power your projector.

Step 2: Start Your Pile

Start shoveling snow. A tape measure can be handy. Make your pile the same length as you want the finished screen to be; Most projectors have a ratio of 16:9, so you if you make a pile 16 ft long you will need to go 9 ft high to make full use of your space.

You can do a little math to scale the size up or down.

When it's dark turn your projector on and you'll have fun watching the snow you add build the picture.

A little extra snow never hurts.

Step 3: Compact Your Pile

Without compacting the snow it won't stick together. Using a shovel to hit the snow and pack it down a bit is a good start but, to get your snow hard enough to cut blocks out of you'll need to do more than that!

You can stomp all over your pile with snowshoes or put a peice of plywood down and jump on it. You can really use anything flat with a big enough surface area and enough strength to do the job.

This is one step that you need to be very thorough with. If you leave your pile for a day and come back it will be even more settled and compact.

Step 4: Take Breaks!

You've been working hard. Don't forget to drink lots of water and have something to eat. You can't even build a fire if your location allows. Don't be cheap and put your tins directly on the fire like I did though, this is a very bad idea and potentially harmful to your health.

Back to work!

Step 5: Start Cutting Blocks

Now that you've compacted your pile you're ready to cut blocks. Using your woodworking hand saw try cutting a block. I find that 16" (40cm) long and 6"x6" (15cmx15cm) works well. If you can't cut block or the one you get fall apart you will need to compact your pile some more and wait a little longer for it to hard up more.

I cut the blocks from the back of the pile and then pulled them around to the front on a sled.

Next we'll start stacking!

Step 6: Lets Start Stacking Blocks

This is the fun part!

Once you have a few blocks cut you'll want to start stacking them on top of your pile. First you should run your saw horizontally along the pile to make sure you're putting the blocks onto a flat surface.

Since each block is roughly cut you may need to trim them as you are installing them so keep a saw close by.

You can also run the saw back and forth on all sides of the block you are installing to help shape it to fit the ones around it.

Staggering you bricks and using different sizes may actually help hold your wall together.

You may need a small step ladder depending on how high you want to go with your wall.

Step 7: Fill in the Cracks

Between each of your blocks there will be visible lines. Using a shovel throw some loose snow at the wall to fill them with snow. This will make your wall much less likely to fall apart as it will help hold the blocks in place.

Do this from both the front and the back.

You'll want to do this once in a while as you go, because if a gust of wind comes it could knock down part of your wall.

You can also use your hand, with a glove on of course, run it along the cracks to smooth out all the joints while pushing the snow into the cracks.

Next we'll get our projector setup

Step 8: Start the Show

Turn on your projector and start the show!

Thanks for making it to the end of my very first Instructable!

If you'd like to see more of the things I do or the snow theater I am building this year, check out my facebook page:


I'd love to see your wall and hear feedback from you on how it turns out!



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    16 Discussions


    3 years ago

    WhereTheHighwayEnds, this is a first for me. I have seen theaters out of walls, see through projection cloth, and bed sheets but not of snow. I take it the fire pit needed to be placed behind where the audience sits so they don't get the glare of the fire? In Georgia we don't get enough snow to try this but next time I am visiting Alaska I might try this. Great idea.

    1 reply

    I have a few other unique places I want to try it too :) I had the fire pit on the front side but It was only used while I was building it.

    You should have no trouble finding enough snow in Alaska..Have fun up there!


    3 years ago

    This is too fabulous! I am sending this to younger family members and I want one on the lake! Thanks ;)

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    It just snowed and I want to try this! What does it look like from the back when the projector is on?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    My wall was 6-8 inches thick and I could only see it glow through in a few spots. The snow is an incredible medium for a screen. Very high quality image.


    3 years ago

    That's a really cool idea :). I think you need to build some stadium seating to finish it off.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    I'm doing round booths like a restaurant as we speak. I'm going to try building ice tables for them too


    3 years ago

    Nice outdoor movie theater. I've always wanted to do something like this. Where do you live that you can do this? A wiring diagram would be a nice addition. Great first Instructable, and a warm welcome to the community!

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks Dylan! You should be able to do this anywhere you have snow. I live in northern Canada though so they temperature stays below freezing most of the winter. That helps for sure. I will do a wiring instructable for the inverter in my truck I took lots of pictures.