DIY screen: Home theatre in your backyard

There is a screen in a garden with several rows of chairs in the foreground
Enjoy your favourite movies in your very own open-air DIY movie theatre.

  • Difficulty
    easy
  • Cost
    45 £
  • Duration
    1-3 h

Introduction

A cinema evening under the starlit sky on a warm summer night. What a romantic notion, right? And it doesn’t have to stay a notion. We’ll show you how you can build your very own backyard movie screen in just a few simple steps.

You need
Tools
  • No tools needed
Utilities
  • ladder
Materials
  • 7 wooden slats, 3 m each
  • 1 wooden beam, 2 m
  • Nylon cord, 5 mm thick, 10 m
  • Linen sheet, approx. 220 x 240 cm
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter

Let's go - step by step

Step 1 6

Fastening the cord: The timber hitch

A white cord is being placed around a long wooden beam.
A white cord is being placed around a long wooden beam.
A white cord is being tied around a long wooden beam.
A white cord is being tied around a long wooden beam.
A white cord is being tied around a long wooden beam.
A diagram explains the timber hitch.

You need: 3 wooden slats, 3m each, Nylon cord, 5 mm thick, 10 m

In the first step, take three of the seven slats and place them on top of two other slats (which only serve as a support at this point).
Now knot the three beams together in a specific way shown below so that they will later act as a stable tripod.

The first step in making the knot is the so-called timber hitch. Wrap the nylon cord around only one of the beams and knot it accordingly. On the pictures and in the sketch above, you can see in detail how to execute the timber hitch.

Step 2 6

Tying together the beams

A nylon cord is being threaded between three wooden beams.
A nylon cord is being threaded between three wooden beams.
A nylon cord is being knotted around three wooden beams.

Now start to thread the nylon cord above and below the three beams. Keep alternating. Always go back and forth – five times in total (see the images).

Step 3 6

Clove hitch

Three wooden beams are being tied together with a nylon cord.
Three wooden beams are being tied together with a nylon cord.
Three wooden beams are being tied together with a nylon cord.
Three wooden beams are being tied together with a nylon cord.

In the next step, you will apply the so-called shear lashing. To do this, first wrap the nylon cord around the waistband between the beams 2–3 times (images 1 and 2). Now lead the cord to the second intermediate space and wind it around the waistband several times (image 3). Then cross back again and repeat the movement (image 4).

Step 4 6

Clove hitch

A nylon cord is being tied to a wooden beam using a specific technique.
A nylon cord is being tied to a wooden beam using a specific technique.
A nylon cord is being tied to a wooden beam using a specific technique.
A diagram shows you how to knot the clove hitch.

To fix your three beams into the final position, you have to apply a knotting technique called clove hitch. The images and the diagram show you in detail how to proceed. Tighten the knot well at the end and shorten the nylon cord.

When everything is in place, you can set up the three beams tied together to form a tripod. Ideally, find someone to assist you, and make sure the beams stand firmly on the ground.

You must now repeat steps 2 to 5 for the second support of the movie screen.

Step 5 6

Preparing the cloth

A wooden beam is being threaded into the opening of a duvet cover.
If your cloth does not have an opening for threading, you will need to hem the cloth or directly attach the beam to the cloth.

You need: 1 wooden slat, 3 m, 1 wooden beam, 2 m, Linen sheet, approx. 220 x 240 cm

Are both supports standing? Then all you need to do now is prepare the cloth that will serve as a projection screen.

Ideally, use a linen sheet or an old duvet cover with side openings at the top and bottom. Instead of a blanket, however, here you will push the remaining wooden slat (3 m) through the opening until it comes out again on the other side.

On the lower side of the duvet cover, insert a shorter beam. This serves as a weight that pulls down the canvas and prevents creases.

You don’t have a duvet cover with openings? Then you have to hem a section of the cloth at the top and bottom so that the two beams can hold the cloth. Alternatively, you can also attach the wooden slats directly to the cloth. An electric tacker is ideally suited to this task. In this case, apply tacker needles at intervals of approx. 5 cm over the entire length of the beam.

Step 6 6

Mounting the screen

A wooden beam from which a cloth is suspended rests on a tripod.
You should get assistance for placing the upper beam.

You need: ladder

Finally, all you need to do is hang up the screen. Do so by placing the longer beam on the two supports. Be sure to get another person to assist you with this. Together, align the supports and cloth so that the cloth is centred and there are no wrinkles.

Well done! Now all you have to do is decide which film to show on the new big screen in the evening. Fire up the beamer – and enjoy!