How to build an outdoor cinema screen for your backyard movie night


Nothing beats the thrill of watching a movie or football game outdoors. You can elevate your outdoor entertainment game with your very own DIY outdoor screen for those balmy summer evenings in your garden or terrace.

A few shipping knots will come in handy, and this approach from Germany’s DIY Academy involves using some cord to tie long wooden slats together into two tripods that support another slat that holds up your “screen” – essentially a long white sheet.

The screen is also weighted at the bottom with another slat to keep it from blowing around in the wind.

In addition to a projector, of course, you’ll need some cord, wood, a large sheet and something to help attach the weight to your screen, such as tools such as a sewing machine, a heavy-duty stapler or some trusty duct tape.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • seven wooden slats, each 3 metres long (and about 9 x 4 cm)

  • one 2-metre-long wooden slat for hanging the screen

  • 10 metres in length of nylon cord (5 mm diameter)

  • an old white sheet or duvet cover measuring about 2.20 metres by 2.40 metres or any white cotton or linen sheet

  • something to help keep a weight in bottom of the screen, such as a heavy-duty stapler, sewing kit or duct tape

  • a second person to set up the canvas

Here’s the step-by-step guide from DIY experts:

1. First take three of the 3-metre-long slats and lie them up on top of the others so you can fasten them together. Tie the three pieces of wood together at one end so that they can later be set up as a stable tripod. The first step of the knot is the so-called carpenter’s knot. To do this, first wrap the nylon cord around just one of the beams and tie it tightly.

2. Now thread the nylon cord over and under all three wooden battens – always alternating – for a total of five times.

3. Now we tie a so-called parallel lashing knot by wrapping the cord two or three times around the existing cord bundle between the beams. Then guide the cord to the second in-between area and wrap it around the bundle several times here too. Then bring it back to the side where you started and repeat the whole process.

4. To secure the three beams in place, you can use the knotting technique known as the clove hitch. This comprises two single hitches in a row. Important: Pull the knot tight at the end and trim any excess cord.

5. You now have one stable tripod. Repeat the above steps for the other side of the frame.

6. Prepare the canvas: Does your sheet or bed sheet not have any side openings for threading the slats? Then it is best to fold one side over and sew it closed.

You can then insert the final longer piece of wood into the resulting tube at the top of your sheet. You can also insert the shorter, 2-metre-long piece of wood at the bottom to weigh it down so your screen doesn’t blow around in the wind. Alternatively, you could wrap the fabric around the piece of wood a few times and staple it in place or use duct tape.

7. Set up the two tripods about 2 metres apart. Then place the upper beam with the canvas between the three ends of each tripod. Align the tripods and the canvas so that your screen is centred and is hanging without creases. Now all you need is to set up your projector nearby and your done.

Thread the nylon cord over and under all three slats - always alternating. Go back and forth a total of five times. Bosch/DIY Academy/dpa

Thread the nylon cord over and under all three slats – always alternating. Go back and forth a total of five times. Bosch/DIY Academy/dpa

Now we tie a so-called parallel lashing knot by wrapping the cord two or three times around the existing cord bundle between the beams. Then guide the cord to the second in-between area and wrap it around the bundle several times here too. Then bring it back to the side where you started and repeat the whole process. Bosch/DIY Academy/dpaNow we tie a so-called parallel lashing knot by wrapping the cord two or three times around the existing cord bundle between the beams. Then guide the cord to the second in-between area and wrap it around the bundle several times here too. Then bring it back to the side where you started and repeat the whole process. Bosch/DIY Academy/dpa

Now we tie a so-called parallel lashing knot by wrapping the cord two or three times around the existing cord bundle between the beams. Then guide the cord to the second in-between area and wrap it around the bundle several times here too. Then bring it back to the side where you started and repeat the whole process. Bosch/DIY Academy/dpa

To secure the three beams in place, you need to use the knotting technique known as the clove hitch. It comprises two single hitches in a row. Bosch/DIY Academy/dpaTo secure the three beams in place, you need to use the knotting technique known as the clove hitch. It comprises two single hitches in a row. Bosch/DIY Academy/dpa

To secure the three beams in place, you need to use the knotting technique known as the clove hitch. It comprises two single hitches in a row. Bosch/DIY Academy/dpa

Fold one side of the sheet over twice and sew around it with a seam. Insert the two remaining beams into the resulting tubes. Bosch/DIY Academy/dpaFold one side of the sheet over twice and sew around it with a seam. Insert the two remaining beams into the resulting tubes. Bosch/DIY Academy/dpa

Fold one side of the sheet over twice and sew around it with a seam. Insert the two remaining beams into the resulting tubes. Bosch/DIY Academy/dpa

Final step: Position the two tripods approx. two metres apart and place the upper beam with the canvas between the three ends of each support. Now align the canvas - and you're done. Bosch/DIY Academy/dpaFinal step: Position the two tripods approx. two metres apart and place the upper beam with the canvas between the three ends of each support. Now align the canvas - and you're done. Bosch/DIY Academy/dpa

Final step: Position the two tripods approx. two metres apart and place the upper beam with the canvas between the three ends of each support. Now align the canvas – and you’re done. Bosch/DIY Academy/dpa



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