How to Build an Outdoor Movie Theater Part 1: the Screen

How to Build an Outdoor Movie Theater Part
1: the Screen. Sundance, Cannes… your backyard? Make a theater the pros would envy with these
steps. You will need 1 1/2″ diameter PVC pipe: 3 6′ 2″ pieces 4 4′ 7″
pieces 3 3′ 1″ pieces 2 elbow connectors 3 T-connectors 1 4-way cross connector 2″
diameter PVC pipe: 3 3′ 2″ pieces 3 end caps PVC cement Drill 2 1/4″ eyebolts
with washers and nuts 3 5-gal. buckets 2 80-Ib. bags of concrete mix 6′ X 18′ blackout cloth
Straight pins Sewing machine Grommet punch 30 3/8″ grommets 30 zip ties 100′ of
nylon rope and 4 anchor skates. Step 1. Attach a T-connector to a 6-foot-2 piece of PVC pipe.
Then, attach the 4-way cross connector to the other end. This will be the center support
for the screen’s frame. Step 2. Affix two of the 4-foot-7 sections to either side of
the T-connector to form the top of the frame. Attach an elbow to each open end of the 4-foot-7
pieces. Step 3. Connect two 6-foot-2 sections of PVC to the elbows at the top of the frame.
Affix T-connectors to each free end of those sections. Step 4. Run a 4-foot-7 piece between
each T-connector and either side of the cross at the bottom of the middle support. Step
5. Affix the three 3-foot-1 sections of pipe to the open ends of the bottom two T-connectors
and the cross connector to make the screen’s three legs. Seal all the connections using
PVC cement, and let it dry. Step 6. Drill one ¼-inch hole on each side of the frame
just below the elbow joints. Thread an eyebolt through each hole so the eye is on the outside.
Then, put the washers on, and tighten the nuts to secure the bolts in place. Step 7.
Mix the concrete in each of the three buckets according to the directions. Add water in
small increments and stop when you’ve got a workable but thick consistency. Step 8.
Put an end cap on each of the 3-foot-2 sections of pipe. Set the capped ends in the wet concrete
so they’re centered at the bottom of the bucket and the pipe is vertical. Let the concrete
dry. Step 9. Fold the blackout cloth in half to form a 6-foot by 9-foot screen. Pin it
to hold it in place and sew along each side. Remove the pins. Then, use the grommet punch
to fix grommets along the edge of each side at 1-foot intervals. The more grommets you
make, the better the screen will stretch. Step 10. Lay the six-by-nine sheet of blackout
cloth in the center of the PVC frame. Run zip ties through each grommet and around the
outside of the frame. Pull the ties tight so there are as few wrinkles as possible.
While you may still see a few creases, you won’t notice them when watching your movie,
especially when it’s dark. Step 11. Decide where to set up the screen. Slide each of
the supports from the frame into the sections of pipe in the buckets. Step 12. Drive four
anchor stakes into the ground around the screen, two on either side of the screen. Run nylon
rope from each eyebolt to the stakes, and tie it so it’s taut to keep the screen from
tilting forward or backward. Now that you’ve got the screen, watch “How to Build an Outdoor
Movie Theater Part 2: The Projector”: to finish the job. Did you know The country’s
first commercial outdoor theater was opened in New Jersey in 1933.

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