When you think of outdoor projector screen materials, the first thing that may come to mind is those huge screens in front of movie theatres. However, they’re not just for movies!
Outdoor projector screens can be put up on any wall or surface outdoors and provide a great venue for parties, concerts, and other events.
There’s no need to buy expensive equipment from your local electronics store because there are many DIY ways to build your outdoor projector screen – which is good news if you don’t want to spend too much money or time on this project.
In this post, we’ll go over some simple DIY projector screen ideas below so you can get started right away!
- DIY outdoor projector screen ideas
DIY outdoor projector screen ideas
If you have a spare wall or door in your garden that’s not too important to be used, then you could paint it to make it suitable for viewing. If it has a nice even surface and provides no glare from the sun, this may be an option.
You can make sure that it is smooth by sanding down any bumps, holes, or splinters from the woodwork. For extra protection on your screen, just give it two coats of acrylic spray paint and allow it time to dry properly before using.
2. White Canvas / Cloth
If you have a length of white canvas or cloth, you can easily create your own outdoor projector screen. Simply take the material and drape it over something that will hold the shape, such as branches, around 4ft apart. Make sure that both sides are even so that there is no image distortion when viewing from a distance. You can use pieces of wood and drill them into posts to secure them firmly into place if needed.
One issue that you may have with using canvas/cloth for outdoor projector screen material is that it will let in light easily if there are any holes around the joins, especially where they may be held together with staples or nails.
This often appears as an irregularly shaped patch of light on the image when projected onto the wall behind. If this does happen, then just fill up these holes with black backing paint to ensure a properly blocked-out picture on the screen at night.
3. Thin Sheet Of Plywood Or Cardboard
The other DIY projector screen idea is using a thin sheet of plywood or cardboard. You could get a sheet of either from your local DIY store and attach it to the wall or fence.
If you want, you can make a box with four sides and place this around 3ft behind the platform in order to stop any wind from moving the sheet around. The easiest way would be to hold it down if using large nails, and if you have thin sheets, then you could use some tape instead.
4. White bed sheet material
Another great and inexpensive idea for creating your own projector screen is a white bed sheet. You don’t require any tools, simply drape the sheet over a fence or sturdy tree branch. Or you can use two pieces of wood attached to each other which is about three feet high.
If you have a problem finding an area where you can hang your bedsheet, then you could find some taped-together boxes from around the house and place them behind this so that they cannot blow away in the wind.
And if you want to stop the wind blowing too much, then also put up sheets of cardboard behind this box for extra support and stability.
This may be a strange idea, but it does work. One way to get your projector screen to stretch out is by using spandex fabric or PVC. First, you must get the fabric and cut it into a piece big enough to cover your screen.
Next, gather two poles about three feet high in length and place these at either end of the material. Attach them using duct tape or rope so that they don’t move around too much when you are trying to watch the film.
Spandex can be found in most sports stores if you don’t want to sew some yourself or purchase online somewhere like eBay.
6. Black Sheeting
If you are looking for something cheap to use as an outdoor projector screen, then a large piece of black sheeting will do the job perfectly with no need for sewing skills at all.
Simply drape this over anything that offers support and has space behind where your audience will be to block out light. You could also hang it from branches, fences, and trees if height allows and have your projector stand on the floor.
Black material such as bed sheets can be found cheaply from second-hand/thrift stores or charity shops. Just ensure that there are no holes or rips before buying one.
7. Black Plastic Or Metal Cloth
This could be quite tricky depending on how dedicated you are, but why not go down the scary route and create some homemade outdoor projector screens using black plastic or metal sheets instead! It will look, but there is a real possibility of ending up with an eyesore if you don’t do it right.
Firstly, you need a large sheet of black plastic that is at least 4ft x 8ft in size, and place this against the wall or fence so that it cannot move or be blown away by the wind.
Clothes pegs will come in handy for pinning each corner down securely if needed but once everything is stable, then get ready to throw up some white sheets of cloth behind it, which will make your screen fully opaque and light-proof before projecting onto it.
Great for outdoor events like a Halloween party but would require quite a lot of work to set up. If you’re looking for something practical, then there are some great ideas above to help create your own projector screen in practically no time at all.
8. Foam Core Board
If you don’t know what this looks like, it is a really thick card that often has colored lines printed onto the side so that you can use them as guidelines when cutting out shapes.
This makes your project look professional and not homemade at all and also ensures that everything fits perfectly. This will give you the best results in terms of image quality by far; however, these boards can be quite expensive if purchased from an art or craft shop.
9. Burlap Cloth
This is one of the cheapest outdoor projector screen materials available in terms of raw price, but you will probably need to spend a little more time and effort on your end if you want it to look good.
If you do have enough extra money, then I would recommend using some of the other options listed above before moving on down to burlap, which can be used in many different ways but isn’t recommended for making a projector screen unless you are prepared to put some extra work into it beforehand.
The main reason for this is that burlap cloth always has an uneven texture, even when it’s been cut into shape and sewn together (glue or tape can help with this), so everything will appear blurry or distorted.
10. Heavy Duty Black Cloth
If all else fails, then one option is simply getting a length of heavy-duty black cloth that will hold its shape when stretched out at least 4ft away from the image so that there is no distortion of the picture whilst viewing.
This is by far the most expensive option but great for professional projector screens and will last a long time.
You can hang this from trees or a fence, whatever best suits your garden. It is easy to store away at the end of the season.
What can I use for an outdoor projector screen?
You can use several affordable materials to make your homemade projector screens; like white sheets such as cotton bed sheets, black cloth such as curtains/bed sheets, burlap, or other fabrics that are light yet still thick and opaque enough to block out the light.
Can I use a sheet for the outdoor projector?
Yes, you can use a sheet to create your homemade outdoor projector screen. However, the image quality won’t be great if you’re trying to watch something like a movie.
If this is the case, then it’s worth spending a little bit more money on some foam core board or other materials, which are much better at blocking light out and creating a clearer picture.
Projector screens can be costly to purchase, but you don’t have to break the bank as you can make your own projector screens at home for a fraction of the cost if you have some spare time.
There are plenty of different materials available which can be used to replace your current projector screen, and they all have their own unique look, so it’s worth experimenting with them before deciding on one. You also don’t need to buy any special tools or equipment as most are things you already own like sewing machines, scissors, tape, and glue.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.