What to Use for Outdoor Projector Screen: [Step by Step] Guide

What type of screen should I use for my outdoor projector? The answer depends on the size of the screen and where you want to protect it from. While we know that 4000 lumens projectors work best outside, what type of projector screen is ideal is yet to discover.

Inflatable screen is a simple yet popular outdoor projector screen option. Retractable projector screens are the permanent installation. For temporary screen installations, foldable projector screen is a good option.

If you are looking an affordable DIY outdoor projector screen, consider blackout cloths and paint or may be an outdoor fabric. You can also consider some high-end expensive options like tarps, trapeze and spandex.

In this blog post we will answer many questions regarding outdoor projector screen. We will give you some tips on what to buy and where to buy them. Choosing a good screen can help you to make the most out of your portable camping projector.

We will also tell you why you should choose outdoor projectors instead of indoor ones when you are looking for a DIY Outdoor Theater setup.

Let’s get started!


What Material Can I Use For a DIY Outdoor Projector Screen?

Choosing the right material for your outdoor projector screen is important. Here are some of the best materials that you can consider for your outdoor projector screen:

Affordable DIY Projector Screens

Often the people ask, what material should I use for DIY outdoor projector screen under $100? Well, Paint, Blackout Cloth and Outdoor Fabric are the three affordable DIY Outdoor Projector screens options worth to consider:

Projector Screen Paint

Are you looking for something quick, simple and affordable? All you need is a free wall that is big enough to accommodate the required screen size.

You need to make sure that the surface of your screen is even. Otherwise, you will have to deal with many awkward blemishes while viewing anything on it.

Decide, if you are going to paint the entire wall or just a part of it. Painting the entire wall is not cost-effective. But it gives you a flexibility with the projector placement.

If you are choosing a part of wall for paint, that part should be darker than the rest so the movie can focus. But as we mentioned that this may not work for everyone. You’ll need an even surface and not everyone has that.


How to Paint a Projector Wall?

Here are the steps to proceed with painting your projector wall:

  1. Determine the size of your screen.
  2. Turn on your projector to check on which part of the wall it will project the movie.
  3. Check the quality of the image and see if it is clear.
  4. Mark the area using a straightedge.
  5. If you find the wall to be uneven, A primer can be used before you paint to make your screen more durable and allow the paint to stick better.
  6. Once you have marked the wall, it is time to paint.
  7. It will likely take several attempts to ensure that the screen looks good for the movie.
  8. Keep adding layers until you’re satisfied.
  9. Tape should be used to mark the area you wish to paint. This will ensure that there are no gaps.
  10. Sand the areas where there are imperfections. This will help to remove any blemishes or bumps.
  11. Next, paint the area over to match your screen’s rest. This can be done before or after you paint. However, it is easier to do if the wall has been painted.
  12. Consider adding a black frame around the new screen to give it a unique feature. This will make movie-watching more fun for you and your loved ones.
  13. You can make it even easier by painting the entire wall and then adding a frame to the area where the screen will be.

Which Color to Paint for Projection?

There are many opinions on the right color to use. The gray color is the best choice if you want to capture all the colors. It should not be dark gray, but grayer than pearly white.

Gray absorbs light better than white and projects the images well.

Pro-Tip: Find out which paint is best for movie screen applications. You can mark imperfections on your wall and fix them later.

Blackout Cloth

Blackout cloth is a great material for outdoor screens. However, it’s most commonly used indoors. It is a strong replica of the material used in cinemas making it a good option.

As Blackout Cloth screen material is very durable yet affordable, making it great for those on a budget.  This screen will capture all colors well and will make it easy for everyone to see the movie from all angles.

This is especially important if you have larger groups attending movie nights.

You need to control the ambient light so the screen shines and shows the movie clearly. We recommend using the frame to avoid any misplacement of screen due to wind blow.

You must ensure that the frame is free from creases before you install it. Otherwise, your movie viewing experience will be severely impacted.


Affordable Outdoor Fabric

Another material that works well and won’t break the bank is Outdoor fabric. It is strong, durable, and will provide many years of service. Although it isn’t intended for projector screens y, this material can be used for many other purposes.

Tyvek, a type of fabric that is both durable and inexpensive, is also an excellent option. It’s also readily available. These materials are lightweight and can be moved around easily. They also won’t absorb water, making them ideal for outdoor environments. Tyvek is also popular for outdoor movie screens.

Which color should I Consider – White or Black?

White materials are available, but it is best to avoid going all-white and opt for something lightly tinted. This will allow you to really enjoy the colors.

You can drape outdoor fabric over a frame, but it is best to not stretch it. This could cause it to crease and ruin the quality.


High-End DIY Outdoor Projector Materials

Investing in a High-end Outdoor Movie Projector material is always worthy. No matter how expensive is your projector, unless it is coupled with the right projector screen, you will not get the desired results.

Spandex

Spandex is another popular option. However, it holds a lot of potential. Although the material is interesting, it’s a great choice. The stretchy material is easily attachable and can be detached making it portable. It is also durable and easy to use.

Frames are necessary, but strong frames are recommended. Spandex is elastic and requires something to hold it in its place. It might be necessary to have assistance in setting it up. It’s still a great choice.

Trapeze

Trapeze is a more luxurious and elegant option. As trapeze is a fancy material, it is pretty expensive. But, you will struggle to find something comparable to its quality.

The trapeze’s picture quality is exceptional, so you can enjoy a superior viewing experience no matter what the weather. It is strong and durable and will look great in any backyard.

Tarps

Although tarps are commonly used for billboards. They can also be used as movie screen materials that provide an enjoyable viewing experience. Tarps are 16oz block-out vinyl that are ideal for large backyards.

Tarps are usually cheap and come in a variety of sizes to fit your yard. You can also choose a tarpaulin which is made of cloth and is cheaper than a traditional tarp. Although it is thick, it can be used in certain situations.

However, it is not the most ideal viewing surface and will not provide the best viewing experience.


Readymade Outdoor Screen Options

If you are not a DIY enthusiast and looking for some readymade outdoor screen options, then inflatable, retractable and foldable screens are the best options to consider.

Inflatable Outdoor Screen

S.No. Category Projector Screen Size
1. Editor Choice Sewinfla 24Ft Inflatable Projector Screen 288”
2. Also Consider KHOMO GEAR Jumbo 240”
3. Best Value OWLENZ 20FT Inflatable Movie Screen 240”

Inflatable screen are very popular for their portability and ease of use. They provide everything you need in a home theatre and are affordable, depending on their brand and size. There are many sizes and shapes of inflatable screens, so it is easy to find one that works for you.

You can use them on either side, so you have more options. A large inflatable screen is a great option for larger backyards or more people. They are easy to set up quickly and you don’t need to do any DIY. All you have is to blow it up and enjoy the movie.

It will need to be fixed to the ground and a pump to blow it up. You can easily take them anywhere, including camping trips, vacations and picnics.

These screens can withstand dirt and light rain but are not water-resistant. You don’t want it to be a permanent fixture in your yard.

Amazon has many options, and they are all very good. As long as you understand what size and shape you require, you can find the best option.

You should consider the blower noise, but modern options aren’t that loud and you will get a pleasant experience.


Retractable Outdoor Projector Screen

S.No. Category Projector Screen Screen Size
1 Editor Choice Outdoor Projector Screen Draper 200517 133”
2 Also Consider Draper 138009 Nocturne 100”
3 Best Value Elite Screens Yard Master Electric 100” 100”

 

A retractable screen that can be permanently mounted. It is the best option for homeowners who enjoy family movie nights on their patio or deck.

You can use an exterior or motorized projection screen to roll it down and then roll it up again when you’re done.

The weather- and insect-resistant housings of these roll up display surfaces make them ideal for outdoor use in any weather. To ensure maximum stability in windy conditions, these exterior retractable screens have cable guides and weighted wooden dowels.

You can choose from a variety of sizes to find the right one for your outdoor media entertainment.


Foldable Projector Screen

S.No. Category Projector Screen Screen Size
1 Editor Choice Draper 385051 FocalPoint (silver) 193”
2 Also Consider Da-lite Fast-fold Deluxe Projection 192”
3 Best Value HD Projector Screen 200”

For portable projection setups, folding projector screens are the best option. Folding frame projection screens have an impressive anti-crease technology and are lightweight, portable, durable, and easy to set up.


Can you use a sheet as an outdoor projector screen?

Bedsheets are great for portable screens as they are lightweight, flexible, and offer a neutral color. But, if you want a flat and large projection surface, ensure that your bed sheet is at least twice the size of your projector screen area.

A plain white sheet is best. It does not necessarily need to be a bedsheet. You can use any piece of white, smooth cloth. Hanging a sheet of white cloth as a projector screen is the most difficult part because it has no stability.


How do you make a homemade outdoor movie screen?

Here are the 13 steps to DIY an outdoor movie screen quickly:

  1. Two planters should be filled about 1/3 of the way with cement mixture.
  2. Use duct tape to attach your wood rods to the planters.
  3. Mix the cement mixture with water and allow it to set for several hours, until it hardens.
  4. One PVC pipe should be inserted into the top fold.
  5. To measure the length of the PVC pipe, lay the second one on top of the sheet.
  6. You can cover the pipe with enough paper to form a sleeve.
  7. Attach the bottom sheet to the PVC pipe using your hot glue gun.Your movie screen will be tightened by the bottom pipe, which will help to weight your sheet.
  8. Iron your movie screen to remove all wrinkles
  9. To hold your screen’s top, insert the screws hooks near the tops of the wooden rods.
  10. Place your top pipe at the end of the hooks, and lower your screen.
  11. To cover concrete, add pebbles.
  12. For natural color, surround the planters with potted flowers and place simple paper flags over the screen.
  13. Add some pillows and throws to your outdoor chairs. For additional seating, you can bring your cushions from the indoor couch outside. Make sure to get some popcorn!

How does outdoor movie watching differ from indoor viewing?

People who want to build a spectacular outdoor theatre may already have projectors that can work indoors. People assume the same equipment will work outdoors, only to find out that it is not.

Indoors, a movie projected indoors is usually (and ideally) seen in a darkened and controlled room. This allows you to enjoy the same viewing experience as in a theatre. However, outside it is never completely dark, even after sunset.

Ambient light will come into your house from street lamps, passing headlights, street lights, fire pits, barbecue grills, and even the stars at night. This interference will require you to choose a projector or screen that can withstand it.


Qualities to Look for in An Outdoor Projector Screen:

There are a few things you should consider when buying an outdoor projector screen:

Stability

When you set up your outdoor projector screen, make sure it stays up. Stability is essential because wind can quickly disrupt an evening’s events.

The exterior cinema screens are large and light. They can be used as a sail to catch the wind and are easy to blow over. The more wind can catch on the screen, the greater the chance of it falling over.

You will need stakes and ropes to attach large outdoor movie screens to the ground. If possible, add weight to the screen and position it strategically away from wind.


Tensioning

Outdoor movie screens require a tensioned projector surface. You’ll be able to see every fold and wrinkle if you don’t have a tensioned surface.

You’ll also be viewing movies with extreme annoyance if there isn’t an outdoor projector screen. Every little breeze will ripple the surface, taking you out the film-watching experience.


Projector Screen Size

No one has ever said that a projector screen is too small for an outdoor cinema.

Although a 20-foot inflatable screen is great, it’s not ideal for outdoor spaces. To pair it with, you would need a very bright projector.

Take measurements of your yard to determine the maximum size screen that you can fit. Also, measure the location of the viewer. This can be done by measuring the distance between your screen and the viewer at 10 inches for each 12 inch screen width.

The best way to determine the size of outdoor projector screens is by determining where you will be sitting and how much space you have.


Conclusion

Your DIY outdoor movie theatre project is almost done! Turning your backyard into a magical movie theatre takes one step. Enjoy watching movies together with family and friends.

Making a DIY Outdoor Movie theatre is a fun and affordable way to organize a movie feast for friends and family. All you need is to gather the required stuff, and you are good to go!

 

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