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DIYs

Recreate this *amaze* movie theater in your backyard

Nothing beats a night at the big screen with your BFFs! 

As movie theaters have closed indefinitely in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, moviegoers have had to reimagine ways to enjoy films from home. After months of Netflix couch parties and movie marathons from bed, it's understandable that people are craving ways to spice up their everyday activities. 

While watching movies from home can still be a fun way to spend the evening, it's easy to miss the experience of going to the movie theater. Since we don't know when movie theaters will be a viable entertainment option again, we've created a step-by-step guide to building a simple movie theater in your backyard.

Setting up a movie theater in your backyard is a fun way to ensure that your movie night is an experience you'll never forget. Luckily, creating your own theater is a relatively simple process.

Materials: a projector, a sheet/canvas, adaptor, speaker

Step 1: Choose a projector. Projectors can be bought at a variety of price points from online vendors and technical supply stores. You can tailor your projector selection to the desired resolution, screen size and brightness, but note that higher-quality projectors are typically more expensive. It is best to choose a projector that is small and portable so it is easy to transfer from your home to your outdoor theater. We recommend this projector and screen combination package from Urban Outfitters for a quality, low-cost option.

Step 2: Choose a screen. For the optimal visual experience, we recommend projecting your movie on a smooth surface. Using a smooth surface will prevent background textures and colors from detracting from the projection quality. Sheets and portable screens both serve as suitable backdrops for backyard movie theaters. The least expensive option is a standard white bed sheet. To prevent wrinkles and wind interference, the sheet must be pulled taut and strapped down. Bed sheets can either be attached to a fence, a wall or a homeade frame. If you're in a more natural setting, however, it may be easiest to attach the sheet to a tree. To properly attach the sheet, cut holes in the top left and right corners, loop rope through the holes, and tie the rope to tree limbs. To finish, simply stake the bottom portion of the sheet to the ground. A portable movie screen, on the other hand, is both a more expensive and more reliable option. If you use a screen, ensure it is attached to a hard surface that will prevent wind interference. 

Step 3: Choose a speaker system. One of the benefits of seeing a movie in the theater is the surround sound system. Although it is difficult to recreate the surround sound experience outdoors, using a quality speaker will drastically improve your backyard movie experience. Whether you use a Bluetooth speaker or set up your own speaker system, make sure the volume is loud enough to compete with traffic noises and the wind.

Step 4: Set up your theater. First, either hang your sheet or set up your screen. Determine the placement of your projector and set it up using the provided directions. Some portable projectors must remain plugged into a power source to function. If your projector requires power, run an extension cord from the location of the projector to an electrical outlet. Once your projector is set up, make sure the projection is centered on the screen. Next, connect your projector to its movie source. The easiest way to project a movie from Netflix, Hulu or Disney+ is to use an adaptor to attach your phone to the projector, download the streaming service apps to your phone and mirror your screen to the projector. Once your screen is mirrored, pair a speaker with your phone, turn up the volume and enjoy the show!

Step 5: Make it cozy! Add chairs, blankets and pillows to make your space comfortable. For themed movie nights, spruce up your space by adding twinkle lights and fun decorations. 

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Have you had an outdoor movie night? If so, tag us in your DIY fun on social media @girlslifemag!

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by Claire Hutto | 10/12/2020
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