Now Showing: A DIY Backyard Movie Night

This guest post is brought to you by a fellow ESQ who also loves to DIY, Mara. Check out her fun outdoor movie night! 

Before summer officially came to a close, we took advantage of a warm September night to throw a backyard movie night for our friends & family. There is something enchanting about watching a film on the big screen outside … it brings me back to the days of being a little kid at the drive-in!

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All you really need to pull this off is a decent projector and a white backdrop. There are a lot of options when it comes to projectors, and they don’t have to break the bank. I did some research ahead of time and found that the biggest thing to look for is one with at least 1500 lumens (the higher the better). I bought this one for $130 on Amazon and it worked great – we were even able to start the first movie with a little daylight left.

For the backdrop you can use a white sheet, a white wall or you can splurge for a blackout cloth like this one. We are going to repurpose our screen so I wanted to build a frame, which was easy to do with 1x3s and a few metal brackets. The cost for the frame was less than $10.  I added some red curtains on either side of the screen for a movie theater-esque finishing touch.

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Setting up chairs is optional. The night would have been equally fun with blankets and pillows to snuggle on. That being said, it was nice to have some different heights in our seating to make it easier to see from the back. I built a bar table out of plywood and 2x4s and added some of our bar stools.

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My favorite part of the setup was our concessions table, which included all of your favorite movie theater staples: popcorn, candy, nachos & hot dogs. Of course, adult beverages and soda were included as well.

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The candy tray was from Ikea and spray painted gold. The food & beverage signs were printed from freebies available online  and I used picture frames from our wedding to spruce them up. Having a bunch of frames around is a must when you throw a lot of parties, they add pizzazz to anything.

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 It was important for our guests to know what was playing that evening, and making the sign was a breeze! I stained a scrap piece of plywood for the background and attached a cheap curtain rod (less than $5 from Walmart) with red curtains. Then I attached a metal “Now Showing” sign I bought off Etsy (I’m really excited to use the Cricut I just bought for projects like this in the future). Last I spray painted a couple frames I found at the thrift store and added movie posters.

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The night was magic and everyone had a blast. We will definitely make this a regular event next summer!