Simple Backyard Movie Theater DIY

Screen your favorites on warm summer nights.

A projector plays a movie on a DIY projector screen.
A DIY projector screen hosts backyard movie nights.
Tom Fragala

May/June 2021 Issue

Watching movies under the stars conjures up nostalgic memories of drive-in movies, but AAA Member Tom Fragala brought the pastime to life in his own backyard after finding an affordable movie projector online.

“I had seen the idea a while back and it always stuck in my mind. When I found the projector, I decided to go all in and give it a try,” says the Phoenix resident. For a screen frame, “I used PVC pipes as a low-cost alternative” he says, “and it’s very easy to piece together, dismantle, and store when needed. The screen goes to 10 feet wide.”

Fragala, his wife, and their two daughters, ages 9 and 10, have enjoyed family favorites such as Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Star Wars. This summer, Fragala plans to set up alfresco film nights when family members can once again visit his home. “In past years, we spent so many hours outside in the pool,” he says. “Now we have this cool reason to spend nights outside, too!”