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How To: Build a Backyard Movie Screen

Build a Backyard Movie Screen

Getting Started

Picture this: a breezy summer evening in your backyard, fireflies dancing around, and you’re watching your favorite movie from a picnic blanket with a campfire crackling in the background. Sounds amazing, right? Well, grab your Arrow T50 heavy-duty staple gun and T25X WireMate™ staple gun and let’s make this DIY backyard movie screen happen!

You Will Need

Materials Needed

Other Tools

  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Shears
  • Iron or steamer


  • Arrow T50 staples
  • Arrow T25 staples
  • Twin-size white flat bedsheet
  • Two 2" x 4" x 10' premium wood studs
  • ⅛" drill bit
  • 3" screws
  • String lights (approximately 19' total)
  • 8" wall mount “J Hook” utility hangers (we used these)
  • Tarps or moving blankets
Show Less

Start Building

Step 1

First, cut your wood studs to the following lengths:
Two 2″ x 4″ x 72″ pieces
Four 2″ x 4″ x 38.5″ pieces

Then, lay out your tarps or moving blankets in your workspace and set up your movie screen frame. Align the top and bottom 72″ pieces parallel to one another, and place two of your 38.5″ pieces perpendicular to them at each end of the 72″ pieces, creating the outer frame. Lastly, to create the center support, lay the other two 38.5″ boards flat inside of the frame two feet from each end.

Step 2

To make the frame assembly step easier, we suggest predrilling pilot holes using at least a ⅛” drill bit before screwing the boards together. At each connection point, drill two pilot holes approximately 2 inches apart. Then, use the drill to screw all pieces together using your 3″ screws. Since the inner 38.5″ pieces are laid flat, affix them so they are flush with the edge of the frame. This will provide a flat surface to stretch the fabric over. Be sure to keep the assembly square as you screw pieces together.

Step 3

Iron or steam your sheet to get rid of as many wrinkles as possible. Lay out your bedsheet over your tarps or moving blankets and place the frame on top with ample fabric on all sides. Then, choosing the center of one of the sides to start, wrap your fabric around the stud and staple to the “inside” of the frame using your T50 heavy-duty staple gun. Keep the fabric straight and tight along the entire starting side.

Then move to the opposite side and repeat, pulling fabric and stapling from the middle to start. Work your way to one side, keeping tension from the opposite side and pulling tension from the middle. Once two sides are tight and stapled, choose one of the remaining sides and keep tension as you staple from the middle to both corners. Finally, move to the last side and pull the sheet taut, removing any remaining wrinkles. It helps to fold the sheet as if wrapping a present to create a neater finish at the edges. Trim any excess fabric with the shears, leaving at least an inch from the staples.

Step 4

Using the T25X WireMate™ staple gun, affix the string lights to the outside of the frame through the fabric. Be sure to place the plug end in an optimal place on the frame to accommodate your outlet location. This step is easier if the lightbulbs are removed.

Step 5

Install your J hooks at the top left and right corners of the backside of the movie screen frame. Mark and predrill holes, then attach with screws.

Finished Product

When you’re finished, hang your movie screen on a privacy fence or a wall, and plug in the lights. Now grab some popcorn for the ultimate backyard cinematic experience!

We’d love to see your DIY movie screen! Share your work with us on Facebook and Instagram by tagging @ArrowFastener or using #MadeWithArrow.

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