How to Build a Wood Easel

Written by cheryl torrie
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A wood easel that collapses flat when not in use is every budding artist's dream but specialised artist supplies can be expensive. There's no reason to spend your canvas and paint money on an easel when you can easily build your own for a fraction of the cost of purchasing one. You may even want to build one from pine for indoors use, and one from pressure-treated lumber for outdoors use---it's that easy.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 2-inch by 3-inch lumber
  • Jigsaw
  • 2-inch by 4-inch lumber
  • Plywood
  • Mitre saw
  • 3/8-inch drill bit
  • Drill
  • 5-inch carriage bolt with washer and nut
  • 2-and-1/2-inch nails
  • Hammer
  • Cord
  • Eye bolt

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  1. 1

    Cut two 82 3/8-inch lengths and one 81-inch length of 2-inch by 3-inch lumber, with a jigsaw, for the side and back legs.

  2. 2

    Cut one 48-inch length of 2-inch by 4-inch wood, with a jigsaw, for the cross member canvas support rest.

  3. 3

    Cut one 48-inch by 33-inch piece of 3/4-inch plywood, with a jigsaw, for the canvas back support.

  4. 4

    Cut a 15-degree angle on top end of the two front legs with a mitre saw.

  5. 5

    Drill a 3/8-inch hole 78 inches up from the bottom of the front legs through the 3-inch faces at a right angle to the 15-degree mitre cut.

  6. 6

    Drill a 3/8-inch hole at both 39 inches up and 74 inches up from the bottom of the rear leg.

  7. 7

    Lay the three legs next to each other on the ground with the rear leg in the centre, line up the top holes, put a carriage bolt through the holes and connect the legs together with a washer and nut on the opposite side. Spread the legs at an approximate 45-degree angle and tighten the bolt.

  8. 8

    Center the horizontal cross member on the front legs, 38 inches from the bottom, and use two wood screws to attach it to the front legs.

  9. 9

    Stand the easel up, spread the legs apart with the back leg away from you at a convenient angle. Thread a cord through the drilled hole in the back leg and tie it off there. Screw an eye bolt into the back of the cross member, horizontally across from the cord, and attach the rear leg to the cross member with the cord tied to the eye bolt.

  10. 10

    Attach the back canvas support flush to the front legs and the back edge of the cross member with three nails along each side and the bottom.

Tips and warnings

  • Use pressure-treated lumber for outdoor easels.
  • If you do not have the saws available having the wood cut to length at the hardware store is more reasonable than purchasing them.
  • The easel can be painted and sealed if desired.
  • The easel boards can be routed for a formal display easel.
  • This plan can be adjusted for a child-sized easel.
  • Wear safety glasses while cutting the wood for your easel.

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