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How to Convert a Camera Tripod Into a Painting Easel

Updated March 23, 2017

A painter's easel is generally a wooden structure that has three legs to support itself and a place where a canvas or other material can be positioned, allowing the artist to work.

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It is similar in appearance to a photography tripod. Many artists take pictures of scenes that they paint later. With a couple of easy adjustments, you can convert your photography tripod into a painter's easel and still retain the functionality of the tripod.

  1. Extend the tripod into its normal position. Unfold and extend all three legs and position the trip so that two of the legs are facing you and are even with each other. If in the correct position, the third leg should be in the middle at the back of the tripod.

  2. Extend the centre column to its highest point. If your tripod is equipped with a panning head, adjust the panning handle so that it points toward the ground at the same angle as the two front legs. The panning handle will act as the vertical support for your canvas.

  3. Position the stool or small chair that you will be using when painting. Hold the size of canvas that you traditionally work with and position it against the tripod so you can see where the top rests against the panning handle. Use a marker and draw a line on the front legs to indicate where the bottom of the canvas is in this position. These lines will show you where you need to install the holders.

  4. Attach a small "L"-shaped mounting bracket to the front of the tripod legs. If you plan to collapse the tripod, attach the "L" bracket to the exterior of the tripod. You can simply use duct tape or a epoxy adhesive designed for metal. If you do not plan to collapse the tripod, use self-tapping screws to attach the "L" brackets.

  5. Position the canvas on the "L" brackets and your converted tripod is ready to be used. If you need to adjust the angle of the tripod, you can shorten the rear leg to adjust the angle.

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Things You'll Need

  • Two small "L" shelf brackets
  • Duct tape or metal epoxy

About the Author

Since 2002 Mark Spowart has been working as a freelance writer and photographer in London, Canada. He has publication credits for writing and/or photography in Canada, The United States, Europe and Norway, with such titles as "The Globe & Mail," "The National Post," Canada News Wire, Sun Media and "Business Edge" magazine.

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