Easels are tools used to hold canvases and sketchbooks upright while they are being worked or displayed. You can always buy an easel at an art supply store, but you can also build one at home from wood, tubes, or cardboard. The easiest method is to use cardstock, as wood and pipes require the use of a hand or electric saw. You just have to use the techniques and materials with which you feel most comfortable.
Method 1 of 3: Build a Wooden Easel
Step 1. Buy 3 pieces of wood that are about 8 feet long
These pieces can be a little shorter or longer, but try to get pretty close to this measurement. Additionally, each piece should be 2.75 inches (7 cm) wide and 0.79 inches (2 cm) thick.
The best wood for this project is pine, but you can use whatever else you have available
Step 2. Measure the wood and cut 5 separate pieces
Use a tape measure to measure the correct length of each piece and a pencil to mark the wood. Lay the wood on a sturdy, stable surface and cut it with a hand or power saw. You should cut the wood into the following lengths:
- 2 pieces that are 6 feet (180 cm) long (main legs)
- 1 piece that is 150cm (5ft) long (hind leg)
- 1 piece that is 68 cm (27 inches) long (cross piece)
- 1 piece that is 23 cm (9 inches) long (cross piece)
- Be sure to take proper safety precautions when using the saw.
Step 3. Make an “A” with the wood
Take the 2 6 foot pieces of wood and form the sides of the "A". Then place the 27-inch (68-cm) piece slightly down to form the horizontal line in the center of the “A”.
Step 4. Use screws to secure the 27 inch (68 cm) piece to the 6 foot (180 cm) pieces
Use a drill to drive 3 screws into each side of the 27-inch (68-cm) piece of wood and secure it to the 6-foot (180-cm) pieces. You can use nails and a hammer if you don't have screws and a drill.
Make sure the pieces of wood rest on a stable work surface before using the drill
Step 5. Attach the 9-inch piece to the top of the “A”
Gently flip the frame over into an “A” shape and place the 9-inch (23 cm) piece on top of the frame. Then use a drill or hammer to attach the piece to the wooden frame.
You should flip the frame in an “A” shape carefully so as not to damage the wood or loosen the screws
Step 6. Attach a hinge and use screws to secure the 5 ft (150 cm) piece underneath it
Place one hinge down (with the blade pointing toward the bottom of the “A”) and in the center of the 9-inch piece. Use the drill to secure the hinge to the piece of wood. Next, push the piece 5 feet (150 cm) under the hinge, touching the bottom of the 9-inch piece, and secure with the screws.
The hinge should secure the back leg of the easel to the rest of the frame
Step 7. Drill a hole in the center of the 27-inch piece and the rear leg to thread a piece of string
You should place the easel in an upright position and drill the holes so that they are slightly wider than the rope. Then, thread the rope through both holes, tie a knot at each end (so it doesn't come off), and cut the excess rope on each side.
- The rope will provide additional support for the back leg of the easel.
- To make drilling easier, you can hold the back leg against the horizontal piece as you drill. In this way, you will be able to create the 2 holes at the same time.
Step 8. Drill anchor holes in the 0.6 inch (15 mm) gaps above the frame
Use a pencil to measure and mark the wood. Then, start at the 27-inch (68-cm) horizontal bar and drill the holes in both 6-foot (180-cm) pieces. You want to drill the holes close to the diameter of the dowel so that the dowel fits firmly into the holes.
These anchor holes will allow you to adjust the easel support bar
Step 9. Put the dowel in the holes and a crossbar over the top
Drive the dowel into the holes just hard enough to go through them. The crossbar should be slightly wider than the frame when you place it on the pegs. In addition, this element is the one that will hold the canvas when it is on the easel.
You can make crossbars of different sizes for each anchor hole on the trestle (if desired)
Step 10. Place the finished easel upright on its 2 main legs
Then, stretch the back leg to balance the easel and use it to adjust its tilt to your liking. Finally, place the canvas on the 27-inch (68-cm) cross piece and move the peg up or down to adjust the height to fit the size of the canvas.
You can paint or stain the easel (if you wish), or leave the wood its natural color. This is all up to you
Method 2 of 3: Build a Cardboard Easel
Step 1. Cut 2 strips of cardboard that are 22 inches (56 cm) long by 2.5 inches (6 cm) wide
Lay the cardboard flat on a work surface. You must mark these measurements on the cardboard to cut the strips. Then, mark a line in the center of the strips and fold them in half using the center line as a guide.
Then, use a utility knife or sharp scissors to cut the cardboard
Step 2. Create 2 tabs and glue them together for support
Measure 1.3 inches (3 cm) from the end of each strip and cut to create tabs. Then fold these tabs over each other and glue them together with hot glue.
By folding the tabs, you are reinforcing the ends of the cardboard strips
Step 3. Cut 4 to 8 cardboard squares, 1.3 inches (3 cm) each
Do not cut these squares from the strips. You must use the remaining cardboard. Then cut the squares diagonally to create perfect triangles. Place the top end of each triangle on top of the fold line. Apply glue to the sides of the triangles and place them along the strips.
These triangles will provide support for the long cardboard strips
Step 4. Cut a strip of cardboard that is 5 inches (13 cm) wide by 22 inches (56 cm) long
To make this easier, you should cut the large piece of cardboard to be 22 inches (56 cm) long. Then measure and mark 0.98 inch (25 mm) segments across the cardboard. Lastly, cut along the lines and fold the pieces to create a square tube.
Step 5. Create 25 mm (0.98 inch) tabs on each end of the square tube
You need to measure from each end of the strip to mark and cut lines along the segments. Fold the strips at each end to form tabs. Then fold the square and the tabs and glue all these elements together.
You should apply glue to the segments before rolling the square tube
Step 6. Measure and cut a 5-by-16-inch (13-by-40-cm) rectangle
Use the rest of the cardboard to mark this rectangle with a pencil and then cut it out. Measure and mark 5 25-mm (0.98-inch) segments on the rectangle. Next, bend these segments to create a square tube that is approximately 0.98 inches (25 mm) thick and 22 inches (56 cm) long.
By folding the cardboard this way, you will create sturdy legs for the easel
Step 7. Punch through the cardboard to connect the 3 22-inch-long legs
Make a mark 1.5 inches (4 cm) from the end on one of the legs. Then flip it over so that you can make a mark on the back and go through both marks with a pencil. Place the other 2 legs right next to the pierced leg. Mark the holes in the same place and push the pencil through these holes. Then, put the 3 legs next to each other and push the pencil all the way to connect them.
- The pencil will serve to hold the legs together.
- Stand all 3 legs upright and then push 2 of them forward to become the main legs. Push the center leg back to be the support leg.
Step 8. Lay the easel flat and glue the crossbar to the 2 side legs
Avoid gluing the crossbar to the support leg, as this leg must be able to move. Mark the desired distance on each side leg and apply a little glue at that point.
Place the square tube of the crossbar on the glue and let it dry for about 20 minutes
Step 9. Tie a string around the 3 legs and place the easel in an upright position
At this point, you should have connected the 3 legs and the crossbar to the 2 side legs. The rope will provide additional support to the easel by preventing the support leg from sliding too far back.
Method 3 of 3: Build a Tube Easel
Step 1. Use a hacksaw to cut a 6 ft (180 cm) piece of pipe
If you have a miter box, you can use it to cut the tube. Miter boxes are designed to make precise cuts on an object with a hand saw. Use 150-grit sandpaper to smooth the ends of the 6 ft (180 cm) tube and get rid of jagged edges. Then apply some glue to the end cap and attach it to the tube.
If you don't have a miter box, you can use a hand saw to cut the pipe
Step 2. Cut another 2 pieces of pipe to a length of 16 inches (40 cm)
While the glued cap dries, you can work on the other pieces. You should sand the ends after making the cuts. Then, push the pieces of tubing into the connector hole to join them to the T-joint.
- The tee joint is a pipe connector that is shaped like the letter "T".
- You don't need to apply glue to the connector.
Step 3. Cut 8 pieces of pipe and glue them to the joints
You should cut 2 18-inch (46-cm) pieces of pipe, sand the ends, and glue them to the elbow joints to form a large U. Next, cut 6 pieces of pipe 36 inches (90 cm) long and sand the ends.
Step 4. Connect 3 of these pieces with T-joints to form an inverted U
Position the tubes so that the bottom of the tee is pointing up. You can connect the pieces on a flat work surface for greater precision. Next, slide the 2 pipe units together to form a large rectangle. Lastly, apply glue to join the 2 pieces of pipe in a U shape.
Let the glue dry for about an hour after you have placed the 2 "U" shapes together
Step 5. Connect the remaining 3 pieces with T-joints to form an inverted U
You can do this the same way you connected the last 3 pieces of tubing with the tee, just make sure the open end in the center of the tee is pointing up once you're done.
You must use a flat work surface to connect the pieces
Step 6. Insert the inverted U-piece into the other large pipe piece and glue it
You want to glue the 6 ft (180 cm) piece to the tee at the top of the shape. This large piece of tubing will act as a tripod for the easel. Apply glue to one end of the tube and attach it to one of the open T-joints on the base.
At this point, you should have finished building your easel base
Step 7. Cut a 47-inch piece of pipe and sand the ends
Lay the pipe over the miter box and use the hand saw to cut it. If you don't have a miter box, you should mark the measurements with a pencil and tape measure before cutting the tube.
Then use 150-grit sandpaper to smooth the ends of the tube
Step 8. Cut the tube into 2 sections
You must cut the tube to get 2 long halves. Lay the tube flat on your work surface and cut it in half. Flip the tube over and cut it in half again until it separates into 2 long pieces.
Step 9. Place the finished easel upright on a flat surface
Next, place a tube half against the bottom rung on the front of the trestle. This half should stick out several inches on each side.
Step 10. Secure the tube halves with sheet metal screws
Measure 2-inch (5-cm) intervals along the entire length of the easel from the center. Use a pencil to trace the height markings on each side. Then, drill holes in the pipe where you marked the rungs. Lastly, use a screwdriver to drive the screws into these holes.