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DIY Cheap & Easy Wooden Easels

 I needed some easels for an activity I was helping with at church.  I had a bunch of 1 x 5/8″ ‘sticks’ cut that I decided would work perfectly for making my own set.

The small easels have a fixed ledge and are ideal for 5×7″ – 11×14″ sized objects.
I made medium and large-sized easels good for anything 11×14″ and bigger.  These sizes have an adjustable ledge so smaller objects can be placed at the top and larger down lower.  The bolts holding the ledge board have wing-nuts on the back which allow you to make a change easily.
 The bigger easels can also be adjusted for how much they recline.  Theres a loop in the back that can be moved upwards for a more upright easel…
 …or pushed down to recline the easel.
 They all hinge flat for easy storing and transportation.
I figure the cost is only about $2 for the small easels and $3 for the larger ones.
Let’s get started!!
1×2 furring strips (or rip down a 2×4 into strips)*
cording or twine
2-1/2″ machine bolts for top hinge
1-1/4″ nails + wood glue (for fixed ledge)
2″ machine bolts + wing-nuts (for adjustable ledge)
1-1/2″ nails (keep things from sliding off ledges)
finish of choice
*dimensions of your ‘sticks’ aren’t critical – mine ended up being 1 x 5/8″ – if you do 1×2 furring strips and you have a table saw I would recommend ripping down each long-edge to clean it up and make it square*
square and clamp
staple gun
miter saw
drill press (regular hand-drill will work)
drill bits
forstner bit the size of machine bolt head (or use regular drill bit)
Click HERE to print off diagram to assist with dimensions and placement of pieces.
Each easel has 3 leg pieces that are all the same length and one ledge piece.  Cut the sizes you need according to the diagram above – OR customize your pieces to what you want (this project is very forgiving)!
To make the angled cuts for the 2 side-legs of the easel you want to have your miter set to 17-degrees for the small and 13-degrees for the medium and large easels.
The widest part of your wood should be down against the base of your miter saw.  Set up and clamp your square so you will be cutting off a wedge of wood that equals half of the top of your board.  Do this for 2 boards… the 3rd (center leg) stays square.
 Layout your 3 pieces like so.  The center leg should be about 1/4″ above the side legs.  Measure and mark a line 1-1/4″ down from the center leg – across all 3.  This line shows you where to drill for your bolt.
Bring the marked lines around to each side of your boards and mark the center for easy/precise drilling.
To countersink the head of your bolts and the nut on the other side, place a forstner bit (or regular drill bit) into drill that is slightly larger.  Drill out approximately 1/8-3/16″ of material on the outside of your 2 legs (the side that doesn’t have a corner cut off).
Drill through all 3 pieces with a bit slightly larger than your bolt.
If you have an adjustable ledge, drill holes in ledge and legs according to diagram printout.  The holes should be slightly larger than you bolts.
Sand all 4 board components up to 180 grit, rounding corners as you go.
Add bolt and nut at the top of your 3 legs.
If you are making easels with a fixed ledge, glue and nail the ledge over the side legs at the height you prefer.
For adjustable ledges, bolt ledge to the lowest adjustment on legs with wing-nut.
For all ledge types you will be stapling your cording/twine to the center of you ledge (in the back).  I simply knotted my cording/twine once so it wouldn’t pull out.
Set up your easel with the recline that you prefer and hold up your cording/twine to the back leg and tie a knot so it is 1″ passed your desired length.  Staple this end to the center of the back leg, directly in-line from the ledge (adjustable ledges=when the ledge is in the lowest position).
For adjustable ledges, tie a loop of cording/twine (tight but still able to slide) around your back leg with your other cording/twine inside. Remember, this loop allows you to adjust the recline or your easel by sliding it up or down.


Lastly, I hammered 2 nails into the front of the ledges to keep things from sliding off.  I put them in at an angle, drilling with a very small bit first to assist hammering them in just right.

Thanks for stopping by!
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  • Reply ceblakeney

    Love these, they are so simple! Thinking about the small one as a cookbook rack. You'd just need to mod it out with a ledge and maybe a piece of acrylic or plexiglass to hold the pages open.

    March 17, 2018 at 5:54 pm
  • Reply Dani

    That’s a great idea!

    April 3, 2018 at 10:20 pm
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