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A simple, inexpensive, but very good artist easel - PLANS

Mark_CarderMark_Carder admin
edited July 2013 in Studio & Supplies

This is easel is awesome! It is not pretty but it functions fantastic, even better than easels costing $1,000. Supplies to build this easel cost less than $50.


  • edwardedward -
    edited July 2013
    @Mark_Carder I think I've got this now. The screws on the front board, which are pointing outwards, go directly into the back of the painting (the wooden stretcher)?
  • Yes, the added benefit is that you don't pinch your canvas from top to bottom like a normal easel. Pinching causes the canvas to loosen.

    For those screws, use dry wall screws, their needle sharp point makes it easy to get the screw started.
  • Will this work for painting on 1/4" boards?
  • @Robert, I think the canvas gets screwed to the 51 inch front board and that front board can move up or down by loosening the two thumb screws that connect it to the easel by sliding up and down the groove between the two parallel vertical boards. I think....
  • edwardedward -
    edited July 2013
    @Ronna As is, this would only work with a typical canvas on wooden stretchers, or anything that is thick enough to put screws securely into the back without coming though the front surface.

    It looks to me as if you were to remove the big vertical board, and replace it with two smaller horizontal boards, with bolts through the slot, you would have something that would hold a flat panel at top and bottom like a regular easel.
  • Make note that the top of the split 2x4 (the long 7 foot one) is connected at the bottom just as it is on top, but the lower connection wood rectangle piece should be larger so it makes full contact with the cross brace 2x4.

    That way when you screw in the diagonal pieces they will be flush.
  • Hello Mark,

    I saw the 18 pics you posted about your easal. There a few additional steps before the
    easal looks complete like the easal in your videos. Can you show me the rest.

    I hope to build an easal like the one you use.

    Thank you


  • The easel in my videos I purchased for 600$ in 1984, it was my first and only :-)

    But the one in the 18 pics is very easy to build, and super cheap to make - and it works GREAT. I will make a video one day. Look at the photos carefully, or show them to someone who works with wood, you may be able to figure it out.
  • I built a version of this today. It's the same basic design with a few adjustments to accommodate my use of some scrap oak for the legs (taken from a bunk bed I cut down to make fit in my boy's bedroom). I also added a couple screw out feet that I'd saved from an old desk. I built this for under $20. All I had to buy was the 1x6, a couple 2x2, and a box of screws. I have yet to paint but will probably paint it black (except for the oak which looks to nice to paint over). I also have not yet drilled the holes for the attaching screws. Does anyone know how far apart those are drilled. They look like their about every two inches or so.
  • I just built 2 of these easels tonight. It cost $35 for lumber and supplies. Thank you Mark, the photos were very helpful
  • Hello Mark,

    I have managed to build the easel and it works perfect. Thank you very much.

    I have almost finished building the shadow box.

    I have the 120 cm x 120 cm wood cover and the lightbox on top of it with 20 watt light bulb (or dimmable LED light) left to add.

    What are the dimensions of this lightbox? And the light bulb inside, is it fixed to the ceiling of the lightbox or can it hang midway or near the bottom opening of the light box (near area painted black as you show in your video. Please advise me.

    Finally, My studio will be a room 12.8 feet by 12.3 feet. It has an 8.5 feet high ceiling.
    Where exactly should I fix my 2 5000k light bulbs. Should I fix them both together at
    a point 35 deg from my easel? Can I fix them both together bang in the center of the
    ceiling? Or can I fix them seperately evenly spaced? Please advise me.



  • for me it was determining where my easel and shadow box were going to be. I put in a track lighting with 3 bulbs. They can swivel, so I can move around to some degree. Right now I have a 85w sunlight bulb in the lightbox with a dimmer switch. Works great, I should probably go higher watt like 120. they are pricey. Good luck Your getting set upright and that is the first step.
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