If you’re an artist, you know a quality easel is essential to making art.
Sure, there are a bunch of easels you can buy online. But if you need something really custom, or you just want to upcycle some spare materials into a quick DIY solution, we’ve got you covered.
We’ve assembled a list of 9 DIY easel ideas below.
Some of them are pretty interesting: #5 is created from a converted camera tripod; #3 is made from a spare aluminum ladder; #2 is designed to hang from a wall; and #9 is built for a child to watercolor.
Whatever you fancy, there are some easy, and some more involved, options to choose from.
Scroll through our list and click the ‘View Plans’ button to access the instructions. Then block off a weekend (or a half hour if you’re just upcycling a spare ladder) and unleash your inner craftsperson!
9 DIY Easel Plans
1. Easel for Stencil Art
As the builder explains, aerosol paints are meant to be sprayed in an upright position, not vertically as you’re bending down on a desk.
You will also find this to be a lifesaver if you often work on multiple pages and layers at once.
Depending on the size of your canvas, you may need to make some adjustments to make each layer line up correctly.
To make this, you just need some plywood, dowel rods, glue and something to support the frame.
The builder also suggests weighting this down as the glue dries to ensure a strong hold.VIEW PLANS
2. Wall Easel Project
It can be extended or pulled inwards to accommodate artwork of all shapes and sizes, as well as hold canvas or paper taught, for example.
The designer used some sandpaper, a saw, screws, a hand drill, dowels, and wood glue.
Building and installation only took four hours for him, though this shouldn’t take long for those just starting out in the DIY world as well.
If you plan to draw straight onto this, this will need to be mounted lower on the wall than the builder mounted his.VIEW PLANS
3. “Quick and Dirty” DIY
Simply break down the boxes and cut them, as you’re only utilizing one side.
Then set up the ladder (making sure it is locked!) and tape the cardboard to the steps.
If you have two children, one can work on either side.
Although not ideal, this is a great idea to temporarily satisfy your child’s inner artististic streak.
To disassemble, simply take off the tape and fold in the ladder.
The pieces of cardboard can be saved for another use or discarded.VIEW PLANS
4. Basic Easel Blueprint
The materials — pine, a dowel, a few screws, and string — are inexpensive and construction takes less than half an hour at most.
The string helps keep the legs taught when standing, as this can easily fold flat for storage convenience.
If you’re inexperienced with saws or power drills, keep in mind that the holes have to be drilled in just the right spot for everything to line up correctly and not be skewed to one side or wobbly.
Feel free to get creative and paint this a fun color.
If you don’t, consider polishing the wood or treating it with some wax.VIEW PLANS
5. Turn a Tripod into an Easel DIY
If so, you can make this into an art frame by shaping a piece of wood to create a new mount.
Then, cut another piece of wood to create the backing and you’re done!
As expected, you can tilt this up, down left, and right for ease of access when drawing, painting, or sketching.
The builder glues the backing pieces together, as this way he can quickly disassemble it to the change the gap amount depending on what material/type of paper is being used.VIEW PLANS
6. Acrylic Easel Plan
If you have a backyard, try making this outdoor and easily cleanable art area.
While the materials required are not pricey, you will need quite a few tools, like a jigsaw, drill, miter saw, nailer, orbital sander, and pocket hold jig.
This pretty easy to assemble, as you only have to build the base, add braces, and install a bottom shelf.
Painting the trim gives a great pop of color though isn’t necessary.VIEW PLANS
7. Magnetic Stand Blueprint
You will need galvanized steel or magnetic metal, both of which are readily available at Home Depot.
If you’re not handy with power tools, have the hardware store staff cut this to the exact measurements listed in this DIY.
To assemble, you will also need a drill, hammer, sandpaper, screws, and a saw.
To steady the legs, wire or strips of velcro can be used.
Adding a tray to hold paints and utensils is also recommended, though optional.VIEW PLANS
8. Adjustable Easel Idea
This DIY demands a lot of materials and tools though is definitely worth the effort — the builder himself claims it was challenging though a great way to develop a better skill set.
Made out of steel, this easel is very sturdy and surprisingly lightweight while not taking up much floor space.
He also welded the board holders, guide plate, and legs together before screwing everything together for a final assembly.
This layout is perfect regardless of the artist sitting or standing, chair height, and distance from the board.VIEW PLANS
9. Easel for Children Idea
If you do, this will cost you almost nothing to construct.
While this designer used timber, pine or other varities work just as well.
You will also need a chain, door hinges, saw, screwdriver, sandpaper, and a hand plane.
He also drew out a blueprint on paper to get exact measurements — if you follow this DIY exactly, you won’t have to do this.
However, if you want a larger or small display you will have to make sure adjustments.
You may also need to adjust the height based on your child’s age.
Going for a more natural and rustic look, this was left unpainted and just sealed with some wax.VIEW PLANS
What is Reddit saying?
Over in there DIY community, one poster discussed his wife who had recently taken up painting as a hobby.
Because the poster himself as a woodworker, he was tasked with creating a bunch of easels for a painting party his wife and her girlfriends planned on having.
He wrote up an entire guide, posting it to Imgur, and built out three easels that he created from one by four pine boards- saying it was incredibly inexpensive.
Posters say that the paint nights are an incredibly fun way for friends to enjoy a communal, artistic experience. Some posters also said that they prefer painting on a flat table surface then having it propped up.
In another area of the DIY Reddit community, a user posted how he built a cheap diesel option using some recycled scrap wood.
He laid out some specific PDF instructions and included a full itemized list that included carriage bolts, wingnuts, wood glue, a drill, and the different dimensions of lumber he employed to create this simple craft project.
Another poster supplied instructions for an incredibly simple tabletop easel-this was engineered to satisfy painters and watercolorists that like to create art on flat surfaces.
One poster responded saying that he had done the same, using his finished crafts as a way to supplement his income while he was in college-primarily using 3 x 5 red oak rough cut board.
Over in the woodworking community, another poster was having some trouble creating an easel that would spin-his idea was that he would want to be able to loosen and tighten it, so you can spend and adjusted into different positions.
However, sometimes people just want to buy an option rather than have to build one-over in the artist lounge, one poster was looking to get his wife a quality option that would fold up.
The top recommended product is an aluminum easel made by Winsor and Newton. Hey poster says that it can tilt, live flat, and since it’s made from aluminum it weighs very little-which means that if you want to travel and paint, it’s a great solution.
Particularly because it also comes with a small carry case with handles. Another poster replied that having worked in an art supply store he seen his fair share of easels before-he says you get what you pay for.
While cheap options are available, they are frequently flimsy and unreliable. However more expensive ones are frequently permanent-you’ll need to have dedicated floorspace to install them.
Even seen cardboard easels, as well-as you can imagine with a little bit of tape and some spare cardboard boxes you can fold them up and create a handy artistic solution in a pinch.
There are many ways to make a quick easel. I might have learned quite a few tricks if I had actually researched before I made this project. But I’m much more of a spontaneous planner, and I woke up on the morning of art class with an idea that my students should experience painting on a proper easel.
These are great if you have kids that want to watercolor on a weekend afternoon.