Ruby's been the kid that colored on walls since she could first hold a crayon. I'm not sure why it took me this long to get her an easel but she wasted no time breaking it in. I made it out of scrap wood and a vintage chalkboard that happened to be the same length as my scrap wood. I wanted two sides so that she could share with Sebastian or a friend and use chalk on one and paint and color on the other. She loves it and I love that she has another opportunity to express her creativity without involving our walls.
1.Supplies: 2 cuts of wood measuring 1" x 18" x 24" ( I used one cut of wood and one vintage chalkboard but you could easily just paint the second cut of wood with chalkboard paint), 2 lengths of 1" x 3" x 8', 1 cut of scrap wood measuring 1" x 3" x 16" for the paint side to hold your cup, 2 hinges measuring 3.5" wide (mine came packaged with the appropriate short screws), 48 or so finish nails, 2 L-shaped metal corner brackets similar to this one measuring about 3", 10-3/4" wood screws, 2-3/4" flat washers, 2 large clips (found mine at Wal-Mart), 2 eye hooks, rope or chain to keep the easel from falling flat, hand saw, drill and drill bit, hammer, yardstick, pen, sand block and chalkboard paint (optional).
2. Have your larger wood pieces cut down to size at a major hardware store. Also have your 1" x 3" x 8' pieces cut into two 3' pieces and keep the extra 2' pieces. Place two 2' cuts parallel to each other about 18 apart. Then place two cuts of 3' wood on top of them as shown making sure the corners are flush. Nail together with three or four finish nails in each corner checking for right angles as you go. 3. Sand and paint your chalkboard side and nail it to your frame. Build your frame for the other side but leave off the bottom 2' plank. Sand your second cut of 1" x 18" x 24" and nail it to your frame. 4. Turn your frames over and align them. Measure in about 4" from each edge and place your hinges so that they are open like a book. Don't place them on upside down or it won't close properly. Trace the screw holes and set aside.
5. Screw pilot holes and attach your hinges making sure things are even and aligned. 6. Measure in about 6" from each side of the back of your non-chalkboard side and place your L-shaped metal corner brackets so that they're slightly lower than the bottom of that side. Trace your screw holes, drill pilot holes, flip them so that they're facing out, and screw in place. 7. Fold your easel in half so that the L-shaped bracket side is facing up. Center your piece of scrap wood over those L-shaped brackets and trace any screw holes that will fit. There may only be one. Drill pilot holes and add screws. 8. Add your eye hooks to right or left sides of your easel and attach a braided strand of rope or twine or chain. 9. Measure in about 6" from each side of the top of your painting side and drill a hole about 1" down. Place your clip over the hole, place your washer down, and then place your screw in. This will keep it from sliding off. Repeat for the other side. Tada!
There are obviously affordable easles out there but I know this one will be well-loved and hold up through the next few moves. As long as you have even cuts of wood this will be a pretty easy project - I finished mine in an hour.
I guess it's time to make some space for a gallery wall to showcase all of her masterpieces next!