Propped (And Metallic)

April 25, 2012   //  Posted in: Decor, DIY   //  By: Emily   //  2 responses

My undertakings of late have been feeling a little intense. Finishing the bathroom. Making new pillows and ottoman covers. Installing bifold doors. Staining the hexagon headboards. To take a weight off, I’ve been wanting kick back and do an eas(ier) project, and that’s what brings me to today’s little tutorial:

How to make an easel frame stand.

How to build a DIY easel.

Prepared entirely with scrap wood from the basement, it was a f-r-e-e project for me. I cut a trio of 3/4″ x 3/4″ x 14″ lumber pieces to serve as tripod easel legs; because it needed to be affixed together at the top but still splay out in that tri-stance, I sliced a bit off the outer two legs at about a 15-degree angle to allow the legs to angle for stability.

Trio of 14" pieces of wood. Future easel.

To affix the pieces together securely at the top, I predrilled a hole straight through all three pieces, and then with two 1-1/4″ screws, sandwiched the middle piece of wood by screwing into it from both side. Quick tip: I used a slighter larger bit to widen the predrilled hole just enough to let the screws countersink too.

Predrilling and countersinking the screws into the top of the easel.

With the easel base assembled and flexible (thanks to the screws), I used a scrap piece of pine corner guard that we’ve installed on our bathroom windows and around the new bifold door trim. Already cut to length, it also sported matching 45-degree angles. I didn’t hate it, so I left it as an extra little detail. Corner guard makes an undeniably perfect shelf.

With a little wood glue and two small clamps, I set the new easel shelf level and left it to dry for a few hours. As demonstrated in my latest wood-glue-intensive project, the hexagon headboard, that stuff cures solidly.

Clamping a piece of corner guard onto the easel legs.

Where this gets all metallic-oriented is in the finish; a few months ago, I found metallic watercolors in the clearance rack at JoAnn’s ($5.99 marked down to $1.97) so I splurged, which was hardly a splurge. Artist’s quality, make-me-feel-fancy packaging, and a steal of a deal, I was looking forward to seeing how they resolved on paper.

Metallic Watercolors.

Sidebar: I clearly have a thing for gold these days; maybe it runs rampant like dandelions. I bought sparkly gold faux-Toms. I painted metallic gold stripes on the new living room cushions. And I even tested out the gold watercolor paint on an Easter project a few weeks back, making “The Golden Egg” for Julia’s Easter Egg hunt. And mini-sidebar: Blown-out eggs painted with gold watercolors are amazing until they come in touch with wet human fingers.

The Golden Egg, DIY style. 2012.

Back to it. Not surprisingly, I wanted to use the metallic gold on this picture frame easel too. My plan to paint the easel to appear dip dyed worked in my favor, took 5 minutes, and the paint really complemented the natural pine exposed on the top half. It’s also pretty how the wood grain is still exposed through the gold; ah, the beauty of watercolor paint.

From afar, it’s a subtle addition and looks great on top of my bedroom dresser. And up close, it has plenty of shimmer. Shimma-shimma.

Shimmer. Metallic gold watercolor.

I decided against leveling out the bottom of each leg so it sat flush because the easel itself is designed to change angles. There would never be a perfectly correct angle for it to rest upon.

Instead of dropping in a framed picture that I already had, I pulled two pieces of 5×7 glass and set one of our favorite photos between the panes. I like that the emphasized transparency won’t distract much from the metallic and dipped aesthetic, and even if it is totally exposed glass, it’s not in a place where we’re going to be knocking into it.

Finished dip-dye metallic easel.

What have you made from your scraps lately?


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