So my absolutely beautiful, not scary or bride-zilla-ish at all, soon to be bride, lovingly tasked me to create an easel "card box" for our art theme wedding. However, my bride loves to paint, and I wanted to make something a little more versatile so that it would be useful after the wedding as well. I designed this easel to be a functional table top travel easel, as well as a standing display easel/card box.
Step 1: Materials
I used scrap wood from my workshop, and wood packing board for home depot vendors. I also used dowels, glue, a mitre box, hand clamps, small silver hinges, and a table saw.
Step 2: Free Wood on a Budget
As an added challenge, I wanted to restrict myself to only using scrap wood. I went to home depot when a vendor was unloading trim. He gave me all of the packing wood for free. Mostly 2 by 2 rough cut pine. I also had a box of scrap cutting from other projects. I bought no new wood for this project. The only expense I paid for this project was 2 dollars for the hinges.
Step 3: Milling the Wood
Please Note for this project I "milled" the scrap wood to about a half inch of thickness using a table saw. My fingers were often close to the blade, and I had to be very cautious of doing this. I would honestly not recommend this as the best practice for milling wood, but it is what I did on this project.
When using a table saw, always be aware of the blade, use eye protection, and a mask is useful.
I cut the rough cut wood down to 1/2 inch slats, then lowered the blade and cut a small channel into the base of the slats to hold the base board.
Step 4: Angles for the Box
I used a mitre box to cut the 45 degree angles on the side slats to the box.
Step 5: Cutting the Wood for the Sides, Legs, and Internal Slats
At this point, I also cut out 1/4 inch thick slats to create the compartments within the box, slats for the legs, and multiple slats of wood to glue for the cover.
Step 6: Gluing the Box
I glued three sides of the box together at the 45 degree cuts. I then measured and cut a leftover scrap of masonite for the base of the box. To ensure a proper fit, measure the masonite after arranging the box as it will be.
I slid the masonite into the slat of the three sides and glued the final side onto the box, locking in the base board.
Step 7: Framing the Bottom
To add strength to the box and because I like the looks, I decided to frame the bottom of the box with leftover thin scraps. I cut each piece at a 45 degree angle and sized to fit each side as a glued them down.
Step 8: Cutting the Internal Slats
As I said, I wanted this to be a useful as a travel easel after the wedding, so I designed it to include removeable compartments inside the box. I cut each piece to fit into the box, and used my table saw to cut halfway through the middle of the cross slats so that they connect to make a cross.
Step 9: Finalizing the Compartments
I put the cross slats into the box and created the final slat wall, leaving a larger compartment to hold brushes, etc. Each piece was snug, but easily pulled out of the box.
Step 10: Slat Guides
I measured and market the placement of the slat ends so that each was equidistant to the ends of the box. I then used thin left over wood to cut slat guides to keep the slats in place. I used wood glue and hand clamps to hold glue them down.
Step 11: Cutting and Gluing the Top
For the top, I wanted a cool look. I took lots of thin cut slat wood to wrap wood slats in a circling fashion towards the center. I cut each end to a 45 degree angle, and measured and cut each piece to fit. For the center, I had a small piece of oak leftover from another project. I marked and cut the oak piece to fit the center hole.
Step 12: Sanding the Top Smooth
Once I glued all of top slats together, I sanded the top smooth, making sure to remove all excess glue.
Step 13: The Cross Piece to Hold the Canvas
I cut another small piece of oak to hold the canvas in place while painting.
Note that I held the top board down with a 25 pound weight while glueing this one. I accidentally left the top board in my car overnight and it warped pretty dramatically. I straightened it back out by glueing a masonite board to the inside of the top while weighing it down.
Step 14: Keeping the Top Flat
Step 15: Cutting Legs
I then took the leg slat and cut them the length of the long side of the box. I put a 15 degree cut on the end of the foot that will stand on the table
Step 16: Attaching the Legs
I clamped the legs to the side of the box to drill the holes to hold the legs onto the box. Because pine is a soft wood, and because I was using thin pieces of it, I used three different sized drill bits, to built up to the 1/4 inch holes for the dowels.
Step 17: Trimming the Dowels
I used a hand saw to trim the dowels. Note I put a full length dowel through the top of the box and through the legs I trimmed it to about a 1/3 inch away from the leg. At the other end of the box, I put a small piece of dowel to hold the legs against the box when not standing.
Step 18: The Holding Peg
I trimmed the lower pegs flush to the leg on one side, and flush to the inside of the box at the other week. I then used sand paper to thin the lower pegs slightly so that the legs at held in place, but easy to move off the pegs when in use.
Step 19: Setting the Hinges
The screws for the hinges turned out to be too long for the thin wood. Therefore, I glued another layer of thin wood to the box to give the hinge screws more meat. I glued them with wood glue, and held them in place with hand clamps.
I knew that I planned to add small legs to this side of the box. I cut the small legs, and used them to mark the placement of the hinges as in the picture.
Step 20: Added Wood on the Underside of the Top
I cut scrap wood to match the pieces I glued to the side of the box, and glued them down with wood glue.
Step 21: Marking and Drilling Guide Holes for the Hinges
I put the hinges on the wood to mark the screw holdes and then drill very thin guide holes.
Step 22: Attaching the Hinges
I screwed the Hinges in place using the guide holes.
Step 23: Attaching the Legs for Display
I then attached the hinges to the end of the small legs. I then held the leg in place to mark the hinge screw holes against the box. I screwed guide holes, and attached the small legs to the box. The small legs fall against the box when not in use, but hold up the easel when extended. Note that the bottom end of the short legs are cut to 15 degree anges just like the long legs.
Step 24: Runner Along the Rim
Just for visual effect, I added a small runner along the underside of the outer edge of the top.
Step 25: Inside Dowels
I drilled two 1/4 inch indentations inside the underside of the top. Be careful not to go all the way through. I then cut two 1/4 inch dowels to fit into the holes to hold the top up when painting.
Step 26: Marking the Card Slot
lastly, I needed to cut the slot for the cards to go in. I started by marking a line the length of the slot. I then drilled down the line using successively larger drill bits.
Step 27: Drilling Out the Slot
Step 28: Sanding and Filing
Once enough meat was removed that I could fit my file and sandpaper,I continued to work and shape the slot until I liked it.
This is close to final product. I would like to seal it, but my bride likes the natural wood look. I.also need.to attach a lock to the top.of.the box. Otherwise, vaoila!..a $3.00 scrap wood project.