The Stencil Easel is a simple contraption designed to solve three challenges with creating stencil art:
1) Aligning the various layers is difficult.
2) Spray cans are designed to be used vertically, not horizontally.
3) Bending over a table for 8 hours continuously is hard on your back.
The Stencil Easel requires you to create your stencils in a particular way, namely having registration marks that can be hung onto rods, but once you get your system set up, the easel helps you paint faster, more accurately, more ergonomically, and with less wasted paint and other paint malfunctions (e.g. spattering).
The Stencil Easel is made up of three components:
1) An 18" x 24" sheet of plywood with 2 holes each 3/8" in diameter cut a very particular distance apart and just off the top edge. More details on the spacing of these holes later.
2) A 14.75" inch long support with a profile cut into a trapezoid with 56 degree edges. The width of this piece can vary greatly, and mine is about 12" wide so it would fit into the Miter Saw.
3) Two short 3/8" diameter dowel rods.
I cut the holes into #1 on a laser cutter. This allowed me to get them perfectly spaced to be used with my stencils, which you'll see in a later step. The sheet itself is a fairly standard size, and sometimes it's possible to purchase wood in exactly that size, but in this case I purchased an entire sheet of plywood and cut it down on a panel saw.
I cut #2 on a panel saw, and then I angled the edges on a Compound Miter Saw. This lets you set the angle of the cut. This design is extremely tolerant to variation, so if the length of the support is off, or if the angle is different, it won't matter. I was aiming for a 68 degree angle of the easel, which I thought was a good balance between letting gravity hold the stencils to the easel (which happens if it's horizontal) while also holding the stencils to the alignment rods and being sufficiently vertical for the spray can (which happens if it's vertical). This angle is absolutely not magic, and anything from 45 degrees to 80 degrees would work.
One important thing to note is that I put the dowel rods almost at the top of the sheet of wood. The reason for this is that my stencils are also 18" x 24", and you don't want the stencil to hit the table, so it needs to hang towards the top of the easel. I messed this up the first time!