Introduction: Cardboard Easel

I got an itch to paint something a few days ago, so I went and bought a canvas, an acrylic paint set and some brushes. Later that night when I was going to start painting I realised I didn't have anything to hold my canvas! All I had at home was cardboard, so I decided to make one.

I checked naturally, but I couldn't find what I wanted, so I decided to swat two flies with one smack!

Step 1: Materials

You will need at least the following:

  • Cardboard
  • PVA glue (also known as wood glue or white glue); or stick glue
  • Hot glue gun
  • Several hot glue sticks
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Hobby knife (also known as xacto knife or scalpel); or utility knife
  • Scissors
  • A cutting surface, for example a cutting board

Optionally you can use the following:

  • Paperboard; or thick paper
  • Craft paper (paper with a printed pattern; or coloured paper

I made two different easels for this instructable, and you'll see photos from both.

Step 2: Butcher Your Cardboard

Cut your cardboard into pieces of equal size, according to the dimensions of your design.

Step 3: Make Cardboard Ply (Plycarb)

  1. Take two cardboard pieces.
  2. Cut one in half.
  3. Apply glue on one surface of one cardboard piece.
    1. Make sure to spread it out evenly with a piece of scrap cardboard.
  4. Put the halves on top, making sure the "grain" of the pieces is at a right angle of the underlying piece.
  5. Add a third piece on top of the halves to cover up the gap between the two rotated pieces.
  6. Let it dry a few hours.
  7. You now have thick and strong plycarb.

Step 4: Create Your Design & Transfer to Cardboard

My design was simple and designed to be strong. You can come up with your own design of course, but here's one for you to try.

When making the side panels, draw the lines in the order I've given with black numbers and you'll get the right shape without having to measure any angles.

Step 5: Cut Out Your Parts

  1. Cut out your panels but not the parts indicated in red in the blueprint.
    1. Remember to use the cutting board or hobby mat underneath!
    2. I tried with a utility knife, a hobby knife and a hobby saw, I found the utility knife was easiest to work with and gave the cleanest cut lines. Don't try to cut through the cardboard in one go, but rather make many cuts without pushing too hard.
    3. With the hobby saw the edges looked rougher, and the hobby knife was a bit too small.
    4. Be careful!
  2. After cutting them out, cut out half of the red parts, as shown in the photo.

Step 6: Glue It All Together

  1. Heat up your glue gun until the glue flows easily.
  2. Put in a good amount of glue into one of the bottom sockets (at least twice the amount in the picture, which was taken just as I started to squeeze it out).
  3. Put the long "plank" into it.
  4. Make sure they are straight! Stand the parts up on the cutting board and hold them down until they have dried.
  5. Continue with the other sockets.

Step 7: Sturdy & Functional Easel

I was surprised by how sturdy these were!

They can definitely be used for painting, they don't wobble at all and stay in place.

However, I'd like to make them look nicer!

Step 8: Paperboard Veneer (Optional)

  1. Measure the thickness of your cardboard.
  2. Measure the circumference of the sides of your easel.
  3. Draw out and cut strips of paperboard or thick paper.
  4. Apply hot glue to the edges of your easel.
    1. Apply quite a lot and sort of work it in there.
    2. Make sure that you at least get all of the corners.
  5. Put the paperboard strips on and push down
    1. Be careful so that you do not burn yourself!

You now have a veneered plycarb easel.

Step 9: Craft Paper Veneer (Optional)

If you want your easel to be more colourful you can glue nice paper to its sides.

  1. Draw an outline of your easel sides on the back side of your paper.
  2. Cut it out, making sure to add half a centimeter (1/4 of an inch) around.
  3. Apply a thin layer of glue to your easel side
    1. Make sure to really get it all over
  4. Put your paper veneer on top carefully, starting with one edge as shown.
  5. Push down and rub the entire paper carefully with your fingers.

Step 10: A Fancy & Sturdy Cardboard Easel!

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