Display Easel Project
Page last updated: 2003 March 26
Multipurpose Display Easel
Start of the Project: 2003 March 08
End of project: 2003 March 26
Any astronomy group that does public events will find a need for display easels.
These allow you to display items (posters, artwork, infosheets, etc) at a better height
for passerbys to view. In the past we have been able to borrow easels for Astronomy Day
from a local high school art department, but it was sometimes touch and go
as to availability. So we decided to build some of our own.
This first prototype stands 5' tall with a display area of 2'x2'.
The legs fold back in half to allow for easier transport. How the folding legs
hold up over time we will see.
The display area itself is 1/4" plywood painted white so that we can also do
to provide a lightweight compact display easel to hold foam core
mounted material. Commercial easels start around $40
Used to display indoors at meetings, mall displays, outside at daytime
solar observing for posters or projection, outside at night to hold
signage with optional red lighting (that's another project).
We started with an 8' 1"x2" leg and cut 2' off for the cross braces. This gave us
a 6' tall easel. We also had a scrap piece of 2'x2' plywood so that how
the size of the display area was determined. The ledge under the display area has
a trough (approx 1/2") cut through it to allow material to prop up and stay on
Testing the height with posters showed that a 6' tall easel was too tall, so we
tested and cut off 1'. This looks good.
x3 1"x2"x8' pine $3
x1 1"x5"x2' pine (ledge) $1
x1 24x24" x1/4" plywood (surface) $4
x20 small nails (plywood to 1"x2")
x12 #6x1.25" wood screws (1"x2" assembly) $1
4 hinges 1.5" (or a little smaller.. whatever fits on the wide side of a 1"x2")
(get the set that inclused screws for the hinge) $4
3 clasps (chest locking type clasps) $3
string approx 12"
one eyehook, 1/2"
white latex paint
white sticky velcro, 4 sets $1
one handle $3
tape measure, tsquare, drill, jigsaw, palm sander
#120, #240 sandpaper, clamp, counter sink drill bit, small 1/16"
drill bit, paintbrush, carpenters glue,
- Cut an 8' 1"x2" down to 5' and cut the remainging 3' down to
24"-.75"-.75"= 22.5" (inside mount). Repeat for the 2nd 1"x2"x8'.
For the 3rd leg of the tripod, cut down the 1"x2" to 5'1"
- Take the three legs and cut them in the middle (at 30").
- Assemble the frame of the easel with two 1"x2"x30" sections on the outside
and place the two 1"x2"x22.5" to frame the top and bottom, spaced apart so the outside
measurement is 24". pilot the screw holes and countersink them. Glue and screw together so
the screws are flush or below the surface level.
apply the 2'x2' x 1/4" plywood to the surface. Glue and nail to the frame.
- take the ledge board and cut notches (approx .75")
out so that it fits in between the outside legs. Fit it in place and draw a line
across the top surface where the display plywood juts out to mark it.
Now we have to cut a trough down the length of the board, approx 1/2" wide, and approx in
the centre of the board from one edge to the marked line. I had a friend use a
table saw. I'm not sure how else to get this done. Sand down the trough.
Glue and screw (3 screws evenly spaced).
Attach the third back leg to the centre of the top 1"x2" with a hinge. If
possible predrill (pilot hole) the screws that come with the hinges.
- Sand down the entire easel with medium sandpaper.
- Sand down the top surface with #240 fine sandpaper and do the edges and corners
- Apply two coats of white latex paint to the plywood display surface.
- varathane the entire assembly, let dry, repeat.
On each leg sequentially, put the cut part of the leg back up against
the section of leg it was cut off from, match it exactly, clamp it down and
attach a hinge to join the two sections (on the outside so the side legs swing out
not in) (and on the back of the back leg so it also swings back)
On the other side of the wood from the hinge, attach clasps with #5x3/4" screws
Attach velcro so that when the legs are in the folded position, they stay in that
position. Also attach a velcro set to the third back leg so that it remains locked to the
back of the ledger board during storage/transport.
screw in the eyehook on the backside of the display area, tie one end of the string to
it, run it around the rear leg and tie it off at the eyehook. This will limit the
back motion of the rear leg.
After the Fact
Total Time including two coats: about 6 hours.
Total cost: about $20
Painting plywood white.. what a lot of time... the next easels will
have white coated thin board instead of plywood. Also the folding legs may not
last too long due to the small amount of hinge size and a lot of stress on them.
So the next couple of easels will be 5' non folding.2003 March 26 added carry handle to top
2003 March 30 - glued down some of the sticky velcro as it was coming loose.
As the screws holding the hinges in are not allowing the folding legs to fold
completely together. On one leg I tried replacing the #6 x 1/2" screws with #5
x 1/2" screws and glue to see if they allow more folding to occur.
The easels are varathane coated so as to stand up better outside in
potential evening/nighttime dew.