Building An Easel – For Painting and Set Design

I sometimes paint on canvas with acrylics. The big easels at the art store always grab my attention but they can cost a large sum of money. Some time ago I stumbled across this web site with plans on how to build your own easel with 2×4’s. The advantage is that you can build an easel to accommodate huge canvases as well.

I built my easel with 1×3’s but if I had a lager studio I would probably invest a weekend or two in building some 2×4 versions. Here is a pic of my easel.


Now, this sort of relates to my animation project because the easel not only allows me to paint a 60″ backdrop but it also can support it vertically behind the set since it has adjustable angles and shelf supports from about 12″ off the ground all the way up to the top which is about 8 feet high. (View a pic of my early set design test and you can just make out the easel holding the backdrop for the sky).

Just passing it along for any stopmo/painters out there or if someone can use the plans as a foundation to modify it for set designs.

5 responses to “Building An Easel – For Painting and Set Design”

  1. Wow! That site on how to make your own easel is a great resource.

    I’m wondering: Is your background painted on canvas? …Or on something else? (I know that Marc Spess recommends drywall: it’s cheap, and very flat.)

  2. Yes, the easel site was a great find. I love my DIY easel and it wasn’t that hard to make. It’s sturdy, gives me lots of room for larger canvases and I can customize it in various ways like adding a light rig and a box to hold paint, water and brushes.

    I used canvas with stretcher bars for the sky background. It worked out in the end but it took some time and effort to stretch and prime before I could even start painting the sky gradient. The drywall suggestion is definitely going on my list of things to try in the future (or perhaps for this project if the canvas turns out to be too small for the camera shots). Thanks for passing that info along.

  3. DG, this is great! And timely, I was just getting confused today about how I was going to rig the backdrop over here. My set is 360ΒΊ so my skies will have to curve around and/or move and be lit (!) I can’t worry about it all now (said with Scarlett O’Hara accent.)

    Thanks so much for posting this.

  4. Thanks for the post, will definitely come in handy for me…my store-bought easel can’t handle anything larger than say 6′ x 6′, when I paint larger I usually stretch the canvas on a blank wall in my studio space (not good, since I rent ;), then stretch it onto a frame, which is severely annoying…Shelley, I also aim to have a curved backdrop, thinking as of now that all of my Jenny backdrops/greenscreens will be on roll-up window shades…easy to store, can be painted on both sides…still trying to work out a rig to hold up the shades though, a curved frame to staple/mount them to?…a hurdle to leap over when my workspace is more organized….

  5. Curved backdrops? I don’t know… that sounds awfully hard to me, and very little payoff. It seems like you guys’re fighting against the nature of stopmo rather than embracing it for what it is and what can be done simply. A word to the wise…

    K-I-S-S!!! πŸ˜‰