When confined to a tight budget, it is easy to assume that you wouldn’t be able to afford what you want. Well, that’s where DIY projects come into play! When one of my closest friends, Melinda, needed a baby shower thrown for her, I was part of the party planning committee. The first thing that we discussed was the budget. The menu quickly gobbled up most of the funds, not leaving much for the decor.
Now, the shower was going to be hosted at my parent’s house in their backyard, so I had my heart set on getting a chalkboard easel to easily direct the guests straight to the back. You know, like the ones they have outside cute shops and restaurants? Anyway, a little bit of research showed that the committee would NOT approve of the cost. Why are they so expensive?! Well, when I have my heart set on something, I usually do not back down until I get what I want, so what to do? I’ll just make it myself!
Here is how I made my own easel, and some tips for you to make your own:
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- 1×2 boards (You will need 1 or 2 boards depending on the size easel you want to make)
- (1) 2×4 chalkboard sheet OR chalkboard paint and plywood sheets
- (8) flat corner braces
- (2) screw eye hooks
- (1) can of wood stain (I used Minwax’s Special Walnut)
- (2) door hinges
- Chain or twine
Total Cost: $24
Tip: If going to your local Home Depot or Lowe’s frightens you, or you feel like you wouldn’t know what to look for, you can fill your cart online and pick up in store. Quick and easy!
(We made a downloadable/printable version of the instructions just for you! You can find it at the bottom of this post!)
- First, take a deep breath. This project seems more intimidating than it really is, anyone can do it, and so can you!
- Figure out what size easel you would like to make. Since Melinda’s party, I have made a couple different sizes, but the one pictured here is 24”H x 12”L. Cut the 1×2 boards to your preferred size. If you are following my model, you will need (2) 9” straight edged pieces, (2) 12” pieces with 45° angles, and (4) 24” pieces with 45° angles.
- Cut the chalkboard sheet or your painted plywood sheets into (2) 16”H x 11”L pieces.
- Once you have all your pieces cut, stain the wood for the frame of the easel. Depending on your taste, you can apply multiple coats. I used 2 coats on my wood.
- Once your pieces are all dry, time to assemble the frame. Grab your corner braces and attach them to all four corners of your frame, leaving enough space for your chalkboard to fit in between each brace. This is probably the hardest part, but hopefully this tip will save you a lot of distress. You will not be able to keep the pieces from sliding around without clamps. Believe me, I have tried the hard way.
- Good, now you are over the tough part. Don’t worry, it is smooth sailing from here on. You’re only a couple of nails and screws away from finishing.
- Nail in your chalkboard to the back of the assembled frame. You won’t need much, just a nail or so for each corner. Make sure that the nails you have are shorter in length than the width of your frame to avoid a nail sticking through the front.
- Screw in the hinges to the top of the frame.
- Measure halfway into the base of the easel, and that is where you will screw in the eye hooks for the chain or twine. Once the hooks are in place, attach the chain or twine to the desired length. This will keep the easel from opening too wide.
- Stand back and look at your creation, you did it!
Of course, this isn’t the only way to go about making a chalkboard easel, and in fact, it probably isn’t the easiest way either, (if you know of one, or have ideas, please share!) this is only the way that I did it. It will take a bit to construct, but if you do, you will find so many opportunities to use it. I use it for about every single party or get together I have, and I have had friends and family ask to use it for their events too. It’s that extra detail that goes a very long way. I hope you enjoy using it!
And, as promised, here’s a downloadable version for your convenience!