My family and I have been blessed this year to see nearly all our closest relatives on both sides: grandparents/parents, aunts/uncles, and cousins -most of them coming to stay with us for several days to a week! And we still have some that have not visited yet but are scheduled to do so in the upcoming months. We have also seen many of our extended family members. It is wonderful to belong to such a family and be able to benefit from the different strengths and talents that God has placed in the various households and individuals! We all thank Him for this blessing on our lives.
Having family in and going out-of-town to visit them has meant that my time crafting and writing this blog has had to be pushed to the back burner so-to-speak, and it will likely continue to happen off and on as the company comes and goes for the rest of the year. I thank my readers for their patience with my schedule! 🙂
Something that I was able to do in the corners of my time this summer was to make a number of up-cycled easels. I had been needing some inexpensive easels to use with simple artwork and framed quotes, but like normal, I found the price of the ones that I saw at the store to be too much for me when it looked like I could make some fairly easily for free! So, I left the wooden and plastic ones on the shelf and returned home to formulate a plan.
The first thing that I needed was to make a pattern. I chose to do this using an easel that I already had on hand. I liked its lines, and it was a simple shape that I could easily trace onto a piece of cardboard. (If you don’t have an easel on hand, you can get an idea of the shape you are looking for from the photo to the left.) After cutting it out, I went and pulled through the stash of cardboard that I had saved. I ended up working with two different kinds: the thin cardboard used in packaging food or shirts and some of the heavier, corrugated variety.
I traced and cut out five different pieces. The first four were tracings of only one side of the easel -two of these on the thin cardboard and two on corrugated cardboard. The fifth tracing is of both sides of the easel joined together to form one piece. To make it, I folded a piece of my thinner cardboard in half and placed the long straight back section of the pattern along the fold about two- to three-eighths of an inch away from the edge of the fold. The five pieces are shown in the photo to the right.
Using the final piece as the back of my easel, I first glued the corrugated sections to both sides of the inside making sure to line up the edges of the easel along the front edges. Then I added the two thinner pieces of cardboard on top of that. Though it is hard to see in this photo, there is a small gap between the two sides along the center of the back. The only thing that connects the two sides at this point is the solid folded piece that I used as a base.
After I had the basic form shaped, I needed to cover the edges and the back and make them more presentable. To do this, I turned to brown paper lunch sacks, though paper grocery bags or craft paper would also work. Of course, it could probably be covered with any number of materials. This is the method that I chose because the materials are free! I crumpled the brown paper bag up to give it texture, opened it up to be a single flat layer, then spread it out flat. I attached it to the easel by spreading glue on the back of the easel and laying it down on the paper. I turned it over and smoothed the paper, pressing out any bubbles that formed between the layers, then I cut it out leaving a margin around the edge that was the same width as my corrugated cardboard. I made several of these this past summer and remembered to take photos of them at different points so I know the easel in this photo is not the same one as the photos before it, but it does show this step. After I had cut out the back paper on the easel, I spread glue on the front two cardboard sections and pressed them face down onto the paper. When I cut the front paper out, I cut it as a whole piece and did not divide the paper along the back center line. As before, I left a margin of paper around the easel as I cut it out. Once this was done, I made perpendicular slits in the margins of paper on both sides, folded them over the raw edge of the corrugation and glued them down.
At this point, my easels looked like the one in the photo on the left. I found that compressing the corrugated cardboard along the center fold in the back gave the easel a smoother appearance and allowed the hinge to work better. So far, so good!
The final step was the cosmetic one. I had to decide on color and style of finish. This photo shows two of my easels and demonstrates two very different looks. The one on the right is thinned acrylic paint that has been painted on and blotted. The edge of the easel is visibly flat and somewhat rough. The easel on the left however, is covered in a gold metallic acrylic paint and is meant to have a more polished look. In order to give the edges a rounder appearance, I put a line of tacky glue along them and allowed the glue to dry. Painting over the dried glue line blended the edges in beautifully.
Side-by-side, you can see the different looks I was able to get from the same pattern. It was a fun project that used up my cardboard scraps and bags. I think they would make a fun craft to do with older kids and ladies’ groups, if you had a couple of sessions to allow time for the glue and paint to dry.