View Full Version : home made easel..

Steve M Hostetter
16-Oct-2009, 14:25

I have bought some 16x20 fiber base paper and 16x20 trays,,,, all I need now is an easel this size.

Does anyone make their own..? Are there any other options a guy can use.. Photos would be great..!
thx regards

Allen in Montreal
16-Oct-2009, 14:38
You can use tape to tape the paper to the baseboard until you get an easel.

Get some masking tape, tape four markers on the baseboard, use a sharpie where you are framing the image, once the setup is there, just tape down the paper. It is not a vacuum easel and it sounds barbaric to the edges of the paper but it works in the short term.

Curt Palm
16-Oct-2009, 14:45
i used a couple of framers squares until I found a used 16x20 easel. i'll admit it got a bit tedious though

Jerry Bodine
16-Oct-2009, 19:12
I have a Saunders 14x17 easel that has served me well since the early 70’s, but at that time I wanted to also make larger prints up to 20x24. I chose to make an easel to accommodate the 20x24 and then some, and that has also served its purpose since then. You could scale that down for 16x20 prints or whatever you anticipate. Here’s how I chose to do it (fairly detailed, assuming a lack of prowess on your part):

Building the easel:
1- Go to a lumber place and get a piece of ¾” plywood, check it for flatness/warpage (with a good-sized carpenter’s square or bubble level before buying). Most stores now will cut it to size for you, probably allowing one or two cuts for free, and can make the corners square.
2- Glue a piece of THIN steel (magnetic) sheet to the top surface. Let glue cure with books, etc., to keep the sheet as flat as the plywood.
3- Spray paint the top surface and plywood edges (like 18% flat gray), using something like Krylon paint or primer (automotive or paint stores usually have it).
4- Get a length of 1/32 x 3/4 aluminum angle, long enough to cover all four edges (and top surface) of plywood and cut it into four pieces (two long sides and two short sides) – no need to miter the corners.
5- Get a length of flat aluminum (1/32 or more) at least ¾” wide, long enough for one long side and one adjacent side, cut them to same length as the angles, then position each flat piece to lay on top of angle so as to create a slight overhang (maybe about 1/8” or less … your choice) for the print paper to slip under.
6- Position one long angle and one short angle on the plywood together with their overhanging flat pieces and ensure a 90-degree corner, clamp into place for drilling pilot holes through the stackups (flat + angle + steel sheet + plywood) for small wood screws (e.g., 1/8” … your choice) at some selected spacing (your choice). Unclamp assembly and oversize all the holes, including the steel sheet, but NOT in the plywood, so that the screws can pass through the aluminum and steel sheet. To minimize reflection during exposure, paint all aluminum pieces flat black using Krylon primer first because aluminum needs primer to make the paint adhere long term. Reassemble and install screws.
7- Similarly, attach only the angles to the remaining two sides of plywood.
8- To create a friction surface on the bottom of the plywood, I put several self-stick weatherstrips about 6” apart parallel to the short side, across the whole width of the easel. The weatherstrip is about ¾” wide. This allows the easel to overhang the enlarger baseboard and still be uniformly supported.

You may want to touch up the screw heads with flat black paint.

Using the easel:
1- Place the enlarging paper under the overhanging aluminum (long side) and slide it under the overhanging aluminum (short side).
2- Place wall magnets at intervals along the other two free edges of the paper to hold it down. The magnets only need to encroach on the paper edge by about 1/8”. But sometimes the paper is cantankerous and it’s necessary to use a metal strip for the hold-down.

If you really want some pics of the finished easel, PM me.


17-Oct-2009, 13:08
hi steve

wish i could help, but before i bought a big easel
i just put the paper on a box and exposed it ... " full bleed "
if you don't plan on cropping much, you could always get a matboard
cut to whatever size you want for your border and expose your print with the board
ontop of the paper .. it works well in a pinch ...

good luck!

Steve M Hostetter
20-Oct-2009, 06:41
I've decided on using large sheet metal and magnets... Thanks for the help


John Kasaian
20-Oct-2009, 07:33
I've desided on using large sheet metal and magnets... Thanks for the help


The best solution!:D

Jerry Bodine
20-Oct-2009, 14:11
I've decided on using large sheet metal and magnets... Thanks for the help


You're very welcome, Steve. Enjoy the easel. BTW, if you run into any challenges feel free to contact me.

If anyone else is interested in the pictures I sent Steve via email, PM me and I'll gladly email them to you as they're very extensive (too much to post).