Back in the spring my husband made an amazing outdoor easel for the girls to use, and we’ve been using it for all kinds of activities ever since.
The easel has become a favorite spot in our outdoor play area, but I’ve been dragging my feet about sharing it with you. You see…I don’t write tutorials well. And when I try to photograph my husband working on a project things like this happen…
Lovey thought Daddy set her up a runway to practice singing and dancing (our next project?!?). Shortly after this photo was taken Tinker joined in, and well…let’s just say we were politely sent to play elsewhere.
So I don’t have a full tutorial to share with you, but I thought I would point out some of our favorite features of the easel my husband made. I’d also be happy to answer any specific questions you have about ours, if you try to make this one on your own.
If you would like a full tutorial there are a few links below to check out. Their easels are each a bit different from ours, but the tutorials includes all the specifics for you to make your own.
Free-Standing Outdoor Art Easel
Outdoor Acrylic Art Easel with Paint Tray
Wall Mounted Outdoor Easel Tutorial
For this easel we used:
- 1- 36″ x 30″ clear acrylic sheet
- 3-4″ x 2″ 8′ cedar (you could choose any wood you prefer)
- 1-1″ x 2″ x 8′ cedar
- 1-5/8″ x 8′ PVC Quarter Round
- Galvanized Nails
- Connecting Screws
The tray that he built at the bottom comes in very handy. The girls are able to place their paints, brushes, window markers, or whatever writing tool they are using in the tray. Tinker especially loves this because she does not like grass in her paint…we’ve learned that the hard way.
My husband also left the posts that go into the ground long and adjustable so that we could raise the height of the easel as the kids get taller. Smart guy, right!?!
Some days we paint directly on the Plexiglass and then spray it off with the hose. When we do this I add a little dish soap to the paint to make it a bit easier to wash off.
Other days we tape paper to the easel and make creations that we want to keep. We also use our window markers and spray bottles to create on the easel.
As the girls get older and we keep score for backyard games, we can keep track right on the easel, too.
What other activities and artwork would you create on an outdoor easel? I’d love to have some new ideas to try as the weather gets cooler again this fall.
I love this!
Could you paint the plexiglass with chalkboard paint do they could use it as a chalkboard?
You probably could. However if you prefer a chalkboard option I’d probably make it with Hardie board and skip the plexiglass. Hardie board is less expensive than plexiglass. If you have the space you could double up on the idea and do both options. The see-through aspect of the plexiglass allows for some fun playtime and painting opportunities. 🙂
I love how this turned out! It would be such a fun addition to any backyard. I can see my kids using it as a menu board for their outdoor cafe. Thanks for the great idea!
That’s awesome to hear, Nicole! I am so glad you like this outdoor easel idea!
Great idea! Would the paint mark the grass/ patio?
I am so glad you like the easel idea! To be safe, you could put a plastic drop cloth on the patio or grass to be sure no paint drips on it. Usually paint will wash off the grass in a few days if it makes direct contact.
This is a fantastic idea! Does the wind ever seem rough on it? I’m just thinking about when storms come and the wind can’t blow through the plexiglass. Did your husband set it in the ground a certain way to keep it sturdy through rough weather? Just trying to think through all the details of how to build a successful one!
If you really want it to set you can add concrete to the posts in the ground, but we didn’t need to…we just put the posts deep enough to keep it secure. Ours was also close to a fence and not in the main flow of wind so most wind ran in a way that didn’t pushing against the large side, if that makes sense.
Love your easel! Im in the prepping stage for ours. Do you know how thick the clear sheet/plexiglass is?
I don’t recall exactly. It was a standard size at our local home improvement store. You want it to be thick enough not to bend if kids lean on it and such.
love this easel. would be fantastic for our toddler groups, but I have a question. what type of paints do you use? do normal water based paints work OK or do you need acrylic paints? thank you
Great question! Do not use acrylic paints unless you want the art to stay on there. We mix a little dab of dish soap in with our regular washable tempera paints. Then when we are ready to wash it off we just spray the whole easel with the hose and do a light scrubbing…which the kids usually enjoy “helping” with. We also use washable window markers on the surface.
This is gorgeous! I really need to get my husband on to making something similar!
Yes, do! Send me a picture if he does. I’d love to see what your version turns out to be.
I’ve been wanting an outdoor easel for a while now. Yours looks amazing, Shaunna! I really have to get my hubby to make one for us.
There’s so much we use it for. I can’t imagine not having one now. When he makes it, I’d love to see what you two come up with!
What a great idea! I want to go out and paint on it!
I do! 🙂 It’s the perfect height for me to sit in the grass next to the girls and paint away while watching the clouds go by…just lovely!
I love your easel. I will have to see if I can get my husband to build me one!
Awesome! I’d love to see pictures of your easel when he does.
Ooh, I love the idea of making it a scoreboard for games! Had never thought of that! I’ve had this project on our to-do list for awhile…you’ve motivated me to get started!
Get to it! 😉 The kids will love it, and I can’t wait to see what kind of craftiness you guys come up with when you have your own.