Things You'll Need
- Large, flat working surface
- 1 1/2-inch PVC drain pipe (3 8-foot pieces)
- Hacksaw with plastic-cutting blade
- Rock maple miter box
- Tape measure
- PVC joint cement and applicator
- 3 elbow joints (90 degree)
- 3 end caps
- 5 T joints
- Electric drill
- Drill bits
- Sheet metal screws (1 inch by 10 gauge)
- Utility knife with sharp blade
- Medium grade emery cloth
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a component of many plastic items, including plumbing pipe and fittings. The durable material also can be used to make household items including a painter's easel. A PVC easel may look unusual, but functionality and cost typically offset concerns about the final appearance.
Place the pipe in a miter box and cut a 6-foot length of PVC pipe with the hacksaw. Then sand both ends with the emery cloth or sandpaper. (In fact, sanding the end of the plastic pipe after a cut is standard operating procedure.)
Glue an end cap to one end and then set the piece aside.
Cut two pieces of pipe to a length of 16 inches. Sand each end thoroughly.
Connect each piece into the opposite ends of a T fitting, but do not use any glue to cement the joint. (Note: This will be the only joint in the project that does not receive any PVC cement or glue.)
Glue a 90-degree elbow fitting to each end of the length of pipe. Complete this step on a flat table, so the elbow joints lay flat.
Cut two 18-inch sections of pipe, and glue one end of each pipe into the elbow joint from the step above. At this point you have a U shape that is just over 3 feet wide and around 20 inches in height.
Cut three sections of PVC pipe at a length of 3 feet.
Connect and glue the three pieces with two T fittings to create an inverted U-shaped section of PVC pipe. The open end of each T fitting should be located at the top of the inverted U. Use a flat table as a work surface when you fit the three pieces together to help ensure they are on the same plane.
Apply glue and slide the two units together. Again, this part of the project should be carried out on a large flat surface to ensure a flat unit.
Cut three more pieces at a length of 3 feet and fit them together in an identical manner using two T fittings. As in the above step, one end of the T fitting should be pointing up and it should be empty.
Slide and glue the inverted U piece into the other larger section of PVC piping.
Cap and glue the two bottom ends of the PVC pipe.
Insert and glue the 6-foot pole (from step 2) into the open end of the T fitting at the top of the easel (see step 4). Turn the pole until a free-standing three-legged tripod is formed.
Making the Tray
Cut a piece of pipe at a length of 4 feet. Sand each end carefully.
Cut the pipe lengthwise with a sharp utility knife, as if you were slicing a hot dog. Repeat the cut until the knife blade penetrates the plastic wall.
Roll the piece of pipe over and repeat the slicing maneuver until you have two half sections of pipe
Set the complete easel on the flat table and place a half section of pipe against the bottom rung of the front of the easel. It should overhang a few inches on each side.
Choose a drill bit that is slightly smaller than a 10-gauge screw shaft. Drill several holes through the half section of 4-foot pipe and into the bottom rung of the easel.
Insert the sheet metal screws into the drill holes with a screwdriver.
1-inch pipe may be used in place of 1-1/2-inch pipe.
PVC cement or glue comes with a screw cap that also serves as an applicator. A large swab should be attached to the bottom of the lid. Use this applicator to spread the glue on the outside surface of the pipe and also the inside surface of the fitting. Finally, slide the pipe inside the fitting and let the joint dry for a few minutes.
Always use drain pipe and not PVC water line, because the drain pipe is rigid.
Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.