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​​What Can I Use Instead of an Easel?

​​what can i use instead of an easel

Do not buy an easel just yet!

If you find yourself asking, “What can I use instead of an easel?”, you are probably an aspiring artist who has just embarked on the world of painting and drawing, and you need budget-friendly tools, including an easel, to start with – or you are simply broke.

The truth is, every new career or hobby usually requires a set of materials that you can either buy or resourcefully make from scratch. With regard to painting, you need an easel along with the paint and brushes, which could cost more. But the good news is, you can find easy alternatives for easels without spending a massive outlay!

Easy and Affordable Alternatives for Easel

The best thing about being resourceful is having to try countless possibilities. Plus, you get to save more money on other tools. And when you are out of budget to buy an easel, you would be surprised to see creative improvisations that can help you paint and draw comfortably – no matter what the size of your canvas is.

Use a dining room chair

use a dining room chair.

For this method, you need a dining chair with a straight and sturdy back. The backrest becomes the rear support to keep your canvas in place. Meanwhile, the seat will serve as the bottom holder or support for your canvas.

You can place a mat on the seat or place a heavy object in front of the canvas as a stopper. The mat will hold the canvas firmly and protect the chair from drips and spills at the same time.

Set up a camera tripod

set up a camera tripod

This is another trick to put your used or old camera tripod to good use. In addition to the tripod, you may need sturdy cardboard, drawing board, or a flat wood board. Make sure the board is big enough for your canvas.

Then, the camera tripod usually includes a default thread or screw, which you would attach to the board. Since the screw might protrude to the other side of the board, you can cover it with tape to protect the back of your canvas or artist book.

Now, for the bottom holder, you will need to install another piece of cardboard. But if you are going to use the easel for a sketchbook or an artist book, you can use a clamp to hold it firmly. Another useful thing about a camera tripod is that you can adjust the legs according to your preferred height.

Two cans of paint

Not everyone has two paint cans but if you do, you are only one step away from making your own easel for painting. Simply place them against the wall and that’s it!

The distance between the two paint cans will depend on the size of your board. The larger your board or canvas is, the further the paint cans should be from one another.

A large wooden table can work

a large wooden table canvas

This could be your dining table, a study table, or any table that you can use for painting. There are two things you can try with this method: use the table’s flat surface as the back support of your canvas or drawing (which will require an object or back support to elevate the canvas at an ideal angle) or put it against the wall and use it as the bottom holder.

Take advantage of your wall

You can either build a shelf or place items against it so you can mount or place the canvas on your wall at the ideal height and position. For better stability and angle, you can add some support at the back of your canvas.

You can also use two paint cans (as previously mentioned on the list) or use a long piece of wood or heavy objects as a stopper or holder.

Secure your canvas to the floor

When you are into action painting or gestural abstraction, you might find the floor as one of the best easels for your canvas. This can also work for large boards or canvases for some spontaneous painting and splashing.

But of course, you do not want to make a mess on the floor. So, you can cover the floor with a large white sheet or a wide plastic sheet to protect it. Then, place the canvas on top of it. Put heavy objects on each side to secure the canvas and keep it from moving.

Build a DIY easel for painting

Difficult as it may seem, it is not. Building your own easel is actually a resourceful and yet creative idea that can save you a lot of money. Aside from that, you can create a customized easel that can perfectly accommodate the dimensions of your canvas. I will show you that in the following guide.

How to Make Super Easy DIY Easel for Painting

diy easel for painting


Constructing an easel for yourself might appear intimidating. But with just a few tools, some of your time, and very little effort, you can have a durable and flexible DIY easel for painting that can get you through your painting sessions.

The following procedure is an ideal alternative for small and large easels. The only difference between the two sizes is the sizes of the screws. Should you make a large easel, you need larger screws. However, the steps are just the same.

First of all, you will need these: two screws and two 2×4 wood boards. Then, you may need a screwdriver or if you have an electric one, that would be good, too.

Now, here are the things you should do next:

  1. Take the two 2×4 wood boards and place them against the wall.
  2. Take one screw and use a screwdriver to put it on the wood board. Do the same to the other board. Make sure that they have the same height. The screws will serve as the bottom holder.
  3. Set the wood boards apart. Then, palace your canvas on top of the screws to keep it in place. The distance of the boards will depend on the size of your canvas.
  4. If you are going to use a larger and heavier canvas, take the screws out and replace them with larger ones for better stability and support.

Well, that is just about it!


Starting a hobby or career does not have to be expensive. In your case, painting does not mean buying a high-end or pricey easel. Although you can find much cheaper easels online or from a thrift store, I suggest you start looking first among your household items for the best alternative solutions.

For an easel, you can use a camera tripod, chairs, walls, or tables to support your canvas. Thus, the cheap and easy alternatives on this list can get you started with painting even when you are on an incredibly tight budget. Hope this helps!

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