Transforming Art Box & Easel

This was a fun gift to make for one of my nieces, who is always painting something every time I visit. This is a combination of a “diary box” for her art projects (and brushes, paints, etc), which converts into a bench-top easel with extending legs that come out of the bottom. Took longer that I originally expected, but the result was worth it.


Finished cutting all the pieces from pine rough lumber.


Time to glue and clamp the “face” boards. Put some light dumbbells on top to keep it from potentially flying apart due to the tension of the clamps


Cutting the remaining pieces to length.


Rounded the “face” boards with my plunge router and a DIY jig I made.


Stained all the pieces and finished with some poly. I think the stain was named “raspberry”.


Initial assembly with pocket holes, glue, and wood screws.


Installed the handle, latch, and hinges.


Added some hooks and a “gold” chain inside to help hold the box open at a specific angle when in “easel mode”. I later used some transparent shrink tube on the majority of the chain so the box couldn’t lock itself shut.


Legs deployed in “easel mode”. There are four sliding latches inside to lock the legs in deployed/closed positions.


I used my chisel set and an eletrician’s knife to cut out a 6″x1.5″ recess to epoxy in some very strong bar magnets. After the epoxy dried, I filled the remaining space with wood filler, and stained it too. Now, we can just put a decorative magnet on the front outside face panel to hold pictures in place (no need for hooks or clips on the outside of the case).


Finished result (inside). I supplied an additional bar magnet to hold pictures in place until a “pretty” one arrived in the mail to replace it. The magnetic area also keeps the chain from clanging around.