Chalkboard side view of art station

This art station does double duty. On both sides, you will find clips to attach your favorite paper for painting or coloring, and one side is a chalkboard ready for drawing. The easel tabletop is removable and folds up so it can be easily stored.

Each side has its own pull-out drawer with cup holders to house supplies such as chalk, paint brushes, crayons, markers and anything else you need. Additionally, the bottom has two shelves for storage. The overall measurement of the station is 45” (h) x 24” (w) x 24” (d).

 

Materials List


Quantity Size Details
1 3/4” x 4 x 8’ sheet Pine veneer plywood
3 1” x 2” x 6’ Pine (standard)
1 1” x 10” x 4’ Pine
1 1” x 3” x 6’ Pine (standard)
1 1” x 4” x 6’ Pine (standard)
1 24” (l) x 1-1/2” (w) Piano Hinge
Side view of art station

Additional Items:


  • Stain or primer and paint

  • 5/8” #8 and #6 screws

  • 1-1/4” Kreg screws

  • 1-1/4” 18-gauge pins

  • 1-1/4” wood screws

  • Wood glue

  • 4 knobs

  • 50’ wood veneer edging

  • 8 cups to hold your art supplies (mine are plastic)

  • Chalkboard paint

Cut List

I recommend doing all cuts on a table saw first. If you don’t have a table saw, some lumber shops will do the cutting for you – just ask!


Base:

Quantity Size Details
2 24” x 24” (w) Sides (gables)
3 24” x 23” (w) Shelves and top
2 23” (l) x 2-1/2” (h) Kick plate (pine)
2 23” x 3/4” x 3/4” Top guide pieces (pine)
4 9” x 3/4” x 3/4” Slides (pine)
2 12” (l) x 1/4” thick x 3/4” Stoppers (pine)
2 22-7/8” (l) x 1-1/2” (w) x 3/4” thick Safety Lockers for chalkboard easel with a 25° angle on one side


Chalkboard:

Quantity Size Details
2 23-1/2” (h) x 22-3/4” (w) Cut a 25° angle on one end of each piece


Paint Trays:

Quantity Size Details
2 22-7/8” (l) x 9” (w) x 3/4” Pine – cup holder
2 22-7/8” (l) x 1” (h) x 3/4” Pine – top lip
4 8-1/4” (l) x 1” (h) x 3/4” Pine – top lip
2 24-7/16” (l) x 3-1/2” (h) x 3/4” Pine – drawer face
Left: Marking position of pocket holes. Right: Using pocket hole jig to drill holes.


Joinery


I used the Kreg system. Marking your material first is important when using this system. When this is completed and holes are drilled, you are ready to veneer the edges.


Left: Using hot iron to apply veneer edging. Right: Using a wooden block to compress the edging.


Cut your strips of pre-glued veneer for the outside edges of the base cabinet. Make sure your veneer is a bit longer than the length you need so you have a little overlap.

Hold the veneer strip on its edge so it overlaps by 1/16” on each side. Hold it firmly and heat using a hot iron. After ironing and while it’s still warm, firmly press it with a spare block to compress the glue veneer to your plywood edge.


Left: Trimming the veneer to length. Right: Using a chisel to trim edging flush to the top.


When finished, trim the excess veneer to get a flat surface on the face of the plywood. You can use a flush router and orbital sander, but I like a sharp chisel used at the proper angle so as not to gouge into the plywood.


Left: Sanding the edge veneer. Right: Sanding face of the board to bring edging flush.


After you have glued the veneer, sand all edges smooth for assembly.


Left: Clamping kickplate into position. Middle left: Securing the kickplate with pocket screws. Middle right: Clamping and gluing sides. Right: Securing the base to the sides.

Base Assembly


First, you will need to clamp a 3/4” x 3/4” guide piece to the face in order to recess the kick-plate in 3/4”. Glue, clamp and screw kick-plate into place. Repeat on the other side.


Attach side gables (24” x 24”) to the base you just completed. Glue, clamp and make sure the bases of each are flush with each other.


Left: Guide pieces clamped in position. Right: Screwing the top into place.


Clamp a 3/4” x 3/4” guide piece flush with the gable and attach a 24” x 23” top to the inside of the guide to create a 3/4” lip. Glue, clamp and screw into place. Repeat for the other 24”x 24” gable.


Left: Finished base. Middle: Screwing shelf in to place. Right: Attaching the front and back for the top.


Once finished, add the center shelf to the center of the gables. Glue, clamp and screw into place.


Use two 23” (l) x 3/4” (h) x 3/4” (w) and glue, clamp into place flush with edge. Next, screw up underneath for both pieces on each end with 1-1/4” #8 screws.


Left: Marking out position of holes. Right: Using a hole saw to cut the holes.


Sliding Drawer


Take your 9” wide pieces and measure four equal holes on each to hold the cups. It is very important to keep the cups as low as possible to fit the drawer stopper. Make sure you keep the cups 3/4” from the front lip. The size of your cups obviously determines the sizes of holes required. (I needed 3-5/8” holes.)


Left: Removing the sharp edge of the hole. Right: Sanding the tray.


After finishing the holes, file the cup edges and sand the material smooth.


Left: Adding a back to the tray. Right: Completed tray.


Glue and clamp, then pin or screw a 22-7/8” (l) x 1” (h) x 3/4” piece to the back of the paint tray and add the two 8-1/4" x 1” (h) x 3/4” pieces to the sides and sand smooth to complete the drawer.


Left: Using a spacer to position drawer slide. Right: Finished drawer slide.


Set the base on its side and insert the drawer. Make sure you place a 1/16” spacer between the drawer and the base before attaching the drawer slide 9” (l) x 3/4” x 3/4”. (A loosely snug fit is good.) Once you are happy with it, secure the slide to the gable and repeat the process on the other side.


Left: Checking to make sure cups clear the stop. Right: Stops installed.


Temporarily install a stopper in the center by taping it into place. Try to pull the drawer; it should clear the cups. If successful, secure the stopper 1-1/4" in from the outside edge. Countersink holes to line up with two of the inside cup holes. Once this is done, remove and reinstall after staining or painting.


Left: Positioning the drawer front. Right: Drawer front secured with screws and glue.


Once you have removed the stopper, glue and clamp the drawer face 24-7/16” x 3-1/2” x 3/4” to the drawer. Secure with 1-1/2” screws and make sure the screws go into the wide part of the cup holder.


Left: Attaching piano hinge. Middle: Dry fitting chalkboard into top. Right: Completed hinge installation.


Chalkboard


Before you start assembling the chalkboard, make sure your veneer has been glued to all edges and all material has been sanded smooth. Cut the piano hinge to 22-5/8”, lay the pieces flat and position the hinge for pre-drilling. Secure with #6 5/8” screws. When securing, make sure your 25° angles are facing the same way. After it’s secured, dry fit onto the top of your base. Attach a safety block in place with the two pieces of 22 7/8” x 1-1/2” x 3/4” with the 25° angle. Mark placement and secure. When you are happy with the fit, remove the piano hinge before staining or painting.


Left: Applying the golden oak polyurethane finish. Right: Light sanding between coats.


Staining


For this application, I used pre-mixed polyurethane called Golden Oak. When using this type of finish, it’s a good habit to keep stirring the mixture while using it. Always go with the grain of the wood while staining. I also primed and painted the chalkboard on one side of the easel. After the first coat dries, lightly sand to create an even finish for the second coat to be applied.


Completed artist station

Assembly


After everything is dry and you can handle the pieces, it’s time to assemble the remaining parts.

  • Attach the four base sliders to the bottom of the unit.

  • Attach the piano hinge back onto the easel.

  • Set up your paper holders on each side of your easel.

  • Slide the drawer back into place. Measure and mark the holes to attach the drawer handles. Once this is done, re-attach a drawer stopper through the cup holes.

  • Finally, insert your cups and see how it all fits.

 

Text and photos by Barry Maruk

Barry Maruk is a carpenter with a creative passion for design and photography.

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