Monday, July 10, 2017

An affordable display that fits in my Corolla

Cheap, portable display system
I made this display out of the cheap tripod easels you can get in hobby stores like Michaels and Joann. With a coupon a single one is $10-12. It took me a while to think up a way to hang more paintings off a single easel. I ended up drilling holes through the lower sections in the front legs and inserting #10 bolts with washers and wing nuts. When I first tried hanging the framed works from them, because of the legs angling out, the paintings turned inward toward the center.

I went to Home Depot and bought a roll of vinyl pipe hanging strap, and cut lengths to fit from bolt to bolt with the legs out as far as they go. I used a hole punch to cut bigger holes for the bolts. Because of the thickness of the vinyl, I had to use a bench vise to squeeze the hole punch, but that worked. With the crosspieces tight and the legs spread as far as possible, the vinyl strap keeps the paintings from turning inside.

For quick setup and teardown, I leave the vinyl strap and bolts on, take out the top bolt, and use cheap velcro ties ($7 for 100 on Amazon) to tie the legs together. They take up almost no room in the car (if you don't have anyone in the passenger seat), running from the front foot well back over the seat into the back, and each one weighs very little.

I must say that these are really cheap easels with tiny screw eyes for the chain—they will not withstand rough handling, and might not hold really heavy paintings on the crosspieces. I set up four, two pair back-to-back, using the same velcro ties to (a) tie the back-to-back pair at the center joint of the back legs, and (b) to tie the hanging wire on each top painting to one easel leg. For extra wind-proofing, I hung full gallon water jugs from the crossed rear legs of each back-to-back pair. They didn't move at all and once I got the paintings level, they stayed that way. Now they're all together out in the garage, taking up very little room, all ready for the next time I need them.

As you can see, there's a size limit for the lower paintings, these are 12x16 frames. But if you bolted on a longer, sturdy crosspiece instead of the strapping, that stuck out past the legs, you could hang larger paintings from that.

p.s. — Lewisia sold, and Memaloose Island as well!

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