What Should I Consider When Buying a Children's Easel?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

These days, you might not wish to simply purchase the first A-frame model you see at a good price when buying a children’s easel. Given interesting developments in the art world, there are a lot of choices to be had in terms of models and accessories. Here is a brief review to help you make the best choice.

Some easels geared toward children have built-in storage for paints and other art supplies.
Some easels geared toward children have built-in storage for paints and other art supplies.

It’s important to consider space when buying a children’s easel. First, you may wish to decide if you want a standing easel, a tabletop easel, or a wall-mounted easel. Standing easels may fold up, but they may also be flimsier and easier for a child to accidentally knock over. Even folded, they take up a fair amount of space, particularly if they have multiple sides for multiple children. Tabletop easels are smaller and more portable, but they do need a surface to sit on to be used at chest height. There is also the consideration of where to store them.

Children should avoid using conventional paints, which may contain toxins and easily leave permanent markings.
Children should avoid using conventional paints, which may contain toxins and easily leave permanent markings.

There are two types of wall-mounted easel for children. The first has a hanging system on which the board is mounted, so that a change in the vertical height of the mounting changes the height of the easel. This is not necessarily something you’d want to do often. The easel is essentially flush with the wall, which means that it is at an angle of 90º, and this may not be the best choice, depending on the media the child will use. Other considerations are the likelihood of art supplies getting on the wall itself, and the need for the artist to stand right near the wall in order to access the easel.

The other type of wall easel is on a movable arm, that allows it to be close to or away from the wall and moved to a variety of heights and angles. This something to consider when buying a children’s easel for a child with a disability. The adjustable wall-mounted easel on an arm is an ideal easel type for a child in a wheelchair, or who uses a walker or other adaptive device that would prevent closely approaching the wall.

You should also consider media when buying a children’s easel. Think about which types of art experiences you want the easel to be geared for:

  • painting
  • markers, crayons, or pastels
  • chalk
  • magnets
  • dry erase board
  • flannel board

This will help you determine what surface(s) to look for. It will also help you make decisions about ancillary items such as whether you need built-in storage for art supplies, a paint try with cutouts for paint cups, a ledge for chalk or markers, a paper roll attachment, etc.

When you are buying a children’s easel for multiple children, there are some other points to consider. It used to be that easels were one-sided or two-sided, and that was the extent of the choice. Now you can easily find three-sided and even four-sided easels. Another possibility to consider with multiple children is a larger board, such as one designed as a whiteboard or for flip charts that can be shared by multiple children.

Painting can be a fun craft for children.
Painting can be a fun craft for children.
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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Discussion Comments


Several friends with older kids warned me not to spend too much on a first easel, because in their experience most kids lose interest in their easels quickly. So I was hunting around and found a seller on Ebay named Surpiegirl with an easel for only $25 plus very reasonable UPS shipping. I bought one and my daughter loves it! It's two-sided, has everything that the Melissa and Doug one has, but for way less money. My mom also bought one to keep at her house for when she babysits.


after searching for the perfect easel for a present for my children ages 3 and 5, i settled on the melissa and doug wooden easel. i had wanted one of those plastic easels, but thought that my kids would outgrow it too quickly. one side has a dry erase board, and the other, a chalkboard. it came with cubbies for paint, chalk and pens, and clips to attach paper for painting/drawing on. you can either use it with an easel pad, which are single pieces of paper, or attach a roll of paper on a bar in the middle of the easel. i haven't gotten paper for it yet, but my kids absolutely love using it...they use it on a daily basis. it's also the first thing other kids do when they visit the house. if you don't have an easel, i highly recommend getting one for your kids!


Another thing to consider is quality of overseas easels to ones that are made in the USA. You will find much better quality and in most cases comparable pricing to imports. Another thing to consider is will the company I purchase from return money or exchange if easel is damaged or not what you wanted.



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