SHOW + TELL: A-Frame Canvas Card Wall

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One of the best things about having “a summer off” is that I am slowly getting to the projects that have been stacking up, with the help and company of Safety Husband. It feels great to make forward progress, but it is INSANE how much I expected to have done in a couple of weeks.

This weekend I finally got to a pressing project, and built an a-frame portable card wall out of two canvases and some scrap wood. There are a million options when it comes to displaying cards, but I wanted something light-weight with a little character, and I think this project absolutely fit the bill.

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Safety Husband makes a great arm model. Safety goggles not shown, but surely present.

Since these canvases were big (~30″ x 48″) they were reinforced on the back, so our first step was knocking those bars out. Fortunately they came out pretty easily with a couple of smacks from a mallet.

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We decided to use some trim leftover from the shop, and ripped it (on a table saw) to be the same depth as the canvas. That left us a scrap that made a perfect lip for the front of the card rails. We cut the trim to fit inside the frame of the canvas.

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Once all 10 card rail pieces and lips were cut, I glued and clamped them together and left them overnight to dry. Once they were dry, I used a semi-gloss white spray paint to cover all the green painted sides (all that would be visible from the front of the display.)

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I made a mark along my frame every 9 inches to allow for enough room for the cards, and the occasional journal.

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The shelf pieces ended up being a tight fit in the frame of the canvas, so I decided that wood glue would be enough to hold up the light weight of the cards. I put glue on the ends to mount into the frame. I also put glue along the long back of the rails to attach to the canvas and keep cards from falling behind the shelves.

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I then gently put the rails in place, using a piece of scrap wood and a mallet to tap some of the tighter pieces in.

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I used painters tape to secure shelves in that were more likely to shift around. Most were held in place by friction and perfectly measured cuts.

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When the glue had set, I finished by attaching the two canvases together with old door hinges. (The best hardware has a little character.)

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I love the simple but rustic look of the a frame, and I adore how light weight and durable it is. It will soon find a home in a local store, and I’m excited to see how it looks.

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I always get a sense of satisfaction when I finish a project like this, when I get over all the “What if I…” ideas and just get it done. This one is especially rewarding because I only used materials leftover from the shop and previous projects.

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What are you working on?

Comments

  1. says

    This is super cool! I love the idea!

    Where do you get your canvases? I was just curious if you found them somewhere fairly inexpensive because canvases that large tend to be pricey in the stores here.

    • says

      They aren’t super cheap, but I bought those at Aaron Brothers when they were having a buy one get two free sale (which happens pretty regularly.) I I use them as backdrops and other non-canvasy things. (=

  2. Cath says

    Neat Idea! Thanks for sharing the how to. It really got the creative juices flowing, and I thought of two things. One, you could decorate the canvases before assembling, to give it a bit of pizzazz, especially around the edges. Second, with a bit of ingenuity, you could use hinges that would allow you to fold the A frame in the opposite direction. For displaying outdoors, a sheet of heavy, clear acetate on each side would protect the contents from a sprinkle, or wind, and still allow the cards to be seen. At the end of the day, The acetate would hold everything in place while you “close” it, by folding it back on itself. Secure the whole thing with a strap and it’s portable, without having to take all the cards out.

    • says

      Thanks Cath!
      Since this display is meant to be mostly permanent in a store, I hinged it on the top. If you wanted to make it closable, you could put the hinges on the side and open it up more like a book, or find two-way hinges for the top. The rest of your ideas are good too!

  3. says

    these look terrific! So clever to use the canvas. I’m always on the hunt for versatile (and light!) ways to do displays. Thanks so much for the idea and the tutorial.
    David

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