You may remember I made a large Mahl some time ago to use with my floor easel. The smaller one I made this morning is for use with my pastel paintings and watercolors. Here’s how I made the wooden mahl.
I used a dowel 3/8ths in diameter. I sanded it so it was silky smooth. I used a 2″ styrofoam ball for the top of the mahl. I stuck the dowel in the center of the styrofoam ball, added glue and held it until it set firmly in place. I added a covering over the styrofoam ball of scrap fabric, wrapped tightly and tied with a thin scrap of ribbon. The mahl is 36″ from the tip of the styrofoam ball to the bottom of the dowel.
The package of four styrofoam balls came from Dollar Tree, the dowel came from Mennards for just over a dollar. The fabric was left over from another project, as was the ribbon. The cost of the glue was .10 cents. For less than $1.50 I have an artist tool which will serve it’s purpose perfectly well.
On to the bridge:
I used scraps of foamcore, cut into 3 20″ pieces, 3″ wide. I used smaller scraps: 8 pieces, 3″ long and 1/2″ wide. I hot glued the three 20″ pieces together, on top of each other, making one 20″ piece, 3 layers deep. I hot glued 4 of the 3″ pieces together, on top of each other to make a stack, then the other four pieces in the same way. I glued the stacks of four foamcore pieces to the bottom of the stack of 3 20″ pieces, making a “table” upon which to rest my arm while painting with pastels. The space between the two 4 piece “legs” is 171/2″. The bridge stands 1″ above the surface I will be working on.
The foam core was originally purchased from Dollar Tree for another project. These were scraps which I save for all sorts of things. Had I purchased a piece of foamcore for this purpose it would have been $1.06 with tax. Since I would not have used an entire piece for this project, it would cost less than a dollar, including the glue.
We all know I have a passion for art materials. I love them! But I see no reason to buy something I need when I can make it for a fraction of the cost. And by saving money on the “not fun stuff” I have more money available to spend on the really fun stuff.