Church and school functions, concerts in the park or ribbon-cutting ceremonies are all good examples of events that could benefit from a portable staging system. Building your own portable stage with modular platforms and columns from 2-by-4 lumber and ¾-inch plywood is a project that most DIYers can complete successfully. Start by asking the director of the event how much stage they need and breaking that into 4-by-8-foot sections to determine your material needs.
Building a Stage Platform
A sturdy, reusable platform is the main unit. Construct it from 2-by-4s and ¾-inch plywood. Use treated lumber if your stage will be set up outdoors. Cut four 2-by-4s to 45 inches. These will be your ends and cross braces. Lay a full sheet of ¾-inch plywood out on a pair of saw horses. Drill countersunk pilot holes every 10 inches around the outside edge, ¾ inch in.
Use a chalkline to mark lines 32 inches from either end, one side of the plywood to the other. This is where the crossmembers underneath will run. Drill countersunk pilot holes along both lines every 10 inches. Turn the plywood over.
Place a full length 2 by 4 along each edge, standing on edge, flush it up with each end. You can hols them in place by hand or use a C clamp to hold the 2by4 in place. With a cordless drill screw it to the plywood using 21/2 inch treated deck screws.
Place a 45 inch 2by4 31 ¼ inches fro m either end between the edge pieces, with the 2by4 on edge. Clamp them in place and attach with 2 ½ screws in each hole.
Drill pliot holes in the 2by4 at each corner and at the joint of each crossmember to minimize splitting. Add at least 2 screws in each of these joints.
Building the Support Column
Cut 4 pieces of 3/4-inch plywood for each column, 24-inches high by 18-inches wide. Notch each piece in the end of one short side 3-inches wide by 3/12-inches high.
Glue and nail the pieces together with all notches facing the same way into a colmun 18-inches by 19½-inches wide. Drill pilot holes and add at least two, 11/4- inch treated deck screws in each joint. The column is designed to hold the corners of four platforms together. Use one column at each corner where two or more platforms meet and one at each outside corner.
Add C clamps to the joins between platforms for added stability. Carpeting the underside of the plywood or tacking on foam insulation will help to reduce noise. Ideally set your stage on concrete or asphalt. Use plywood of varying heights as shims to level columns if needed. If the stage is being installed on grass, use 24-by-24-inch squares of plywood to set columns on to prevent sinking.