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Craft Fair Booth Set Up Part 1

Photo Courtesy Nik V Phototgraphy

Rats!

Today’s post was supposed to be all about how I had finally triumphed in my craft booth set up for last Sunday’s Patchwork show.

However, I encountered a teeny-tiny glitch with that plan:

  • None of the pictures I took seem to exist*
  • “Triumph” is sort of a stronger word than can be applied to my achievement

I know!

Upsetting!

Pi (who featured prominently in several pics) threw himself to the ground in his disappointment and was almost inconsolable.

But I did improve my set up (I think) so perhaps I can share the journey and, hopefully be of some help to others.

Here’s the deal.

Of the many things I struggle with (fighting my all ice-cream diet instinct, remembering sunscreen, not banging my head into solid objects) booth set-up is one of my biggest conundrums.

You’d think that by now I’d have it down.

You’d be wrong.

You see, I’m convinced that if I could just create the perfect booth, the perfect displays then THEN everyone would buy everything!

Which is a perfectly reasonable thing to focus on…..if your goal is to go insane.Craft booth set up for Cheltenham Road

I basically have two, three, a lot of main problems:

  1. I’m too eclectic. Soap sellers sell soap, the tshirt vendors sell t-shirts etc.  Me?   I make  coasters….and trays……and signs…..and wine charms…..and magnets…..and candle blocks…..and wood letters…..and flower holders….
  2. Because, as a customer, I often go into booths I’m convinced that everything needs to be as close to the front as possible
  3. Everything needs to fit in a somewhat small car and be easy to set up/break down
  4. I need a place for me
  5. I need to be able to get out of the booth and not trap myself behind the table)
  6. I need accessible storage
  7. I need to find a place for Pi to feature predominately so as to lure people in

Today I’m gonna focus just on number 1 –Eclectic and Flexible (sounds like a disorganized yoga class I took once)

Of course, you may be thinking, “David, perhaps you should, um, calm down, focus and sell coasters like your friends the candle makers, tshirt makers and such?

And you’d be right.

But I’d be bored.

The fun part is making.  Coming up with new ideas.

And I pretty much have the Coaster Display down.  As you can see above, the towers have been with me in some form or another since my first show.

It’s the “everything else” that comes and goes that needs to be worked out.

But I think I’ve got that down to a science or at least a solid theory.

I’ve started using various combinations of inexpensive, stained 1×12 boards, wood crates, drop cloths and tables.

This gives me plenty of flexible display space while not taking up much room in transport.

For Patchwork Santa Ana I laid everything out across the front:

With the Coaster Display lined up flat along the wall

Here is a sort of schematic I put together to give you an idea

It worked great – sort of.

Everything packed in the car nicely.

Everything was up front except magnets and their sales were way down.

Pi was kinda hidden behind the display and the tables.

I got lucky because the space next to me was wide open but if it hadn’t been there would have been a very bad bottleneck at the sales table with customers not being able to get back out of the booth without jostling through a crowd.

So for Patchwork Long Beach I changed things up a bit (and sorry, here is where the pictures magically disappeared so you’ll need to make due with my never-meant-to-be-published phone pics of the set up in my driveway).

I swapped in a 6′ table and set up the shelves in an L formation

Here’s another schematic:

I moved the magnets up to the other corner and put the Coaster Display in it’s three-sided tower layout.

Pi was more prominent.  Perhaps too prominent.

He literally stole a toy from a baby!

The child toddled into the booth carrying a yellow, fluffy, stuffed something.

Pi wagged his tail, sidled over, said “I’ll just take that, thank-you,” and retreated under a table.

He was totally gentle, the kid hardly noticed, the parents laughed (which doesn’t bode well for the child’s future) and I was mortified.

But other than that the layout worked!

The shelves are flexible, easy to pack and any random thing I make can be displayed without coming up with a whole new system.

The crates double as storage for transport and, with some care, everything fits in or on the car!

I have some other refinements in mind for the next round but, hopefully, I’m done overhauling the set up for every show.

I’m sure I’ve confused some folks or there are questions so don’t hesitate to fire away if I’ve been unclear about something that would be helpful.

I’m planning posts on my Sales Table and an update on that hanging wall.  Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

Photo Display Board Tutorial

Last weekend’s Patchwork Festival in Santa Ana went really well!  Beautiful weather, great crowds,  good sales and I may possibly have figured out a good, final, booth set up….more on that in another post.

This Sunday is Patchwork Long Beach!

Patchwork Show Long Beach. Sunday June 10th

I have no idea why I thought “cool! Two shows almost back to back” sounded good but apparently, in the darkness of January, I did.

So here I am – madly restocking!

However, my Photo Display Boards have gotten good response at all the recent shows so I thought it might be fun to share how I make them.  Also, Geralyn came up with a great suggestion for a new one!

Disclaimer: While I’ve labeled this a tutorial it’s really more of “here’s-what-I-did-you-can-do-something-similar-but-I’m-not-saying-you-should-do-exactly-this.  However, that seemed like an unwieldy title so rest assured I’ll be offering up other options for each step as we go.

These signs fall into my Use Up Your Scrap-wood mission in life.

So I started with:

  • Scrap plywood 30” long by 7” tall.
  • 3 eyehole screws
  • Ikea RikTig clips
  • 36” threaded rod (from the hardware store)
  • Decorative Threaded End caps (from the same hardware store)
  • Folk Art Aniquing Wax

(not pictured but strongly implied)

  • White paint
  • Drill
  • Minwax Polycrylic
  • Sandpaper

My board was already painted white but had it not been I would have done it –  regular latex paint works (Milk paint would be fine too) – just make sure its thoroughly dry.  I then sanded off just the edges for a slightly worn look.

Geralyn’s (brilliant I think) idea was that I should make one that could be used to show off children’s artwork so I created a graphic that fit with my “vintagy” style – an old Crayon Box.

Alternate: I also toyed with the idea of just using simple text that said “Look what I made!” or the Picasso quote “all children are artists.”  Any text or graphic would work.

I did my usual image transfer technique (detailed instructions here).

It’s quite simple – I print graphics out in reverse on a laser printer and adhere them, face-down, onto the plywood using Minwax Polycrylic.

For a  sign this long I had to create three, separate, sections printed on regular legal-sized paper which had to be lined up.

After letting the polycrylic dry overnight I took my very wet rag (no need to be delicate) and rubbed away the paper to reveal the graphic.

It takes a couple of rounds of rubbing to get all the paper off and if, like me, you’re going for a vintagy look, you can be fairly aggressive since any image that rubs away just adds to the aged look.

I then used Folk Art Antiquing Was and a pouncing bush to add a bit more distress to the fairly pristine wood.

(In truth I think I may have over-distressed this one.  There is a fine line between “look an old sign!” and “you need to clean that” and I think I may have crossed it.)

After the wax had dried and I’d buffed it a bit I added the eye-hole screws (pre-drilling the holes)….

….ran the threaded rod through them and capped each end with the decorative caps.

I had stumbled on these Ikea RikTig hangers the other day and they work perfectly (as well as being quite inexpensive).Alternate: If you didn’t want to use a rod a tautly stretched wire, a wood dowel or string would work perfectly.  If you’re not near an Ikea then small clothespins would work or, even possibly, be better!

I don’t have any kids so, after stealing some artwork from innocent children passing by, I was all set to go!

As I mentioned any sort of graphic would work.

My initial sign was just black and white for a made-up camera shop

I got a bit more colorful for a mid-century version.

These are fun to make and I think the idea is easily adaptable.

If image transfer isn’t your thing stencils would work great as would more straightforward decoupage.  Lots of options!

And, as always, if you make something similar, I’d love to see the photos.

Back next time with Adventures in Booth Design!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slow Progress and and Update!

I interrupt this update for a quick PSA:

The folks at Plaid are having an awesome sale on all Mod Podge branded products on their site (so, Mod Podge, tools, brushes, melts etc – lots of stuff)! 

Photo courtesy of Plaid Enterprises.

It’s 40% off your order and free shipping if you spend $60 or more.  So, if you need to, now is the time to stock up.  I bought 6 gallons (#holysmoke) of Mod Podge and saved a ton of money.

BUT!!! It ends tonight.

Just go to their site and use the code MPDAY18

We now return you to your regular programming:

I’m baaaack….sort of

OK, so my To Do List for the last three weeks has looked like this:

As you can see my priorities are solid!

But I finally did #1 today.

It took 30 seconds.

May I present my card:

Actually, there is a lot more to do (full-fledged site redesign, shopping widget etc) but I do at least have the space now to do a post.

And you’d think, “David, with all that free time, what with not accomplishing your goals, you must have done lots of stuff!

And you would be wrong….and possibly new here?

Actually, that’s not true. I did a lot.  Just not necessarily in an organized, well thought-out, photographed sort of way.

I had my first in-person show of the season in Pasadena and finally FINALLY! Put together a booth set up that I liked!

I had a nice, corner spot and this arrangement gave me plenty of space for display and for everyone (including me) to move around!

It looks a bit dark in the photos but I actually thought it was welcoming and cheery in real life.

I worked out some new ideas too.

Sticking with my “use your scrap wood theme” I came up with these vintage sign photo holder boards.  Which combine my love of vintage graphics and a certain amount of practicality.

I made a few more for the show:

Pi also finally pulled his weight by looking really cute and luring unsuspecting future customers into the booth:

A long-time “I have an idea but I haven’t gotten around to it yet” project came to fruition with some coaster holders to sell along with the actual coasters.

First up- little Library Drawers to go with my Vintage Library Card Drink Coasters (again, made from scrap wood)

They got a lot of attention at the show:

and I kept working on those scrap wood flower holder crates which are fun to make.

So I guess I was busy, just not particularly focused.

I have my next big show this coming Sunday in downtown Santa Ana and will report back with details, designs and new ideas shortly.

Thanks for bearing with me!

 

Hold Please

Hold Please.

I apologize for the delay but I’m experiencing some technical difficulties.

It seems I ran out of room on this blog (I didn’t know that was a thing – apparently I talk too much) so I need to upgrade.

Unfortunately, upgrading costs money and my need to upgrade came at exactly the moment someone hacked all my credit cards (thanks Home Depot!)

So, I’m going to have to do some rejiggering behind the scenes which could take a few moment as I really don’t get the tech side of all this.

I’m hopeful that upon my return it will be an new, enhanced blog accompanied by some e-commerce options (not affiliate links or paid advertising or anything – just a way to buy my actual products).

Thanks for your bearing with me and for my new subscribers (thanks!) I swear more content will be forthcoming soonishly!

David

Simple Farmhouse Style Tray Tutorial

Got a bit distracted over the past few weeks but I’m……”back on track?” …. well, that kind of implies there was a track to begin with which might be overstating things….. let’s just go with “I’m continuing to continue.”

So the next couple of weeks will be all about preparations for the upcoming, April 28-29th Jackalope Pasadena Art Fair.

It’s a great show.  I’m excited about it  and determined to

  1. come up with some new coaster designs,
  2. have enough coasters on hand, and
  3. really make use of all that scrap wood for some one-of-a-kind projects.

I have a million ideas – I just need to do the “hard” work of turning them from ideas into actual, physical things.

Oh, and I also need a new booth set up.

Bottom line – it’s going to be a super relaxing couple of weeks filled with bon-bon consumption and channel surfing……

Up first is a tray for the proud citizens of South Pasadena.

It’s pretty easy to do but I thought I’d outline the steps in case anyone out there might like to give it a go.

Here is what I used

  • Tray
  • Wood stain
  • Some thin strips of scrap wood cut to size
  • Wood stain/antiquing glaze
  • Paint (Folk Art Milk Paint in my case)
  • E6000 glue
  • Polycrylic
  • Roller
  • Rag

After staining the tray I cut my scrap wood to size (2.5″ by 16″) and went to my Plaid supply box and pulled out Folk Art Milk Paint (Petticoat color) and Folk Art Antique Wax. After painting the slats with Petticoat I went back in and “aged” the edges with the antiquing wax.

I glued the strips in place using the trusty E6000 glue and left it to dry overnight.

After working out the South Pasadena design I reversed it and printed it on my laser printer using plain old, Staples brand, legal paper

I used my Polycrylic transfer technique (you can see details here) and, after letting it dry overnight, rubbed away the paper with a wet rag (you can be pretty aggressive).

*I have found one refinement for this process.

The technique works perfectly but you do sometimes end up being able to see a slight demarcation where edge of the paper was.  I found that if I spread the poly carefully so as to avoid sealing down the very edges it minimizes this effect.

I seal all my trays with Envirotex Lite.

It’s easy to use (as long as you follow the directions to the letter) but you do have to prep the surface.  I seal everything with a coat or two of Matte Mod Podge taking particular care to run a bead of MP around the inside of the tray to seal up any gaps. 

What could happen if one skips this step?

Hypothetically …… One might return to check on one’s project and think “Gee, it seems like there is a lot less Envirotex in that tray than before.”

One then might find the missing Envirotex all over the kitchen table and dripping onto floor.

One might then panic and instinctively touch the insanely sticky, spilled Envorotex WITH BOTH HANDS.

One then (finally using one’s brain) might go to get paper towels and discover one is out of paper towels.

One might then try to open the pantry door with insanely sticky hands and then attempt to tear open the plastic wrapper with one’s insanely sticky hands and then return to the now even bigger mess on the kitchen table with one’s hands covered in plastic and paper towel bits.

Hypothetically……

Once it was all dry the tray was ready to go.

One down!  So many more ideas to work on!

What To Do With All That Scrap Wood?

I have a lot of stuff.

Scrap wood (tons!), bits and pieces from Great Ideas! that never quite came to fruition.

Bits and pieces from Great Ideas! that did come to fruition but, perhaps, shouldn’t have….

You get the picture.

And now I have a lot of stuff and I have a goal.

The Blair Witch room must be  torn down and rebuilt soon and the not-in-great-shape-itself garage workshop needs to be shored up as well.

Since the bids for that project are coming in at 80K and up that means two things need to happen:

  1. I need to sell A LOT of coasters and
  2. I need to get rid of all that stuff – preferably not by renting a dumpster

So, with numerous spring shows coming up I wanted to create some quick, easy projects that use up supplies.

Now, because my dad was a precise, thoughtful, craftsman/engineer all of his projects began with carefully considered and fully rendered blueprints and layouts.

Since I am not any of those things all my projects start with me randomly grabbing things and making it up as I go along (dad’s way was better).

I gave myself 45 minutes to put together each prototype.

This one isn’t anything ground breaking- you can find similar things at Michaels 

but it uses up leftover coaster-wood.  It is just strips of 1/4 inch mdf pin nailed onto 1/2″ mdf end caps.

I painted it out, sanded the edges  a bit and “aged” it using antiquing wax.  

And that’s nice but I figure in order to make it a bit more than “something you can buy at Michaels” I needed to do my own thing with it so I covered up a lot of that careful “antiquing” with images pulled from my stock of vintage postcard graphics (and a little image transfer on the end caps)

I think it has possibilites.

Up next, I was making the best apple pie I’ve ever made or eaten and realized what I needed in my kitchen was a thing to hold up magazines or my ipad.

Again, I used leftover coaster wood scraps cut to 2×12 with a little shelf at the bottom.

After staining the edges I waxed over them, painted it white and sanded the paint away to reveal the stain (similar to how did this project).

Again, not particularly earth shatteringly creative but I added a graphic (using my polycrylic image transfer technique) and I like how it looks.  

Again, it needs some refining – like,  I love that graphic (which is courtesy of the awesome Angie at Knick of Time – you can find the download for the graphic here) but it’s a bit overwhelming – I think I need something a bit less “graphicy” for the next round.

And finally, I have a bunch of mason jars and saw this great tutorial for painting them which lead to another quickie box/tote/centerpiece made with leftover plywood, paint and….wait for it…….image transfer!!!!!

Although I clearly have a limited flower budget you get the idea and I think it too has possibilities.

So I’ll be working on these and a few other ideas over the next little while.

Once I figure out the “best” way to do one of them I’ll do a full-fledged tutorial if you’re interested.

But for now I need to go make a lot of coasters.

 

 

Quick and Easy Desk Organizer Makeover

I seem to have accumulated (through no fault of my own I assure you) a lot of….stuff.  Bits and pieces – parts of grandiose plans that somehow, before they were fully grandios-ed, got supplanted by a different, even better, grandiose plan.

For instance,  a while ago, I got all excited and purchased a bunch of inexpensive desk/organizers that I thought would make great display pieces.

They didn’t.

I’ve just been shuffling them around and thinking “I need to do something with those….someday…….”

And that day has come!

Well…their day came because this was my thought process on Saturday:

(My inner-monologue can be a bit dramatic.)

Anyway, while I was overjoyed to realize I’d already painted one the fact that it was painted flat black threw me until I remembered this dresser that I’d seen a while ago:

I thought that was such a cool effect.

So I grabbed my Waverly Gloss Black paint and a Folk Art Stencil and got to work:


I still have some kind of a weird block about using stencils.  I never want to do it which makes no sense because it’s pretty simple to do and always seems to work just fine.  This was particularly easy and super-quick.  I just taped the stencil in place and tapped away.

(No, I Totally meant to leave the bottom bright yellow and only half-assed paint that front edge.  Why do you ask?)

Sigh.

The stencil worked perfectly and, I am quite sincere when I tell you the whole thing took about 10 minutes.

And now I have this super-cool desk organizer.

……With a totally intentional bright yellow bottom.

And while I probably should have cleaned up the room a bit more before I snapped the photo.  Other aspects of the picture are pretty good!

And, better yet, my friend Karla came over last night, saw the organizer and said “you could totally give that to me and it would be nice.” So I am!

 

OK, now what to do with the other ones?

Eh, I have a week.  I’ll wait till next Saturday to figure it out.

Disclaimer: The good folks at Plaid provided me with the stencils and paint used on this project but all opinions are my own and was not compensated in any other way.  The links provided are to the Plaid site and are for informational purposes (ie, I don’t get any money if click on them).

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