Craft and Handmade Shows, Craft Show Tips, Tutorials

Portable Wall for Craft Show Display

As I returned home from loading in for Unique LA last Friday I found myself happily thinking “wow – it’s all loaded in!  Booth looks good, most of my work is done AND I haven’t hit my head on anything like I usually do before a big show!Smiley_Face

…….later that evening, as the ER doctor carefully sewed the tip of my thumb  back on after I had nearly severed it with an Exacto blade I made a silent vow to NEVER HAVE ANOTHER POSTIVE THOUGHT IN MY LIFE!!!

Actually, I was quite lucky.  The ER wasn’t crowded.  The doc and staff were great.  The injury didn’t (and hasn’t) actually hurt and my trauma did earn my sympathy from my very concerned, wood-worker father.  Here is our exchange:

Dad: I told you not to get hurt in the shop.

Me: I was in the dining room.

Dad: That’s fine then.  Carry on.

Despite all that the weekend went great (although I discovered that, while it is true that language skills are key it  is really opposable thumbs that make me different from, say, a cow or a very chatty house plant……  Making change proved quite challenging).

The show was beautifully run, as always, the crowds were good, friends dropped by along with returning customers and, in general, a fine time was had by all.

But I wanted to share my new display idea.

As long time readers know I’m kind of a lunatic about figuring out how best to display my wares and this time was no different.

I made some tweeks to my Coaster Display boards by adding plexiglass to make the coasters more visible.  I also changed the shelves to make them a bit more portable (I’ll detail that in a separate blog post).

Portable Display Tower for Craft Show
Portable Display Tower for Craft Show

But my big thing was to come up with a way to show my subway signs to best advantage.  There are two sizes: large (16” wide 2’ long) and small (9” wide 12” long) and I wanted them all in one spot and hanging up so people could see all the options.

You can’t actually attach hooks and things to the booth walls at Unique so I needed a Plan B.

I wanted a wall.  And it needed to be pretty big.

I had the following criteria for the design.

1)      As always – it had to fit in the Fit (that’s my tiny but mighty Honda Fit car) which meant it needed to break down into small parts

2)      It needed to be very stable.  I wanted to hang the signs off of it but not worry about it tipping over on someone.  But I couldn’t anchor it to the ground nor did I want big “feet” sticking out to trip people.

3)     And, most importantly, it needed to be cheap!

The “stable with a small footprint” was really stumping me until I stumbled across these at Home Depot

Concrete Footing Piers
Concrete Footing Piers

They are footing piers and the come ready made with their metal cleats  sized to hold 2x4s (the 2×4 in the pic is mine) and, best of all, cost only $7.00 each.  They are heavy but not unliftable – I used my dolly to move them around.

Once I found those the plan came together easily.

I attached 5’10” long 2x4s to the piers with screws (you can see them in the pic above – the extra piece of 2×4 was because I decided at the last minute I wanted a little extra height)  and cut very inexpensive “furring stips” into 5’ lengths (I ended up with ten 5’ furring strips).

I temporarily drilled the furring strips into place and then distressed them and painted them white.Understain the EdgesI needed the wall to be portable and I wanted a way to set it up and take it down quickly.

I bought some bolts and their corresponding nuts and drilled holes through the slats and the posts. Drilled Post

BoltThat way to assemble it on-site I just had to slip the bolts through the holes, tighten the nuts and BAM instant wall!

I must say it worked beautifully!

It was quick to set up and break down.   I just added some screws  on-site to hang the signs from.

Simple Wall Display for Craft Booth
Simple Wall Display for Craft Booth

It was solid as a rock and, I think, looked nice.Easy To Build Wall Display for Craft ShowThe total cost was around$50 (I had the paint on hand, and a few of the bolts)

And it fit in the FIT!

I’m already thinking of the other ways it could be adapted.  I could create alternate, shorter rails for a smaller display.  I could build simple shelves that hook onto the rails to create a kind of multi-product wall if I wanted etc etc.

OK, onward.  I have another show in two weeks.  I get my stitches out next Monday and need to make lots of coasters cause I’m sold out!

Hope everyone had a great mother’s day weekend.


11 thoughts on “Portable Wall for Craft Show Display”

  1. That is SO COOL! I am constantly trying to figure out a better to display my goodies (that could be so misinterpreted…tell me you know what I mean) that is inexpensive, portable, and functional and DIY. Nicely done. Love your wares, BTW, and see one of your signs that would be perfect for my brother-in-law.

    1. Hmmm. Well, for my tent-based shows I’ve started using the very similar hanging wall idea (
      If I do this wall again for an indoor show I think I would skip the cinder-block bases and build some wood “feet.” Hard to describe but I picture a simple “L” shape with some weights dropped down on top for stability. You’ve inspired me to get going on the revision – perhaps a future blog post! Hope that helps but if I’ve been to vague let me know and I’ll do a more detailed response.

  2. I’ve really been enjoying your blog, and finding it very useful- especially since my first festival is tomorrow. I think I’m prepared but I feel like I haven’t done anything at all. Idk. But there’s a couple things I found amusing; my dad is also a very talented woodworker, and I also drive a Honda Fit. I didn’t think about it when I bought it, but I am SO thankful now that I got a car with a hatchback and seats that fold all the way down. But anyway, love your blog!

    1. Hey Kailey! I’m slow to respond (apologies) but I hope your show went well. I always feel underprepared myself and often look around and think “is this all I made? I feel like I’ve been working forever!” And I’m so glad to meet a fellow, happy-fit owner!

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE The Portable Wall for Craft Show Display…..Did you buy, the cement footing piers with those metal brackets already in the footing???? I have looked on Home Depots site I didn’t see them

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