Craft Show Display, Craft Show Tips, Tips and Resources, Tutorials

Building an Over Table Display Part 1

It’s officially fall!

So naturally my thoughts for the next week will be all about the beach.

The big Abbott Kinney Festival is next Sunday in Venice Beach.  It’s always a great show for me but the vibe is definitely beachy so begone pumpkin spice it’s time for salt air and sunscreen.

However, before I can get my beach on I want to re-think the booth!

Actually, not so much re-think the booth as much as rebuild a thing I already built for the booth……


Just before the big Halloween show in July (wow! I am really seasonally out of whack here.  Join me next week as I prepare for Valentines Day!) I slapped together an over-table display in order to make maximum my use of space.  You can see it here:Cheltenham RoadHalloween Craft Fair Booth

And you can see base of it a little bit better here in my mock-booth-set-up for the Jackalope Summer Nights show that I did the following week:

It worked great!  Things were up and visible yet out of the way (and I did not bang my head on any of them which, sadly, is actually an achievement)

However, it was a bit slapped-together – making use exclusively of rough scrap wood, hastily painted.

I’ve been meaning to make a slightly more elegant version.

The goal here is:

  • simple to make
  • portable – ie, you can take it apart for transport
  • compact
  • light
  • stable

I used 1/2″ pine for the foot pieces (left over from making the display shelves) and plywood for the base.  For the legs and top piece I picked up some 1×3 Poplar Wood since its is reliably strong and straight.  The legs are 6’5″ tall and the cross piece is 6′.

The four sides of the foot look like this:

Each one is 8.5″ tall and the angle is… angle (I have to confess I kinda winged it since figuring out the angle would suggest geometry and my relationship with geometry is….fraught…..)

I clamped all the pieces in place around the poplar leg to make sure of a snug fit.

and drilled pilot holes for the screws (this is key to keep the wood from splitting)

and screwed the pieces together.

I didn’t use glue on these.

I want the leg to slide in and out of the foot easily but still have a snug fit.  Given lumber’s propensity to expand and contract I wanted to guarantee a little wiggle room and thought if I glued the pieces together I might not have any flexibility.  I figure, this way, if necessary, I can loosen or tighten the screws just to accommodate small changes. 

The legs and top piece just needed holes drilled to accommodate the bolts that would hold them together.

To make sure the legs were exactly the same I clamped them together and used my drill press and a Forstner Bit to drill the bolt holes (a plain old drill would work fine, I’m just being fancy)

For the base I wanted something thick, solid and stable.

After cutting them to size I glued and screwed together two pieces of 1/2″ plywood.

On the top side of the base I drew an outline of each foot and drilled pilot holes within the outline (so I could screw in from the bottom).

On the bottom I used a countersink to recess the screw heads to keep things level

Once I screwed everything into place I was done with Part I


I know what you’re thinking:

Part 1 has ended on such an exciting cliff-hanger!!! I can’t wait for next week!!!  What could possibly happen next in this thrilling tale!?!

Let me just say this.

Sequels are never as good as the original

(I may or may not have overestimated how much I could get done in time for this post……)

6 thoughts on “Building an Over Table Display Part 1”

  1. Nice work, David. I like the look of your base. I could build something like that for hanging my birdfeeders. I camp in the desert quite often and the ground can be rocky and hard. Makes it difficult to use a metal shepherd’s hook. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. I think you need to hurry up on finishing the display & getting on with the beachy because, & I really hate to have to tell you this, business-wise, Christmas is just around the corner. I seem to recall that it sneaks up on you—like a freight train with no brakes!

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