RSS Feed

Category Archives: Craft Show Display

A Creativity Burst! And a Long Nap

Hi!

OK, so next time I ask you:

Can I do two, large, back-to-back shows that will require two, totally different inventories?

Your answer should be “no, David, you cannot.”

Or perhaps, “yes David you can but it, and you, won’t be pretty.

And it wasn’t (my workroom was a mess)!

And I wasn’t! (a concerned/alarmed friend actually used the phrase: “you left the house looking like that!?)

But!

The pressure was a great kick-in-the-pants for the creative side.  And though it stressed me out I was very happy with the results.

Quick recap.  I had two, two-day shows that took place a week apart.

Midsummer Scream is a huge, Halloween/Horror convention.

Jackalope Summer Night was an all new, two-night market in beautiful downtown Pasadena.

So I needed lots of inventory but there was very little that would work at both shows.

Helpful: I had a lot of ideas

Unhelpful: 100 degree weather which neither put me in the Halloween spirit nor made working outside a particularly attractive option.

So please join me on the review of my schizophrenic journey through the month of July.

Up first Halloween Magnets. Cut a million blanks, add the graphics and package!Halloween Magnet Sets by Cheltenham Road

Some new tray designs were needed for the Pasadena crowd.Pasadena California collage tray

Rustic Serving Tray by Cheltenham RoadWhile I was in “tray-mode” I created a design for a “deadly poison” tray – perfect for inspiring confidence in your guests.Halloween Poison Tray by Cheltenham Road

I thought I’d try out a collage of my Gothic Halloween Coaster images in  tray.  The chippy, distressed finish was easy to do and I’ll have to share the technique with you as it would work for any rustic style design.Halloween Serving Tray

And while I was doing the distressing thing I worked up some new/old Pasadena signs using scrap wood, leftover paint and image transfer.vintage wood signs

I’d shared my new, slatted Halloween sign idea previously (the how-to is here)

A few more signs were needed though.

I made good on the request for a yoga sign, adapted my Sleepy Hollow design and wanted to see how the image transfer technique would work with just black on orange (turned out just fine!)Halloween Signs  Original design by Cheltenham Road

With your help and suggestions (THANK YOU!!!!)  I finished up the details on the Bride of Frankenstein coaster and added a new one!  Dorian Gray’s Portrait Studio is now part of the Gothic Halloween Coaster collection (and thankfully the typo was caught before many were made…ugh!)Original Design Halloween Coasters

And, based on a customer (who has no use for coasters) request, I made large 12×12 versions of the Gothic Halloween coasters to use as signs.Halloween Signs by Cheltenham Road

My Midsummer Scream table set up was, yet again, new (apparently I’ve never met a wheel I wasn’t willing to re-invent).Halloween Craft Table DisplayI built that structure to take advantage of the space above my head and it worked out quite well.  I need to refine it a bit (this was a quick knock-together with scrap wood) and I’ll share that in a future post.

See all the stuff on that table?  All gone after the first day!

For the Pasadena Night Market I found a new way to display the magnetsHandmade Magnets by Cheltenham Road

And played around with lighting and booth layout.  Craft Booth Set up

Happy to report that both shows were really successful!

And now it’s time for a loooooonggggg nap.

Craft Booth Set Up Part II: What About Me?!

Next up in my craft booth journey:

The Sales Table!

(I know!  Exciting!)

In my booth I always mean to carve out a nice space for me.  A place where I can stand attentively, check people out (I mean transactions, not judging their outfits….though, lets be honest, I’m gonna do that too) and have some space to store bags and tape and all the other stuff that I need.

But it never happens.

I always end up stuck in the back, sometimes only able to converse with people over the top of some display.

But not anymore! (this is the exciting part alluded to earlier – brace yourselves).

For the Jackalope Pasadena show I was determined to come up with a better option.

Looking around the garage for a solution a lightbulb went off.

I had been gifted these two folding bookshelves but had never found a place for them in the house.

(*having lost all my good pics please forgive this photographic tour of my back patio)

But I realized that if I set them next to each other

Wrapped them in a drop cloth (using binder clips to keep it in place) and topped them with a length of board stained to match my other shelving

I had a great sales table that had a narrow, space-saving profile, a little room for some “impulse purchase” products and, best of all?

TONS of storage in the back!

It worked perfectly!  I didn’t even need to attach the top – the weight of the wood kept it in place.  And it folds up super-compactly (probably not actually a word) for easy transport.

I think I’m going to paint the CR logo on the front for the fall shows.

So I was good, right?  Problem solved and I never have to think about it again!

Nope!

Lets be real I’m still (relentlessly) me!

I re-arranged things for the Long Beach Patchwork show and it was better for customers but I was back to not-much-space-for-me.

So I reduced myself to one bookshelf.

OK, that’s fine….but I have waaaayyyy to much drop cloth for that (and I’m trying not to buy more stuff)

However, I do have these panels that I made a while ago that have appeared, in various combinations at other shows.

It turns out one of them fit perfectly on the single bookcase.   The only problem was that it was just a few inches too short.  So I trimmed the “top” out with a strip of scrap wood.

Perfect little podium!

From it’s previous incarnation it has places to hang signs and such – like I did here:

But I’m wondering if I might make a round CR logo sign to hang on the front though (although it will then look like I’m playing in some 40s style swing band).

But I like it.  Equally compact for packing – still a good amount of storage.

I just need to build some little side pieces just to really finish it off.

So, I think I have my permanent solution to the no-space-for-me problem.Craft Show Sales Table Set Up ideas. Versatile, portable and with plenty of storage space.

I think I’m done, for now, with my booth layout (stop laughing, it’s rude)

Up next?!

Halloween!

Seriously?!

Yes, seriously.  I have that big Halloween convention Midsummer Scream” at the end of July and I ton of ideas to try out.

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!

 

 

 

 

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!

 

What I Didn’t Do On My Summer Vacation

I seem to have accidentally taken a mini summer vacation.

It wasn’t a plan I assure you.

But do you ever pick up a crafting magazine or watch a craft-oriented TV show and, as the host is talking, think to yourself “OK, why would anyone make that!!!?” or “yes, you can make that but, really…..should you?”

I’ve had that response numerous times and I think I know the answer.

DESPERATION!

Ever since Midsummer Scream I’ve just making coasters, filling store orders and desperately thinking:

“Any minute now, I will do something really interesting ……”

…..but I haven’t.

I mean, I’ve made stuff – but it’s the stuff you’ve all seen before (or variations thereof)

A customer had me make up a bunch more of my Airport Code Coaster designs (which I really do love to do)

The Mystic Museum requested a set of Fortune Teller Coasters for their shop

I had some new Halloween trays for Midsummer Scream

I did get some new displays made for my local stores.  Hopefully these will help with sales:

But nothing really splashy, new or tutorial-worthy.

I do have at least one very good excuse for my lack of forward momentum

Every time I sit down to have lunch this happens:

(he’s snoring by the way)

I mean, yes, I could sit somewhere else but, seriously, how could one resist this?

But this blog post is my commitment!  NEW (or new-ish let’s not go crazy) is coming!  Interesting is coming!

…..as soon as I wake up the dog…..

Super Simple Craft Show Display Stand

Simple Craft Show DisplayI know some of you long-time readers saw the title of this post and said to yourselves “OK,  nutjob, that’s it.  It’s time to stage an intervention.”

And while it’s true that I’m sort of addicted to making craft show displays I can totally justify this one (and I can stop anytime I want to!).

See, here’s the deal.

I’ve tried a bunch of different ways to display my candle blocks:Candle Block DisplayHalloween Candle Blocks by Cheltenham RoadDIY Product Display Towers for Cheltenham Road Unique LA Craft BoothEach has worked out just fine at the shows and I’ve used and re-used them.

However each has also posed a transport and storage problem.

As you know due to the size of my car (Honda Fit) all my stuff needs to be as compact as possible.  My goal is to have everything fit neatly into boxes so that loading/unloading the car is simple.   I needed (see! it was a NEED!!!) a new display that was compact to transport, sturdy, versatile and easy to set up.

I’ve seen great, beautifully made, collapsible display  stands on Etsy but I just couldn’t afford them.

I was getting ready for the Jackalope Show when I had a brainstorm for a simple, compact, pack-able option.

It came together very quickly, it’s sort of embarrassingly simple (I hesitated to post about it because it’s so…..basic) but I think it will serve me well and variations of it would serve others well too.

I used:

  • 4×4 pine post lumber
  • 1×4 pine strips
  • Tite Bond Wood Glue (and clamps)
  • White paint
  • Teacher’s Tape

I cut my 4×4  lumber down into two  4×4 blocks and two 4×8 blocks.Easy DIY Craft Show DisplayTo make the base gs sturdy I just glued the blocks together (using clamps to hold them in place as the glue dried) and then I painted them white (not very well I’ll admit – I was in a hurry and “rustic” was kind of what I was going for).DIY Craft Show Display StandAnd with two more more 1x4s cut to length and then paintedSuper Easy Craft Show Display Stand

I was, essentially, done.Easy to make DIY Display for Craft Shows by Cheltenham Road

I wanted it to be easy to set up and take down but I also wanted to make sure it didn’t come apart if a customer jostled it or something.

Have you heard of Teacher’s Tape?  0012670_removable-teachers-tape-roll-of-2000It’s my big craft-show lifesaver – I never do a show without a big supply on hand.  It’s inexpensive and super strong but also easily removable.  It’s great for sticking up signs or, as as I did here, just adding that little extra grip that will prevent the stand from coming apart until I’m ready to pack it up.  To pieces on the bottom of each end of the the shelves and that sucker isn’t going anywhere.Simple Display Stand for Craft Shows by Cheltenham Road

The display worked out greatEasy to make, portable, Craft Show Display Stand tutorial by Cheltenham RoadIt only takes seconds to set it up and it’s sturdy.   Easy, Portable, Versatile Craft Show Display Project by Cheltenham Road

It’s versatile enough that if I need it to be longer someday I can just cut some longer.

And, best of all, the whole thing breaks down and fits neatly in a box for transport and storage.

I’m looking forward to using it again at the upcoming Patchwork Show in Long BeachPatchwork Long Beach Craft Show

If you’re local please do come out and see me (and see my display in action!).

Jackalope Show Pasadena, New Products, New Booth Set Up and an Unpleasant Search

Yesterday was the first day of the big Jackalope Fair in downtown Pasadena.

Now, you may think that since I did a big build up for the show in Santa Monica but sold almost nothing that I would just cruise into the prep for this one.

And if you think that, then…..

You must be new here!

Welcome to Cheltenham Road – thanks for dropping by.

Nope, I went into full Captain Crazy Pants mode and made a bunch of new stuff!

I had a brainstorm for a new set of Wine Charms – The Femme Fatales of pulp fiction booksPulp Fiction Wine Charm Set

And, of course, there is one for the Designated DriverWine Charm Set by Cheltenham Road

I also thought it would be good to work up some Local Love coasters, for the Pasadena CrowdPasadena CA Coaster set by Cheltenham Road

And a Pasadena themed Subway Art SignSubway Art Sign Pasadena CA by Cheltenham Road

I continued to work on those terra cotta coasters and found some new designs using oil can graphics and, of course, dairy labels (more on those in a second).

And then I geeked out on booth set up – you can skip this part if it isn’t your thing.

I have to confess I’m a bit embarrassed that I keep doing this.  I mean, of course, you have to make adjustments as you go but at this point I really should have maybe two standard booth layouts that I just trot out.  But I keep getting new ideas – or refining old ideas and I just can’t keep from tinkering.

This time I wanted to play with an arrangement of tables that would give maximum surface space but take up minimum room.

I worked on a dummy version in the drivewayTiered Table Arrangement for Cheltenham Road Craft Booth

The different table heights let me fit a bit more product on there but keep the footprint small.

I was pretty happy with the real thing yesterday (sorry – this is A: not quite totally done and B: a phone photo – but you get the idea).Cheltenham Road Craft Booth

And it seemed to work well (I even remembered my banner! which I had made about two years ago but have forgotten to bring pretty much every time).

I mean, it’s a bit busy -one day my booth is going to trigger a seizure in some poor, unsuspecting customer- but it’s closer to what I want.

Also, due to technical difficulties I had to re-order how I usually set up the coaster and HOME sign boards but I like it a lot.Craft booth set up for Cheltenham Road It’s usually the two coaster boards next to each other and then the HOME Board.  The coasters always catch people’s eyes but this set up makes them see the HOME signs too and pulls them into the booth a bit more.

As you can see in this pic I had the ceramic coasters up front and A LOT of people exclaimed “ash trays!” which had never crossed my mind.  Talk about retro!  Of course, I could probably totally corner that market since I don’t think anyone makes ashtrays anymore…….

So, I’m happy to report that the first day of Jackalope was great.  Weather was perfect, crowds were good and I’m looking forward to going back this morning for Day 2!

After that I will take a long – long nap on Monday and then pull everything out of the garage because….something has died in there. Unfortunately that’s not a euphemism for my disorganization.  Some small critter has actually expired and I can’t find it.  It’s either in a wall or underneath and behind some pile of boxes.  Ugh!

I’ll share pictures when I find it!!!!! (just kidding)

Ah the fun of living out in the country in the heart of a city.

%d bloggers like this: