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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!

 

 

 

 

Craft Show Display Project

Craft Show Display Idea Cheltenham RoadAs I was getting ready for the Santa Ana Patchwork Show I went a bit into overdrive on my new passion – Patent Graphics.Vintage Patent Prints Cheltenham RoadI’d made large ones but I’d also made some smaller ones that I thought might be appealing.

I wanted some way to display the small ones without having to hang them up on a wall and while I was poking around Michaels I saw this, I don’t know what it is actually…..shelving unit?Michaels Hanging Shelf

It was too small for my needs but it did get my mind going.

So, as I was maniacally trying to finish up all the various coasters, trays, signs and projects for the show I decided that now, YES NOW! was an ideal time to launch into a new display project.

And so, a somewhat unofficial, Use What You’ve Got Project was born  because, you see, there is STILL leftover wood from the dresser.Trash To Treasure Dresser Project Cheltenham RoadThat thing is clearly magical and I’m growing concerned that it was actually a portal to Narnia or something and I’ve totally screwed up.

So I started out with this motley pile.  It’s a piece of the top, one of the supports that held the drawer up, a drawer front and a couple of drawer sides.

Scrap Wood for Craft Show Display Project Cheltenham RoadI used the larger pieces for the base and backer  and I used the rail for the front retaining piece (25″ long). I cut the other piece of wood down to make four dividers.Michaels Display Idea Knock off Cheltenham roadA quick assembly with glue and screws and it was looking OK.  Craft Show Display Project Cheltenham RoadI gave it a quick, light, once-over with some watered down white paint just to cover up the raw wood.  And, since I hate to miss an opportunity to use the Lenk tool these days I decided some text would make it look more official (and cooler).

I just typed out some text, reversed it and attached it to the front and Lenked away!Transfer Text to Wood with the Lenk tool  Cheltenham RoadAnd it worked!  Craft Show Display Idea Project Cheltenham Road It let people flip through their options quickly and because the wood was so old and dried out it is quite light considering its bulk.Image Transfer for Craft Show Display Cheltenham Road Project(Is putting patent images in a Patent Office box a bit too on-the-nose?  I can’t decide.)Craft Show Display Project Cheltenham RoadIt was up front in my booth and the signs got looked over and purchased quickly – mostly sold out by the end of the day.

And now my mind is spinning on a totally new look for my booth in the future.

However, that “future” is soon because up next is the other Patchwork show in Long Beach this coming Sunday!  Lots to do!

How to Build a Hanging Display Wall for Craft Shows

Easy Hanging Wall for Craft Show DisplayThere is probably a 12 step program for people who keep making and remaking ways to display the same thing.  And I should find it and join it.

So, as you may recall, last week was the big Abbott Kinney Festival.

Everything went perfectly in keeping with the standard Cheltenham Road Playbook.Cheltenham Road ChecklistThat last one is the one I want to share.

I had previously built this portable wall for Unique LA.  You can see the original tutorial here.Easy To Build Wall Display for Craft ShowIt is 8’ long by 6’ high and it works beautifully.  But it takes a bit to set up and take down and with Abbott Kinney I only had a couple of hours to unload, repark and set up.  And tear down was going to be after nightfall.

So I needed something that was quicker.

I took three of the slats from the original wall (they are inexpensive furring strips from Home Depot) and linked them together with scrap wood and screws creating a 16” high by 8’ long “mini-wall.”Assemble simple Hanging Display WallI added a large hook and eye assembly to the topPortable Craft Show Display Wall and BAM – instant hanging wall.Tutorial for Easy Craft Show Display Hanging Wall Cheltenham Road

 (these pics are not from my actual booth and I apologize for the funky lighting)

 I made two of them – one for the small signs  and one for the large.Hanging Display Wall for Craft Shows

It was perfect because it was up and out of the way but still highly visible and it worked like a dream because all I had to do was stick it up there and I was done!

And then I had another idea!

What if I wanted more of a wall?  Maybe to cover the back of the booth and provide more room for hanging?

So I just added another two sets of hook and eye hardware and linked them together.S Hooks to connect Craft Show Display WallCraft Show Display Hanging Wall Cheltenham Road

 Allow me to present my card:wylie e coyote business card

 

I think I may make a few more of these – that way I can choose exactly how much “wall” I want for each show (of course, I’m playing by Cheltenham Road rules so I won’t actually make the extra ones until the night before my next show).

 

Portable Wall for Craft Show Display

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! Read the rest of this entry

Craft Booth Set Up For the Little French Market

Craft Booth Set Up For the Little French Market

Interesting.

I left the corporate world for the bucolic life of a crafter.

So how is that I am currently sitting in an airport with my laptop desperately trying to catch up on work during a layover?

I have to confess what I imagined life would be like as my own boss is very different from the reality.  There are times when I think my boss is out to get me. Read the rest of this entry

Another Easy DIY Craft Show Display

Another Easy DIY Craft Show Display

I woke up late and tired yesterday because all my dreams had been about not being able to fall asleep.  Does dreaming about not falling asleep qualify as ironic?  (Alanis Morrisette has screwed me up on how to actually use that word).

However, often in that not awake/not asleep state I get good ideas for projects and even though I couldn’t tell what was true or not I did have a brainstorm about making a display. Read the rest of this entry

Storage Wars

OK, I realize it’s Wednesday but I had to talk briefly about my weekend.  It was one of those where you get a million things done but don’t feel like you’re running around like a crazy person.  Do you have those?

This is seldom how my life goes and I wish I could figure out how to make it like this all the time.  I kept doing stuff and looking at the clock and thinking “how can it be only 2:00?  This is awesome!”

Actually, I had to get a lot done because the really terrific people that run Angelo Home ordered 50 of my candle blocks…..and they wanted new designs. Retro Wallpaper Tea Light Holder for CoOp 28 Vintage Wallpaper Candle HoldersI  had a lot of fun putting all these together.  Let’s hope they like them.

Retro Metro Subway Art Candle HolderBut the title of this post is Storage Wars and I wanted to share my new favorite storage boxes (perhaps not the most scintillating blog post idea I’ve had but I hope it’s useful)

I’ve been on some kind of personal quest for the Perfect Storage Box for quite a while.   I needed durable, versatile boxes that could hold a lot, travel easily and use space wisely.  For years I’ve made due with a kind of hodge podge of unsatisfying boxes but I have found…..THE ONE!

They are called Really Useful Boxes and here is why I love them.Wide Range of Really Useful Boxes

  • They come in a bunch of sizes.
  • They are super sturdy.
  • They lock tightly, stack securely and…..

They don’t slope on the sides!!!!11 ltr Really Useful Box

When packing for a craft show I always got so annoyed with the sloping sides of other boxes.  It wastes space and,because they are wider at the top than at the bottom, I’m forced to layer different things together in each box so I’m always digging through boxes looking for things.21 ltr Really Useful Box with trayAlso, with my small Honda Fit where packing space is at a premium these guys fit neatly next to each other – once again no wasted space.

As an added bonus I like things that pull double duty.   So, since they boxes lock together pretty snugly when stacked, once I’ve emptied them of their contents they work beautifully as the riser supports on a craft show table.Storage Boxes as Craft Table DisplayCraft Show Table set up with levelsPlus the company recycles and the boxes are recyclable.

I confess I went a little berserk and bought, like, a million of them in different sizes.

I will now always be completely together, organized and calm!

I found the best selection at Office Depot (they have buy two get one free sales on them) but they are available all over the place or via the web site.

No, I am not being compensated for this praise-singing.  Just wanted to share a useful product.

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