Before almost every craft show we do, my friend Judy and I brainstorm about displays and improvements for our booth. Customers and friends recommend ideas to us, too. When I attend shows I love to look at how artists or handcrafters display their work and arrange their temporary shops.
Cost & Storage
Sometimes it is more difficult to figure out how to best showcase our work than it is to create it! Cost and storage is also an issue, especially if you don’t do shows very often or are just getting started. It’s possible to spend a lot of money on displays, and still not get the look you want. Often artists and handcrafters are able to find display props among items they already own – you may want to look around your house (and your friends’ houses, too)! Not only are these “free,” but you also already have a place to put them after the show. Visit craft stores such as Hobby Lobby, Jo-Ann‘s and Michael’s and watch for sales on their furniture and housewares. These often make great craft show displays.
Design To Complement
Give yourself plenty of time before the show to design your booth. I recommend creating a “mock-up” at home one or two weeks (at least) before the show so you have time to make changes if need be. The key is to complement and not distract from the items that are for sale. Usually neutral or black tablecloths work best, rather than busy patterned fabric and backdrops (unless the pattern is very subtle.)
Try to keep your booth from looking too cluttered; the customer should be able to tell what you create from one glance at your booth (often you will only get a couple of seconds to make a good first impression). Your booth should be designed to draw in passers-by. I’ve found that although some artists and crafters are very good at this from the beginning, most people need experience by trial-and-error, so don’t be discouraged! I recommend doing as much research as you can before your show – search online, talk to experienced show vendors, and attend other shows. During slow times at your show, talk to other vendors – most are happy to share!
Following are display ideas that Judy and I have used in our booths. I’ve also included a few I’d like to try! We sell mostly jewelry and pottery, but you can customize these for your artwork and handcrafts. Also, visit my Pinterest Craft Shows Board and Jewelry Displays Board for amazing and creative ideas from all over the web.
Click on the image above for a tutorial on how to make this earring display rack!
Displays On Tables
- Boxes or pillows under tablecloth toppers
- Staircase risers on table tops – added bonus of storage underneath
- Driftwood or large thick branches (cleaned, of course)
- Tiered cake stands
- Place card holders can hold art prints, earring cards, etc.
Displays For Hanging Items
- Interesting drawer knobs fastened on an old door or weathered piece of wood
- Branches or dowels hung from the canopy with fishing wire (parallel to the ground)
- Nice wooden or wrought iron mug racks
- Drape tulle, fabric, and/or a string of lights inside the canopy through the overhead support structure
- Nice CD Storage Racks
Use Antiques For Props
Be sure to mark the props “not for sale” if you do not want to sell them!
- Stack of old books
- Rustic baskets
- Antique wooden boxes
- Old sewing machine drawers
- Small wooden cabinets and trunks
- Antique suitcases
Tall Displays For Height
- Room dividers or folding privacy screens
- Folding shelf units for floor or table
- Large piece of foam core or foam insulation wrapped in attractive fabric, displayed on table-top or floor art easel
- Shutters & doors
- Tall wrought-iron candle holders
- Dress-makers’ form
Do you have art and craft booth display suggestions? Please comment below! If you’ve written a blog post about show ideas, please comment and leave the url!
Copyright 2012 Kathryn Depew