Here are some quick tips based on my experiences helping my wife with her craft show displays. We were looking to make some displays for her first few shows that would show off her jewellery without spending a lot of money on the wood or plastic displays that everyone can find in craft equipment catalogues.
We were able to custom-make some jewellery displays using picture frames with the glass removed. We covered the cardboard frame backing with fabric matching our booth colour scheme, then added padding to give the surface a soft feel. Some hooks to hang the jewellery on and it made a neat display.
We also used tablecloths to cover the tables at our display booth. For our first show, we tried experimenting with handmade, custom-fitted coverings, but they proved to be too fussy and complicated to get sitting just right on the tables. The tablecloths were reasonably-priced, attractive and were already designed to cover tables!
These were just a couple of ways that my wife and I were able to create some attractive displays for our first shows, without spending hundreds of dollars on displays which might not have met our needs.
When I first started doing shows my "booth" was nothing more than a craft table, a table cloth, a mini Christmas tree (2 feet) and a box wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper.
The space was 10x10 so naturally I must have looked ridiculous. Everyone around me had such professional looking displays even though it was just a high school fair. I was embarrassed and made sure I improved the look of my booth the next time around.
You should always have a pop up tent (usually 10x10) whether the show is inside or out. You need to make sure you will have access to electricity as well, because lighting (even simple twinkle lights) can make all the difference. Also, set up your display at home and arrange it so that it looks inviting and professional to your potential customers.
A simple table skirt can make all the difference and it can be created using nothing but a table cloth and some Velcro to keep it in place. Another "layover" cloth should be put on top of that, giving your table a professional look. You can add scarves, laid flat, across the top of the table for a decorative look or bring props such as flowers to add some cheer. This also takes up room on your table so you don’t have to fill it with so much product. Take a picture of your desired set up and bring that with you to shows. This will help you set up quickly and efficiently the day of.
Do some price comparisons with other booths that are selling similar products. This will allow you to give a fair price to your customer and also allow some haggling room for those difficult penny pinching customers.
Have fun, and keep a smile. A friendly vendor always outsells the competition.
I have both shopped at and been a vendor at craft shows and presentation is everything. If you can't find the prices or see all of the items without moving other product, your table/booth will be passed by.
The solution that worked for me when it came to pricing is to use clear acrylic picture frames/ sign holders (I bought them at an office supply store). Because they were clear they did not detract from my color scheme and were easily moved or removed if items sold out.
When it comes to adding height to the table display, I used plastic spice shelves that you can buy in most big box stores. They are white, usually have black non-skid material on them and expand. What I did was use some extra material from my tablecloth and draped it over so the display was integrated into the table and looked like risers.
I am a soapmaker so I also used some baskets and small metal buckets to hold some of my smaller products. I used these mainly on the white shelving that I would put up on either side of my table creating a booth of sorts.
On the bottom shelves of those units I made sure to put all the kid friendly items so that they would be attracted to those items and allow "Mommy" time to look at the products that she would be interested it.
I have found adding different heights to show off your crafts really gets peoples attention. After searching all over the internet trying to find and buy risers and realizing how expensive they can be I decided to create my own.
From a local craft store I purchased some inexpensive white boxes in different sizes. They do come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I then covered all of them in fabric. I used spray adhesive to get the fabric to stick to them good and made sure that I rubbed out all of the air pockets. I also scored the fold lines, so that they can fold down for easy transportation and storage. With the fabric on the boxes, they became more sturdy.
I used fabric that matched my color theme for my booth, but not too strong of a color to take away from the craft items. I did worry about the boxes being light, and if a strong wind came by them blowing over. To solve this problem I put some sand in some ziploc bags and put a bag inside each box when I am setting them out.
Now I can have different heights, add more color to my booth and also change things around to draw peoples attention to my crafts. I have received some great feedback from my customers on my boxes. I've even been asked if they bought the craft if I can box it up in one of my boxes. A great little selling point.
Play around with different heights and fabrics to decorate the boxes. It adds so much visual interest to your display booth.