Arts & Crafts Show Business
Home Page
About Us
Subscribe now
Subscriber free stuff
Show Calendar:
     North Carolina
     Sample page
     South Carolina
     Other States
List your event free
     print a form
     submit electronically
Promoter contact info
Links to other sites:
     Equipment and supplies
     Artist/Crafter's websites
     Magazines, books, etc.
     Related sites
     Useful sites
     Hobby into business
     State Sales Tax
     Copyright free
     Effective displays 
Critique a show
Good, wise, clever thoughts

There's no business like
Arts & Crafts
Show Business
Displaying Your Work Effectively

    A display is more than just a place to put your work.  It should attract customers, show your work at its best and invite customers to come closer and linger.  Arrange your stands, racks or tables with the same care and creativity you use to create your work.  Your display should be:
1.  Light weight and easy to transport
2.  Quick to assemble and break down
3.  Sturdy enough to hold your work and be safe for customers
4.  Flexible enough to rearrange to fit the booth size
5.  Eye catching to attract customers
6.  And arranged to encourage customers to stay, look and buy
    The average booth size is ten feet wide, ten feet deep and about six feet high.  If your display is flat and all one height, a customer can glance over it easily while still walking.  If your display uses your full six foot height, a customer has to pause in order to see it all.  Building up is much more attractive and eye catching and it gives you more display area.  You paid for this space, you might as well use it all.  
    While most spaces are 10x10, they may range from 5x8 to 15x15 or even some unusual dimensions.  If your display is made of small, modular units they will not only be easier to carry, they will be easier to rearrange to fit the space you have.  Remember, at the end of a long, tired day you will have to carry your display and some of your stock back to the car.  Make it light.  Aluminum, pvc, fiber board and laminated cardboard are lightweight and easy to work with. To make laminated cardboard glue two or more pieces together cross grained with white glue.  Sturdy cardboard boxes can carry your work and, when emptied and covered with a drape, can be part of your display.  
    Don't be timid .  Use color and form that will be noticed.  If they don't notice you, they will not look closer.  Now that they are looking closer, what do they see?  Is your display organized with the eye following a pattern that will cover all your work or do you have a mishmash of colors, shapes and sizes with no 'road map' for the eye to follow?  Group your work in, preferably, no more than seven piles.  You can sort by color, size, shape or category.  Arrange each section as if it was a total display unto itself.  Try to keep either the height or width of each section no larger than about twelve inches.  The eye can follow a trail twelve inches wide by six feet long and still see everything and not lose its way even if the trail curves and loops.  But if you arrange the same items in a space 30 inches by 30 inches the eye stumbles around and gets confused.  After trying to make sense of muddled display after muddled display the viewer becomes tired and stops looking.
   Arrange the groups so the eye moves naturally from one to the next.  Stand in front of your display with your hands spread out in front of you with the thumbs touching.  Can you draw a path the size of  your hands over everything in your display without leaving anything out or doubling back?  If the pattern is not as clear as you want, add decorative elements to point the way.  Colored stones, flowers, wood curls or whatever fits in can be artfully placed to lead from one element to another.  
    Be creative in your display design.  Define your needs then create a display to fulfill them.  If you have bunnies, make large papier mache eggs, cut a large hole in each, glue them in a stack and place your bunnies inside.  To make the eggs, soak newspaper a few minutes in water, pour water, wet paper and some white glue in a blender.  When you have made enough, press most of the water out and apply to balloons.  As you will be cutting out one side for the bunnies, you don't have to cover all the balloon.  You can leave the eggs textured or smooth the surface with putty or plaster of Paris. Cover them with fabric, paint them, apply decals or just leave them plain.  You can get a similar effect with strips of brown paper bags dipped in half water and half white glue applied over balloons.
   Is the front of your table covering wasted space?  Sew clear vinyl pockets on your table covering for small items.  Need risers, stack assorted small boxes and cover with a scarf or small cloth.  Have items that can be displayed on clothes hangers?  You can find a small clothes rack at most large variety stores.  They are about  three long with wheels and easily knock down into a small box .  If your table is too short make it taller by inserting the legs in thick-walled pvc pipe cut to the length you want.   Rubber caps can be found at your hardware store to cover the ends.    The pipe can be painted or used natural once the identifying marks have been removed with a solvent.  
   An easy-to-assemble corner shelving unit can be made with light weight plywood or sturdy lattice.  Attach a 2x2 to one edge of a panel.  Attached another panel with hinges to the 2x2.  Open up and stand on end so it looks like a corner with a 2x2 in the valley.  Draw lines across both panels at the height you would like shelves.  Screw two 2x2x2 blocks to each line.   Arrange them so that when the panels are closed the opposing blocks will be next to each other, not on top of one another.  That way your panels will fold flap.  As your hinges were off-set by the two-by-two spacer between the panels, there will be room for the blocks.  Cut triangle shaped shelves to fit the panels and rest on top of the 2x2x2 blocks.  Drill a hole through the shelf and through the middle of each 2x2x2 block.  Drop a nail through the holes in the shelf and block, locking the whole unit into one sturdy shelving unit.  To  disassemble remove the nails, take off the shelves and fold.  Put the nails in a small bag and tie securely though the hole in one of the blocks so you will not lose them.  
    Look around you see how others are solving the problem of vertical displays.  It will give you some great ideas.  
    A very important part of your exhibit is your sign.  You can paint it, stencil it, embroidery it, applique it or route it.  But, however you do it, make sure it is easy to read,
   Price tags are a necessary part of your display.  They should be neat, easy to read and always face up.  The lucky crafter with a computer and color printer can produce beautiful price tags.  Every item should have a tag.  People who are really dedicated to buying your work will ask the price or turn over the tag.  Others may settle for the crafter down the row that has face up price tags even if they like your work better.  Many people do not like to ask prices.  Maybe they are afraid they will not like the price or maybe they are afraid that asking obligates them to buy.    
   A display is a work in progress.  You will be making adjustments and changes.  If you make mistakes, don't worry about it.  Fix them and go on.  It's ok to make mistakes.  It is not ok to allow a mistake to sidetrack you from your goals.