Every time I do a craft show, I’m always in a panic over how to make my table interesting and how to display my wares in a tidy-yet-interesting fashion. Even after hours of looking at displays for inspiration, I usually wind up with a boring collection of baskets and other random containers and placing items around the table in a lifeless manner. Everything winds up on one level, with very little motivation for customer engagement with the items. Or I overwhelm the table and customer with all the things I’ve made.
Last month I had the opportunity to do my first fair in over a year. Again, I went into a panic. Again, I spent hours scouring the internet for photos of displays for inspiration. I found my solution in my breakfast.
To display my plushies on a square two-foot table, I created two sets of risers using four cereal boxes, two frozen waffle boxes, kraft paper, and tape. The boxes offered the perfect mix of size, weight, and flexibility I needed for my vision. By wrapping the boxes in plain kraft paper I was able to quickly cover the printing and create a neutral base. Hindsight indicates that I could have simply flipped the boxes inside out to reveal the non-printed side. Hindsight could have pointed that out a month ago, but Hindsight is kind of a jerk.
I still needed a way to keep my plushies upright and easily handled by customers. I thought about creating cardboard or wire stands for each item. Then I remembered my stash of cardboard coffee sleeves. With a quick application of tissue paper and masking tape, I had devised a genius solution for preventing the comic but embarrassing scene of plush monster dominoes. Most of my plushies were a perfect fit for the coffee sleeve width. My customers were able to handle all the plushies without incident.
On travel day, the risers fit into a large reusable grocery tote. For once I didn’t feel weighed down by all my gear. Setting up meant taping down all the sleeves to the risers. I used masking tape because it’s durable but also pulls up cleanly at packing time.
I will probably redo this display. Flipping the boxes and coffee sleeves to their non-printed side will strip the bulk of the kraft paper and allow access to the boxes’ tabs to fold them for easier transport/storage.
Here’s the display in action at the Toronto Indie Arts Market.