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Designing a New Booth for Craft Fairs: Part II

craft show displays ladder shelf making a craft show booth

For makers like me, who love selling at craft shows but hate all the legwork putting them together, a simple easy display is a MUST!
I go into the pros and cons of stepping away from your folding tables in Part I. This second post is all about the display I chose. It's actually very easy to do!
I chose a ladder shelf for my new booth display because they're portable and easy to set up, don't require any tablecloths, and can handle lots of heavy soap!
This display is made with an antique painter's ladder and plywood from a hardware store. I measured the rungs and had the plywood cut to within about an inch of each rung, so each shelf is a different width. Before I chose this particular wood, I walked through the store to assess wood densities and sturdiness (and price!) to find a material that holds its strength, but is still relatively light. You might want to hit up a few different stores if you can, because they don't all keep the same stock!
I sanded the shelves and ladders with a 60 grit, 180, and 220, starting with the roughest and working down to smoothest. Remember to wear a face mask and goggles if you can, and work outdoors to minimize wood dust! I wiped everything down to remove final particulates of dust, and done.
It just took one day to gather the wood and sand it. If you're worried about shelves toppling over, you might want to install brackets under your shelves to secure them onto the ladder. Mine are quite heavy and don't budge, but I may still install brackets. I am coating them with a sealant soon -- the coatings should take up to a few days for drying, sanding and reapplying.
Next up -- pairing the display with product and looking for aesthetic alignments.
I love dark forest-green hues, pale wood hues, and industrial modern. I selected dark green succulents and potted them in metal mis en place bowls. And, after a lot of internal wrangling, I decided to leave the shelves in their natural light blonde color. What do you think???
At my first show, the ladder shelves got a LOT of compliments from other vendors.
Customers had an easy time looking and finding things, with less of that "casino effect" that comes from a table filled with lots of little items.
I also learned a few more things: the antique ladders are still <em>really</em> heavy, and they barely fit in my Rav4. I will be trimming the ladders and shelves by about 6 inches each, then resanding and sealing.
Overall, I love the change -- it has transformed the look and feel of my booth. It's a level up!
I hope this inspires you to rethink your booth, or maybe a display in your home. Have fun with it: if your goal is to play and explore, you really can't make a mistake so long as you just try things out.
Let me know what you think and drop me a line anytime!

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