Let’s Talk Craft Shows: Indoor Setups

The beginning of the year slump is almost over, and that means craft show season will be creeping up on us before we know it! What’s a green crafter to do about a display? Over the next few weeks, we’re going to look at a few eco-friendly display solutions for different setup needs.

It’s so tempting to hit up local big box stores for new display pieces. I’ll admit that it’s even easier sometimes. But where’s the fun in that? Getting your goodies second hand helps you present your wares in a unique, Earth-friendly way! The setup you go for really depends on what sort of show you’re doing. Indoor vendor spaces are often smaller than at outdoor shows. Unless your table is at the end of a row, you probably won’t have much natural vertical space, like you would with a tent. So what are some green ways to showcase your goodies?

On the Hunt
The thrift store is probably your best friend when hunting for green display ideas. There are lots of creative solutions in the housewares section of your local thrift store! Look for baskets or wooden crates that you can use to display your wares. You can often score pretty vintage dishware or picture frames for holding smaller items, too! Keep an eye out for things you can stack, so more of your goodies will be closer to eye level.

Hit the linens section for sheet sets or tablecloths, while you’re at it. Table coverings not only fancy up your folding table, but they can help you hide anything you need to stash underneath! Choose your linens carefully. You don’t want anything too busy, since smaller items might get lost against the design and larger ones might clash. Look for something with colors that speak to you but that also won’t overpower your goods.

If you’re trying to be a second-hand purist about your setup, you can even ditch the traditional folding table! One of my favorite table alternatives is one that Athens crafter Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves uses – a vintage ironing board! It looks amazing. You might also try to find bookshelves that aren’t too heavy or clothes drying racks. With a creative eye, pretty much anything from old suitcases to an umbrella can become part of your display!

Pulling it Together
Depending on what you’re selling, the different colors and textures you’ve gathered might work perfectly for your display! For other folks, those eclectic pieces might look a little bit busy, but don’t despair! With a little bit of love, you can pull these display solutions together and have a wonderful, cohesive look. There are a few ways to pull this off. To get started, let’s take a look at those carefully selected linens you got. Are there one or two colors in their design that you totally love? Or maybe you’d like your display to contrast with the linens? Once you have your ideas worked out, it’s time to get painting!

For smooth surfaces like crates and bookcases, go for a no VOC paint in whatever color you want! If you’re painting trickier things like baskets or an ironing board, you might have to opt for spray paint. Krylon makes an Industrial Eco-Guard spray paint that looks like it’s way less nasty than your traditional spray paints. It’s really amazing how a fresh coat of eco-friendly paint can make everything look and feel like they were meant to go together.

Voila! Stay tuned for the next installment, where we’ll work out some ideas for outdoor shows.

What sorts of green display pieces do you crafty pros use for indoor shows?

[Creative Commons photo by mollypop]

Written by Becky Striepe

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .


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  1. I use a lot of thrifted items in my display. I found a short coat rack that I use as a purse display. I sell magnets and thrift stores are full of inexpensive magnetic trays – most of mine are x-mas themed, but I completely cover them with magnets so you can’t see it. I collect pretty little bowls for small items like pins. And suitcases are my favorite. I fill them up to transport my wares and then use them in my display.

    Great article!

  2. Great ideas! Most booths could use a lift this time of year. I use an old potting table – I had to saw an inch or so off the bottom to make it fit me, but it was originally my baby changing table and now I take it on the road. It’s awesome that everything’s at eye level. I take a couple of super lightweight (and cheap) Ikea bar stools, too. I love being eye-to-eye with shoppers and it really closes that divide that happens with the unnatural looking up into their faces and them hovering over you. We’ve used this set up twice, now, and both times our booth was constantly swarmed with shoppers.

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