Published on February 25th, 2009 | by Becky Striepe2
Let’s Talk Craft Shows: Outdoor 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 still probably a bit cold for outdoor shows, but it’s not too cold to get planning! Some of the outdoor show needs are similar to the setups for indoor shows. You still need tables or some other surface to showcase your goodies, linens, and some horizontal display solutions. Outdoor festivals tend to have bigger spaces – usually, 10 feet X 10 feet – and you’ll probably have a tent. Here are some ideas for handling an outdoor setup!
The great thing about a tent is the vertical space it provides you. Make the most of it! You can hang your work from the tent itself with some hemp twine or even floral wire. Not only does this help keep your items at eye level, it can conserve materials, since you don’t have to get as many display pieces! Clothing and accessory makers, you might hit the thrift store for a vintage mirror that you can wire to the side of your tent. Shoppers will definitely want to see how your products look on them, so a mirror makes your booth inviting.
Seamstresses might even consider setting up a small changing area in one corner of the tent! You’ll want to find fabric that’s heavier, so that shoppers feel like they have privacy. You can hit the thrift store for second hand curtains, or check out salvage stores for discarded upholstery fabric. Just use clothespins to attach the fabric to the sides of your tent, and leave one piece of fabric free to pull across, creating a triangular changing room. Another few clothespins will keep the changing area closed while a shopper is in there. Be generous with the clothespins – you want to make sure the changing area is held in place really securely.
OK, here’s the biggie. Finding an eco-friendly solution for the standard 10X10 festival tent is a little trickier, and we’d love suggestions from you guys! One fun option for the really ambitious is to build your own out of reclaimed materials. You might hit up a salvage store for frame materials – something like pipes or scaffolding that’s still in decent shape? For the top, you’d want something water resistant, since many shows are rain or shine. Maybe a really big tarp from the salvage shop would work for this? The trick is that, at least in Atlanta, some shows require that your tent be white.
Here in Atlanta, they also require that you have a fire-resistant tent. That basically rules out building your own, since a home made tent doesn’t come with a certificate. Whether you need a standard festival tent because of local regulations or because you just don’t have it in your to build your own, second hand is probably the greenest option. You might check out Craigslist or even Freecycle for tents that folks are getting rid of. Even if the tent you score is a bit damaged, manufacturers like EZ Up sell replacement parts, so you can give a tent that was headed to the trash a brand new life! Before spending money on the tent or on parts, you’ll probably want to check out the goods, take pictures of the parts that need replacing, and make sure you can get the parts.