Hey there, fellow crafters! Are you ready to take your creative endeavors to the next level and showcase your work at craft shows? Well, look no further because I’ve got you covered! In this guide, I’ll walk you through the essential elements of setting up a fantastic craft booth that will make heads turn and sales soar. From choosing the perfect tent and tables to selecting eye-catching display pieces, I’ll provide you with practical advice and a free checklist to make sure you’ve got everything you need for a successful show. So, let’s dive in and get your craft show booth game on point!
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For me, a typical craft show season is usually 15-16 consecutive weeks of doing a minimum of two shows a week. Since I work with reclaimed fabrics and fibers, my work qualifies for local farmers’ markets. I really love doing these types of shows because people know I will be there every week for the duration of the season.
Farmers’ markets attract the same type of customer that tends to like and buy my work, so I book two markets every season. A typical season runs from the first week of June to the end of October. One market is on a weekday evening, and the other is a weekend day. This leaves one weekend day open in case I find a good one-time event to book.
Finding the right markets or shows takes some time, and it is always dependent on the show organizer, the venue, weather, and of course, your work. Some shows sounds soooooo great. And then turn out to be a real dud.
If you can find a Facebook group for crafters in your state, that would be a great place to start looking for shows to book.
Now that you have an idea of where to show, lets get into how to set up your booth!
A good tent is crucial
This will be your new pop-up store, and if you do a lot of shows, it will be your home away from home. Can I give you some advice? Buy a decent tent – with sides.
Years ago, I used a flimsy canopy that had no sides. It sufficed, but it wasn’t very attractive – and honestly, it didn’t look very professional.
- Get one that is 10′ by 10‘, which is the standard craft show space.
- White is the best choice for color – lately, I have seen a lot of promoters that require that the tent be white
- Side walls that zip on are a real plus – and a necessity if it is windy or starts to rain. The sides also make nice backdrops for your products.
This one is ideal:
E-Z UP ES100S Instant Shelter Canopy, 10 by 10′, White
- Some shows require that your canopy is fire resistant (which is very sensible!).
- A roller bag and storage pocket for the sides makes it easy to get to your space once you arrive to the craft show site (these things are heavy!).
- Having a clear plastic sleeve on the top front of the canopy for your business sign is a nice, professional touch.
- my canopy, as well as the one linked from Amazon have all these features.
- Pro tip: read the instructions on how to set up the canopy BEFORE arriving at the craft show.
Create a pop-up boutique
Once the tent is set up, the sides zipped on, and the corners of the frame weighed down, slide your custom made sign into the front pocket. Mine is made from white plastic of the same thickness and feel of corrugated cardboard. The sign was well worth the $80 I paid to have it made by a local sign maker.
Make it inviting
To really pull the boutique look together, put down a 5′ x 7′ area rug down the center of the booth. It adds a nice, homey touch and makes your booth stand out from all the others.
I got my area rug when my friend’s aunt was moving from her gorgeous home, and was going to throw away three of these matching area rugs. Rather than seeing them go to the landfill, I took them all! They all have a touch of aqua in the design, and I just happened to have several yards of aqua cotton fabric that I rescued from another near miss with the landfill. (More later in this post as to what I did with the fabric.)
You are going to need a few folding tables for displaying your merchandise. I recommend the 4′ long folding tables that I have been using. Anything larger is too heavy to move from the car to my space at the show. These fold up nicely, have adjustable height legs, and there is a handle so you can carry two at once.
I custom made fitted tablecloths for each table out of an inexpensive set of twin sheets! The tablecloths hit about 3″ from the ground, and hide the empty storage bins I slide under the tables during the show.
Tip: be very aware of how heavy things are! I’ve seen lots of gorgeous displays on Pinterest, but wonder how many strong people it took to lug all that stuff to the space and set it up!
Speaking of Pinterest – I have an entire board just for Creative Craft Booths! I try to keep in mind that these display pieces need to be lifted and set up – usually when it’s wicked hot out – and lots of times by only one person.
It’s also handy to have two small, round decorator tables in the booth. The legs of the table unscrew, so it’s easy to pack and move to the space. Keep one clear of merchandise, and use it to wrap merchandise for your customers. Each one can be covered with a 70″ round tablecloth.
I like to use one of these tables as my wrapping and checkout area. I have several sizes of paper bags that I put my logo on, and then I tie the handles with tulle and make a pretty bow. Each item gets wrapped in tissue paper before going into the bag.
Taking credit cards is really, really a good idea since a lot of people don’t carry a lot of cash. I like using Square, because it is fast, easy and provides me with an inventory list and a free online store. Square takes all the major credit cards, and the reader works with my cell phone. (The one pictured is the older version. I still use them, but bought an adapter for my phone.) Use this link to sign up! (It’s my referral link, and there is no added cost to you.)
Make that booth stand out!
You can add some other touches to make your booth stand out. From some reclaimed aqua cotton, I made two long panels that I clip to the back of the booth frame. These make nice backdrops for the garments I design and sell.
The remaining fabric was used to make runners for each of the 4′ tables, and for the wooden risers for the top of the tables. Risers are great for bringing some height variation to your display, and theses have two levels. (They are really shoe racks!)
Whitmor 6026-3562 Natural Wood Household Shelves
Do a practice run
Before your first show of the season, it’s really helpful to do a practice set-up. I set up my canopy in the driveway, then played around with the layout of the tables and merchandise.
Capture the set-up idea
Once I was happy with how it looked, I took photos with my iPhone to refer to while setting up for the show.
Over the course of the 15 weeks of shows, I experimented with different layouts and how merchandise was displayed. It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot in addition to making sales.
Free printable Craft Show Checklist
Rather than go into all the things you should bring, here’s a free printable checklist with everything you need to bring to a show.
Now that you have all the insider tips and tricks for setting up a knock out craft booth, it’s time to conquer the craft show scene. Remember, the perfect tent, well-organized tables, and attention-grabbing display pieces are the key ingredients to making a lasting impression on potential customers. So, use my free checklist to gather all the necessary supplies, pack up your creations, and hit the craft show circuit with confidence. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, I hope this guide has provided you with information and ideas to make your booth stand out from the crowd. Happy crafting, and go make some sales!