Ever wonder what it takes to set up a booth for an art & craft show? Watch my time-lapse narrated video to learn how to set up an outdoor art booth. Watch how I specifically designed my booth to attract customer in under 7 seconds, because that’s how long you have to inspire shoppers to enter your booth before the walk on by!
Then read on to discover a variety of materials and equipment you’ll need to set up your own booth.
Watch the Video
I have over 27 years experience of selling my watercolors at shows, and love it!
I find art & craft shows are still the best way to meet customers because you get to make a face to face personal connection. You also get to see first hand their reaction to your art, and what they gravitate to. Your customers want to know you, and what inspires you to create. Having the opportunity to explain your creative process in person can be extremely powerful when it comes to selling your art!
You also gain valuable feedback for developing your future work, and chance to improve your conversational skills with your customers. (It’s important to know how to talk about your art confidently, and the only way you’ll get better at it is with practice.)
If you fit into one of these 3 categories then Art & Craft shows may be a good fit for you:
- You’re just staring out selling your art, and you’re trying to define your own style and voice.
- You have no interest in selling your art online.
- You want to further develop your brand, and broaden your customer base.
Equipment Needed for Shows
Here’s a list of equipment to consider getting for your own booth:
Shelter for your art is very important! In the beginning it doesn’t have to cost a lot. You can start of with an EZ-Up or Eurmax tent to begin with (Just know their walls are water resistant and not waterproof).
Make sure it has a white canopy! I know lots of artist that get a colored canopy to help them stand out, but then that color reflects poorly on their art. White filters light in the best! Save the color for your walls instead. Here are some options:
If you are ready to commit to a full time schedule of showing your art, then I recommend investing in a Trimline Canopy. They’re completely waterproof, the best against wind, last for decades, and easily customizable. Their support team is also the best. (So important!)
You don’t need to get everything all at once. Here are some add-ons you may like to invest in down the road to customize your booth:
If you’re looking for walls to hang your art, ProPanels (shown above) have the most professional look. I love these panels but I wasn’t able to get them because they were too big for my mini van. So I went with white MeshPanels from the Flourish Company. Mesh display panels are durable panels that roll up easy, and fit into a duffel bag for transport.
Both ProPanels and MeshPanels can come in a variety of colors. My walls are over 10 years old and back then they only had white so I made my own Burlap covers to go over my MeshPanels, but now days you can purchase colored covers too!
To hang your art work I suggest good old fashion curtain hooks.
Weighting down your tent is super important! I’ve seen a strong gust of wind destroy tents in second. (Visit this post to see the destruction for yourself!) To protect your canopy from wind, you can purchase sandbagsfrom companies like EZ-Up and anchors from the Flourish Co, or even use workout weights from home. I made my own weights (shown above) they’re easy to store, attach to my canopy, and aren’t an eyesore. To make your own weights all you need is:
Bins & Racks
If you need bins for paintings and prints you can custom make your own or purchase bins from:
I’ve seen a lots of different types of shelves used at shows. Everyone has a different way of solving this need. If you decide to go with ProPanel walls then you can add selves to them! What’s great about ProPanel shelves, bins, and desk, is how easy they come apart and fold down for transport.
A desk can be very helpful for storing important tools and materials for your shows. I highly recommend a desk from ProPanels for it’s durability and ability to fold down for transport. They have two sizes to choose from.
I’m a big advocate for sitting in a tall 30″ directors chair. They sit higher then the average fold up chair, and this is very important when talking to customers when you are sitting. If you sit too low it makes customers feel uncomfortable. You want to stand or sit at eye level with your customers. Here are a couple of chairs to check out:
Banner & Signs
Once you get your booth set up figured out, the next important item to add is a banner or some sort of a sign with your name on it. I ordered several banners from Vista Print, and then customized them to my own needs. There are many places to order a banner, here are a few:
Above are decorative bird cage lights I made myself just for ambiance in my booth. (To learn how I made them check out this post!)
Here are a few more things to consider once you are ready to add to your booth to help highlight your art:
- Table covers
- List of Awards
- Business Cards
- Show Schedule
- Display Monitor or Banner (To show everyone how you make your art.)
Merchant Processing for Credit Cards
This one is super important when it comes to selling your art! You need to be able to take debit and credit cards. I recommend Square Up, but there are several merchant processors to choose from:
7 seconds to Impress Shoppers
You may wonder if all this work is worth it?
If you want to make $4000-$8000 in a weekend at one of these shows then yes it is!
Don’t expect to have a standout booth display right out of the gates. It’s a process. It takes time to figure out what your best selling items are, how best to display your art, how to talk to your customers, and how to customize your booth to fit your needs.
My best advise is to start entering shows, and after each show critique yourself. Figure out what worked and what didn’t work. Then, start making small tweaks after each show. If you keep doing the same thing then you will keep getting the same results. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I still critique myself, and make changes after every show.
Remember what everyone loves about art shows is discovering that unique one of a kind handmade item! You want to be original, but also practical. Design a booth display the stands out without being disorganized or overwhelming. You have 7 seconds to impress shoppers walking by in hopes they will enter your booth. From there it’s on you to sell your art!
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