Posted on 14 Comments

Setting the table, part three

My booth - we bought a tent for it

I had an opportunity today to try out many of your suggestions for improving my craft show display.  The day was exceptionally windy and keeping everything on the table was quite a challenge, but we found a small measure of success with a roll of masking tape and a pile of rocks.  When the rain rolled in, we decided to call it quits – about three hours before the festival was supposed to end.

It’s a shame that the weather had to be lousy on a day when I was so looking forward to measuring the success of my new display.  I didn’t see much in the way of sales, but I don’t think I can blame the table so much as the wind and the threatening skies.  I will just have to look for another opportunity to test things out, I guess!

So, as promised, here is a look at some of the improvements I put into place:

My table

New tablecloth(s)

I purchased a few yards of floral home-decor weight fabric – Denyse Schmidt’s Daisy Bouquet in Porch, from the County Fair collection and Joel Dewberry’s Bloom Glacier, from the Ginseng collection – which I intended to turn into a reversible tablecloth that I could use on a standard 8-foot cafeteria table.  The idea was that I could use the bright side for spring/summer shows and the darker side for fall/winter shows.

As it turned out, I didn’t have time to sew anything this week, so I just used the raw-edge fabric. Since it was so handy to be able to use both of the fabrics on two different tables, I no longer think I’m going to sew them together.  I do still have to hem the raw edges one of these days, though…

Because I didn’t want the floral pattern to compete with the items on the table, I put down a solid linen/cotton runner.  I’d have preferred plain linen, but I didn’t want to spend my life ironing it.  The cotton helps keep it from getting wrinkled.  That, too, needs a hem, but for this time around, I just folded it over.

My table closeup


Several of you suggested that my display needed some big photos of my work.  I incorporated imagery in some of my small table signage, but the place where my photos really stand out is on the 6-foot banner.  I really love this larger-than-life sign!  The only problem is that it’s taller than the table… I had to hang it up behind the display, which was fine in this case, but may not work so well in other/indoor situations.  I’m considering ordering the 3-foot version for those times when it has to be on the front of the table.  The banner, if you’re wondering, is from VistaPrint, and I’m very happy with it.

My table closeup

Various other elements

I bought a mirror, added a vase of flowers, and got a few unique display pieces at the thrift shop.  I also collected names and addresses for a drawing.

I drummed up interest in my clay-covered pens by keeping a mug of them next to the drawing sign-up.  A few of them sold as a result of that.  I also found that sanding and buffing pen parts was a great way to get people curious and interested in how I do what I do.  I sold a pen or two after those conversations, too.

Clearance table

One other thing I did differently was to include a clearance table.  I figured it was worth a shot, since I had the extra space.  It wasn’t particularly successful, but then, neither was the full price table, really.  It was just not a good sales day all around.  I’m choosing to blame the weather, and hope that I get a much less windy opportunity to try out my new display soon.

Thanks, everybody, for all of the fabulous feedback that got me this far.  And thanks to my family who helped lug everything both ways and hung out with me at the festival for the duration – outdoor craft shows truly are a group effort!

P.S. There’s still room for improvement on the table, I think.  I like the idea of using an old shutter, for instance, or a tray filled with rice.  I’m keeping them in mind for the future.

Posted on 14 Comments

14 thoughts on “Setting the table, part three

  1. Living in Montana I can appreciate those windy rainy days that really put a damper on sales, especially when you get sick of chasing down your merchandise! The shelter helps a lot, but if it is raining sideways…..

    Your new display looks lovely, very inviting.

    1. Thank you, I definitely think it’s an improvement over what I had before.

      RE: banners, I had a quilted one that I made myself, but it featured my old blog header and was busier than I wanted. Plus it was less than two feet long. I got a good few years out of it, but it was time to move on.

  2. BTW, I needed a banner for a show on short notice, so I stenciled my logo on, and made a quilted hanging about 30″ square. It will work for a while but one like yours would look so professional. I’ll have to look into it.

  3. Awesome Lisa! A huge improvement. Much more of your personality is shining through now. Too bad about the weather. That is the problem with the outdoor shows. The weather can make you or break you.

    I have a couple more suggestions for you. One thing you could do is raise your tables a bit by putting short lengths of pvc pipe over the feet to make them longer. I think I saw a post about how to do that at but I’m not positive. Raising your tables will not only make your larger banner still work, it will also bring the product closer to eye level which will catch peoples attention more. Might not work that great outside on the grass though.

    Another idea is to put another linen (or linen looking cotton) table cloth under your fabulous fabric one, that goes right down to the ground. That way it covers up the legs and you can use it for storage bins underneath. It would tie in nicely with the linen on the top and polish things off perfectly.

    Love all the retro bowls and baskets and such. Nice to see you added a mirror and the flowers are just the perfect touch!

    Hopefully your next sale is a big success. You certainly have put enough effort and creativity into your work. You deserve it!

    1. I like your additional suggestions. I already had the front of the main tablecloth touching the ground, so I was able to store the bins under the table. I didn’t have the sides covered, though, and that’s something worth doing, probably.

  4. Your display is very pretty. Though I would suggest putting a solid color cloth on the small table over the flowerd one. At least where you have the bowls displayed. The flowered print takes away from the display of bowls. It sort of distracts you from your product.
    I would also add in more red somewhere. That color seems to draw people in.
    Hope this helps.

    1. I agree with you there. I probably won’t be using that small table for most of my events, but next time I do, I’ll try to get something solid to cover the top.

      Good point about red. I have been thinking that the flowers will be red or dark/bright pink next time.

  5. Very nice display. We are still experimenting around with ours as well until we get it the way we like. One thing we decided on though is no outdoor markets for us. We just feel our work doesn’t belong in an outdoor market and choosing the right venue is just as important as displaying your wares.

    Hope your next one goes well.

    1. This was my first outdoor event in a long time – normally, I stay away from them, since I didn’t have a shelter. We sprung for an inexpensive one this time, since we figured we could also use it in the back yard if we decided against any more outdoor shows!

      I am certainly leaning towards staying indoors…

  6. I love the table cloth– the busyness of it actually brings your eye up. {trick that the slot machine places use hee hee} too bad on that stinky weather. maybe next time you’ll get better and more measurable results.

    everyones invited– come and promote your crafty blog!

    1. I hadn’t heard that trick before – but everyone on my last post said my old solid-colored cloth was too boring, LOL! I do definitely think this is an improvement. And more “me!”

  7. Great! I think that big banner gives all your things a home. I agree that a solid fabric over the beautiful flowery one with the bowls would make your atuff stand out more. But definitely love the Denise Schimdt fabric. Great job!
    By the way, I ‘d love to get some of that fabric but haven’t been able to find it online. Where did you get yours? Maybe there isn’t anymore? Thanks

  8. […] doing my first craft show since the windy debacle of 2010 and I would love to see you there. Yep, it’s been over six years since I’ve shown up […]

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