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How to Create an Eye-Catching Print Rack for Your Art Fair Booth

Ever since I started doing outdoor art fairs again, I'm constantly getting swept up into new ideas for bigger and better booths... well maybe not bigger, but definitely more efficient ones for my art. I mean, have you been on Pinterest lately? There are so many drool worthy ideas and I wish that my art was a good fit for them.


That being said, as a PAINTER there are a few things that have elevated my work at art shows (one being my mesh panel walls from Flourish Canopy). After doing weekend after weekend under a tent, I've gotten into a good groove and I know exactly what I want to bring (and what I don't) to make my weekend a success. Towards the end of 2023, I did a few indoor Christmas markets and those allowed me to use this:

More specifically, my Montessori display bookshelf. This shelf was awesome when it came to stacking prints and showcasing my most popular prints! Individuals could view almost all of them, pick up their favorite, and I wouldn't have to worry about replacing it. It also helped keep the crowd flowing so people didn't always just stand and browse print bins for 20+ minutes (unless they wanted to of course).


The problem with this shelf is it's really only good for indoor shows. It's not the most stable on a table and it's decently heavy (25lbs). It also doesn't break down and takes up a good amount of room in my car. One thing I noticed when people browsed it was even if they were extremely careful, when bumped all the prints would fall forward and I'd have to rearrange them.


BUT FINALLY AS I PREPARE FOR 2024 SHOWS, THERE WAS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL. INSPIRATION HAD STRUCK!💡



Shoutout to Pinterest browsing where I saw a $600 print display rack for sale. 💀 But while I stared longingly at the possible potential, my IKEA furniture building skills prompted me to confidently think, I could make that. So I started buying supplies to do just that.


HERE'S HOW I BUILT A PRINT DISPLAY RACK FOR MY OUTDOOR ART SHOWS

Supplies:


Tools:

  • Drill w/ appropriate drill bit

  • Scissors/Utility Knife (cutting bungee cord)

  • Screws + Wingnuts (equal quantities and a width to match drill bit choice)


TOTAL COST: $200



The most important thing to me with this build was that my shelves would not just be sturdy, but removable. I drilled holes into the acrylic shelves using a 3/8" bit (the pre-established shelves didn't have holes in the right spot) and then another hole into the wooden border around the chalkboard of the same size. My shelves are 24" so it was important the measuring was precise since there was not enough room for an error hole (my specialty).


I repeated this drilling on each side of the stand where I wanted my shelves placed. Each shelf is 15" apart with a hole drilled for the bungee 5" up from the bottom of the shelf. The shelves are held in place with a 3/8" screw and coordinating wingnut on the back.* This lets me attach the shelves at the show and remove them when traveling! The bungee cord will be trimmed to stay out of the way, it's simply threaded through the hole and knotted off on the back.


*This is the size that matched the pre-existing hole size already in the shelves. I picked up new screws at my local hardware store.


That's it! This display board now has 6 different shelves on it (three on each side) and can hold a LOT of prints. I chose a 58" tall chalkboard but you don't have to pick one so big. I wanted a tall enough one to be put outside my tent when I have extra space or to eliminate the need for 2 tables inside the tent.


Either way, being able to display MULTIPLE prints at once vs. one front and center print in a bin has brought more customers into my tent at shows.


The start of my 2024 show setup - Trimline Canopy with Mesh Panel Walls. AND the new print rack.



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