Creating a Craft Fair Display from Scratch

salvaged sanity displayThis past week I’ve been working furiously on the display I’ll be taking to A Gilded Life art retreat this coming Wednesday. I say furiously because anyone getting in my way or slowing me down has definitely experienced my wrath (sincerest apologies to my family). I finished it yesterday and I’m pretty happy with the results. I’ll take photos at the actual event….this is just what it looks like in my dining room.

mail organizer displaySalvaged Sanity mail organizers should ideally be displayed on walls, but since this venue doesn’t provide any, and I can’t fit those in a Prius, I had to come up with something else. The most important factor the display had to work around was that it had to break down into parts small enough to fit in my car, and be easy enough to put together by myself.

My husband came up with the designs for the table racks and I came up with the idea for using an IKEA $10 clothes rack for hanging the Design-Your-Own message center components. Other than the IKEA purchase all the other parts were salvaged either from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore or my studio.

standing display rackThe hanging table racks are made from two 1″ x 4″s and two 30″ sections of 1/2″ x 1″molding to fit a standard 30″ x 72″ banquet table. You could actually fit three of these racks on this size table, but I needed only two. I added hooks at the top of the 1″x 4″s for my boards to hang on. The rack fits right over the edges of the table and the weight of the hanging boards balances each other. They fit snug enough that if you remove one of them, the other side stays in place.

IKEA clothes rack display

To display the pieces that are for sale a’ la carte I used chandelier chain, s-hooks and gutter screens to hang everything from the clothes rack. All that stuff folds down to practically nothing and yesI had all that stuff in my studio.

craft show display tableFor the table top holders I got lucky at the ReStore when I found an old wooden sliding door track. I cut it into four equal pieces and my boards slide right on to them. I formed triangles out of two organizers tied together at the top and their bottoms stabilized in the wood tracks.

I had the fabric for the tablecloth (a thrift store find) and all the material for the signs in various corners of my home. So this whole thing came together for less than $20 and a lot of imagination.

Today I’m doing the hard part – figuring out how to get it all in my car and still be able to see out the windows. I’ve always loved a good puzzle. Wish me luck!


Habitat for Humanity ReStore San Diego

salvaged doorsI made a trip to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore yesterday. If you’re not familiar with Habitat for Humanity, it’s a charity that gives thousands of low-income families new hope in the form of affordable housing. People in need of housing work alongside volunteers from churches, and community groups to build their own home and in the process tackle a significant social problem―decent housing for all.

overstock flooringThe ReStore offers salvaged materials for sale to the public that were donated by construction companies and homeowners. They also have a small amount of new products like flooring, cabinetry and countertops that businesses donate which are usually overstocked or discontinued.

salvaged cabinet doorsThey have cabinet units that are still intact but they also have loose doors. If you wanted new doors for a bathroom unit or an island it would definitely be worth looking here first. Doors also make great chalkboards, bulletin boards and serving trays.

salvaged lightingThe ReStore has a ton of lighting. They have a lot of hanging lights, but they also carry fan blades, sconces, lamps and a big assortment of replacement parts. When you look at lighting, try to remember that you can always paint over metal, so if that 70’s brass doesn’t row your boat you can always change the color.

salvaged ovensAppliances are plentiful. They have ovens, microwaves, dishwashers and refrigerators. I’m pretty sure they only sell things that still work, but definitely ask before you buy.

salvaged toiletsAHH! The toilet graveyard. A lot of the toilets here look brand new.  It seems to me that a lot of what gets donated to the ReStore are standard products from homes that are upgrading to The Assmaster 5000. If you haven’t upgraded yet, I highly recommend it.

salvaged tileYou could easily replace your flooring with products from the ReStore. They have loose tile like this, but they have a large amount of tile still in the boxes. That goes for wood flooring as well.  They also have wood moldings and baseboards as well as random granite pieces and bathroom tile. A lot of these products haven’t been used but are probably project leftovers.

old organSometimes the ReStore gets odd things in like this organ. This reminded me of what my mom used to say whenever she came across something ugly or useless. She’d say, “Well, I need two of those………one to crap on, and one to cover it up with.”

white organHere’s the second one Mom!

If you have a Habitat for Humanity ReStore near you I highly recommend you check it out. There’s a lot more there than I have shown and it’s definitely cheaper than buying new. To top it off, all the money goes to Habitat for Humanity to help them build more homes. Also remember to call them when you’re remodeling. They’ll come to your house and pick up anything salvageable like windows, doors, toilets and cabinetry. Do what you can to keep this stuff from going in the landfill. The stuff  you’re tired of can be just the thing someone else is looking for.