Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tuestorial: Thrift Store Craft Display

Do you hear that? Santa's sleigh? Jingle bells ringing too? That's the sound of craft show season on the horizon. Besides planning for all that inventory you need to make, you also need to plan for an awesome looking display too!

Today I'm here to show you how to find inspiration and save money by shopping your local thrift store for your craft show booth. Whether you have your booth aesthetic down or are just starting out, a thrift store can be a great resource. 

Here are the questions I ask myself when thrift store shopping for a display item:
  • Can I store it? (pre and post show)
  • Easy to travel to shows with?
  • Does it match my display?
  • Will I use it more than one?

Idea 1: Frames

Every thrift store has an abundance of pictures frames waiting in stacks for a happy home. I've used these to display item prices or promote deals. It can be eye-catching or just do the simple job of displaying information. With some paint and a good clean, even the ugliest frame can find a home in your booth. 

Step-it-up: Glue a piece of wood inside a detailed frame and paint it with chalkboard paint. Ta-da! A reusable sign for all your shows.

Idea 2: Drawers or Baskets

Straw baskets are the glue that holds a thrift store together. They are everywhere and they are begging for a new life. Spray paint one of these babies, line it with some cute fabric, and you have easy storage on your table. Stack them (covered) and you have different heights to play with. They are light, cheap, and can be versatile. 

Thrift stores usually have a good selection of storage drawers, organizers, and office supplies too. These are items that are easy to play around with to create a way to showcase your items or store them. 

Step-it-up: Plastic office trays are easy to cut to customize the display you need. If you need a tray (4 sides), find two plastic office letter trays. Cut the side off one and glue this to the open side of the other. Paint it a solid color that goes with your display and viola! Instant (and light) tray.

Idea 3: Knick-Knacks

This can be an easy thing to overlook. Obviously you are showcasing your handmade items in your booth, but sometimes they need a story. Knick-knacks can set the scene to show potential sellers how your items can live in their life. It can also draw someone into your booth and start a conversation. 

A small vase with a flower, a vintage pieces that shows some humor (and holds your business cards), or a piece that fits inside your item to show how it can be used.

I sell wine bags and started displaying my wine bags in a "bar cart" scene to show their potential. Before I started doing this, people weren't immediately sure I was selling wine bags (true store: someone once asked if I was selling sand bags). When I placed them on a tray, with wine glasses, a cork screw, and a wine bottle around them, the message is clear. "Hey, that's a wine bag that my lushy friend might like!"

Step-it-up: Have a particular color theme for your booth? If you find a figure or item that fits your style, paint it a solid color that matches your booth. It can be an easier fit in your booth as a solid color and will give it a little something-something. 

Idea 4: Target Clearance Items

Not such a secret anymore, but Goodwill sells Target's overstock clearance items. You can find some interesting items that your local Target could not sell at their lowest price. At my local Goodwill, I found outdoor umbrellas, different types of shelving, decorative marbles, and containers. 

This is a great starting point for a thrift store newbie. An item that is lower than Target's clearance price and still in it's original packaging? Yes, please! 

Step-it-up: Find some mis-matched shelving brackets with a Target clearance price and no matching buddy in sight? Use the brackets to create your own small display. Glue or screw a piece of wood on top (any length you need!). This can create an interesting visual display and give some height to your items. You can cover the mis-matched brackets with fabric or paint them the same color to match. 

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, visit Our Team Page about joining SFEtsy!

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