Creating a cost-effective display booth can make a big difference in your overhead expenses when you're selling crafts. You already have to consider travel expenses, marketing, vendor fees, and the cost of your time and merchandise. By using items you already have in your home and purchasing needed items from thrift stores, you can create an effective display booth on a limited budget.
Select a Table That Fits Your Needs
Start by finding the right folding table for your display. Using a folding table makes the transportation, setup and breakdown of your display much easier. The table should be large enough to hold all your merchandise evenly, but also small enough so that there isn't too much space between your items. This makes your presentation look full without appearing overcrowded. You may have to try a preliminary arrangement of your items at home to determine the right table size.
Add Height Variations
Once you have your table, create depth and dimension in your display. A cheap and easy way to do this is to use what you already have in your home. Use wooden or plastic boxes of varying sizes placed around the tabletop, making sure each box is an appropriate size for the item or items it holds. Another option is to stack hardcover books to various heights if you don't have boxes that fit your merchandise.
The next step is to choose linens to cover the table. To save money, shop for tablecloths at thrift stores and consignment shops. Inspect the linens closely for stains, rips, and holes. Aim for a complementary color scheme. Complementary colors are naturally eye-catching, and will help your display stand out from the crowd. Complementary colors are those opposite each other on the color wheel. Basic complementary color pairings include red with green, blue with orange, yellow with purple. Consider the colors of your merchandise as well when making this decision, because you don't want the colors of your linens to clash with your creations. Choose at least two tablecloths that both cover your table completely by themselves. Your display will look even better if they hang down over the sides of the table as well.
With your boxes and/or books in place for height variation, lay one tablecloth over the table so its corners line up with the corners of the table. Lay the second so it's in a "diamond" shape in relation to the first sheet. This creates a simple yet visually appealing chevron-inspired look that won't take attention away from your merchandise.
Hang Your Merchandise
If you have pieces best displayed by hanging, such as ornaments or jewelry, shop at thrift stores for a few glass vases. Inspect each vase for chips, cracks and cleanliness. Then head over to the craft store and pick up some cheap vase fillers, such as plastic pearls or glass marbles. Fill the vases about halfway with the vase filler, then insert branchy sticks into each vase. These can be foraged from the yard for free. You can then hang your merchandise on the branches of each stick for a rustic look. If you can't find the right branches or the look isn't conducive to the overall look of your merchandise, fear not -- thrift and craft stores often sell standard tabletop displays as well.
Arrange Your Items
Begin arranging your merchandise on the table. Larger pieces should be placed on top of the boxes or books you used for height variation, while smaller items can be placed on the table itself, in between and in front of the higher selections. Group similar items together. Once everything is arranged on the table, look at your overall display from the front. Make sure each piece is visible. Large items should be behind small ones, and make sure they're evenly distributed throughout the table. Rearrange items as necessary.