Effective lighting for crafts should accomplish at least three things. Lights should attract customers to your booth. They should make your crafts as attractive as possible. And, since you will be setting your booth up over and over, the lights should easy to put up and take down. Ideally, everything should fit in one big box and draw as little power as possible. Some craft booth veterans say the light in your booth should be brighter than room lighting, so you need to use bulbs that provide the most light using the least electricity.
Sodium vapor lights provide the most light with the least electricity and the light they emit is a very close to sunlight but they get very hot, take several minutes to reach full intensity and several more to stop glowing after the power is turned off. Ordinary, incandescent light bulbs provide a familiar, warm light but they are very energy inefficient so if you have to route extension cords to your power source they might not be practical. Florescent lights are energy efficient but the light they emit, depending on the fluorescent bulb, is often flat and unappealing.
Lighting Your Craft
The kind of lighting you use and how much you will need also depends on what you make and sell. Bath products and personal items look good under soft lights, so very basic lighting schemes work best for them. Jewelry looks best when it gleams, so every jewelry display needs to lit. Paintings also look best when they are individually lit. And, no matter what you are selling, your booth must be bright enough that browsing customers can read your signage and price tags.
Vendors sometimes use strings of LED Christmas lights around the edges of their displays to stand out from their competitors. These lights also help to show off jewelry and other reflective craft items that use metal, stones or glass because multiple lights and colors emphasize different facets of your product. Christmas lights can also be set to flash, and that flashing makes reflective products on the perimeter of your booth sparkle. Colored incandescent bulbs can create a similar effect.
A Basic Lighting Scheme
Booths that invite customers in to browse, like T-shirt booths, need a bright light source, like a portable fluorescent fixture in the middle of the booth. Regardless of the craft, most booths use clip on lights with either incandescent or florescent bulbs in at least the four corners. These corner lights and any lights in the center of your booth provide primary lighting and should be arranged to minimize shadows. Most successful operators also arrange clip on lights to brighten shelves, cases, counters and individual pieces of merchandise.
Don Davis has been a professional writer since 1977. He has had numerous writing jobs, including writing news and features for the "Metrowest Daily News" and "Los Angeles Herald-Examiner." Davis has a Bachelor of Arts in English and history from Indiana State University.