Clever craft fair display ideas for small tables
Looking for craft fair inspiration for those times when you only have a small table? Table sizes at craft fairs can vary widely. Sometimes you’ll have a huge market-stall type stand but other fairs will have much smaller tables, or you might need to share your stall with another maker. That’s often the case if the craft fair is being held at a venue that’s not designed specifically for markets or events, like a school hall, a pub or a café. You still need to make a good impression though, so what do you do?
Here are our top tips for getting the most from a small space at a craft fair…
1. Curate your display
Resist the temptation to put everything out at once. This pretty much applies to all craft fair displays but is especially true when space is limited. Treat your stall like a shop window and use it to show off your brand and showcase your key pieces. Focus on creating a display that wows, rather than one that feels crammed and overly busy. Give products space to shine by leaving some air around them. Aim to create a display that flows, so each product complements the product next to it and group collections together like Anna Wiscombe has here at the Geffrye Museum. (We LOVE her upside-down flower pot shelf supports too.)
Keep extra items under or behind the table, and if a customer seems interested in a particular product, let them know that you have different versions available. They might just feel like they’ve discovered a secret no one else has seen.
2. Be imaginative
If you use a little imagination, you can create interesting and fun space-saving displays from objects you’ve got lying around at home or other unusual props you can find on the high street or in vintage shops. This ring display is a brilliant example. Rather than use up lots of space displaying rings in individual boxes, Jennie from Relic has used a glass and copper terrarium and filled it with black sand to give the idea of searching for buried treasure. The result is a compact but tempting display, which manages to fit in loads of rings without feeling squashed.
3. Build up
Like a London townhouse, if you can’t build out, go up. If you know the table dimensions, you could build a self-supporting stand, with a base, sides and a back, that you place on top of the table. Adding a base or sides will strengthen your structure.
This is what Meiro Ceramics did that at the Crafty Fox Brixton Market, which has small pub tables. Using OSB board, they built an asymmetric three-sided box and combined that with box shelves in various sizes made from birch ply to add extra levels. The plywood boxes also double up as handy packaging to and from the fair.
4. Customise your display
The best way to show off your products might not be the same as everyone else. So think about how you can really make the most of your products. What angle do they look best at? Do customers need to see them from above? Do they lose their impact if they’re lying flat on a table? Do you even need a table? Then build something that best meets that need. For example, this simple A-frame made from untreated timber is perfect for showing off Stephanie Duckett’s ceramic hanging planters, plus it lifts the pieces off the stall table leaving more room for other products below.
Take inspiration from the traditional space-saving displays retailers use, like greeting card racks, and design something that reflects your brand better by making your own, like this DIY greeting card rack by Agnes from We Are Stardust which is made from raw-edge timber.
5. Create the illusion of space with light, co-ordinating colours
A black table cloth is a pretty common sight at craft fairs, but it can actually make your display look smaller, cramped and sometimes a bit dated. By using light colours for your display furniture you can create the illusion of more space, and you’ll get an even better effect if you use the same colours or similar co-ordinating colours across the whole of your display. Light greys can be really effective – as used in this jewellery display by Grayjay – but other pale shades and whites work well too.
Table cloths are useful because they’re easy to carry if you’re travelling to a fair by foot, but they’re not the only option. There are other, equally portable alternatives, that can make your stall look more interesting and more professional – and at least create the illusion of more space. Rachel Brown Jewellery always puts on a great display. She used corrugated paper as a table covering for her stall at the Saltaire Art Market back in 2012. It’s really simple but effective, and the tone of the paper works well with the blocks of semi-whitewashed driftwood and old crates that she used to display her etched jewellery.
Wild & Fawn also used complementary textures and materials in their display at the Crafty Fox Market in Brixton this year. A hessian table covering replaces the traditional table cloth, and jewellery is then slotted vertically between two narrow planks to lift it and make it more eye-catching. The overall effect is a cohesive display, with lots of textural interest that works beautifully as a backdrop for their minimalist jewellery.
6. Make the most of the space behind your stall
At some craft fairs, you might be able to use the space behind your stall. Make sure you ask the organiser beforehand though, and if you want to display anything on the wall, be prepared to make it good afterwards. Hannah Nunn used the wall behind her stall at Holmfirth Art Market to hang her papercut lamps, mounted on a white-painted board that also disguised the electricity cable.