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Looking for some ideas for table top displays


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Right now I'm using some small wire shelving. I like the way they look but they are a pain to setup and take to long to put together. I need to build something easier to setup and looks attractive.

I tried using the search feature but I couldn't find anything

I'm looking for some ideas and I'm hoping some members would be willing to share photos of what they use

Thanks in advance

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In the last couple of years, I had only been using a very cobbled together tabletop setup, because I rationalized that since I was only set up for short periods of time for my farmer's market, it was okay to just use whatever was to hand. It was easy to set up and tear down, but it wasn't the prettiest. I decided to begin polishing my image a bit in the name of professionalism back in January though, so I gave myself a budget of a couple hundred dollars to work with, and came up with a modular setup that can pack down into a very compact space while still being sturdy.

Because I don't own carpentry tools beyond a drill and a circular saw and don't have a place to use them, I went to Home Despot and picked up some machined wood project boards. While they are more expensive, there's no warping in them, which was important in the finished product. I used a bunch of 1/2" galvanized pipe flanges and varying lengths of threaded pipe to create the legs and feet of my shelving. I did try and spray paint the pipe fittings copper. Word to the wise: Don't do this. It looks good for about 15 minutes before it begins to flake off.  I have some work to do with steel wool now. *grrrr.  This was not the cheapest way to go. While the lengths of threaded pipe are fairly inexpensive, the pipe flanges run about $5 CAD each. When you need 20 of them, that adds up quick. That said, the results are sturdy and very fast to assemble. And it wasn't a prohibitive price. My perception of this cost may just be because I'm cheap.

In testing it out this summer, I found that going higher than you initially think is a good plan. My final top shelf is probably 5' from the ground. This puts a lot of your display at a more approachable eye height. Despite being in the same spot for the last 5 years, I had a few customers say they'd never seen my booth before, and they were glad to see me. This height also means it's probably a good idea to get a tall stool to perch on, so that you can still greet customers instead of getting too hidden behind your display.  I think this height worked for me because I'm 5'6". I'm not sure I'd get a lot taller, because then shoppers have more difficulty reaching for items. If you're shorter, I'd maybe make it so people can see your head while you're standing.

I will say that it takes me about 10-15 minutes longer to pack it down if I unscrew all the legs from the shelves, but if you're in a hurry and have the space, breaking them down isn't strictly necessary.

Edited to add photo. Please note, this was taken for my own reference. It wasn’t intended to be part of an application or anything. 

6438E4AC-E7D3-4FD0-98A9-177995A64AE7.jpeg

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1 hour ago, blackthorn said:

Neil- I get an error when I try the link.  I would like to read it, though.

 

It's a downloadable PDF, so make sure your browser is allowing it to download. But I'll email a copy to you.

It seems to be working on my end. Anyone else having problems?

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I have some shelving plans I can send you but they are spendy to make.

The shelves all pack flat and go up in a few minutes. The tiered backs fold up like a big W and are flat.They all fit on the side of fan is a rack that is about 16 inches wide.

Heres what they look like-I'll be setting up this display in about 8-9  weeks from now. Its private sale outside a local pet store .Its my 41st year in this small shopping center-the pet store has also been there 41 years.I'll run aboput 12 days there-5-6 hrs a day. Click on the link below for photos

 

Edited by Mark C.
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You said easier to setup and I couldnt agree more. To me one of the things that makes shows somewhat suck is setup and tear down so I would stick to that. Watching this thread as we want to simplify as well. We bought a several thousand dollar professional show rack that is beautiful and I hate setting that beast up and switched to collaspable shelves and one center table last season and while better still just too much and takes an hour an a half on both ends to deal with. Marks shelves look really quick and nice. Good luck and please post what you end up doing.

Edited by Stephen
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For the table top areas of my display, I built shelf supports out of corrugated plastic. Coroplast is amazingly lightweight, but when folded into a tube, it can support hundreds of pounds. You can cut it with an Xacto knife to make any size support you want. I designed mine to fit exactly around the pots that I make. I also cut tabs and slots so the tubes snap together with no fasterners. It packs flat, snaps together in a flash, and packs down just as fast. I used hot glue to cover them with fabric, to hide the fact that they are plastic.

Here’s a photo of two of my shelf supports, one flat and one folded. Plus of photo of them in action. 

8A9B305C-A7AB-4AB7-8B87-2797F88E41B8.jpeg.e3deacfc7851db71a988860f824fc8ab.jpeg

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Just one more note about display design in general ... your display should have an overall “look” that strikes a viewer right away. But it should not contain features or details that distract attention away from the pots. 

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@Mark C. I like the idea for the shelf on the left. Basically two ladders, shelves with cleats and an X brace in the lower back. The  X brace looks like some type of cord, can you elaborate on that? Also, looks like your top shelf is bowing from the weight a third ladder may be in order if its not an optical illusion.

22 hours ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

I did try and spray paint the pipe fittings copper. Word to the wise: Don't do this

Black pipe is coated with oil, mineral spirits may remove it so you can paint. Legs very similar can be made with PVC pipes and can be painted when cleaned with PVC pipe cleaner.

@neilestrick Looks like the corners of the posts are in the center of the shelf, nice idea. What are they made of? I use a Forrester to load up for a show and tie up the tables on the roof racks. The bins I use are clear and measure 24" L x 18" W x 7" H. I lay coffee and soup mugs on their sides and pad the top and bottom with carpet padding.  Because the containers nest into each other I can get 8 high into the vehicle. Another plus is each container is lighter than the typical 16"-18" high ones. Something I need at my age.

10 hours ago, Sorcery said:

What do you sell? 

The usual stuff, mugs, bowls, creamers, sugar jars, garlic graters, sponge holders, soap dishes, rectangle plates similar to oldlady's but with different designs and some are hand painted.

Also, the shelf in the video is a good idea but more elaborate than I need. Hinged legs is something I'll keep in mind.

3 hours ago, Stephen said:

You said easier to setup and I couldn't agree more.

Yes, quick and easy is the key

2 minutes ago, GEP said:

For the table top areas of my display, I built shelf supports out of corrugated plastic. Coroplast is amazingly lightweight, but when folded into a tube, it can support hundreds of pounds.

Now I know what GEP stand for:)

This is a great idea, and shelves can be stacked. Any problem with them swaying?

6 minutes ago, GEP said:

your display should have an overall “look” that strikes a viewer right away. But it should not contain features or details that distract attention away from the pots.

Absolutely, and I like your uncrowded look .  With the exception of the canopy, which is white, my shelves and table cloths are all black which sets off my glazes nicely.

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4 minutes ago, Smokey2 said:

Black pipe is coated with oil, mineral spirits may remove it so you can paint. Legs very similar can be made with PVC pipes and can be painted when cleaned with PVC pipe cleaner.

Black pipe was more expensive than the galvanized. I’m not sure I’d go PVC. It curves and warps. 

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1 hour ago, Smokey2 said:

@neilestrick Looks like the corners of the posts are in the center of the shelf, nice idea. What are they made of?

Here's a better photo of the shelving. The supports are made from 1x2 boards. It's two ladder sections hinged together  so they provide stability in both directions, and fold flat for transportation. The top shelf screws into threaded inserts in  the supports with 1/4-20 stainless screws and fender washers. I plan to make an X brace from aluminum rod to put across the back for even greater rigidity, but I've used them as is for many years without any issues. Mostly it's just that customers get nervous if things wiggle a little, but there's no real chance of anything falling over.

 

Shelving.jpg

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That shelve (ladder style) I have in 3 foot 4 foot 5 foot and 6 foot sections. I actually have 5 and 6 feet ones in pairs. The one in the photo has a warped top shelve-I have one that is straight as well. It got warped in someting other than pottery sales (you do NOT  need a middle ladder). These are maple or birch plywood with banded (heat tape  wood edges of maple) you install with hot iron and trim down.The top and bottom shelve has cleats that lock the spread from coming in or out. These fit over the ladder crossbars. This racks are super stable.I use the 6 footers at every show. They are not as good as the tiered racks for displaying pots but work well.

The X wire is permanently mounted (the x is low so does not show on top shelves) this wire is the coated kind and is termanated with crimp on aluminum sleeves . Wire 1/8 inch . It will stretch over time and will need recrimping after say 10 shows.For me that was less than 1 year now its two years except this year. Once stretched it will be good for decade.

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