When you’re setting up for a vintage market or craft fair, the last thing you want to do is lug around a bunch of heavy display pieces – but you also don’t want to just set your items on a flat table and call it a day. That’s why these creative portable display ideas can be a game changer in the way you design and set up your market booth or craft fair display.
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1. If you’re doing an outdoor market, you’ll need a tent that easily sets up. Check the size of your space (10×10 is usually standard) and if there’s a required canopy color (often white). You may also want tent walls that are waterproof in case of rain, and you’ll need stakes or weights for safety.
Learn more about my first market experience (below) Here. You’ll probably also need folding tables and a folding chair (although I don’t recommend sitting during an event).
2. As seen above (on the right side) and below, you might want a DIY folding display like this one we made with chicken wire. You can make it freestanding or smaller as a tabletop display. Find the instructions Here.
It can hold lightweight or medium-weight items depending on the strength of the wire you use, thickness of the wood, and how the folding display is set up (mostly straight vs. zig zag).
*Want my free printable cheat sheet of Portable Display Ideas for Markets and Fairs? Click right here.
3. When I no longer needed a tent (because weather wasn’t much of an issue), Guy in the Garage built these “trees” from modified coat tree plans. I put one in each corner and used banners to help define my space. I also hung a lightweight business sign across the back branches.
One great feature about these trees is that you can move them to fit the dimensions of any size space. Find the DIY tree instructions Here. I also started using a bamboo rug to make my space feel more comfortable and unified. Read about this market experience Here.
4. Later I made two DIY fabric rag backdrops to make “walls” for my market booths, tied between the tree branches. You can order them on Etsy but they’re pretty expensive, so I made them myself and shared the tutorial Here (plus you can also see more pics from this market). They’re not hard to make, but do take some time. I always get a lot of compliments on them!
5. Another portable display idea is to stack wood crates together. These are plain crates that Guy in the Garage stained dark brown, but you could also paint them white or a fun color to match your booth display. I use large binder clips to hold them together, and they pack up nicely when transporting.
If you have smaller items, you could also use wood crates by laying them on the side and stacking them on tables. Learn more about this market experience Here.
6. My most recent market, where I sold my handmade animal dolls as Thread & Cloth Studio, was super easy to transport and set up everything. It all fit in the back of our SUV and we didn’t need to pull our trailer like we usually do.
For this space I used: folding table and chair, two folding bookshelves from Hobby Lobby, this expandable backdrop stand, this faux wood photography backdrop, and I made hanging art from hardware cloth and faux flowers. I also used a plant stand (metal bench) and suitcase for holding dolls on the table.
Now we’ll look at some amazing portable display ideas from some of my friends and elsewhere around the internet:
7. This DIY market display uses a bright tent, old doors as walls, and half-circle tables – by Robb Restyle.
8. Virginia Sweet Pea shares plans Here for making a DIY folding display from fencing.
9. This market booth combines a tent, umbrellas overhead, and bifold louvered doors as part of their display. (via Sweet Magnolia’s Farm – Shutters and Umbrellas)
10. For smaller items, display products in a suitcase. You can even be creative and add shelves inside like the one below. Store the items inside the suitcase when transporting. (via Two Hand Design)
11. You may want to build something similar to a fruit-stand display to show off your items, like this (made from upcycled drawers) from What’s On My Porch.
12. Create easy shelving with ladders and boards. (via Confessions of a Serial DIYer)
13. Tall Skinny Pine displays their handmade leather goods with modified shelving units from IKEA. They also use a tall, narrow folding table as a checkout stand.
14. Set a hutch or small bookcase on top of a table for more height, and use interesting baskets for grouping similar items. (via Gingercake)
15. Use ladders and metal baskets together as shelves. (via My Desert Cottage)
16. Here’s another example of louvered doors, but these are stained instead of painted. Also don’t be afraid to use the items you’re selling as display pieces – stack smaller pieces on top of larger ones, set items in the drawers, lean or hang pieces wherever you can. (Twig Home market booth, photo via Sharalee Prang)
17. If you’re using a tent, consider dressing it up with extra fabric like these burlap curtains. (via Elizabeth Seidel – Stone Crow Studios)
18. Instead of a tent, you might want to use a large umbrella to grab people’s attention, even if you’re indoors. Add some lights for fun like Faded Charm did below.
19. Update: Recently I painted a folding bookcase to use for my Thread & Cloth Studio portable market display. It easily folds up to store and transport, and can be set on a table for more height and storage area. It’s the perfect addition to my craft fair booth layout. Find this versatile folding bookcase Here.
20. If you’re feeling adventurous, the ultimate portable display booth idea is a small camper! Easily transport your goods and you can store everything inside until the next event. So charming. (Lost Girls, photo via Shades of Blue Interiors)
I’d love to know what other portable display ideas you have! Leave me a comment below. – Jen –
Here are a few related posts you might find helpful:
P.S. Did you hear the exciting news? My new book Amazing Furniture Makeovers: Easy DIY Projects to Transform Thrifted Finds into Beautiful Custom Pieces is now available everywhere. Click here for all the details!