DIY Craft Show Booth Signage and Backdrop Shelving

Over Labor Day weekend 2016 (yes this post is a long time coming), I exhibited my wedding and party printables business, Ciao Bella Studio at a wedding show called The Marry Mart. This was completely outside my comfort zone, but hey, do one thing every day that scares you, right?

Never having exhibited at a bridal show before, I was starting from scratch when it came to booth design. The one thing I knew was that I would not settle for a boring banquet table and table cloth. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right.

I scribbled several designs down, some using industrial pipe, some using wood, but eventually settled on a wood backdrop with shelves to display my paper goods. The key was that it had to break down and fit in a pickup truck, and it had to be lightweight enough to be transported.

The concept is simple: two wide-footed hollow columns hold up a billboard-style header and are connected by three shelves.

The Columns

We wanted to use some scrap wood we had to reduce the cost of this project, so there may be a superior method for building the column frames.

Nevertheless, each column frame contains seven 5.5″ x 6″ wooden squares made from .75″ x 2.5″ planks.

The wooden squares are nailed together using a pneumatic nailer.

Each of these wooden squares is screwed into two 8′ .75″ x 2.5″ board, one board running up the front, one running up the back.

The squares are spaced between 13″ and 13.5″ along the boards. We purchased two sheets of 1/4″ birch plywood and had Lowe’s rip them down to 6″ wide planks. We used a combination of liquid nail and wood glue to secure the planks and held them in place with a LOT of clamps.


NOTE: The FRONT of the post is the 5.5″ side with the 6″ wide plank glued on evenly so that the side planks butt up behind the overhanging lip. This way, the exposed cut of each plank is visible from the side, not the front. We glued the SIDE planks on first on the 6″ sides and then the front panel on top.

Clamps, clamps, and more clamps!

We let the glue dry with clamps overnight.

The base of each column is essentially a 12″ x 18″ x 1″ pine board with simple 3″ miter-corner moulding.


The Billboard Sign

The large billboard sign area is essentially a 3′ x 8′ frame with a large piece of 1/4″ plywood nailed and glued.

I don’t have photos of this, but I there are also straight metal brackets screwed into the top of the billboard frame that sit on top of each column attached by bolts, nuts, and washers.

After nailing and gluing the plywood onto the frame, we added some weight with the clamps to hold everything in contact to dry.

Eventually, when everything was dry, I painted it with high gloss white latex paint. I used a roller and a brush, but wish I had used a paint sprayer since the roller left a bit of a texture.

I also used my KNK Zing and some gold adhesive foil to add my name. Eventually, we added crown moulding to the top. I attached a piece that would span the entire width of the billboard and both columns, but only nailed it to the front of the billboard piece to keep everything modular. We attached a piece of moulding to the sides of each column at an angle to butt up against the front moulding.

The Shelves

The shelves are essentially stain grade wood boards (3″ x .75″) with a piece of 6″ ripped plywood glued perpendicular on the back. I drilled a hole in each end through which to thread a bolt and fasten with a nut into a bracket (see image below) on the columns.

And finally, here is the finished product:



More about Jessica

Hello and welcome! I'm Jess. This blog is my little corner of cyberspace where I can share my crafting, gardening, and other adventures. This photo is of me and my dad on one of the greatest days of my life. Preparing and crafting for my wedding unleashed a whole new level of creativity I want to share with you. Enjoy!

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