Evolution of an Artist Alley Table II

Back in September of 2009, I posted a list of what goes into my display in an artist alley.  Now two years later and a few events wiser, my display has evolved!

Show them what they’ve won, Vanna!
Anatomy of an Artist Alley Table – Part 2
  1. Retractable Vertical Banner – $300 – A pricey item, to be sure, but the fact I don’t have to carry around a big pvc pipe set nor have it taking up space in my car makes this item well worth it! This vinyl banner pulls out from and retracts back into a spring loaded base that is about as big as a tabletop easel and very lightweight. Adds to my vertical appeal and allows people to notice me over the heads of the crowd. Mine was printed by Graphic Signs Atlanta.EDIT: I’m told Staples offers a cheaper $100 collapsible stand now too!
  2. Standing Easel – $13 – These simple wooden easels are great for propping large prints for that eye-catching vertical appeal!  I’ve been using these to prop the blow up of my book cover at book signings as well.  When I’m not promoting the book, this cover image will be replaced by a piece of art instead. Bought at Joanns Fabrics and Crafts.
  3. Gridwall Cubes – $30 –  Also called wire cube storage. These have been with me since the beginning! I use them to clip prints, mousepads, and prints to, though I’m looking for an alternative display method for the masks currently. The wire distracts from their detail so I’m either going to cover them with fabric or buy some gridwall hook attachments that project from the wall so the masks can be placed on them some distance from the grid instead. Found mine at Target.
  4. Mannequin Head – $40 – Affectionately named Shay, she helps bring more visibility to my masks and other artisan crafted items! Her ears are pierced so I can add earrings as well as display a necklace and a mask all on the same head.  Found her at Store Fixtures, USA.
  5. Visa/Mastercard Sign – $5? – A simple plastic sign used to notify customers that I take credit and debit cards. I printed it off on cardstock and slipped it into the stand.  You’d be amazed at how comforted people are to know that you can accept plastic money!  Many people don’t carry cash anymore, either because they prefer not to or because they’re trying to limit their budget. Accepting cards is a good way to be that evil influence prompting people towards impulse purchases. That sounds bad, but hey, it’s true!  Can’t recall where I got this sign and how much it was, but it couldn’t have been more than $5 and probably came from Walmart or Staples.
  6. Basic Tabletop Easels – $5? – You can probably find these even cheaper if you buy plastic instead of metal.  In my case, I was actually using a small metal easel used for displaying antique dinner plates.  Great for propping up items like prints and books again for that vertical eye-catching appeal!  It’s harder for people to notice your work if it’s all lying flat on the table, especially where there are big crowds.  Can’t recall where we got these at, but probably Staples or Walmart.

  7. Horizontal Vinyl Banner – Price varies per footage – Another item that’s been with me from the beginning. Even though I have the nice vertical signs, I still like to hang this out in front so the front of my table doesn’t look too boring.  It was a little too big to hang behind me anyways and was rather overpowering my display! It looks much better hanging out in front. Printed at Graphic Signs Atlanta.
  8. Itoya 11×14 Display Portfolio – $11 – I had a small 5×7 portfolio on the table for the campsite to show off my work and to make room for more items, but people kept passing it by!  Eventually opted for this imposing portfolio which prompted more people to stop and flip through.  I also had a sign up sheet and business cards tucked into the plastic pocket at the front so people could leave with ways to be reminded of my existence.
  9. Trading Card Album – $5? – This small album housed ACEO and ATC organized into open edition, original, and limited edition settings. They represent my affordable offerings for the casual buyers who may not want to invest in large items, but don’t mind dropping a few bucks on cute collectible cards.  Bought from Michaels.
  10. Print Bin – $10 – Actually a collapsible file box. Bottom comes out and it folds down, making it much easier to transport than my solid heavy print bin, which now serves as a permanent inventory housing item here at home.  Found at Walmart.
  11. Greeting Card Rotating Countertop Rack – $35 – Another item I’ve had from the beginning! It is sometimes replaced by a standalone rack that sits in front of my table, but I can’t use that one on a regular basis because some shows are picky about you having items in front of your table that folks might trip on.  Little children also like to spin it until it falls on their heads!  This smaller rack houses my 5×7 and matted 4×6 prints.  Purchased from Displays2go.
  12. Binder Clips (40 pk) – $5 – Oh the many uses of binder clips!  I used them to clip the prints to the grid, to hold my banner to the table, and for fiddling with when I’m bored. They make nice talking finger puppets!  I prefer the gold variety as it looks a bit more decorative than the silver. Found at Staples.
  13. Crushed Velvet Table Cloth – $8 a yard – A mysterious number 13 I forgot to number in my photo! This silver cloth serves a multitude of purposes. First, it covers up the hideously distracting plain tabletops, is large enough to cover the entire display when you have to leave (if you have two on hand), and can also serve as backdrops for photographing products!  Velvet is great, as I’ve mentioned in previous photography tutorials.
Alternate Displays
While the aforementioned display works well for events where I’m mostly selling art, some events require a different setup to accommodate my more crafty items!
Flashback to Faerie Escape Atlanta, 2010!
The only thing that’s different here is the inclusion of a metal jewelry tree and velvet necklace, which helped bring a level of professionalism to my items that laying them flat on the table didn’t.
Metal Jewelry Tree – $20? – Mine was a Christmas present from the family so I have no clue where they bought it! I’ve seen some creative takes on the jewelry tree where people have taken branches from a real tree, cleaned them up, and shaped them to suit their needs. Then jewelry is hung off them with little leaf-shaped tags for an organic theme.
Velvet Necklace Forms – $2 – These velvet covered neck forms really make for a stylish addition to any craft table.  I bought mine at Joanns, but have found bigger ones for longer necklaces at Dawson Jones for $12.
That’s it for now! I’m currently transitioning my display to fit an art fair booth setup, so expect posts on this topic sometime in the future!


  1. Guruubii says:

    WONDERFUL 😀 you’re lucky you get so much behind space! the cons we can get so simply don’t allow behind vertical signage or stuff like that. We’re trying to be clever this time though since we’re going to AE which is a much bigger Con.

  2. Jay, it’s definitely much easier when you have more space behind you! The last con I went to was so small, we were literally hitting the chairs of the artists behind us every time we pushed our chairs out to leave the table.

    Talk about uncomfy! That’s when I’d probably put the vertical banner on the table itself, as the height is adjustable.

    Best of luck at AE!

  3. GuiseMaker, it costs me $22 a month when my terminal is active and $7 when it is not. Seems pricey, but it’s helped me make far more purchases than if I took cash alone! It also connects in areas my cell phone wouldn’t. I use First National Processing.

  4. Skahfee says:

    Hi Angela,

    I just wanted to pop by and say thanks for your Artist’s Alley posts! I’m currently preparing for my first run of Artist’s Alley showings up here in Portland and Seattle, and your posts were a lot of help for me in figuring out what to do about my table!

    I’m trying to do the same by blogging about my own setup (and giving you a shoutout for your awesome posts) on my blog: http://skahfee.com/blog/?p=3485

    Thanks again!

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