Three months in advance, a craftsman pays an entry fee to participate as a first-time exhibitor for the town'?'s annual holiday craft fair. She will market her knitted children?'s purses, backpacks, hats, baby sweaters and blankets. Learning that this admission fee only pays for people and a 10x10 booth space, the craftsman is now presented with the challenge of building and furnishing the booth.
Building the Booth
A booth is literally defined as a covered stall or similar place where goods are sold or shown at a fair, market or convention. For many exhibitors a booth is simply composed of one or more tables. However, other exhibitors like the knitter, Francie, in this scenario will require a backdrop composed of panels for hanging items, which will be referred to as a booth from here on.
Step One: Determine Booth Size
The first step in building the booth is determining its size based on what and how much it will hold. This is best accomplished by drawing a blueprint that displays the manner in which the items will be organized on the booth. Most booths are formed with two or three panels. In this case, Francie, decides that she will create a three-panel booth, where a side panel will feature a dozen knitted purses and backpacks, the center panel will display a few baby blankets while the other side panel will display a dozen hats and baby sweaters.
Step Two: Invest in Booth Materials
The basic materials to create each booth panel includes: pipes, connectors and elbows made of polyvinyl chloride plastic; clip ties or Velcro straps; drapery hooks and sturdy drapery cloth. To create three panels that will each be 6 feet long by 4 feet wide, Francie goes to a home improvement store to purchase 30 connectors that are 2 feet long with a one-half inch diameter; 18 connectors that are one and one-half inch long with one-half inch diameters; 12 - 90 degree elbows that are one-half inch long with one-half inch diameters and a pack of drapery hooks. Next, she goes to a fabric store to purchase nine yards of sturdy drapery fabric. Afterward, she goes to a tailor shop to have the fabric cut into thirds and hemmed at each edge so that the pipes will slide through. Her last stop is a Dollar store to purchase the Velcro straps.
Step Three: Build the Booth
Building the booth involves joining the pipes using the connectors and elbows. Specifically, Francie creates each rectangular panel by connecting three pipes together with two connectors for each lengthwise side and connecting two pipes together with one connector for each widthwise side. She slides each of the four extended pipes into the hemmed pockets of the drapery fabric; then connects the lengthwise sides with the widthwise sides using the elbows. After the three panels are formed, Francie uses a hammer to secure the connections, attaches Velcro straps to connect the adjacent panel corners at the bottom and top and uses drapery hooks to secure the loose ends of the fabric corners. Finally, she props up her newly created three-panel booth.
Furnishing the Booth
Once the booth is built, a few more supplies are required to display the items. They include hanging racks with knobs (attached to the fabric using drapery hooks) that Francie will use to hang the backpacks, purses and hats; hanging rods that she will use to drape the blankets and wooden hangers and drapery hooks that she will use to hang the sweaters. If space is limited on the booth, Francie will further arrange any remaining items on a table.
Taking into account these booth-building and furnishing steps, arts and crafts exhibitors now value the key elements of sufficient time and detailed planning. After sketching the booth?'s blueprint and purchasing the supplies, it is essential for exhibitors to experiment with putting the booth together before the actual arts and crafts fair move-in time, as this is a booth that can be assembled and disassembled. Though initially a challenge, building one?'s own booth is very rewarding and becomes easier and easier when an exhibitor builds it for many fairs to come.
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