Best Booth System?

Hello! I am a small-time jeweler on the coast of Maine, new to the
marketing end of the business, and have a full season ahead of
high-end craft shows. I need to purchase a portable 10x10 booth
system, preferably adjustable, and am hoping for some educated
guidance from some other experienced jewelers out there. There seem
to be many companies selling various styles of the pole and drape
system, so any suggestions/opinions would be greatly helpful.

Thank you! Nisa

Hi Nisa

I have an Abstracta case (model number 1075-03) which I like very
much. I was at the show Craft Lyndhurst in New York one year and this
seemed to be the line that everyone else had. There is a well known
jeweler Rob Greene who seems to do every high end show in the
area…every year. He has a very sturdy-looking, very attractive
wooden case (I believe). I didn’t check to see if he had a website
with contact, but you can google him.

Is there any way you can visit the Spring shows on the circuit and
check out booths first? Can you look at the exhibitor list and
contact any of the other artists who will be at these shows?
Appearances can be so important around here.

Good Luck
Kim Starbard


A show booth is made up of many components. Some can be made by you
others purchased. The first thing you need is a good tent. I
recommend a Lite Dome. THe EZ up tents while cheap are problematic
on many different levels. I believe there is a thread on tents on

You don’t need to buy pipe and drape. Go to the local Penneys, Bed
Bath & Beyond etc and get some of their curtains. They offer a
variety of looks, colors, price points.

Your hardest decision will be your jewelry display. There are some
very expensive professional ones out there (Dynamic
Display)-probably not necessary, unless you really like all their
features. Many jewelers fabricated their own or have someone do it
for them, based on their design. You will have to balance security
for your product with accessibility for the customers, plus the
aesthetics of the display. All of this is further complicated by the
fact it must be hauled to a show in your vehicle, set up by you (&
helpers?) in a reasonable amount of time, broken down at the end of
the show, and stored until the next show.

Get Bruce Baker’s tape on booth design. He know what he is talking
about. Go to art festivals and see what other jewelers are doing.

There is no one answer, no one place to go. You have a myriad of
decisions to make as to what will work best for you & your


Hi Nisa. If you plan to do indoor and outdoor shows, I highly
recommend a Light Dome canopy. It’s stable and sturdy, and the
aluminum frame can be adjusted to a smaller size than 10x10 for use
in smaller spaces (without the canopy itself). Indoors the frame can
support whatever drape system you might like.

Good luck!
Allan Mason

Hi Nisa,

As has already been said, there are MANY components that need to be
considered. I just spent a very tiring (and expensive) few weeks
building a new display setup for my booth. It’s an ever-changing
process. I did my first “real” setup design for a show in late '04,
used it once & redid it before the next show, mid '05 (more of a
major tweak than a real overhaul), used that for two years & just
redid it again now (pretty major overhaul). Hopefully this one will
last me at least a few years, perhaps just a tweak here & there. The
advice to go to shows & take notes about what others are doing is
VERY good. I did a LOT of research before making even my first, and
any time I am at a show, I’m still always looking out for new
display ideas.

My first booth walls (and yet to be replaced) for an indoor show
were created by me using PVC pipes. I spent a couple hundred bucks
doing it, though, including the fabric. I also spent several bucks
buying fire-retardant spray to put on my wall curtains, as many shows
require fire retardant fabrics in your display. It was rather tiring
to spray it all, but as I bought inexpensive fabric, I think I made
out well. The walls could be a bit shaky, but I suppose even the
metal pipe versions aren’t solid as a rock.

They really weren’t too bad the way I made them. You just need to be
sure to give them some support. To get “proper” pipe setup it seems
would cost $450 or so, although it looks to be much friendlier for a
one person setup. Maybe even easier to store. I may finally invest in
that this year or next.

For outdoors, I just have a new EZ-up tent. I know they aren’t the
best, but the cost is about 1/4 that of the really good ones, so
hopefully it won’t be too much of a disappointment until I decide to
shell out the bucks for a better one. I haven’t used it in the rain
yet. They are at least made with heavier fabric as of just last year.
By the way, for my current inside setup, I also have metal pipes
across the top to which I have attached (let’s hear it for velcro!)
track lighting with 5 fixures in it.

For cases & stands, until my recent redo, I used 3 folding tables,
covered with a nice looking board setup that I crafted to be a solid
sort of Z shape. It pretty well filled a 10x10 booth, but allowed a
couple feet behind it for me. It had nice moulding all around the
edges, behind which was velcroed a long skirt that hung to the ground
and went from one end to the other. I stained it a medium shade and
it really looked professional. On it I could set 5 cases, and still
have a space to process sales & such. For the table height, I used
PVC pipes to raise each up to about 36". It wasn’t very adaptable,
though, so that inspired me to redo it this year. Now I have 5
separate stands for my cases, each with a footprint just a tiny bit
bigger than each case.

I can use one of them or all of them, and change the arrangement of
them as needed if the booth size changes, or the terrain requires it,
or I’m just doing a smaller show, etc. They are made of wood, and
they fold up to be more easily stored & transported, and the cases &
such all fit inside, I can just grab a case & go (well, lug a case &
go). They even have shelves in them. I created a fabric skirt for
each, which once again uses velcro to attach to the outside. Although
I used several methods to make them as light as possible, they need
to be sturdy, so they are kind of heavy, but the pros outweigh the
cons on them for sure. I also made a sixth stand for processing sales
& such, not quite as big as the others.

They all sit about 36" high. I used it for the first time this past
Sat, and I got a lot of compliments on it. Clean, simple, elegant,
professional. My cases have always been basically the same, since my
first design back in '04. On-line, I bought the case clips that are
used for glass cube setups, but had my local hardware store cut me
3/16" plexi instead. They are actually pretty good at resisting
scratches, so long as you treat them well (I made covers for each
sheet from flannel backed table cover fabric) and the weight
difference is extreme.

I think one case with glass would be heavier than all five of my
cases with plexi. It’s one thing to use glass in a store, when it
stays put, but to move that around from show to show would break my
back. My cases are each 24"x18"x12"h, and that seems to work out

Not sure if that’s more info than you needed, but I know there is
sooooo very much thought that needs to go into designing a new booth,
any ideas can be useful! If you’d be interested in any other details,
or photos, let me know.

Designs by Lisa Gallagher