Canopy recommendations

Hi All, I have been putting up a difficult canopy for years with
my husband’s help and now am forced to do most shows alone. I have
been looking at CraftHut and the Light Dome. Can anyone lend their
experience to either of these choices and what might be better for a
small female to handle and still be sturdy??

Thanks so much.


Grace, I am 5’4" and 110 pounds and I love my light dome. It has
withstood some major storms with proper weighting. I keep the sides
in the vinyl carrier that came with it and I store the top in a
separate bin so I can keep the weight of each part manageable. I
also use it at indoor shows to support fabric walls and my lights.

Good luck,
Deb Karash


I have a 10x10 light dome. It’s a great canopy. Stands up well to
wind and they have several anchor systems that work. Now downside.
Its fairly heavy and somewhat unweildly when packed in the carrying
cases. It can be set up by one person but not as fast as they claim.
Take down is fairly easy. It costs a great deal. Even with these
drawbacks I’m glad I bought one.


Hi, Grace,

The easiest by far to put up is EZ-Up, but they aren’t very sturdy,
and pool water in the roof. I now have a Light Dome. It was
expensive, and a bit of a pain to putup alone, especially if you’re
short, but it is a wonderful tent. The side panels are very
versatile (center zippers as well as corner), and I recomment getting
one with a sky light. You can use the frame without the top, indoors,
and adjust the size between about 6’x 6’ to 10x10, including
rectangles (this is only without the top, mind you. With it-- 10x10).
And, so far, when tents were collapsing all around me from wind
and/or rain, I was unscathed. Good luck! --Noel

I’ve got an EZ-UP Express III kit which I purchased last summer from
Sam’s Club. The carrying case for the canopy has two wheels that can
be popped on one bottom edge so you can sort of drag/roll it rather
than having to lift it. It’s 10’x10’, and I think 10’ high in the
center, and comes with 3 sidewalls (you can order a 4th sidewall from, but I don’t know why they don’t just put 4 in to begin
with). It also comes with four (empty) sandbags and stakes for
pounding into the ground. I am not a very strong individual, but I
can put this canopy up by myself in under 5 minutes, by attaching one
corner to the ground and opening it up gradually. It self-raises the
center of the roof as the legs expand. The whole thing cost under
$200. I really like it compared to my old EZ-UP which was smaller and
blue–the white canopy on the Express III really makes jewelry look
better than the blue one did. This particular kit with accessories is
only available at Sam’s Club–the same canopy and accessories
purchased separately from EZ-UP would be nearly $500. (not
affiliated, just happy with the purchase)

–Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry

Hi Grace,

I bought a Light Dome last year and I have been very happy with the
quality and ease of erecting. While it may take a bit longer to put
up than an Easy Up, it can be easily done by one person and there are
really no parts that need a great deal of strength to put into place,
other than snapping the canopy into place (I have a 10 x 6 and I
think that may be harder than a 10 x 10). The finished dome is clean
and professional looking. Good luck!



I have a Light Dome Canopy. I am 5’ 7" and put it up alone fine
without a stool. I could put it up and take it down alone when I was
9 months pregnant, although I wouldn’t reccomend it. I was able to
put it when I weighed a lot less than I do now as well. The heaviest
part is the bag of poles that you fit together to form the framework
of the canopy. I can just barely carry that myself…but I can easily
slide it out of the van onto a cart. The video that comes with the
light dome shows a woman a couple of inches shorter than me setting
it up in 10 minutes or something like that. I say more like 1/2 hour
to get the tent up, the sidewalls on and the weights attached if you
are really focused. Much longer if the space is tight and manuevering
is a problem or if you are around a bunch of artist friends you
haven’t seen in a year and you keep stopping to chat. I had to buy
two seperate bags (giant hockey style) to put my canopy and sidewalls
in as I never got proficient with that weird folding carrying thing
they supply for the canopy and walls.

I haven’t had any problems with seams dripping but have developed
several pin holes in the 4 yrs. I have been using it, maybe from
overhead trees. I have had several of the snapping straps that you
use to secure the rolled up sides shred and break…some of those in
the first season. The zippers have held up well though and they
replaced part of my add-on side canopy support that broke the first
time I used it. Unfortunately neither my husband or myself were able
to figure out how to replace the piece without destroying the whole

My guess is that a craft hut might be a little sturdier…but my
friends with them grudgingly admit that putting it up alone for a
small female would be really difficult and time consuming. If you
have little technical questions that the whole list might not be
interested in please feel free to contact me off-list.


I have both the Light Dome and a Craft Hut. I would recommend the
Craft Hut hands down. My Light Dome is just too wimpy in the wind.
It’s very easy to set up and I use it if I have a one day show, on
grass and perfect weather is forecasted but that’s it. The Craft Hut
is harder to put up (takes longer) but it’s so much stronger and more
secure in any weather. My Light Dome is aluminum and most of the
poles are slightly bent and torqued from the wind. I set the Craft
Hut up by myself but if I can grab a neighbor for pulling the roof
across I do, since I’m 5’3" and a little height helps. I lost my
display in a microburst during a storm many years ago (in a Light
Dome) so I am very concerned about how the canopy handles when the
weather turns. Buy a Craft Hut, put in skylights and vents, zippers
all around, get the bells and whistles.

I do all indoor shows now, but I used an EZup for years when I did
outdoor shows and loved it. I swear it took two minutes to put up
and take down. It wasn’t cheap, but it was worth every penny I paid
for it. They have a lot more models now than when I bought mine,
but I think I got the equivalent of the Express2. You can see it at

Pam East
Enamel Bead Making Made Easy!

Be careful of the easy ups if you live in an area with any wind,
good sized rain fall etc. The water pockets in the top and collapses
them and wind turns them into sculpture very easily. They are the
first ones to go down at any show. I tried all the proper weighting,
hoop inserts in the top to keep water from pooling, clamps to give
the top extra staying power. My EZ-up lasted 2 1/2 years, lost it’s
top and many times and was beaten pieces by the end.

I want to thank all the people who wrote in their recommendations
regarding a canopy choice. My conclusions are that the Craft Hut is
a much better product but would be nearly impossible for a 5’1"
female to cart and put up alone. I am sensing mixed emotions about
the Light Dome in terms of its sturdiness but that it is much easier
to put up and carry. So, I have to give it some real thought (or
start lifting weights and bring a good ladder!!)

At any rate, I am still open to comments or experiences and grateful
that I have somewhere to go for info besides the manufacturer!!!

Also a quick thanks to those who sent responses to my comments
regarding the truth or dare survey. It is sad and frustrating to
see how many people work round the clock and put their heart and
soul into their work and still can’t live on the income. I thought
for sure I was just doing something terribly wrong but I can see
many are in the same boat. Perhaps collectively we will comfort
each other and come up with some viable solutions. My best to
everyone for this year’s show season and I hope to see some of you
throughout the season ringing up those BIG SALES!!!


I’ve been using a couple of E-Z Ups, both from Sam’s and like the
one purchased a couple of years ago more than their new model. I’m
not totally satisfied, but want to make one recommendation. We sell
in Florida during the Winter and New England during the Summer. We
have just added two 10 x 6 sunscreens. They screen out most of the
sun, cut the wind down without pulling like the solid sides and let
rain dribble down straight. They have come in very handy and get
moved around during the day and changing weather. It took quite a
search to find them, but a “canopy” (read tarp) dealer at an antique
show had them for sale when asked. We are selling jewelry full time
and are in shows every weekend, but I hope to find some time for
jewelry making this Summer. Sue

For anyone who is interested in side screens for their canopy, most
garden centers as well as Home Depot and Lowes carry nursery shade
cloth which can be cut to size. As Sue notes, it’s nice to have in
the warm months, allows ventilation without turning your booth into a
big sail and some sun protection for you/customers and product.

Mike Dibble
Black Horse Design

Hi Grace, I’m late getting into this but I was out of town (Tucson
gem shows) and just now getting to my orchid posts. After doing
shows for about 10 years using an easy up, I upgraded to a CraftHut.
It is a wonderful product, but very difficult for me to put up by
myself and I was sorry I didn’t buy another easy up. It just took me
too long to put all the pieces together, It was very hard to get the
top canopy over the pipes by myself, and is one reason I gave up
doing shows - Just too long a set-up, tear-down process. I did most
shows by myself and am a fairly small woman. Jan