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Curtain for backdrop show display


I have my first bigger show coming up and am getting my booth all set
up to do it. I have a tent with sidewalls and an “L” shaped Abstracta
case. I have nice suede cloth lining the bottoms of each part of the
case, but I am stuck on what to put up for panels. I had wood panels
for my first couple of shows and they look nice, but tend to warp and
crack. I was thinking about a nice fabric curtain to go around the
whole case and then a coordinating curtain for the backdrop for the
whole booth. Does anyone have a good source? I guess I could rent
things just to see how they work out before I buy the set up. Any
ideas would be appreciated.


Kim Starbard
Unique Jewelry Designs

Kim - check with your local big fabric store. Sometimes they will
give you good prices on buying a whole bolt of material.

But - big but - check the fire codes. Many areas require that
curtains be of non-flammable material, or sprayed with an approved
fire retardant. Some require this for table drapes also. Some enforce
it strictly, some don’t. No point spending money on something you
wind up not being able to use!

That said, I lucked into a bolt of fake suede cloth that is gorgeous
and rich, and have my display tables draped in black cloth with is
then covered with the suede, which gives it a really rich look.

Beth in SC

Many areas require that curtains be of non-flammable material, or
sprayed with an approved fire retardant. 

Flamex is a liquid product which can be sprayed on fabric to make it
flame-retardant. If you find some fabric that you really want to use
which does not meet such a code, try using this product. Should work
fine unless the dye bleeds.


Kim, Beth is correct in advising you about your need to check the
fire codes as to whether or not fire resistant material is required.
I got some fire retardant liquid and sprayed my table cover. It was
awful—leaving the cloth stiff and sticky, and it was very
expensive… I then purchased a flame resistant cover which came with
a label stitched onto the cloth and written documentation showing
that the material meets fire codes. It is much better than the cloth
I fireproofed myself.

Good thing that I had a fire resistant cloth as at one show the fire
marshall did come around inspecting our booths.

Alma Rands

to elaborate on Beths response. Either buy flame retardant fabric or
get a product to treat your fabric with. there is a product called
’flame out’ most theater supply companys carry it. I got mine in
baltimore from a place called Barrons stage equiptment. It is sold in
a gallon jug, you spray it on your fabric. they also gave me a
certificate that stated that my drape was flame retardant…very
official looking. Fire marshals DO show up to big indoor shows from
time to time. I carry the stuff with me to show them what I treated
it with. I do not remember where I was but a fire marshal checked
someones drape by cutting off a very small piece and holding a
lighter to it. if it smolders for mor than a few seconds you do not
pass. I think this was a New England show. Keep in mind your neibhor
at a show may have 12 electric cords pluged into one outlet and a
bare light bulb that happens to touch the drape. One show that I do
asks that you bring a small fire extinguisher for the booth.

On another note. if you plan to do outdoor shows and use the same
drape do a rod pocket at the top and bottom so you can run a bar at
the bottom for weight.

wayne werner

Hi Kim,

First of all, have fun and good luck with your new show! :slight_smile:

As I’ve mentioned several times lately, I’m behind on my digests, so
I’m sure you’ve gotten lots of replies by now.

Regarding your fabric needs for your show, if it’s something like
bit to wrap around cases, if you can sew then I think that’s the way
to go. It’s inexpensive & you can get just what you want!

When I set up my booth for the first time, I even made my own booth
wall drapes. I was able to spend relatively little money because I
used unbleached muslin. I was able to make it fit to my setup and it
worked very nicely. I switched to a “proper” pipe & drape setup last
year, though, and I’m happy with my new made-by-someone-else drapes
for it. For any fabric other than the muslin, it’s cheaper to get it
already made, not even taking into account your time to do it. That
being said, for other bits of fabric & color throughout your booth,
make it yourself if you can! There is a bounty of available fabric,
and you’re not having to buy a whole trunkload of it. For my old
table setup I had a skirt that attached around the length of the
whole thing, and it was easy to make out of one length of fabric
which I hemmed up width-wise to make it the right length. That
really was pretty easy sewing, so long as you have a machine of
course. My new setup has five individual (modular) case stands, and I
once again hit the fabric store. I happened upon one going out of
business so I got an incredible price and bought all they had of the
fabric I chose, but even so I could have found something nice for a
decent price. There was a bit more measuring & sewing this time since
they were individual, but it was still just making rectangles. I was
even able to make my display props match my skirt and case liners,
since it was all done with fabric I bought.

As for a drape in the back, it sounds like you’re talking about an
outdoor show since you’re using a tent. If you do that, make sure you
attach it well because everything blows & sways when you’re outdoors.
Sometimes excessively so. I have pictures hanging in my booth & they
can be a PITA because they blow in the wind. The walls are always
flapping at least a bit in the breeze (and it seems like it doesn’t
take a real WIND to get tent walls flapping), so anything else on
them will do the same, perhaps moreso. I don’t like white walls (in
my tent or in my house), but I put up with them in my tent so I don’t
have to worry about hanging yet something else up, or dealing with it
blowing, or having to wash it afterwards because it got dusty or
muddy. You never know what conditions you’ll face! I’ve seen some
gorgeous tent wall coverings, but I don’t envy the cleanup when I
break down from a show and what little fabric I do have is filthy.

By the way, many shows require fire-retardant fabrics. If you do buy
your own fabric, you can buy a spray that will make your fabric

Designs by Lisa Gallagher