If you’ve been reading our blogs, you’ll know that we exhibited stitchdotcom at a large craft show late last year. This can be quite an expensive undertaking, and for the show in question space was at a premium, so we needed to work out how to get the most out of our display, whilst being original and attention grabbing.
Where to start
We started by sketching out the area we had been allocated (2m x 1.5m) and then filled a piece of A4 paper with rectangles representing the space. We then brainstormed as many ideas as we could in 10 minutes. We didn’t stop to discuss the merits of each, we just kept going and, when we were done, we challenged each other to come up with 5 more. They ranged from the standard table and 2 chairs, to the fantastical. No holds barred, if money was no object, what would you do with this space?
We took a breather (had a glass of wine) and then set about discussing each idea in more detail – thinking about the pros and cons and the requirements each would have. We knew our budget was limited, which was always a factor for consideration.
When it came down to the final few, we thought about our vision for the business – pixelation generation stitch creation – in other words, keep it clean and modern, for a new generation of cross-stitcher. This really helped us to whittle down the ideas and pick pieces from each which would work.
What we had in mind at this point was:
- we need storage that looks clean and sleek
- we want to display our finished cross-stitch pieces as apps on a giant tablet. (Like an iPad but not branded – we wouldn’t want to upset the mighty Apple!)
Then we left it for a couple of months, until time pressures were a little more motivating.
The next step was to plan what this was going to look like. Again, we drew the allocated space and started thinking about how we would display and store our products.
We’d heard that shoplifting can be an issue, so we wanted to be able to keep our stock out of easy pilfering range, whilst also having it readily accessible.
We also wanted a ‘backstage’ area – where we could put coats, lunch, cash tin, business cards, extra kit to make up into extra stock (actually, what we wanted, looking back, was a stand twice the size!)
And of course, the giant tablet (the one that was going to look a lot like an iPad).
We found these shelving units in Ikea, and thought that they were the right size to be able to provide us with 4 display units at eye level and 4 storage units with boxes to hold our stock. We measured them and added them into our sketch. We could fit two of them in, which was great news.
We then found this unit and worked out that this could be our ‘backstage’ area and our giant “iPad-alike” could somehow be fixed to it.
It all fit into the sketch with a couple of centimetres to spare, so we went ahead and bought all three shelving units.
We called upon Annie’s husband Mr GG to help us build the giant (not) iPad. He loves a woodworking project and where we could only imagine the finished article, he could see the steps needed to create it. The magic happened before our eyes and the series of photographs below shows the progress.
The first thing on the shopping list was mdf. We bought two sheets of 6mm mdf. Above you can see the sheets of mdf resting against the front of our set of shelves. ( We’d also decided that it would be a great idea to have this on wheels, so we could move it about and use it as a trolley when building and breaking down our stand). Mr GG had measured an iPad and scaled up accordingly to cut the mdf sheets to the correct size.
Next, Mr GG used his router to round the corners of the mdf sheets. He also drew on the ‘screen’ area.
The router was used to cut the inside of the screen out from one of the pieces of mdf. As it was quite a thin piece of mdf, it was rather flimsy on its own at this stage and had to be stored carefully to make sure it didn’t snap.
The screen was then laid on top of the second sheet and glued in place with wood glue. This was the first bit of excitement – we could instantly see what it was meant to be!
We painted the back sheet of mdf with primer first and then with blackboard paint. The top sheet we painted with two coats of white primer. You can just see here that Mr GG has routed out a small button in the white sheet as well – attention to detail!
Next, Mr GG cut up some squares of mdf which would form our apps. These were innovatively held on with magnets, purchased from eBay, meaning that we can remove them and replace them easily. At this point, Alison and I got to work covering these with our cross-stitch designs.
Then we had a large sheet of perspex cut to size, and again Mr GG rounded the corners to match the shape with a router. This was glued to the front screen and clamped together until it ‘took’.
It was then bolted to our shelving unit, to become a mobile backstage area, which shielded us from public view as we passed out with tiredness during the three days of standing!
What we learnt
We hadn’t taken into account the third dimension! Height. The back of our stall was a lot higher than we’d anticipated and as such, looked a little bare. Next time around, we’ll be showcasing our Giant’s Typewriter in this space, and one day our Giant Table of the Elements (currently under construction…)
Although we’d gone down the route of not having electric supplied to our stand, due to additional cost, we did notice that light / fairy lights are a real draw. There are plenty of battery operated models on the market and we’ll be looking for a way to make our stand a brighter place next time.
A huge thank you to Mr GG, for all his hard work. He’s expressed an interest in creating more of these and his rates are very reasonable. If you’d like to contact him directly, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org