Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

Custom made Booth weights

There are many weight systems out there. All have one or more of these four problems.

A) Too heavy to lift in and out of vehicle. You need a lot of weight but don't want to lift it all at once.

B) Not heavy enough to save your booth in very high winds. Do you want 100 lbs per leg?

C) Too bulky, take up too much space. We all seem to need compact designs, unless we are driving a tractor trailer.

D) Too delicate. Or not reliable. Sand bags known to tear and make a mess. Is water available?

To address this I have created my own system. They are light enough, each weighing approx. 25 lbs.

Stack-able to bring the weight up incrementally to whatever you desire. Sometimes I use 100 lbs per leg.

The absolute most compact dimensions achievable for the amount of weight supplied. Nothing you can reasonably acquire will have the mass or weight to volume ratio.

Extremely durable. Will not deteriorate, crack, fall apart, leak or change without extreme effort.

I will share my method for making your own weights. Simple and cheap.

They look nice. Smaller than anything else. Can vary from 25 to 100 lbs per leg. Weatherproof.

Materials needed:

Lead based upon weigh desired, approx 200 pounds

Suggest Stainless steel for the following & grade equivalence akin to 7 or 8 for the rods.

4) Eye hook rods. 10” x 1/2” is a good size. Longer if you want more weights - add 3” each. Length of rods can be varied as you decide how much weight for each corner. Depending on size of your crucible.

4) 1/2” Nuts to fit rod

4) Smaller washers 1/2” ID. –

4) Larger Washers – Center hole smaller than outside diameter of smaller washers.

Combustible non toxic material

Fire pit

Equipment needed:

Variable speed Drill

1/2” metal cutting Drill bit

Round Crucible – 3” deep by 5” diameter is a good size but you decide.

Fire pit


Fan – if needed to blow fumes away

Safety goggles

Acquisition of Lead:

Best method: Check with local plumbers and contractors. They often encounter old lead pipes and other lead that they just scrap. Sometimes, they will give it to you. Or you might offer to buy it from them at a rate a little less than what they would receive from the scrap yard. This is a benefit for them as they don't have to make the trip to haul it to the scrap yard, use the time, pay taxes on the income. Nice customer service.

Alternate: Purchase from the scrap yard.

Third: Many other methods, be creative. Perhaps break into an old nuclear facility and scavenge some shielding. :-)


****This MUST be done outside in a well ventilated area***

*** Do NOT breathe fumes***

1) Build a small fire, wood, coal. Lead melts at 621.4°F - in reference paper burns at 451°F, so you do not need extreme heat.

2) Clean off lead to remove a lot of impurities. Do NOT use chemicals.

3) Put lead ingots in crucible

4) Melt until uniform.

5) Remove from fire and let cool.

6) Remove from crucible, when cooled.

7) Drill each Lead weight 1/2” hole through center – top to bottom. *** Drill SLOWLY so the Lead does not melt***

To use:

1) Insert Rod through one or two or as many weights as you choose. – the best way is place hook down (loop end down) then slide weights onto rod through center hole, upside down.

2) When all weights are on Rod, place smaller washer onto threaded end of rod.

3) Place larger washer onto threaded rod

4) Place nut onto threaded rod and only hand thread until one thread is starting to expose out bottom of nut.

5) Use ratchet strap to secure Hook end of Rod to roof corner of Booth.

6) Make or acquire a cloth bag to enclose weights when hanging on booth, for appearance. However weights are supported by cinch strap, NOT cover bag.

Important to use bag ONLY as a cover, NOT as the support for the weights. The rod hook / eye is the support.

Enjoy your new booth weight system.

Images attached.


Views: 260


Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

more pics of set up


Thanks, Larry. Any idea where to source the ingot mold? 

Update: I think I may have found them - did a search for cast iron pouring pot.

Yup, that will work fine. They are inexpensive. 

During the many years I spent restoring and renovating old wood yachts and sailboats I had the opportunity  many times to melt Lead and pour keels. It was surprisingly easy to do and required caution when melting large amounts as we did. We fabricated a huge propane heated pivoting melting pot that would tilt and pour by using a motorized winch.

Lead does make excellent tent weights. My current tent weights are lead...but instead of melting and pouring I decided to fill 4" schedule 40 pvc pipe with lead buckshot. A 50 lb bag will fill up 17" of pvc.

Very good idea Greg. I get a bit more density by melting it. Instead of 17" = 50 lbs, I get about 6" or 7" = 50 lbs.Diameter is approx same as your PVC when you add your caps. Although your method might be easier due to no melting. However buying shot might get expensive. Your total setup would be about 40" larger, space is a factor. 

For me personally a few extra inches of space was not a factor since I have a large ford van. For many artists the extra space might be a crucial factor..

I had more than my share of melting lead in the past and prefered an easier solution. It would be interesting to know how many artists would be interested and go through the effort of melting and pouring lead.

My top end cap screws in and is removable and allows me the ability to decrease the weight by emptying out some buckshot if needed. However, I have kept it at 50 lbs so far... good exercise...

Is the buckshot expensive? I was looking at cost factor in designing this also. The combination I was seeking was:

A) portability - being able to lower the weight for lifting yet easily increase the weight for function.

B) Compactness - being able to take up as little space as possible, packing room can become critical.

C) Cost - I'm a cheap so and so. I wanted to find the best cost to functionality ratio.

When you empty out some buckshot you need another container to store that in. More space requirements. I have already gone to shows where my luggage had to sit on the seat next to me.

Larry... buckshot is more expensive than lead chunks but I was able to get 250 lbs of it for almost nothing through a friend at a gun show. I would still use it if I had to pay retail.

The lifting part doesn't bother me. My wife and I have different exercise machines and weights that we use daily and it really keeps us in shape. At 71 it so much easier during set up and tear down since we exercise a lot.

Although I can easily pour out some of the buckshot I have yet to do it. I always use the weights at the 50 lbs.


Want to sell more online? Advertise with Reach over 60,000 fiber arts lovers.

60 Page Report - Best US Art Fairs

Click Here to
Learn More


  • Add Photos
  • View All

Top 10 Reviewers on for January and February

© 2019   Created by Connie Mettler.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service