How to use track lighting with pipe and drape?

I need help with lighting for an indoor show this weekend. We just do a handful of shows per year, so I don't want a huge investment. I already purchased a track light set, but I don't know how to support it - in this case to a pipe and drape booth set up. Could I zip tie it right to the upper pipe? Or should it go across? Or do I just abandon the track lights and buy clamp lights? Yikes.

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  • I have my track lights duct taped along the front top pipe. Then I bring the cord down a corner. It works well. You can see my indoor set up, though the lights are cropped out, at the bottom of this page:

    Good luck at your show!

    Robin Ragsdale

  • Just as a follow up, Larry's conduit suggestion worked beautifully.  Trying to explain it to the guy at Home Depot was pretty funny but we got it figured out, and I had a light system that was sort of portable.

  • Lighting is a good idea - will you be exhibiting your beautiful jewelry or cool fiber??  What show is this??  I will be at the Graue Mill Museum Nov. 18th - 20th. 


    Good luck to you - hope to see you at a show next year.



  • I think you need something to support the track lights. I've screwed two four foot sections of track light to a 1x2 and strung it across my booth diagonally clamped to 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch electric conduit that fit inside each other. That way I could make the support bar any length.

    Larry Berman

  • Assuming you are renting the pipe and drape from the show producer, I would recommend getting in touch with them and asking to provide you with two extra "sliders" - one for the front of the booth, and one for the center (if it's a 10x10 booth, the lights at the front of the booth will not illuminate the back of the booth sufficiently). There is likely to be a small fee for these extras. You can definitely use zip ties to attach track lighting (so long as it's not too heavy) to the pipes.


    I only have a couple of shows behind me so perhaps more experienced people will offer better advice. I have a limited storage capacity, so I have not invested in my own pipe/drape setup and have been renting from the show producers. However, I knew early on that lighting is extremely important, so I invested into 4 sets of track lights. The upside with using lots of light is that the booth is well illuminated, the downside is that the lights generate quite a bit of heat.


    Clamp lights and spot lights may work too, depending on your booth setup. Since I'm in wearables, I want my entire booth lit more or less evenly. I have seen jewelers and small 2D artwork people use spotlights quite effectively.


    One other thing - you should confirm with the show producer what lighting capacity you are able to use -- most shows have limitations and require you to purchase additional wattage.


    One last thing - remember to bring power strips and extension cords.

    • I didn't know that extras might be available.  What are sliders (color me ignorant)? I wonder if I make a support system (from wood and conduit) like Larry suggested, if it would if it would fit into said sliders.

      • I didn't know the term until recently, so no worries :) They are horizontal bars that are adjustable in length and have hooks on the ends that can be inserted into upright/vertical pipes. The slider going across the top front of the booth would lock into the front vertical pipes, and the one for the center would need extra vertical pipes with bases. In my experience, this is standard equipment for trade show/convention center type outfitters. If the show you are doing is on a smaller scale, you may need an alternative solution.

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