My art (unframed prints) is mounted on lightweight plywood panels, each about 40 inches square, and there will 6 panels in my 10x10 tent, 2 along each of 3 walls.

I'm thinking of buying 6 stabilizer bars, and mounting two on each of the enclosed walls, about 2 feet apart with the top bar about 5 feet from the ground. Then the panels would be mounted directly on the bars.

I can think of a few advantages: maximum room in the tent, great stability, extra weight bearing down directly on the posts (in addition to sand bags at the bottom). Also, a very clean look.

Thoughts on this?

As promised, here's a booth shot of the resulting booth:

Instead of panels, I used grids made of wood strips.

I'd appreciate comments on my booth and booth photo. Here's the thread I started for that:

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  • What type of tent are you using Marc? What will hold the center sta-bars in place other than the friction of a tightened bolt against the tent pole so that they do not slip down due to weight/gravity?

    • It's a 10x10 Undercover. You have a good point. I will get the bars in a week or two, and will test then. Possibly reinforce if needed.

      • Quick update, and I will post a more detailed description of what I've done as a separate thread shortly.

        The bars I got (from Eurmax) are very strong, but do have a slight sag in the middle when I put on the frames that hold the photos. That is completely solved with a loop of velcro tape around the scissors roof frame to hold up the center of the bar. The taps is white and isn't really noticeable.

        More later...

        • Marc - If you are located anywhere near Los Angeles you might check out a company called PTM Tarps located in Compton off the 91 freeway. Their website has a ton of canopy fittings and the lowest price I've found provided you can pick them up and avoid shipping. If you want more info let me know. You could run two horizontal bars (top/bott) U-clamped to tent poles but add a center vertical bar for stability using a few different varieties of T-fittings and footer. Just buy the fittings from PTM and the bars from Home Depot (use 3/4" EMT).

          • Kevin--

            Thanks for the tip. But, I already bought the 6 bars (upper and lower on 3 sides) and, with the velcro loop, they work perfectly. So, no need for an alternative. I'll be posting photos (on a fresh thread) in a few days, once I get all set up for my booth photo.

  • I'm having a little trouble visualing what you have in mind. The 40" square plywood panels are painted, finished, stained, or raw wood? Are they a display holder for a matted and bagged print, or are they part of the final product?

    A concern is that the display doesn't cheapen the presentation of your work. I've seen all sorts of displays over the years, and have done enough bad ones myself to know the effect it has on customers. The type of display you're describing sounds like "industrial chic", and it might go with your urban landscape pieces but no so much with the traditional landscape stuff. 

    I would have to know a bit more about how the plywood panels look, how they work with your images, and which images are displayed. I would be a bit leery of only having six pieces on display unless they are really large scale. Just some food for thought here.

    • Thanks for your comments, Robert.

      These panels aren't part of the art. They serve only as a mounting surface. On each panel will be 4 prints on 16x20 mats, for a total of 24 prints in the booth.

      The matted photos aren't framed. They are behind plexiglass and slid into channels attached to the panels.

      The panels will be painted, and I'm going to experiment with the booth to find the right color. I'm thinking possibly flat black. Or, if I don't like that, maybe white.

      My photos aren't expensive. A 10x15 print with 16x20 mat will sell for $35. So, my thinking is that a minimalist design goes well with my pricing.

      The photos vary from landscapes to cars to old sheds to whatever. If you like, you can see them at

      All theoretical, of course, since I'm just starting out. Each show will be an experiment.

      In addition to the appearance, I'm also asking about the engineering. My thinking is that all that weight on the tent legs is a good thing. As is the rigidity from a double set of stabilizer bars.

      • Since you're mounting 4 prints on each panel, I would suggest making the panels larger to allow some breathing space around each matte, at least two inches although you're approaching the standard size of plywood sheeting so you might as well go for 48" square. That would give you not quite 3 inches between the mattes and the edges of the panels for your long dimensions.

        The problem with white panels is that you're going to lose the panels against the white side tarps. Embrace the industrial chic idea and paint the panels black, and paint the Sta-bars black also. That'll give you you some design elements to the display and draw the eye to the panels.

        Raise your prices a bit. I get $35 for an 8x12 print in a 12x16 matte with no complaints about pricing. Try $45-50 instead. If the work is priced too low, the customers think you're buying it from offshore and reselling it. Perception is everything.

        • Interesting. I was going to go the other way, and have the panels hidden entirely, to make the prints appear to be floating in the air. Hard to imagine the effect... will have to experiment with the actual physical materials. But, it's winter here, and no shows for months. Lots of time.

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