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Hi everyone.


I am looking for honest feedback or critiques for my homemade display panel. I have only made one so far but before going further on building others I wanted to get some expert opinions on the one I have made.

As a new artist I don't have the money to spend on a pro panel set yet. I haven't actually done my first show yet, so basically I am in my Art Fair Infancy stage. Still learning the ins and outs and I have been reading all the articles and discussions here on AFI.

So be brutally honest if you will and tell me if this panel (more if it passes muster here) would be considered "Jury Worthy", could hurt my potential to pass juries, or could hurt my potential sales. I've been keeping up with Larry's discussions and his website articles on booth displays, and find them very valuable.

Any advice or offering you can provide for someone on a budget and just beginning would be appreciated.

The wall was made using:

(6) 2x4 's

(1) 2"x4'x8' Polystyrene Insulation Board

we used a canvas type material for wrap.

I left the legs bare and was undecided as to paint them or stain them, if at all.

I know it's no ProPanel, but on a budget it's what my sons and I could produce.

The panels are 6' tall x 8' wide. The display portion is only 4'x4' for each panel and we used hinges to piece the two panels into foldable panels. The panel folds up to a 4' wide x 6' tall piece. The only thing is the space opening at the bottoms. It is a 2',4' opening per section. We could have filled the whole display, but thought that no one would drop to their knees to view artwork hanging below the 4' elevation, so why add the extra materials to the bottom of panel. Your thoughts?

To hang our work we simply use curtain hooks.


Display Wall:


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The panels look OK but they don't offer enough space to hang the work so the work doesn't look crowded. I'd bring the hanging portion down to a foot off the ground so you have more vertical hanging space and less visual distraction under the panels.

I don't understand eight feet wide when your walls are ten feet wide. Wouldn't it be better to make two five foot wide panels per wall to maximize your display space?

Larry Berman

Larry thank you for the feedback.

The insulation board comes in 4'x8', and as it was the most expensive part of the entire panel materials, we looked at doing the most for the least, thus the 4'x4' design per panel section.

In your experience do you actually find that artwork hanging below eye level draws attention and sales relatively well? From some of the articles I have read the premiere space is at eye-level. I could wrap the bottoms as you suggested in the canvas material, but the foam board is what actually stiffens the display and helps to secure the curtain hooks, so even if I wrapped the lower portions, I wouldn't be able to use that space without adding additional insulation board.

Overall the entire display panel cost us around $74.00 from Lowes.

I agree that the walls should equal 10 foot, but the standard building sizes would equate to butchering a full sheet to make up the 2 foot difference. (Hopefully this all makes sense)


I guess what I am looking for is something that will work until such time we can sell enough work to move up to the $1400-$2000 for professional panels. Hopefully these homemade ones will at least get us juried in and allow us to sell without causing the opposite effect.

I guess we could remove some work and open up the panel more. The reason this one is so crowded was due to the fact it is the only one we have so far. If we built more then we could space out our work on several walls.

I just didn't want to go any further on making them if they truly look like crap and will hurt us more than help us in displaying our work.

As I stated in my original post I welcome brutal honesty. If they look like crap, then please let us know. We can then take this advice and try to plan out our next move.


Again, thanks for taking the time to help a newbie like myself get started in this wild and wonderful world of art and art fairs.


I'd hold off and try to find used pro panels. They easily hold their value should you decide to sell them. It's not so much that you should use pro panels, but it's how professional your display ends up looking. Doing your display that way costs you about 40% of your potential hanging space

Larry Berman

Thanks Larry, I value your opinion. I believe you are correct in they (pro panels) will add value to our display, and allow us to present our work in a more professional manner. Time to start saving up for pro panels.


The look is great. Clean, modern, professional. The only thing, which was not your question, is the fact that you won't get as many pieces in your space without going lower making the panels longer lengths. I have to have about 40+ paintings to fill my booth space and would miss that added area. Would you mind showing me what your curtain hooks look like? I have the mesh side panels that I hang on, but am doing a show where they won't allow me to use my own tent. Had to borrow pro-panels and not sure what a curtain hook actually is or what they look like. Sounds like what I need for this festival. Thanks and best of luck in showing! It is a great part of  my life!

If possible, you don't want to use curtain hooks on pro panels. It breaks down the styrofoam under the carpeting. If you have very light work, you may get away with it. But for anything remotely heavy, you need the hangers that go over the top, two for each painting. I always provide them when artists borrow or rent my pro panels.

Larry Berman

Ok, thanks Larry. Didn't get any so not sure what to use. Would a small nail or tack be better than the long curtain hook? I realize it may still break it down a bit, but maybe better than using a longer hook?

You can't use nails or tacks. There's nothing to hold them. It's just carpet and styrofoam. There are Velcro patches with picture hangers. Some people on this forum are using them, but only with light weight work. Start a new thread about hanging artwork on Pro panels and you'll get a few suggestions. I'd also ask the artist who loaned the panels how they hang their work.

Larry Berman

Frances, below is an image of the type of hook I use. I also provided a link to them on



Ok, thanks so much. ff

My eyes went directly to the raw wood legs. Perhaps painting them white like the canopy legs will help them blend in and give the walls a finished look.

I don't do 2d but I think they look fine, except that they are not long enough. You are paying plenty for your booth space, and you want to use as much display area as possible. Plus your neighbors will have plenty of work in their booths, and your don't want your booth to look empty compared to them.

Good luck!


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