Art Fair Insiders

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

Holding down the booth: Part 2, on cement

So many shows are held on the streets that artists need to improvise. How about these choices?

1. PVC in white:

2. PVC in black:

3. PVC used in another way (pretty sneaky, isn't it?)

4. Concrete block w/rope:

5. Concrete in 5 gallon tubs:

6. Double dipping:

7. Ye old mystery weight:

Most of these are artist made -- do you make your own. What is the best/safest way to attach these to the tents? Show us your version.

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Comment by John Kennington on March 24, 2015 at 11:48pm

I have a question on the best way to attach weights, such as cement-filled PVC pipes. I know they should not be sitting on the ground. Two options are (pictured above) hanging vertically from the top of the frame in each corner and hanging horizontally from the sta-bars. The sta-bar method is certainly more attractive. But assuming the the weights weigh the same, is one method "sturdier" than the other? I've seen discussions on this before, but does anyone really understand the physics behind this? Is 120 total pounds hanging form the sta-bars just as good as 120 total pounds hanging from the corners?

Comment by Shoshana Matthews on March 24, 2015 at 9:14am

And many times bright orange is the only color available in ratchet straps that are long enough and wide enough to tie down a booth.

Comment by Alison Thomas on March 24, 2015 at 8:45am

I use bright orange straps to keep people from tripping or running into them and to make it easier to find my tent in shows that have a complex layout.  They saved me once in Ocala when I couldn't find my booth :-)

Comment by Cindy Welch on March 23, 2015 at 9:37pm

Ours looks most like number 1 pictured above.  We use it whether on a street or on grass.  At least on grass we can add stakes.

Comment by Ruth Jellema on March 23, 2015 at 10:22am

I really dislike the way most weights look.  I was recently next to someone who had wrapped her PVC with leopard duct tape - totally blended with her booth.  There are so many patterned duct tapes - I'm looking for one to blend with my booth but not stand out.  And speaking of standing out - why in the world do people use those bright orange straps?

Comment by Greg Little on March 22, 2015 at 11:31am

Connie...I have a set of Tap & Dies that is used to do this type of eye bolt. It is easy.

I drilled a hole in the dumbell end that corresponds to the size needed for the threaded bolt. After drilling the hole I use the tap tool to create the threads. It is a "T" shaped handle that I just twist into the hole to create the thread. It is easy for me because I am a tool nut and have always liked doing this sorta stuff....but it is not at all difficult and can be done by anyone that is handy with tools. All that is needed is a drill, the proper size tap and corresponding drill bit.

 The tap tool can be purchased in individual sizes for a one time need such as this.

Most local hardware stores and big box stores sell them.

Comment by Connie Mettler on March 22, 2015 at 7:48am

How do you get the eyebolts into the dumbbell?

Now I'm looking again at photo 2 - besides the black PVC the booth next to it has some kind of bag hanging on it. Is that a water bag?

Comment by Greg Little on March 22, 2015 at 12:08am

I have 2 sets of cement/PVC weights...1 is 30"x4" and the second is 36"x4". The vast majority of booths I have seen at shows use these as they seem to be the easiest and standard type used.

I decided about a year ago to use 40lb dumbells instead since they are  1/3 the physical size of the PVC, easier to carry and transport and I prefer the way the look compared to my pvc ones.

We all take pride in the way our booth looks and the appearance of the weights should be no exception.  It is part of the overall impression visitors get...unlike the jury photos. I'm sure at some point I will find something I like better because of appearance, size, portability etc...but for now this is what I have

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