This past summer, I participated in my very first outdoor art show. Having scoured the web to find out how people set up their displays, I was a bit disappointed to see that there wasn't much information out there. So I more or less had to invent something (with the help of my wonderful husband, of course...). And hoping that it would come in handy for other artists, I took detailed pictures along the way, which brings me to this blog post!
I'll do my best to give clear instructions, but if you have any questions, feel free to use the Comments section! :)
* A tent or canopy, preferably with walls, in case of inclement weather
* 2 x 4's for the basic construction
* Roll of "wire mesh" that I bought at the hardware store
* Large piece of stretchy black fabric (which you can buy at most "box stores")
* Plastic Washers (found in the Nails dept. of your hardware store)
* Curtain Hooks (Curtain dept. of any store)
* Wood screws (long ones for building your walls; small ones to attach the wire mesh to the walls)
* Hinges (I used 4 - two for the tops, 2 for the bottoms)
First off, set up your tent! If your tent or canopy doesn't already come with walls, you can easily make your own by using a tarp or other whether-resistant material, then using "zip ties" to secure them to the leg posts.
Place your 2 x 4's on the ground, lay them out as needed to create the 2 legs, the top and bottom. Measure and cut your 2 x 4's to the sizes needed for your setup.
Pre-drill all your holes for the basic wall construction, then secure using long wood screws.
Using a pencil or marker, add letters and lines on the 2 x 4's where each of the pieces "meet up". (A -- A, B -- B, etc...). This way, you'll always know which pieces go together, and your holes will always line up whenever you need to take it apart and rebuild for the next show.
Unroll the wire mesh on top of your wall construction, and cut it to size using wire cutters (make sure to wear gloves - this part can be dangerous!)
Attach the wire mesh to the top and sides of the 2 x 4's using small screws and those plastic "discs" (the discs make it more secure and more likely for the wire mesh to stay in place). There's no need to add these to the bottom... you can, but it's extra work for nothing :)
Paint the bottom part of the legs, since this is the only area a person would see after the fabric covers the rest.
When all three legs are done, you can attach the hinges to the tops and bottoms to connect them all together.
Once your three walls are up, wrap the fabric around the mesh, fold and staple it to the backside, making sure everything looks nice and tidy.
I found that the three walls stand up nicely on their own, but I added extra security by zip-tying the 2 outside walls to the top edge of the canopy posts.
Now that you're all done, use the curtain hooks to hang your paintings (one end is sharp, so it goes right through the fabric and hangs on the wire mesh). Use the "U" side of the hook to hang your artwork!
When disassembling my walls, I simply remove the hinges from the two outside walls, unscrew the mesh from the TOP of the wall's structure (leaving it connected to the side legs) then remove the top and bottom 2 x 4's. This way, all I need to do is roll up the two side legs with the mesh attached, which makes everything easier to store and handle.
I hope this proves useful for artists out there. I'm sure there are other ideas out there, but this one happened to work very well for me, not to mention how easy it is for me to assemble and disassemble - without needing much help!
If you find this helpful at all, please leave me a comment! And if you have thoughts on how it can be improved, send your suggestions! :)