OOAK Booth Building
The One of a Kind Show Christmas 2015 was my first show that required me to build something beyond what would fit on a table (ack!). Even though I had support from my super helpful OOAK friends, I was scared (a little too scared). This is what led to me building a super amazing OOAK booth that was beautiful, but unnecessarily sturdy (seriously unnecessarily).
My booth was 10' x 10' - which is big, coming from someone who worked the Spring 2015 show from a 4x2 table! What follows is a somewhat messy description of my (somewhat messy) booth building. My main takeaway from the experience - I overthought this! It is way easier than I thought: my measurements were too precise and my materials too sturdy (and heavy).
My plan - 7 panels to fit together, with an added storage area behind.
Laying out the materials. I bought 7 8'x4' 1/2" sanded plywood sheets. I could have used 1/4" ply, but, again, the sturdy factor! I didn't think that 1/4" would be able to support all the stuff I wanted to hang (it totally would have). I used 2x4s as frames for the plywood. Could have used 2x2s, these are heavy AF.
I used small brackets to attach the 2x4s and make the frame for the plywood. I probably could have gotten away with just screwing the plywood right into the 2x4s, but, again, I over thought this. It did make it easier though to lay it all out beforehand and ensure that the frames were in the right place.
Screwing in the brackets!
After I screwed in the brackets, I screwed a long screw into each corner to attach the 2x4s together EVEN MORE securely. I probably could have only done this step and skipped the brackets.
So - next I screwed the plywood into the frames. Used 3.5" screws, 8 on each panel (1 in each corner and 1 on each side). And BAM! First panel complete.
Repeat steps 6 more times - and all panels were complete! Note, one of my panels was very small, on the back wall I had two 4' panels and one 8" panel. Why didn't I make 3 equal size panels? I don't know.
Don't forget to take napping breaks!
STORAGE! I purposely left about 15" of space at the back of the booth for storage, but I needed a way to get back there (I was not in a corner booth so sneaking around the side wouldn't work. For this, I decided to create a hole in one of the back panels that I could attach a "door" to and slip in and out. Here's a pic of the hole!
I cut a triangle shaped piece of 1/4" plywood that could be placed over top of this hole (hung with a hook above the hole) that I would be able to lift off to access the back - meant to look like a Christmas tree. I cut another smaller piece as a decorative tree. This is also where I hung all my ornaments.
The back storage area was GREAT. It was amazing to have space to hide all the ugly stuff - boxes, coats, my lunch. BUT, the hole was a little too small to comfortably walk through. And removing the tree and ducking through it 8 times a day was pretty tiring.
Once all panels were ready, I puttied over the screws, sanded them, then primed and painted them all (this takes forever).
After that, I screwed large holes in the sides of the frames, so that I could use bolts to hold the walls in place - 2 bolts per wall. (sorry, no pic of this right now).
Ta da! Booth complete! Sort of....
Next I wanted a little desk at the front of the booth, for storage and so that I'd have a surface to lean on/write on/put my coffee. I used 3 pieces of 1/2" plywood, that I had cut at home depot. I used 2x2s to create a frame inside the "desk" so that I'd have something to screw into, and then screwed the desk into the wall of the booth. For next year, I plan to make this desk bigger, and put it at the back of my booth in front of my "door." This is mainly because I offer framing of my pieces at the show, and framing a piece on this small of a surface was nearly impossible.
Next? Finishing touches. I used 6 IKEA PS2015 wall organizer (which I think has been discontinued?) as a card display.
I also used these IKEA wooden brackets to create a shelving along the bottom of the two sides booth, and put up 2 other plain wooden shelves with brackets for display.
Finishing touches included our lasercut sign, lights strung along the back wall, and product display, both on the walls themselves and in boxes on the shelves.
Setting up at the show! Don't forget, make sure that you can put your booth together without having access to all sides! I was lucky that one of my neighbours had soft walls, not sure how I would have worked this out if there were hard walls on both sides.
The final result!
Things I would probably do differently:
-Make the panels only 3", not 4". Much easier to maneuver.
-Use 2x2s, not 2x4s.
-Have a flooring option - if not only for the visual appeal, for the sake of my feet which were falling off after standing on the concrete the whole show.
-Use 1/4" plywood. Although I am happy with the 1/2"ply, and I don't think it makes it THAT much heavier....
-Move my desk to the back of the booth, and extend it.
-Use a curtain to hide my hole into the back storage, instead of the wooden tree.
-Make my price tags bigger! I ended up writing the prices on stickers on many of the items, as many people didn't notice the (adorable) laser engraved wooden price tags that I had displayed beside the items on the walls.
-Put out more stuff! At the beginning, I basically only had 1 of every product displayed on the walls. Throughout the show, I put out multiples of each product, packaged and unpackaged, along the shelves of the booth and the front desk. Not everyone looks through the entire booth, so it's great to have items to catch the eyes of shoppers no matter where they are looking. At first I wanted my display to be as clean and minimalist as possible, but, I think that (at least for my products) a more busy display actually works well.
Well - I hope my booth building has inspired and frightened you!
May 02 2018
Hi! To answer your questions -
reb: Yes the walls were 8 feet deep – I had storage behind the triangle tree so there was approx 1’9" of space behind the booth.
Amanda: I do OOAK every year and it’s definitely worth it for me but it’s different for everyone and totally depends on product, etc. There’s a great facebook group “On my way to OOAK” that has some good resources and OOAK staff hosts OOAK 101 sessions to help you get more info. It’s always going to be a risk but many many people make it worth it. Good luck!
February 05 2018
Hi there. Did you come out only 8ft then deep? it appears that the walls are 2 – 4 × 8′s?
January 10 2018
Thanks so much for this information.
A BIG question and it’s very personal, did you manage to break even and make money? I am concerned with looking at about 5k to make this happen and then not knowing what’s on the other side.
Any advice would be great.