My First Craft Show – What I Learned

Yesterday I took part in my first craft show!  It was a lot of work, a lot of fun, and a lot of lessons learned.  I wanted to share what I discovered with you all, in case you are on the verge of doing your own craft show.  Keep in mind this was my experience and it might be different for you.  But hopefully my tips/lessons can be of some help!

#1  It’s HARD work! As in my previous post I will tell you that preparing for a craft show is really labor intensive.  One thing that I believe helped me is that as soon as I signed up, which was nearly two months prior to the show, I started working on my crafts every single day.  It helped me build up my inventory but not feel so overwhelmed by the process.  Ideally if you are doing craft shows you are prepping year round, but as a beginner you might really need to get that initial stock going.  If you start early enough you can just do a little bit everyday.

#2 It WILL cost you money.  This part sucks, but it’s a part of the craft show life I guess.  You will have your booth rental fee, in my case it was $25.  Then I had to buy table cloths, display stuff, bags, totes for carrying my things, and other supplies I hadn’t thought of.  All told, I am pretty sure I spent at least $200 in prep.  And I think that is pretty cheap for most set ups to be honest.  Granted, this was my first show so the costs would hopefully be less for subsequent shows.  But keep in mind that if you do seasonal shows you will need to change-up your display (stuff for Christmas, Fall, Spring, etc.)  Be prepared for that first show to NOT break even.  Consider it an investment in your craft show business.

#3  Load your stuff up the night before so you are ready the morning of the show.  We loaded our car up Friday night and I had everything ready which made the next morning much easier.  We had 3 hours to set up but we didn’t get to the location until one hour after set up began.  BRING A CART!!!  Oh boy, do I regret not having a cart to haul my stuff in!  It was a long walk with heavy tables and the other things from the parking lot to the high school gym.  My arms are still like rubber!

#4  Be prepared to accept whatever space you get.  I requested a space along a wall.  I got stuck in the middle of the gym.  I made the best of it but you get what you get I guess.  I also noticed my 10 x 10 space was more like 9 x 8 so the set up we had practiced in my living room ended up being a lot smaller.  You have to be flexible and make it work.  In the end I was happy with how we arranged things.


#5  Make sure you have taken photos of your set up to make putting it all together easier.  I was so glad I had taken photos of our practice set up because on the day of the show I honestly could not remember what went where.  I guess the more shows you do the easier this will get.   After you set up go inside your booth and make sure people can see and touch everything with ease.

#6  Signage!  If you are invested in doing craft shows you will want a really good sign.  We didn’t have one, just my little home-made sign I made with stickers and a small frame from the thrift store.  It was okay but if I were going to be doing this on a regular basis I would find a company to make me a custom sign I could use each time.  Or have your shop name put on a table-cloth.  I saw some really great signs at the show that people had custom-made.  I know some of these can be pricey, but shop around for a good deal.


#7  Business cards!  I didn’t have any.  Big mistake!  People kept asking for my card and I felt so lame admitting I didn’t have one.  I cringe when I think of the people I could have possibly gotten more business from.  These don’t cost much money, you can go through Vistaprint and get 200 cards for pretty cheap.  This is one small expense that can reap lots of benefits!!!

#8  People are awesome!  Not so much a tip as an observation.  Craft people are so sweet and wonderful!  I met so many nice folks at the show, the vendors on either side of us were super and we shared tips and stories.  I especially loved the lady next to us who made the most beautiful drift wood creations from things she found on the beach.  Let me tell you, her booth was hopping!  She had a steady stream of customers from beginning to end.  I was jealous!  LOL


Here are some pics I took during set up.  This was prior to opening to the public.  I wish I had taken some photos once we got going but I couldn’t leave the booth easily.  We had a steady stream of people, it was a good showing!

#9  Be sure to visit other booths.  We had about 30 minutes or so once we’d set up so we took the opportunity to visit the other booths and visit and get to know people and their wares.  It was nice to see other set ups and we got lots of tips.  We also got to see our competition, and observe prices.  I had been worried I had under priced my items but I was pleased to see I hadn’t compared to the other crafters.

#10  Use the potty, get coffee, etc while you have the chance.  Before the doors officially open do all that stuff so you’ll be ready once the crowds get there.  You won’t want to leave your booth unattended.  Either have a locked money-box or a fanny pack (bum bag) which is what we had.  I was lucky that my oldest daughter was with me so one of us was always wearing the bag.  As vendors we got free coffee and donuts which was cool.  We did have to pay for lunch though so make sure to plan for that and count it as an expense.

#11  You should already have your change ready but be sure to have plenty of ones and fives.  To make things easier keep things to dollars and no cents (unless you enjoy dealing with lots of change!)  I had $100 in fives and ones.  Most people paid with small bills anyway but there is always that one who wants to pay with a twenty so be prepared.

#12  Keep notes!  We didn’t do this.  Big mistake.  Have a notebook or your iPad or whatever and keep track of every single sale, how much it was, what it was.  That way you can see what sells and what doesn’t.  Also keep track of any of your expenses such as lunch or items you buy.  You need to know what you actually made at the end of the day.

#13  Don’t blow your profits.  Or maybe do.  I don’t know, it’s up to you.  It IS a good idea to be a customer because if you shop the other booths maybe they’ll shop yours and you’ll foster good will, right?  Only don’t go nuts.  And maybe don’t bring your fifteen year old shop a holic daughter with you.  Or if you do, maybe insist they bring their OWN money instead of spending from your shop till.  Yeah.  Lesson learned the hard way!

#14  Don’t get discouraged!  When the doors opened and people began streaming in we sat there eagerly and then watched droves of people walk right by our booth without stopping!  Ugh!  Remember being that kid picked last for gym?  Yeah, that was us the first twenty minutes or so.  But then we noticed the same people circling back and visiting our booth.   I guess some people’s strategy at shows is to walk around first to see what is being offered then come back to take a second look.  Good strategy!  So if no one is looking at first, just be patient.  They will come back!  And if they don’t, well you have a long day ahead of you and plenty of time for others to come by.  Not everyone is going to want to stop and that’s okay.  Or at least try to tell yourself it is!

#15  Following the above tip, be sure to greet every person who approaches your booth and at least smile at those walking by.  Don’t spend time on your cell phone or talking to your partner.  Make the customer feel welcome.  We spent a lot of time smiling and saying “Hello!” like a cheery stewardess on a plane.  But we got lots of smiles in return and many potential customers entering our booth.  I can honestly say that everyone was so friendly!

#16  Be prepared for lots of  “window shoppers”.  We had a lot of people stopping by and really admiring our stuff and saying how cute it was then leaving!  It was a little bit of a let down but it is the nature of the business.  And at least they were looking, right?

#17 When the show is over take stock.  Not just of your inventory, but of what worked, what didn’t.  What would you do differently?  I will admit that when all was said and done I was discouraged.  Greatly.  We had spent way too much, both in getting ready (even though it was necessary) and from my daughter’s shopping.  Which I admit, I failed to curtail.  I didn’t have business cards, I didn’t have proper signage, I didn’t have a cart to help with set up, I didn’t have a good note taking strategy.  We had some nice things to sell I think, but what I thought would sell didn’t even get a look.  What did sell were magnets, rings, bracelets, charms, pendants and key chains.  And very few of those.  I did sell a few stamp sets but most people were not interested in any of the crafting supplies I was offering.

What would I do differently?  Well aside from what I’ve mentioned above, I would stream line my merchandise.  One thing I did notice from the other booths was that what sold were either expensive unique items (such as the driftwood creations I mentioned, or intricate art work), Direct Sale Company Products/Booths, and stuff like home-made soap, etc.

Having a lot of different items might seem like a good way to make money, but really your focus ends up being so scattered that in my experience at least, you are going in too many different directions.  It would be much better to focus on one or two things and go from there.  Two things you are passionate about because you’re going to be making a TON of them!

Research, research, research!  I plan to put any more shows of my own on hold for now and instead GO to some shows and see what other people have, what is selling, what are the prices like, how are the set ups.  What is working, what is not working.  Which shows are the best attended?  I want to ask some of the vendors for their experiences and stories.  What about credit cards?  How much does it cost, and what are best sites for accepting cards?  Where do they get their signage from?  Their table cloths, their tents?

And then once I have a better handle on what needs to be done, we will begin again.  Maybe we lost money, maybe we got discouraged but this is not over by a long shot.  I am looking forward to going ahead with our dream to make and sell our own creations.  And yes, you can be sure I will share what I learn on the blog with all of you!

Thanks for sticking with me for this longgggg blog post!  I hope I helped in some small way if you too are going along in this journey to craftdom!  I would love to hear about your experiences with craft shows, what you have found that works, what doesn’t.  After all, we never stop learning, right?  :

Have a great Sunday everyone!


Craft Shows

Craft Show Prepping=Hard Work!

Hey everyone!  So sorry I have not had a chance to update the blog recently.  I haven’t had a chance to do much crafting because I have been super busy prepping for an upcoming Craft Show this Saturday.  This is only the second craft show I’ve ever done and boy is it hard work!  I don’t know if people realize how much work really goes into doing something like this.  I have nothing but respect for the people who do this full time!

I actually started getting ready for the show back in February, when I first signed up for it.  I sent in my registration form and payment ($25) for a 10 x 10 foot space, but alas, this show you have to bring your own tables.  Luckily I do have 3 folding tables, 2 four foot ones and one six foot one, so that was good!

Aside from making items to sell, which really goes on all year long, I then visited our local thrift show to search for display items.  I really lucked out and found 3 great table cloths to use plus some beautiful table runners.  My idea for our booth was to create sort of a romantic, Victorian style thing.  I’m happy to say we achieved it and for very little money!  I was also able to find some great display items, like wicker baskets, candle holders, jewelry displays, plates, jewelry boxes, etc.  All with a vintage, romantic feel!  I didn’t keep track unfortunately but I believe everything came to well under $30!

So then came the reallllly hard work!  Yesterday my daughter and I set up the tables in the living room and brought everything out to see how it would look.  I totally underestimated how much work it is to set up a craft show booth!  We had to measure out our 10 x 10 space, bring in the tables, set them up with the covers, then bring out all the display stuff, then all the merchandise and try to organize everything so it looked nice.  That was when I discovered I had several unfinished pieces of jewelry to finish!

Next came figuring out prices.  I think I have under priced stuff unfortunately but I guess we’ll see how things go.  It’s hard to price things, there’s such a fine line between what something is worth and what people will actually pay!

Finally when everything was done I took several photos so we would know how to set it all back up then we packed everything up and have it ready for Saturday.  It took over 3 hours to do all of this and boy was I pooped!

I did take pics throughout the process to share with you, so here they all are!  I will let you all know how it goes on Saturday, if you are local stop by and say hello!  The show will be Saturday, April 28th at Corunna, Michigan High School from 10 to 3, free admission.  Let’s just hope I at least break even ha ha!

Okay, here are the pics!



Polymer Clay

Nachos Anyone? The Polymer Clay Kind!

Today I wanted to share a polymer clay project with you.  I love playing with polymer clay.  One of my favorite things to make are little cute charms you can use on a corded necklace, or a key chain, or whatever you like!  In this post I’m going to share my process of making nacho chips!



For the nachos I used FIMO clay in a light yellow shade.  I like to put a small amount of corn starch on my work surface to keep the clay from sticking.  You want to “condition” the clay first and by this I mean you want to knead it and work it with your fingers until it is very supple and shows no cracks.  (good hand exercise!) *when purchasing your clay be sure to pick FIMO Soft which will make this process easier.  You can also use Sculpy clay which is often not only less expensive but much softer.


Form your piece of clay into a triangle shape, like above.


It helps to use a blade like the one above to help shape your triangle.  You can find this and many other polymer clay tools at Walmart, or craft stores such as Michaels (or online).


As you continue to shape your triangle, slowly start to “smoosh” it down to make it larger.  Keep using your blade to maintain the triangle shape.


Once you’re finished shaping it should look something like this.


Next you want to add some texture to your nacho!  For this you can just use an old toothbrush, it’s the perfect tool to add texture.  You don’t always need “Specialty” tools to work with polymer clay!  🙂


Now we’re “cookin’!”  Looks almost good enough to eat, right????


Next you get to add a face!  You don’t have to do this but I like to make my charms cute! For this you want to roll out a very thin bit of brown clay (or black if you prefer)  Using a blade (I used an exacto knife, some people like to use a straight razor blade but be careful!!!)  cut 2 even small pieces of clay.


Roll the bits of clay into 2 small balls such as above.  (alternatively you can bake the piece then paint the eyes in using a dotting tool OR use small seed beads for the eyes instead).



Using a dotting tool such as the one above (which is actually an old scoring tool I had in my stash!)  form 2 small eye “holes”.  You can make these as deep or as shallow as you like.  Place the balls of clay into the holes and press gently using the dotting tool.


The mouth can be a bit tricky, it’s still something I really struggle with.  So don’t be discouraged if you have trouble with this at first.  Remember you can always bake first then paint the mouth in if you prefer.  For this piece I rolled the brown clay out in a very thin strip, then cut a very small piece from this.  Using a tool (I like to use a long embroidery needle) pick up the mouth and try to curve it into a U shape.  Mine usually ends up like a smarmy smirk, only because I’m still learning, LOL



Next you want to add some pink cheeks!  For this I took 2 tiny balls of light pink clay and pressed them next to the eyes as shown.  Again, you can alternately paint these in.


Once your piece is finished, if you are going to make it into a charm, you want to add an eye pin.  For this I just use the same eye pins I use for jewelry making and trim them down to fit the charm (using wire cutters).  To ensure a good hold I use Sculpy Bake and Bond, dipping the eye pin into the nozzle then inserting it into the top of the charm.

This type of polymer clay must be baked to finish.  For this I use a toaster oven but you can also use a standard oven.  Follow the directions on your polymer clay package for baking times and temperature.  In the pic above you can see some other pieces I made at the same time.  I like to make my items in batches!

Be sure to let your items cool completely once they are finished baking.  This will complete the “curing” process.  If you try to handle your items before they cool not only will you get burned you risk damaging your piece.

Once your piece is completely cooled you want to seal it using some varnish.  There are many types of varnish to use and you can find a list on line of the different ones to use.  I use Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane Clear Gloss and that works great.  Be sure to use in a well ventilated area, though the odor is really not that strong.  I sometimes use a cheap paintbrush to apply the gloss and then just toss it away.  Or sometimes I dip the piece into the Minwax and then hang it up on a rack with a large paper clip to dry (this is my preferred method!)

Give your piece 24-48 hours to dry and you are done!  Here’s another pic of the finished charms:


I hope you enjoyed this pictorial, they really are fun to make!!!

Thanks for stopping by!  Now I want to go grab some nachos!  😛

Hugs, Beth








Misc. Crafts

Ribbon Charm Book Marks

Hello everyone!  Today I have a super easy, fun project for you!  These are book marks made from lengths of ribbon and charms.


To make these pretty books marks you will need:

ribbon of various lengths and sizes

ribbon crimps, also in various sizes and in either silver or gold or both

jump rings in silver, gold or both

misc. charms OR you can create your own beaded dangles or tassles if you desire


pair of flat nosed pliers for jewelry making

super glue or jewelry glue (optional)

To begin cut a length of ribbon measuring 12 inches (this seems to be a good standard size but feel free to make it any length!)  Make sure your cuts are straight so the ribbon crimps will look neat and tidy!

Pick out the appropriate size ribbon crimp for your ribbon.  If you can’t find an exact fit just use the closest one.  This is also a good time to get your jump rings and charms ready.

Next, apply a thin strip of super glue, such as the one below.  I like this one because it’s a gel so it’s not as messy.  (you do not have to use adhesive but I feel it gives you added strength, plus it keeps the ribbon ends from fraying).


Carefully place your ribbon crimp over the ribbon end, centering it.  Now you can use your flat nosed pliers to squeeze the crimp shut, make sure you do this on each side of the crimp.

This is one style of ribbon crimp that I purchased from Walmart.  Not sure which brand, but these are a bit harder to squeeze shut.


I actually prefer this brand/type.  I got these at JoAnn’s and they are much easier to work with.  (sorry, again not sure which brand, but they have little dots on them!)

The next step is to add your jump rings.  There are many videos online about using jump rings if you are not sure how to do this.  Basically you want to use 2 pairs of round nose pliers, one to hold the jump ring steady and the other to open the jump ring.  Open it wide enough to slide on your charm, then attach to the ribbon crimp (make sure you have it the right way around!) and then close your jump ring.  Now you’re finished!

It’s so much fun to personalize your bookmarks with your charms.  Here are some more samples:


I hope you enjoyed this simple, fun craft and will try it for yourself!  All of the materials came either from Walmart or JoAnn’s and are all very inexpensive and easy to use!

Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting my blog today!

Hugs to all!


LawnFawnatics Card Challenges

Lawn Fawnatics Challenge 26 – Card Sets

Hello everyone!  Today I have a cute set of 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 cards I made as part of the current Lawn Fawnatics Challenge which features card sets!   For these cards I used pattern papers from the Gotta Have Gingham petite paper pack.   I used my Copics to color the images which are from the Some Bunny Stamp Set by Lawn Fawn.   I really love how these turned out!


If you’d like to take part in the challenge you can find all the info by visiting the Lawn Fawnatics site HERE


Thank you for stopping by today!


Entered into:  LawnFawnatics Challenge # 26 Card Sets