The California Crafters Club of Etsy (CCCOE) is a group of independent artists, crafters, & artisans from California who sell their wares on

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Shelving on A Shoestring

Step-by-Step Craft Table Displays
Part 1 of a Series

What goes up must come down! So goes the law of gravity, and the fair vendor’s mantra. Want a great, fast assembling display for peanuts? Read on for advice from an expert, but crafty saver!

Step 1. The Materials. It takes very few items to look like a million. First, the shelf itself. Use materials from the building supply store or your own garage, such as particle board, slim planks, or reusable shelving off an old piece of furniture. Unattractive pieces can be painted easily. I found two perfectly clean imitation wood grain shelves at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore at $1 each (see photo 1.) Don’t forget to check the swap meet, garage sales, and flea market for interesting ideas. The more you save the better! Tip: If you wish to hang items on the final display, use wire rack shelving such as for closet organizers!


Also needed are 4 identical canned food items (such as large soup cans above). Tip: If you wish to display larger or heavy items, use big cans such as for pineapple juice.

Finally obtain 4 or more colored construction paper. Co-ordina te the paper to your shelving color (black paper has been chosen as shown above).

Step 2. Get Ready for Face Lift. Cut the construction paper the same height as the can, and wrap around covering the entire label. Secure the start and end of the construction paper with clear tape (see Photo 2).


And yes, be sure to eat the contents later this year! Tip: Remove the labels and cover the cans with contact paper for more beautiful patterns, or spray paint for a more permanent effect. Just be sure to write the contents on the can top or bottom with a permanent marker if you plan to consume it later!

Step 3. Put Covering on all 4 Cans. Give all the cans the same treatment (see Photo 3).

Phot0 3: Finished Can

Step 4. Lift Off! Place two cans a width apart of the lower shelf, and rest the shelf on the can tops (see Photo 4).

Step 5. Don’t Stop Yet. Place two cans a width on the first (lower) shelf and rest the second (higher) shelf on those (see Photo 5).


Step 6. Ok, Rest Easy. Grab your wares and display away (see Photo 6)!


That’s all folks! And it costs about $4.53 if you’re a big spender. What else can you ask for? Stores compactly? Check. Beginner skill level? Check. Feeds you in a couple weeks? Check.

More soon from Pretty Cheap, where bargain lovers meet.


  1. Great article and practical advice! Thanks Pretty Cheap!

  2. This is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing the tip!

  3. Sweet! And, after a great day of sales & if you get hungry - take down a shelf & warm up some soup!

  4. That is such an amazing idea! I may have to try that out one of these days!


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