Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Value of The Dry Run

One of the limitations on doing fairs for me is that I can't drive. In all these years I just never got around to learning. Living for so many years in London didn't help, as it's easier there to hop on a bus, tube or train than sit in a jam too. I figured whatever I would have spent running a car I'd spend on tube and occasional Taxi fares.

It does make getting to fairs tricky, especially if I want to take plenty of stuff with me. For the upcoming Dark Mills festival I wanted to improve my stall layout, a lot of other crafters have mentioned adding height to their stalls too. If I was a car driver no doubt I'd invest in some nice glass display units, but I had to come up with something light I could flat-pack.

My solution is this simple stand which is designed to take the new boxes I am now using. It starts as two thin planks, two flat panels, and a bundle of wooden dowels. Four bolts lock the corners together, which isn't that strong until all the dowels are pushed into place, then the whole box becomes much more rigid. The jewellery boxes are then laid onto the dowels which holds them up at a nice angle, with two holding the back and another acts as a register to support the bottom edge - the new boxes even have a lip which helps with this. When I first tested it out I found I could fit 60 of the large sized boxes in this, on a table space I'd originally have got less than half that onto. They look pretty good too, as each pendant is framed by the white foam they are on. Also the inside area will act as a neat storage area for lids and spare stock - much better than a suitcase on the floor which is what I used before for storage!

I set up a dry run of this in my living room, which turned out to be invaluable. Since first making it I'd added runners so I could slip a black card down to hide the storage area, but they now stopped me getting the bolts on! Plus the paint now clogged up the holes so the dowels now didn't fit! So glad I found that out when I could rush to my shed for tools rather than at 7am on site! Once that was done I tried laying out the other side of the table with the busts and new bottle stopper display (a funky new acrylic holder I've made too.) It took a while of moving bits around, but got it looking 'ok,' but it wasn't quite right still. As this was a dry run it meant I could leave it and come back to it, and move things around at leisure. That was invaluable as it took just moving one thing to go 'ah ha!' Not only had I got a layout I liked, but realised that I could use one of the busts to fill in space when (thinking positively here!) the ribbon necklaces sell out! I just need to make a device to hold the little world stud boxes next.

One of the extra things I realised from the test setup was the digital picture frame looked lost, and took up valuable space on the free side of the stall. I picked it up and lent it on the main stand meaning to shuffle things around, and suddenly saw that was actually the best place for it! Out with the drill, a few extra mounting holes (stab myself with a stanley knife, typical!) and it's now at eye-level! I just hope the rechargeable batteries last all day!

Now as it gets nearer the time I am starting to get nervous, I've spent a lot on bits for the stall so I really hope it does well! At least with this dry run out of the way I now know how the stall will look and have got some daft problems resolved in advance. Fingers crossed the weather stays fine now!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you're well prepared - here's hoping the day itself runs all the more smoothly for your preparations!