Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Part 5: Artist Alley Essentials for Under $30- Decoration

In prior posts, I've covered the basics of setting up your artist alley table, your display, and your signage.  Between those three, decoration is almost entirely covered, but not quite.  A little decoration can go a long way towards making your first convention setup a success.  By simply adding little touches like decorative tape or ribbon, you're able to transform cheap, mass produced Dollar Tree finds into something more personal.

While every Dollar Tree's selection is different, there are several sections you should check out to find things to help you decorate your table.  I recommend the packaging section- curling ribbon, wrapping paper, tissue paper, and empty boxes can be useful for staging.  The floral section of course has faux flowers, but it also has candlesticks, vases, ribbon, and seasonal decorations.  The art supply and craft sections are useful as well- decorative tapes are easy to apply and easy to remove, and glue and regular tape may be necessary to affix your decoration.


While not necessary, a tablerunner can be a good way to divide up your table, to highlight a specific product, or just to break up a lackluster display.  This one from Dollar Tree could use ironing, but it's not a bad start.


At the time of photographing this post, my Dollar Tree offered a variety of washi-tape knockoffs, including glitter tape.  While not very sticky, if you aren't using them to actually affix things, these might be a welcome addition to your convention arsenal.  I utilize washi tape to close my page protecting envelopes and always keep at least one roll behind my table. 

This tape can also be used to decorate utilitarian or boring display items.  I used the green glitter tape to decorate a plain clear plastic tray.

While the tape was easy to apply, it was so low tack that I'll probably have to hot-glue it in place at a later date.  It couldn't make it through Anime Kaiju without falling off.

I also applied green glitter tape to my little Dollar Tree corkboard.  Since I wasn't sure how much tape I had left, rather than taping it entirely around the perimeter, I just used it on the corners.

And since this tape isn't very sticky, I tacked it down on the back with scotch tape.


For a buck, this weirdly neon green ribbon wasn't a bad choice.  They had better colors- cream, sky blue, peach, pink, a nice gray, but I wanted something that matched my table.

This little white wire basket is pretty lackluster and boring, so I decided to deck it out with some of the ribbon I bought.

 I measured  enough ribbon to go around the perimeter of the basket, and cut three lengths of that.

I then wove it through the wire.

And tied it in a bow in the front, fluffing out the ribbon.

Since the basket was then front heavy, I used some of the bulldog clips I bought for support.


 This made a serviceable bookmark display, albeit still a bit unstable.  Had I glued some quarters to the bottom four corners, it would probably be a lot more steady.

So that about covers everything, from the very basics like your sales notebook to the little touches that make your setup your own.  Below are some shots of my Essential Setup for Under $30 with my merchandise, to give you an idea of how it comes together.

 With a little ingenuity and some hard work, you can make a fantastic beginner Artist Alley Setup for under $30.

Was this post helpful to you?  Did it inspire your own Artist Alley setup?  Comment below with your photos, and I'll compile a post of reader submissions!