Show Table Guide and Tips


First thing to set up your table is a table cloth. I like the 8 foot fitted polyester tablecloths. Some venues provide an 8 foot table but you can run into ones that provide six footers and you can fold the 8 foot to accommodate a six footer and it still looks nice. Several venues require some table covering that covers the front of the table to the floor. I use binder clips to keep the backside of the table cloth open so I can access any storage container I put underneath the table. Here is a good Linen Table cloth 8 ft. Fitted Polyester table cloth recommendation that I use and works great. Not that expensive either with several color choices to match your table theme!

Adding movement is a great eye catcher. Placing your artwork on a rotating stand provides an element of elegance and importance to a piece. Suffice it to say, your best and higher priced pieces should go on a rotating stand. I think there is a stigma of increased value when you showcase a piece in this way. I always try and find a version that is battery operated and the round mirror bottom really sets it off. This model by Trumpeter has two speeds, a display mirror, and is 7” in diameter.

Another way to provide an emphasis on a particular piece is using a light. Most venues I feel are well lighted so the use of a battery operated LED lamp is mostly for effect. The Newhouse 3W LED Lamp has a clamp for easy attachement.


Business cards have no equal when it comes to quickly providing your contact information and promoting your art. I give one out with every order and when I’m speaking to a visitor I will direct them to my website, Etsy page, or Facebook page by pointing out that address on the card. I keep my cards in a small display on my table that allows visitors to take one even when I’m away from my table. There are many styles to choose from. I like the Kantek Acrylic Business Card Holder as it can blend in well with any table décor and theme and can hold 80 cards.


The Willie Black Bear Business Card Holder adds a charming and whimsical element to a card holder. Unlike the clear acrylic holder which blends into the background, having one that stands out can be a helpful conversation starter. You can even go for one that looks unique but adds to your table design such as the Wildwood Business Card Holder which is made from real Utah Juniper wood. This card holder would look ideal in a wood art theme.


You’ve sold a piece of artwork! It is a great feeling to have someone appreciate your artwork to the point where they’d like to own it! Now, how do you accept their money? Hard cold cash is easy enough. Here are a few things that every booth accepting cash needs.

A lockable cash box is important to keep your money sorted and safe.
You can get various sizes but it needs to be portable enough to take with you when you leave your booth. Leaving to go to the bathroom, lunch, or at the end of the day, you need to be able to put your cash box into a backpack and never leave it behind. I use a SentrySafe Medium Safe Box. It works great and is a perfect size for what I need during a show. I love the removable tray and I keep my checks and any large bills $20 and up underneath the tray. If you have a need for one that keeps your bills separate, check out the STEELMASTER Tiered cash box. It’s a little bigger and a little more money but you have option to have all your money organized.

NEVER, I repeat NEVER place your cash box on your table. It is way too easy to get distracted and someone can swipe all your profits before you can realize it’s gone!

I threw a Canon LS-82Z Handheld Calculator in my cash box to help with quickly adding up multiple orders. I know you can make change in your head, but having a calculator to double check is a must especially when you’re under stress with several people waiting to check out. Also it is a good idea to count up your money at the end of each night. I like this one because it is both solar and battery powered. I know it will always work and the battery makes sure I can read it in low light conditions.

Receipt Books are a great way to track your sales. It makes it easy to see which pieces you’ve sold for each day. Plus, some customers request a paper receipt with their purchases and you can give them one that has a professional look for being hand written. I use an Adams Money Receipt Book which allows me to create and keep a duplicate of the receipt. I also use this when I’m doing commission work and when I donate my work to charity.

Most artists and people for the most part are very trusting. Until they get burnt. Protect yourself by doing what I do. Check for counterfeit bills. Drimark Dual Detectors are pens that you place quick little marks on the money to see if it’s real or fake. People may not be trying to give you fake money, but they could be unknowingly passing it on to you. I’ve had some people try to pay with foreign currency by mistake and also had some questionable bills handed to me. Before it becomes your problem, take a second to check it. When it has happened to me, I’m not rude or accusing. I just ask if they have a different bill or request a different method of payment.

If you’re unable to process credit cards, I would put up a sign that says, “Cash Only” or something to that effect. It will save you a lot of pain and questions.


I’ve used raffle boxes to have giveaways of my artwork. A giveaway is awesome to create excitement about your work. You also get information about people who were on the fence about buying your work at that moment, but might be interested at a later date. Always put instructions along with your box so the participants know exactly what they’re trying to win and what information is required of them. Source One Heavy Duty Ballot Box has a lock and a nice sign holder to put your raffle information on.

Candy!!! To catch fish, you need the right type of bait. Putting candy is a good way to have someone linger a little longer at your table. Also, you can have something that occupies the kids while you engage with your customers. I have two rules about having candy on your table. It’s gotta be something that doesn’t melt and it has to be individually wrapped. You might be at an outdoor show or your candy supply is in a storage tub in the back of your car. I like Bobs Sweet Stripes Soft Peppermint Balls 350 ct. It stands up very well to the heat. Don’t be serving an open bowl of mixed nuts! The reason you want your candy individual wrapped is because well… not everyone washes their hands. Same reason you don’t eat the free peanuts at a bar. Plus, your candy will last longer and be fresh for the next show.