Checklist for your next art show or craft festival

craft festival checklist

25 things to take to your next art show or craft festival

I’m getting ready for my one and only art show this fall and broke out my checklist.  I decided a few years ago that the only way I was going to remember everything I needed to bring to the show was to have a list.  (I had grown tired of always forgetting something!)  I now pull this out every time I’m packing my vehicle for a show.

Here’s my basic list to help you get started with your own:

1.  Tent.  Really important for the outdoor show.  Make sure you take everything that goes with it, including the sides, covers, tie downs and weights.
2.  Tables/pedestals.  The display pieces and jewelry will go on top.
3.  Table/pedestal coverings.  I like to use fabric (tablecloths or otherwise) to cover my tables.  When the coverings get dirty, I can easily wash them.
4.  Jewelry display items.  This may include some of the popular display items (t-bars, necklace racks, etc) or may include some display pieces I’ve made myself.  Hint: If there is something I can ‘preload’ ahead of time, I do.  For example, don’t wait until you get to the show to put earrings onto cards, then onto a display rack.  Do everything in your studio, carefully pack the rack for travel, then unload the day of the show.  You will be grateful to have the extra time show day!
5.  Risers.  You don’t want everything at the same level.  Create some visual interest by having items displayed at different levels.
6.  Signage.  I print my signs ahead of time (versus writing them the day of the show) so that they look professional.  Hint: Don’t forget your mailing list sign up pages too!
7.  Price tags.  Label your items ahead a time if possible or use a sign to include all the items in a particular area.  Bring extras in case some items lose their tags or they get smudged.
8.  Jewelry Bags and/or boxes.  You will need something to package purchases into.
9.  Larger carry bags.  Sometimes customers will want a larger bag to put their purchase into.
10.  Business cards.  Have some available to visitors to pick up and some to put in the bag with purchases.
11.  Care instructions.  Have specific instructions about how to keep their jewelry purchase looking its best?  Include them with the purchase.  Hint: I print these out on labels ahead of time and stick it to the back of the business card I put with their purchase.
12. Mirror.  People will want to try on your jewelry.  Have alcohol and cotton balls available too in case they try on the earrings.
13. Invoice pads.  You will need a way to keep track of your sales and give customers receipts.
14. Calculator.  Unless you’re Rainman, you will want an easy way to total orders and calculate sales tax.
15. Credit card processor.  In this day and age with smartphones, taking credit cards is so easy!  There are several options to be able to swipe a card and take payment right at the show.  Hint: Have credit card slips to imprint information on just in case you don’t have a good wifi or cellular signal to run the transaction.  16. Sign with the credit card logos (if you accept them).  Many people won’t ask — you don’t want to lose the sale!
16. Drinks and snacks.  Have something easy to eat and drink (not messy or something that you can’t eat in several bites/handfuls throughout the day)
17. Jewelry tools.  You may need to make adjustments, trade out ear wires, etc.
18. Tape, bungee cords, scissors, screwdriver, hammer, etc.  Basically any tool that you may need to make a last minute patch or fix to a table, tent, etc.
19. Paper towels and window cleaner.  You may need to clean your mirror, but also works well to clean up other dust and grime.
20. Hand sanitizer.  I’m not necessarily a germophobe, but that stuff is good at getting that grimy, sweaty feeling off your hands.
21. Pens – at least half a dozen.  Make sure you have plenty to write down anything you need to.
22. Cart.  This is a pretty big one.  You may not be able to park and unload near your booth.
23. Large sack or bag.  You will need somewhere to put your trash as chances are the show won’t have a trash can near you.
24. Petty cash.  You will need fives, tens and ones and random coins to get started.  I always start with $50, with at least $25 of it in singles.
25. Jewelry.  This may seem like a ‘duh’, but you want to make sure don’t forget the reason you’re going!

Like this post? You may be interested in  How to price your handmade jewelry

One last tip from me:

Unless your show is in a venue where the doors open at a certain time, be ready to go at least 30 to 60 minutes before the advertised show start.  Early birds always cruise the street festivals EARLY.  They can take up a lot of your time — time you thought you would have getting ready.

If you’re looking for ideas on signage to have at your next show, be sure to read 16 sign ideas to have at your next jewelry craft fair booth.

What else would you add to this list?


Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2012 Resin Obsession, LLC

One Comment


You should try gtietng your name out there if there are local craft shows. Networking with jewelry makers at those could provide new opportunities that you may not have otherwise have. You could also try selling your jewelry to local boutiques. If you’re able to get into a place like that it won’t take much to get your name known once people start buying your jewelry.


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