Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Have Stakes or Weights at the Ready!

A few more words of advice for craft show newbie’s.

You have selected an outdoor craft show and entered. You were accepted and your fee is no longer refundable. You feel that you are ready for the big day and $ signs are in your dreams.

As a newbie... what should you do before your first outdoor craft show?

First, practice setting up your tent once or twice before show day!
  • I have seen crafting couples with instructions in hand, still trying to set up their tent after the craft show has started.
  • Also, new tents are stiff… so they need a little extra push or pull to get them in place. It’s good to have the feel of that before show day.
Second, If possible - set up your whole display - your day will go smoother if you know how you want to set up your display before show day.

Next, know how you are going to either weight or stake down your tent during the show.
This is extremely important because a gust of wind can flip the tent and break the legs of the tent before you have time to react.

Stakes are used when you are set up on the grass.
  • If you are on grass - stake down your tent. EZ-ups have stakes, I’m not sure about other brands, but make sure that you have stakes and use them.
  • Some people use dog stakes and tie-down straps. This works real well unless there is too much stone or sand under the grass.
  • Sometimes I use a combination of stakes and weights. It's good to bring weights as a backup in case the stakes do not go in the ground tightly.
Weights are used on the corners of the tent when you are set up on pavement.
  • These weights can be home made or purchased.
  • Homemade weights can include: milk bottles filled with water, sand bags and or PVC pipe filled with sand or cement. the weight in then tied with rope or bungee cords to the corners of the tent.
  • Personally, I carry 35 lbs of weights for each corner, which I use in different combinations depending on the strength of the wind. (1 - 15lb sandbag, 1 - 10lb pvc pipe filled with sand and 2 - 5lb purchased weights)

Lastly, have a tool box filled with extra bungee cords, clamps, plastic drop clothes, a hammer, duck tape and wood shims. (floors, parking lots and parks are not always level for you displays)

Now you are ready for the show....

The only potential problem, still on your horizon and completely out of your control is - the weather.

So, what kind of weather can wreak havoc at craft shows?

  • Gusty Wind or Rain… it’s a toss up on which one is worse. Have bungee cords, clamps and plastic drop cloths at the ready.
  • Rain with a driving wind… That is NO fun! Best to determine how long it will likely last and if it’s worth it to set up at all.

  • Temperatures in the mid-nineties with no wind, you need to take extra precautions! Make sure you have plenty of water and a cooler of ice!

    On Show day - If rain and especially driving rain is in the forecast, put up sides when you are setting up. If you have zipper sides, zip them down to make sure legs of tent are in alignment before you stake down the legs. You can then roll up the sides until the rain starts if that is your desire.

But believe me, you don’t want to find out that your sides will not close after the rain has already started pouring down.

Bookmark and Share


  1. What a super post.. I eventually want to do craft shows, not only am I following you on blogger already, but I bookmarked this post as well.. I will heed you advice! thanks!

  2. Awesome advice! Wish I would have found this kind of info before I found it out by trial and error!