DIY Rustic Table Top Art Print Display Browser

I needed a way to display my unframed prints at fairs and shows and also in gift shops where my work is stocked. I searched online for table top print browsers and retail display solutions and looked into old apple crates and custom made wooden boxes but nothing was right …or it cost more than I was willing to pay!

I wanted a rustic style box that was not too deep (so the prints would stay fairly vertical) and that was low at the front (so as not to obscure the prints) and higher at the back (to support the prints from behind) … and the right size for my prints… so quite specific requirements then! I decided my only cost effective option was to make them myself.

Here’s how they turned out…

DIY Rustic wood print browser for art

If you’d like to find out how I made them, read on! I’m a not a skilled woodworker and it took me a day to make 5 browsers.

Here’s the tools I used:

A hand saw, tape measure, pencil, set square and drill (with 3mm drill bit for pilot holes and screwdriver head) plus various wood screws… sizes 3.5 and 4 and 30mm/40mm long.. and some rough sandpaper and sanding block or an electric sander.

Here’s what I did:

I visited my local wood recycling yard where for the princely sum of £12 I picked up some lengths of pallet wood – about 16mm thick and 100mm wide and some 20 x 44mm battens. They were nice and rustic looking!

The internal dimensions of my table top browser are 500mm wide by 250mm deep so for each box I cut the following lengths of wood:

3 x 500mm: 1 front and 2 back lengths

2 x 250mm: 2 sides on the bottom layer

2 x 266mm: 2 sides on the top layer

5 x 282mm: slats for the bottom

4 x 250mm lengths from the 20 x 44mm batten for the uprights

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First off I screwed together 2 x 500mm lengths and 2 x 250mm sides to make the base frame. I drilled pilot holes first to reduce stress on the wood and reduce the risk of it splitting.

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An extra pair of hands is useful to hold the pieces together but not essential. Next I screwed the slats onto the bottom. Again I drilled pilot holes in the slats before screwing them in.

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Then I  screwed together the three sides for the back and sides of the top layer … I used the remaining 500mm length and the 2x 266mm sides… it was a bit wonky but so long as it’s roughly square it doesn’t matter once it’s screwed into place.

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Next I attached the uprights to the box. I placed each one in position and marked with a pencil where to drill the pilot holes… making sure I avoided the other screws that are holding the frame together. I then drilled the pilot holes and screwed the uprights in place with 2 screws per upright into the bottom frame.

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Now turning the box on a short side, I inserted the 3 sided top layer that I made earlier. It didnt sit very square but this was rectified as it was screwed together. I put one screw in… no pilot holes this time… drilling through the frame and into the batten upright. Then I turned the box onto the other short side and holding the top layer into place, put another screw through the frame and into the batten.

I put 4 screws in each end – 2 into each batten – as shown below.

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Now all that was left was to add my logo. I thought the best way to do this would be by stencilling. I had some Mylar (thin plastic used to make stencils) but cutting out the small font and the Dog was very hard, especially as my Mylar was probably a bit on the thick side.

I looked online and found plenty of places who would laser cut any design into a stencil for you but it was Friday afternoon and I didn’t want to wait (or spend the money) so being a printmaker I decided to cut my logo into a scrap piece of lino and use that to apply it to the boxes.

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It worked pretty well though it needed a bit of touching up with a small brush in places where the wood was too rustic!

Hope you like the idea… I’d love to see your solutions to displaying prints at fairs too.

 

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Hyde Bark Dog Show and Fundraiser

On Saturday I had a stand at the Mayhew Animal Rescue Home’s fundraising event – the “Hyde Bark” in London’s Hyde Park.

The Enlightened Hound at The Hyde Bark

My pitch right by the Serpentine was lovely and the day was hugely enjoyable – more fun than the art/craft fairs I have done in the past – all due of course to the variety of 4 legged attendees!

I am happy to say that my hand-made stands and hand-painted signage worked nicely for hanging my prints and everything remained in place despite a few gusts of wind!

The enlightened hound's stand at the mayhew fair

the enlightened hound craft fair stand

 

It was great to meet some of the members of the Cockapoo Club who persuaded me to add Cockapoos to my series of “Dog Tag” prints. More pictures of me, the cockapoos and the event can be found on the cockapoo blog “Miss Darcy’s Adventures”.

Some other highlights included a huge Great Dane (named Jarvis) sniffing a tiny mottled Dachshund (named Blue Cheese!) … an elegant Afghan (which took me back to my childhood as an aunt of mine had one) … two little dachshunds named Beatrice and Audrey (such great names) and a lovely Catalan Sheepdog (who reminded me of my own Portuguese Water Dog).

It was lovely to meet everyone who stopped by my stand (both 2 legged and 4 legged). Thank you all for your your interest in my work and for the many people who signed my book with requests for “Dog Tag” prints of their breeds… most popular requests were Yorkie, French Bulldog and Beagles – they are all now on my list!

There was lots of entertainment to keep everyone amused… from agility to dog shows and heartwarming rescue stories from the Mayhew Rescue Home. Lots of fun had by all and all for a good cause!

Hand Lettered Sign for Show

I have been preparing for my next fair… the wonderfully named “Hyde Bark” Dog Show in London’s Hyde Park.

The event is run by the Mayhew Animal Home – an animal welfare organisation in London that helps thousands of dogs and cats to escape a life of abandonment, neglect and cruelty each year.

As hand lettering is my ‘thing’ I spent a few happy hours painting some signage for the stand I am designing for the event.

debbie kendall hand letterer

hand lettered signage by Debbie Kendall

hand painted signage by debbie kendall

hand lettering by debbie kendall

hand lettered sign by debbie kendall

Will post some pics of the finished stand after the show!

If you love dogs and live near London… come and see me at the Hyde Bark on 15th June.

 

Craft Fair Highlights

Well where did the summer go! I can’t believe my last post was in April, however I have had rather a lot on my plate over the last few months, mainly moving house, managing a loft extension and setting up a new studio, so printing has taken rather a back seat these last few months.

Now however I am chomping at the bit to get printing again, but first I’d thought I’d share some pictures of my first craft fair experience at the end of May at the Milton Keynes Handmade and Vintage Fair.

Here is how my stall looked on the day…

Enlightened Hound Stall

The main difficulty was working out how to display my prints unframed. I wanted them to be at eye level and I like the informality of how they look when they are pegged up to dry after printing, so I tried to recapture that with some easels I knocked up (actually painstakingly made with the help of my dad!) with some reclaimed wood from my loft extension.

Hand made rustic easel

My greeting cards were displayed in big square chunks of wood with a slot cut into the top for the card to sit in.

Jellycat dog

Stripey Jellycat Dog

I also accessorised the stand with a few adorable soft dogs form the wonderful Jellycat range. I was pleased with how it looked after all the hours of preparation.

It was a very early start to get the stall set up. It was in the atrium of a huge shopping centre which was bright and airy however it turned out to be the first really hot weekend of the year (after weeks of persistent rain) so attendance was not as good as previous events. Despite this my stand attracted lots of dog lovers and I hugely enjoyed hearing all their wonderful stories, from the banana eating Labrador to the German Shepherd who knew when his owner had been in a car crash even though they were miles apart at the time. The quirkiness and loyalty of dogs never ceases to delight and amaze me.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and chatted and to those who bought my cards and prints. Many were bought as gifts for for dog owning friends and family and I hope the recipients were equally delighted.

Craft Fair Stall Design Preparations

Subtitled: The benefits of vastly underestimating the complexity and time needed for a craft project!

I have decided to try and sell my Enlightened Hound dog inspired art prints at local art & craft fairs and country shows and have been accepted for my first one at the end of May – the Milton Keynes Handmade and Vintage Show. So I started thinking about how my stall should look… very cute, totally hand-made and obviously doggy! I realized I would need (amongst other things) a very large tablecloth, a banner and some bunting.

That’s easy, I thought … I can make these quickly (underestimation no.1) and cheaply (underestimation no.2) and easily (underestimation no.3) at home!

I wanted to make a banner with my logo like an American collegiate sweatshirt, with Abercrombie and Fitch style cut out and sewn-on letters. It was a fiddly, painstaking and time-consuming task, and had I known just how fiddly, painstaking and time-consuming it would be, I wouldn’t have even started… but I’m glad I did as I am very happy with how it turned out!

The Enlightened Hound Banner

The finished banner

The Enlightened Hound Banner

Close up of letters

It was hard to find good quality felt in anything other than kiddie primary colours but Gertie and Mabel have a fabulous selection of felt online in gorgeous muted, grown-up colours. I got a very sore hand cutting all the letters out and then sewed them all onto some heavyweight natural canvas with my grandmother’s trusty Singer sewing machine.

Cut out felt letters

The cut out letters

Sewing the banner

Sewing the banner

The bunting was next. I found some great doggy fabric online and co-ordinating stripy material from which I cut out almost 150 triangles which were then pinned together, stitched, ironed and sewn onto some cotton tape.

Bunting  

Dog & Stripe Bunting

Now I have over 15 metres of great homemade bunting!

I bought some good quality hessian for the tablecloth – I needed about 8 metres for it to drape fully to the floor (a stipulation of the craft fair organisers) – and it has the dual benefits of being both cheap and fitting in with the homespun vibe.

So if you live nearby, stop by the fair on May 26th and 27th and come and say hello!