Awesome DIY Craft Show Display

Wanna learn how to make this homemade jewelry display?? Read on!

homemade craft show display

In February of this year (2012), I launched a project called Ringgg and it has been really fun! Everything under the Ringgg brand is made from reused coiled telephone cord from tag sales and Goodwill and recycle centers. And I started an etsy store and all that, but I have deep roots in craft shows and wanted to get back to that.

So I needed a display and I just wasn’t finding anything that worked for me. I want the look to be clean and white and design-y. Think apple store but lower tech ;)

I love love love making things, so I just decided to make it myself!

I went to Urban Ore in Berkeley to get some supplies. I was thinking wooden frame, painted white, with dowels to hold the ringggs. I couldn’t believe it when I ran smack into these:

jewelry display crate

How perfect! Two halves of a shipping crate, each measuring roughly 22″ x 22″ x 8″ deep. (Seriously, do this. My display breaks down and folds together into it’s own shipping crate. So much win.)

Next, I sketched what I wanted – a frame inside the boxes with diagonal dowels. Let me pause here to suggest: Never go diagonal. The only reason that this worked is a) I am a perfectionist b) I’m good at problem solving, and c) my boyfriend is a math expert. Here’s what I sent him:

display sketch

Super easy.

I started by sanding off anything that could potentially splinter. Being sure, of course, to follow the clothing recommendation on the back of the sandpaper… haha!

sandpaper illustration instagram

I taped off the edges of the crates. I wanted the entire inside to be white and the outside to retain the raw wood. Then I primed and painted two coats of just slightly off-white semi-gloss.

handmade jewelry display tutorial

Easy part done! While that was drying I pulled out my trusty mitre saw and got to work. I built a simple frame that would fit inside the crate and got to cutting the diagonal dowels. My math was specific to the size of my crates, but if I were to do it again, I make the dowels vertical. So, just cut a bunch of dowels at the exact size of the inside of the frame!

I put my frame together with finishing nails and wood glue and let that dry. Then I laid the dowels inside and marked off where they would hit the frame. I marked the top and bottom of each dowel, found the center of those two marks and brought them down the inside face with a speed square. I also marked the vertical center of the legs of the frame to get little cross marks where I drilled.

homemade display unit

You can see from this photo that I left two opposite corners tacked in but not finished. That’s because with the diagonal dowels, I needed to be able to get to the inside with a power drill, so I had to pull the two ‘L’s apart. Not necessary with non-diagonals!

And now for the biggest manual hack I’ve ever done! Using a speed square as a fence, I drilled a 45° angle through each cross mark on the inside of the frame. (Always drill from the inside out)

drilling at an angle hack

My sincerest apologies to people who know how to do this correctly! Just working with what I got :)

Final step in frame building is to glue and nail everything together. I used corner vices to hold the 90° angle while I hammered everything together, otherwise it can get a little parallelogram-y…

I didn’t predrill the dowels, just stuck the nails in the frame and then hammered them the rest of the way and into the dowels.

diy jewelry display tutorial

Don’t worry, I didn’t leave all those little nails hanging out everywhere like a fool! A nail setter and some wood putty and a final sanding made everything look beautiful. Last step was to prime and paint and paint again and VOILA!

DIY wood display unit

Looks awesome, right?!

Not going to lie, this was a major undertaking. This thing took me multiple days of work. But here’s a materials list :)

1 x 2 stock (enough to line crates)
4 4″ pine dowels
hand sander and sandpaper (100 grit)
painters tape
paint brushes
1 qt of primer (water based)
1 qt of off-white acrylic semi-gloss
finishing nails
power drill and small bit
mitre saw
speed square
nail setter
corner vices (2)
wood putty
a level work surface (similar to the cobble stone of my back patio)

And here’s an instagram shot of the finished display at my first show at SoWa!

“>jewelry display tutorial instagram

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