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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

How to: Make Craft Fair Table Risers

I've been promising you this post for a while now so I figured it was probably time I got on with it!

I made these table risers a few months ago when I designed the setup for my table. I knew I needed to provide some elevation for my table but I wanted to do that as cheaply as possible in a way that also looked good.

I'm not really a fan of draping a tablecloth over upturned boxes so I looked around for alternatives. Eventually I came up with these upright display pads but I still needed a way to raise them above the stuff in front of them. I also wanted to be able to use the table space behind/under the risers for my tools and supplies.

The idea was really simple, I bought some long planks of pine from Lowe's (about 4 inches wide) and had them cut them into 2 foot sections for me. I also picked up a 2 inch wide piece and chopped it into 4 inch lengths.

  • To make each riser you take 2 planks 4 inches by 2 feet and 2 pieces 2 inches by 4 inches. You also need some nails, wood glue and a heavy duty hammer. 
  • Glue the 2 large planks together along their longest sides and add a few nails to pin them together while the glue dries. 
  • You will now have 2 sides of a box, one will be 4 inches high and the other will be a little higher thanks to the addition of the other plank. Make the higher side the front and the 4 inch side the top then attach the other 2 pieces of wood to provide supports at the back.

At this stage you can stain, paint or otherwise finish the risers however you choose. I used a dark walnut wood stain which picked out the grain in the pine nicely and enhanced the rustic look.

My risers are more than just mini shelves, though. They are also the means by which my upright display boards remain upright and there are a few more steps to follow if you want yours to do the same.

  • You will need a drill, nuts, bolts and some kind of corner bracket hardware with screws and holes in both sides. Bear in mind that you will be screwing into the back of your display pads so make sure your screws are short enough not to go all the way through to the other side, while still being large enough to not fit all the way through the holes in the bracket. Your bolts must also be able to fit through the holes but not all the way.
  • Screw the bracket into the middle of display pad so it aligns with the bottom. You don't need to be very precise as the padding will even out any errors, I did mine by eye.
  • Stand the pad on the riser where you will want it to be when you're all done and use a pen to mark where the holes are on the bottom half of your bracket.
  • Drill holes where you marked, using a drill bit slightly larger than your bolts.
  • That's it, you can assemble it by standing the pad on the riser and aligning the holes. Put a bolt through each hole from the top and then screw it tight with a nut from underneath.

Please note that this setup is by no means professional quality and I have no qualifications and only limited experience in woodworking/construction. I am happy with the support this setup provides to my boards but I wouldn't call it sturdy. I think it would be OK in windy conditions but could easily be pushed over by hand. I wouldn't use it for any fragile items. If you have any questions feel free to post them below and I'll do my best to answer them.


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