I have had trouble displaying the ornaments I sell. I wanted something versatile, appealing, with height to maximize my space, and that I could use to display other things later on. What ever I was to use had to be easy to set up and take apart quickly. It’s embarrassing to be the last one at a show because you are still taking apart your display 30 minutes after everyone else left. It also had to be light weight and easy to transport.
I searched the interwebz for quite a while before I saw an idea that would work. I had to adapt it to completely fit my needs, but a few minutes with paper and pencil, and the idea came to life.
These PVC pipe table top risers are perfect for what I needed. They fit every requirement: light weight, easy to transport, easy to set up and take apart, and versatile enough to display almost anything I need to place on a flat surface.
This is the finished product, set up for a show. Below, I will give you step by step instructions on how to make and assemble them.
For the shelves, I used light weight boards that I already had. They are 36″ long and 6″ wide. I don’t list the instructions for cutting the boards, just the pipe cutting and assembly.
There is no glue, nails, or screws involved. All pipe pieces fit snugly into the connectors. Be sure you buy the same size connectors and pipe. I used 1/2″
3 Ten Foot PVC pipes. I used 1/2″ pipe.
2 L connectors
6 T connectors
6 Y connectors
1 PVC (plastic) pipe cutter. You can use a regular saw or table saw, but the pipe cutter will give you a cleaner cut with no mess. I bought the cheapest one Home Depot had ($12).
The measurements for this display are 31″ high, 35.5″ wide, 23″ deep. The shelf heights are 20″, 12″, and 4.5″. Each shelf is 7.5″ deep.
The PVC pipes should be cut into the following quantities and sizes:
4 at 33″ (cross bars)
2 at 18″ (bottom of leg pair 4 – back legs)
2 at 10″ (top of leg pair 4)
2 at 10.5″ (bottom of leg pair 3)
10 at 6″ (top of leg pair 3 , bottom of leg pair 2 , shelf supports )
4 at 3″ (top of leg pair 2 , leg pair 1 )
Each pair of legs will be connected with a T connector. The Y connectors will go at the top of the front three pairs of legs. The L connectors will go at the top of the 4th pair of legs (back set). I found it easiest to assemble each leg as I cut the pieces.
Now that the legs are put together, you are ready to attach the cross bars and shelf supports. I attach the shelf supports first. Shelf supports go into the Y connector at the top of each leg in pairs 2, 3, and 4, as shown below.
Now that the shelf supports are attached, the display is ready to put together. If you notice that the connectors are not facing the way they should be, you can easily turn them to the correct position.
Add the cross bar into the L connectors on the top of the back pair of legs. Insert the shelf support on leg pair 3 into the T connector on leg pair 4. Now you have leg pair 3 ready for it’s cross bar and shelf. Shelves will be added when the entire display is assembled.
Now that the cross bar for leg pair 3 is added, leg pair 2 can be added
Insert the shelf supports on leg pair 2 into the T connectors in leg pair 3.
The cross bar for leg pair 3 is added and the shelf supports for leg pair one are inserted into the T connectors on leg pair 2.
With the last cross bar attached, we are ready for the shelves. The shelves will sit across the shelf supports, behind the cross bars. If your shelves are more than 6″ deep, they may cover the cross bar. That is purely your preference. If the shelves are more than 7.5″ deep, they will stick out over the shelf below, limiting the space on the lower shelf.
I wasn’t happy with the open space behind each shelf. I felt that it made the display too busy when the product was displayed. It was distracting. I draped a piece of white fabric (you can use what ever matches your display) over the risers, then placed the shelves on top. I draped the fabric over the top shelf. It seemed to look better that way. That filled in the open spaces and still gave me a solid flat surface to place product on. This also creates a nice hiding place behind it, but we sill discuss that later.
I think the fabric gives the shelves a more smooth, clean look. In the photo below, you can see the nice hidden, open space behind/under the risers. I used that for my supplies (cash box, bags, drink, snack, etc) and anything that doesn’t need to be in the customer’s line of sight
I also want to add that I do not take the entire display completely apart for transport. I leave the legs together, with the 6″ shelf supports attached. I also leave the front legs connected to the cross bar. The image below shows how I have the pieces for transport.
They stack fairly well. The front legs and cross bar is only a couple of inches longer than the separated cross bars. I turn the legs so that the shelf supports are all facing the same way. a velcro strap or bungee cord, or something similar can be used to keep them together. I transport most of my display items in a horizontal wrapping paper tote, so this fits in there just fine.
It takes me about 6 minutes to get the entire display set up, with cloth and shelves.
I hope this helps. Please feel free to comment on how you would use this. I would love to see photos of your risers in your display. As always, if you have any questions, please ask.