Yup, I’m back with a final update in making your own display shelves for shows. For awhile now I’ve been wanting to ditch the foam cores I originally made over a year ago. As time has gone on I’m always in constant fear of them being crushed or broken due to their lightweight material. So, back in March I had the idea to instead make them out of wood. They could remain the same thickness (meaning no new math to figure out, yay!) and shape, but by being made out of wood I would have a more professional display piece that could hold up for years to come with only a small amount of care.
This is how mine they turned out in the end, and below I will walk you through step by step how I went about constructing my lovely new display shelves. PLEASE NOTE: Unlike working with foam core, working with wood involves at minimum a jigsaw and a sander. If you do not feel comfortable using these tools be sure to have a friend/family member who can help you.
Items you will need:
-1/2″ Thick wood (as much as your designs say)
– A Jigsaw (I used a hand one, but a standing one would also be lovely)
– A sander
– Measuring Tape/Ruler
– Wood Stain
– Paint Brush or Rag
– Drop Cloth
Since I had access to a jigsaw, I knew my first challenge would be having the big cuts I needed from my large piece of wood done. Thankfully, most hardware stores that sell such large pieces of wood will cut it for you into any size square or rectangle you like. I got my wood at Home Depot and after the first 2 cuts they charge $1 for each additional cut. I don’t remember how many cuts I needed in the end, but it was more than 10. Getting as many cuts as you can done will only save you time. It’s worth the extra charge as long as it’s done properly. Once you get your wood and get home, it’s time to once again get your pencil and ruler out to mark all your measurements for where you’ll be cutting your wood. As always: measure twice, cut once.
You can see on mine where I had issues with one. Yeah, the guy cut one board 1/4″ shorter then all the others for my support struts and it messed me up. Maybe have an eraser handy in case this happens to you when you’re measuring. Once everything is marked, bring your wood over to your cutting station and carefully cut out your design/pieces. You don’t want any crooked lines so take your time and do it right.
Now that you have all your pieces cut, it’s time to sand! Get your sander ready and start with a high grit paper like 80-100 for your first pass, working your way up in numbers to a finer grit and a smoother finish. Make sure you get all of your edges too to prevent and splintering or roughness. Last thing I want is to have a rough section when handling my display stands. This step will take awhile to do and that’s okay, cause if you want, you can stop after this step!
You’ll have a fully finished display stand at this point (baring any gluing/drilling to add dowels like I do with mine) that you can simply take as is and use all you like. Personally I wanted mine to be a darker color so I opted to stain it ‘Dark Cherry’. Before you start brushing your stain on, you’ll want to prep your area by laying down a drop cloth, an old sheet, or even old towels. You’ll also want to wipe your display pieces down with a clean cloth to remove any fine particles that may be hanging around from sanding. Once that’s done, simply lay your pieces out on your work space and evenly coat your wood with stain.
This will take at least 2 rounds as you’ll need to flip your display to make sure you get all the sides. You can use a brush or an old rag to put your stain on. As long as it’s evenly applied you can choose whichever applicator works best for you. Knowing this is a several hour project overall, I also recommend getting a stain that is also a sealer to save some small amount of time. You don’t have to of course, but sealing is needed to make sure your stain retains it’s color/look for as long as possible.
And there you have it! Once everything is dry and finished your new display is ready to use at your next show. It will be sure to impress the guests and other vendors as they all wonder where you got your great display shelves. 😉