how to make your own art display panels

art show_panels2

indoor group art show with a variety of display panels.

wadecreate homemade art panels

my homemade art panels

over the past few years i have traveled to several art shows, and creatively found ways to display my work. as a first time outdoor show rookie, i was equipped with only two tables and a few easels.  that day rain and wind swept in, but my beautiful mother went out to purchase a tent for my show.  the second time, i used peg boards attached to my tent.  this was a nice upgrade, but it still felt unprofessional.

setting up at an outdoor show summer 2012

setting up at an outdoor show summer 2012

here comes the rain!

here comes the rain!

mom saves the day with a tent

mom saves the day with a tent

i then looked into purchasing professional art panels and baulked at the $800-$1,300 cost per panel!  so i decided to make my own panels.  with a little research from artists that have done this in the past, i came up with a great solution that only cost me $175 total for 3 panels.

(note: many of the items were on sale when i went last summer, so prices may have changed)

i went to Lowes because their supplies were less expensive than Home Depot.  this is a two person job, and i had a lovely assistant (my awesome mom) to help me.

can you tell the difference between my panels (in back) and the "professional" ones?

can you tell the difference between my panels (in back) and the “professional” ones?

supplies:

  • three 36x80in. lightweight wood screen doors – $21.98 each at Lowes
  • one role 8x10ft. grey outdoor carpet – look for the 8ft rolls instead of buying buy the sq ft.
  • four door hinges – for connecting the panels
  • staple gun and heavy duty staples
  • hammer and nails
  • six screw in bumpers (feet for bottom of panels) – look for the packs of 4
  • pack of curtain hooks to hand your work (got these from Jo-Ann fabrics)
  • 30ft roll of lightweight chicken wire (optional)
  • spray paint or wood sealer (if you choose to prepare wood on screen to prevent warping)
  • at least one person to help you, unless you are very handy all on your own!

here’s how its done:

  1. lay out your screen doors on a tarp
  2. prep the wood part of the screen doors with paint or sealer
  3. cut the chicken wire into 36×48″ pieces or longer if you plan to hang heavy pieces near the bottom of panels (optional)
  4. staple the piece of wire to the front and back of each screen door. one person should hold the wire taught and make sure that its aligned with the wood of the screen door.  once i started using the panels at my shows, i realized that the chicken wire was not necessary, the paintings can also just hang on the heavyweight carpet.
  5. measure out the carpet into 36″ approximately 162″ for each door so you can wrap the fabric around both sides. we had to cut extra thin pieces of carpet to fill one side of the panel.  just pay attention to the door size you purchase, 32″ is also available.
  6. have one person hold the carpet tight and straight around the door while you staple it to the wood frame.  we had to go back and nail the corners parts as the staples do not hold if there is double carpet on some areas.  for aesthetic value, its best to tuck the one piece of carpet fabric under the side along the edge of the panel

  7. repeat the process for the other two doors
  8. lay the doors out side by side. attach the door hinges to the middle panel, two on each side. make sure that one side of the hinges are facing out and and the others face in so that you can close the panel flat. one panel will fold into the middle front, and the other will fold out to the back for easier storage and transport.
  9. stand the panels upright to make sure they are steady. attached the feet (door stopper bumper) to the bottom of each panel. we used two feet per panel.
  10. test the panels can stand on their own. the accordion design should hold them up. add a few curtain hooks and hang your work. congratulations you have your very own art display panels for a fraction of the cost of professional ones!
  11. to hang your work, buy curtain hooks from a fabric store like Jo Ann or Hancock. one side of the hook holds pretty well in the carpet, and the other end comes out perfect for hanging.

final result of my display

these art panels are very sturdy and were a big hit at my last few shows.  i have already had requests from other artists to make more, but decided to post the process instead.  hope this was useful.  if you have questions, or trouble creating them, please leave a comment or email me wade.create[at]yahoo.com

happy art making,
Martha

32 thoughts on “how to make your own art display panels

  1. These is a great design. I think I will be trying this!! I have been searching for over a year for a great display! Thank you for the pictures!! Oh and I LOVE your art work!!

  2. Hi! Thanks for this information! I will be having my first show soon and didn’t know how to display my photography. What do you use to hang your paintings?

    • hi there, glad i could help. buy curtain hooks from a fabric store … JoAnn or Hancock. they are metal and stay well in the carpet and hold pretty heavy pieces. congrats on your first solo show!

  3. Awesome job, If I only had van to carry them, but I will keep looking for panel s that I could disassemble so they fit to my hhr, if anyone know please let me know.

  4. As I was looking at the pictures and your great tutorial; I realized that 2×2’s or if you have a friend 2×4’s split would be another way of doing this project and a lot less expensive 🙂 I’m going to have to make a few of these for my mom!!

  5. Hello, this is great, thanks for sharing.

    Question: Is it hard to put the hooks through the carpet? Does it leave unsightly holes in the carpet?

  6. Thank you. Yes your creativity in panel assembly is useful for my art show…..things can be very expensive. But this does help with production cost… will attempt. Thank you…again. Oh, and yes….no one better partner than a mom…..

  7. This is so kind of you! Does it work very well on grassy ground? I’m in a local outdoor festival in July and I “need” to get something prepared very soon! It looks so simple and you’ve graciously gone into great detail. Thanks 💕✝️

    • I followed most of the directions but used firring strips and built my own “doors”. I made the panels 6ft X 3ft. I started to use chicken wire but then left it off. Covered with indoor outdoor carpet. Came out really professional looking. If I can do this, anyone can. I’m a retired lady and love to do ribbon art.

  8. Just found this post and I can hardly wait to get out today to get the materials! I’ve been procrastinating to get something for a show in my community NEXT WEEK! And now I know what I’m doing! Thank you so much!

  9. Thanks for the design I’m in the process of making this! I purchased bumpers that do not look like your in the picture (and I’m assuming much more expensive) What do your bumpers look like?

  10. Thanks for the post .I was thinking of going with the mesh walls but this idea rocks ! As I’m a metal artist I think I’ll build them out of aluminum channel . Now my only Question in what do you do about a show when everything needs a fire proof certified rate ? or is the carpet fire resistant. This is what has kept me from building my own mesh wall.

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