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I had the opportunity to set up a booth at a local faire, but was told that I shouldn’t count on having a back wall as part of my booth. I wanted a wall to display information about my exhibit. The organizer told me, “Think creatively about how to make / borrow a back wall - you are a maker.”
A sheet of pegboard, several pieces of PVC pipe, a bunch of nylon ties, and three clamps later I made myself a wall.
This wall is stable enough for a temporary display, but it does wobble. You can hang lightweight material (cardboard signs) but shouldn’t try to hang picture frames or anything else heavy. While it’s possible for one person to assemble it it’s much easier if you have a helper.
It turns out I was assigned a booth along the side of the building so I did have a wall. Since I had my wall kit with me I made it into a side wall, giving me twice as much space for displays.
The table determined the size of my wall, roughly four feet high and five feet wide. This project can be easily scaled for a smaller or larger wall.
One important factor was the “wall” had to disassemble into pieces that fit into my car – roughly 3 foot by 4 foot. I learned that the hard way when I first purchased pieces that wouldn’t fit into my car and then had to redesign it into pieces that would fit.
Two sheets of pegboard – 2.5 x 4 feet. You can get two pieces out of a 4 x 8 foot sheet (with an oversize 3x4 foot sheet as the leftover.)
Three adjustable Quick Grip clamps with long arms.
A bunch of nylon ties.
All of the following PVC pieces are ¾” diameter.
Four 2.5 foot long pieces.
Three 4 foot long pieces.
Do not use PVC cement to put together the parts, you’ll need to take this apart after the show’s over. It certainly won’t be very stable, but a friction fit is adequate for a temporary display.
Step 1: Prepare the Pegboards
The two pegboards will be oriented vertically side-by-side.
It’s much easier to attach your signs and other displays to the pegboard ahead of time; especially flat signs (paper or cardboard). Keep everything at least a couple of rows of holes away from the edges. The only things you should attach after everything’s assembled is stuff that has to hang from the pegboard.
Step 2: The Bottom
Put together the following PVC pieces –T on bottom side, 2.5 foot pipe, cross, T on the bottom. (see diagram).
Position the three clamps on the table, just over 2.5 feet apart. You don’t need to measure the distances precisely, just use the bottom PVC assembly you put together to determine where to put the clamps.
Slide the bottom PVC assembly over the three clamps.
Step 3: The Verticals
Put the three four foot PVC pieces over the three bottom PVC connectors (T, cross, T).
Step 4: Left Pegboard
Put a 2.5 foot pipe along the top of one pegboard sheet. Attach the pipe to the pegboard with a bunch of nylon ties.
Attach an elbow to the left side of the PVC and a T on the long side to the other side of the pipe. (see diagram).
Step 5: Attaching the Pegboard to the Top
It helps to have a helper for this part.
Lift the pegboard in place and attach the elbow to the left vertical PVC and the T to the middle vertical PVC.
Step 6: Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the right pegboard, but this time you’ll just use the PVC pipe and one elbow (since the T is already mounted in place.
Step 7: More Nylon Ties
Add additional nylon ties to both pegboards. You should at a minimum have nylon ties at all four corners of each sheet of pegboard (attaching to both the vertical and horizontal pipes, and a couple of additional ties on each side. As a general rule more nylon ties is better.
By adjusting the tension on the nylon ties you can straighten out the PVC pipes and make the PVC assembly more rigid.
Step 8: Final Touches
Add any final items to the display which have to be hung from the pegboard.
Find the owner of the booth directly behind yours and ask them if they’d be interested in “renting” the back of your wall for their displays!
(or at least see if they’d be willing to buy a pizza to split with you in exchange for permission to use your wall for their booth).
Step 9: Conclusions
Remember – this wall will wobble. I intentionally mounted it on the back side of the table to minimize the chances that somebody would run into it.
If you are lucky enough to get assigned a booth with a back wall (like I was), you can put a table along the side of the booth and use your wall as a side display instead.
A long thin bag, like the ones for beach umbrellas or folding chairs, would be perfect for holding all of the PVC pipes.
When the show’s finished only cut the nylon ties you have to to disassemble everything. You can leave the others intact so they can be reused the next time you need to use your wall.