a bad tablecloth can ruin your craft fair display | Hooked by Kati

Craft Fair Booth Displays Can Be Ruined By A Bad Tablecloth

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As soon as I start talking about craft fair setups, people want to talk about pricing, signage, and how to arrange your tables. But the part of your table doing the most good (or the most damage), is often the biggest thing on your table: Your tablecloth.

The tablecloth is probably the last thing the vendor thinks about, but it is the first thing the customer sees.

It is the background for your whole display.


It’s been proven that color sets the tone for emotion. The color of your tablecloth and how it contrasts with your display can change the initial emotion your customer attaches to your product.

Do you sell goods for babies? Then pastel colors, especially pink, make people feel loving and gentle. Food products? Yellow and orange tones have been proven to make people feel hungry.

Health products? Blue and green encourage people to think about their health and to be calm and positive.

For even more details about color, check out this link:


DO NOT use a white table cloth!

Why? A white tablecloth gets dirty easily, making more work for you between fairs.

It looks “blank” and is easy for eyes to brush past when customers are scanning a busy fair.

Spaces and gaps look more empty, which can make a customer think you do not have enough inventory. It can also make you, the vendor, think you need more on the table, causing you to over-crowd and overwhelm your shoppers.


If your product comes in a variety of colors, those colors need to stand out against your background. A multi-colored complex pattern can drown your product and make it invisible to your shoppers. If you feel like you need a patterned tablecloth, make it a subtle print with few colors, and consider using solid squares of fabric over the top so the product is still easy to see.

Avoid seasonal themes because they narrow the scope of your shoppers. A holiday craft fair may be the perfect place to sell your red and green scarves, but if your table is also red and green, your scarves become just part of the display, and they do not stand out on their own.


This is short and easy. Use finished fabric for your tablecloth. Don’t use plastic tablecloths unless you are hosting a kids’ craft table. If your table looks disposable and temporary, then customers will think your business is not going to be around a year from now. They may not trust a product from a table that is thrown together at the last minute because they may fear the product is also hastily made and just a way to make quick money for the vendor.

A fabric tablecloth shows dedication to your business. It shows that you put in thought and effort, and it shows confidence in your product.

Cloth doesn’t have to mean expensive. www.linentablecloth.com has lovely linen tablecloths in any size and color for as little as $5.00 each.


Use full length tablecloths so that they touch the ground in the front and on the sides of every table.

The area behind your booth is probably cluttered with empty boxes, replacement inventory, and custom order forms (not to mention the Starbucks you picked up that morning and the breakfast burrito your husband brought you). But your customers shouldn’t be able to see any of that.

From the front, your booth should be seamless and professional. This means using a full length tablecloth to create a place to hide any of the necessary accoutrement required to run your booth.

Be sure to factor in table risers if you use them, and remember not to forget the sides of your tables. If the cloth only covers the front but you end up with a corner booth space, then your secret storage area is still visible from the sides.


Before craft fairs, take the time to wash and iron your tablecloth.

This sounds like a duh statement, but I have to admit to putting out a wrinkly, dusty tablecloth at an outdoor craft fair because it was outdoors and it would “get dirty anyway.” Did it necessarily impact my sales? I don’t know. But I do know that I was constantly wiping and straightening it all day, and I’m sure that didn’t do my sales any favors for customers to see me fixing my display.

It takes a lot for me to tell anyone to iron, because I hate it with a burning passion. But drink a glass of wine, put on your favorite show, and suck it up before the fair. Because it will make your booth pop, your confidence soar, and let’s face it, it just looks better.

Doing all these things isn’t going to make customers come running up to your booth yelling, “What a delightful tablecloth!” but it could enhance their shopping experience, improve the image of your business, and set the tone for you as a business owner.

In summation, having a clean, solid-colored, linen tablecloth can completely change the look and feel of your next craft fair booth, and it may be just the thing you need to make your next craft fair a success.

The biggest thing on your table could be hurting your sales
Don’t Forget It! Pin It!

Did you change up your tablecloth at a recent fair? What were your results? Post pictures of your setup so others can learn from your awesome example!

Yarn on,


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  1. I will be doing a one time event Christmas craft fair and therefore I don’t want to spend tons of money on table clothes. The items I’m selling will be Christmas colors – Red, Green, Blue, Silver and some White. I will also have some items placed on Wood Slice bases along with some small wood slice ornaments. Considering it will be a one time event, will white plastic table clothes be OK?

  2. I disagree with the table cloth analogy you presented… I used a cow print fabric I had and it didn’t cover my table on all sides for 2 day festival and I made way more money than I ever did at that show. I feel it’s more about the product than the tablecloth.

  3. As soon as you get the table covers out of the dryer fold them lengthwise. Then hang them on a sturdy hanger (or double hanger) with a pool noodle cut to fit. the bar. Hanging keeps them from wrinkling and the pool noodle keeps them from creasing between shows. Not only does hanging keep the wrinkles down, but if tdo have any, you can easily steam the out. Take your steamer with you and touch up after you get them on the tables.

    1. Thank you for such fantastic information. people don’t want to see your trash, you eating your lunch or the crap under your tables! my booth space is cream cloths with pink clothes on top. I hate pink, but little girl and moms love it! I have learned a lot over 30 years and I still do some of the same shows decades now! I’m going to send a photo of my booth. And yes, it is cluttered. But our eyes see in sections. That is helpful! Thank you again! Renee’, beadfreakonline

  4. I use black bed skirts that I found at the thrift stores to cover the tables. I sewed a large seam down the middle of the bed skirt to make it fit the table. I handbasted the seam first for ease of sewing. The bedskirt is used as an underskirt. I also buy tablecloths at the thrift stores. I put the bedskirt on the table first and then place a regular tablecloth on top. Then depending on the season I can change the top tablecloth to any color I want.

    1. I use patterned & colorful table clothes. I use a solid table runner laid back to front that has the company name. I always get compliments on my tablecloths. People want to know where I get them. For outdoor events we use an orange canopy. I feel like the color draws people to us. I don’t have an option to post a picture. Right now, I have a blue tablecloth with big white daisies. I have one that has different types of pumpkins. I think they’re fun 😁

  5. Used a linen blend beige fabric (that I had saved from my decorating business from years ago) to sew up the tablecloths. I was very pleased with the final look of my booth and got many compliments. I sell hand crafted cards and used some copies to make banners to drape across the front of the neutral tablecloths.

  6. We chose the darkest teal color from our logo. Everything, even if “stock” or blank items follows the color scheme (dark teal for backgrounds, punches of lt teal for bags and shipping and wow spotlights of a dark, almost terra cotta orange) – we do this for the same reasons almost everything from Starbucks has that dark green color – branding. Also, it helps set us apart from the sea of black table cloths that have become standard. I got a heavy “tradeshow” cloth (not a stretch one) – since sometimes we can’t use our own tabel and we don’t know if its a 6 ft, 7ft table (I bring safety pins to decretely adjust its “tailoring”).

  7. I use painter’s drop cloths. They have a vintage-y vibe that goes well with my re-puposed/up-cyced crafts. I lay a vintage crocheted tablecoth over the top and it looks great.

    1. I use black as my business colors are black grey white and turquoise – I sell handmade dog gear in a huge array of colors. I bought the open back cloths but feel like in an event without side walls – everything under the tables, but the back table will show. Any suggestions? I don’t like the non fitted type. They look disheveled

        1. I use patterned & colorful table clothes. I use a solid table runner laid back to front that has the company name. I always get compliments on my tablecloths. People want to know where I get them. For outdoor events we use an orange canopy. I feel like the color draws people to us. I don’t have an option to post a picture. Right now, I have a blue tablecloth with big white daisies. I have one that has different types of pumpkins. I think they’re fun 😁

  8. I use crushed velvet table cloths, the best part, no ironing needed, and the 2nd best part, they were free!!! They look great right out of the Sertilite tub! They are a bright almost hot pink, which works well with my hair bow booth, they seem to attract girls and moms! The down side, they are all round, so I took black sheets and sewed them to form fit my tables, so you see a little black on the sides on one table and in the middle where the 2 table cloths overlap on the other, and that black also matches one of my larger fixtures (an old ornament rack), so it helps bring that piece in and it dosen’t look out of place. Check with your local department stores, sometimes they have fixtures, table cloths and other odds and ends that they just want to get rid of, that’s how I got most of my booth items!

  9. I do a Knit wear table generally focusing on adult knits jumpers, shawls with hats and gloves in a variety of colours. occasionally selling knitted bits for my mother in law manly children’s bits. No idea what I should use as a table cloth or colour and advice on colour??

    1. Hmmm…. I think it would depend on your basic color scheme. And do you hang most of your work? If most of it is hung up, the color won’t matter as much, but I would stick to white if you want it laying flat on the table. That way it would show off the color against the white background. To keep the white from washing things out and looking “empty,” try adding a few small table plants or decorations that “match” stained glass. I always think of things like ferns and succulents.

      1. This pattern is an old one, before I knew what I was doing. 🙂 Let me mess around with it. But what I think is happening is that you need to count the 1st st of each round that has the sl st in it as the first skipped stitch. That should give you the right count.

    2. When I did stained glass I used sky blue table covers. Think it helps show off the sun catchers and is a great spring and summer color.

  10. We recently changed from a tartan cover (previously we sold a lot of Scottish ‘tourist loving’ items) and continued to use it even tho’ our stock changed to lovely pastel coloured housewares. This last weekend we had our final Christmas show and decided at the last minute to change our whole table design and borrowed some table display from our friend. Grey felt covers for our White wooden plinths and a grey table cloth. The whole table just popped and we had lots of compliments on our display and our sales were triple the last show we did.

      1. Hello. What if you sell a little of everything. I sell crochet hats, Christmas ornaments, soap, and jewelry. Should I have a different color for each product?

  11. I’m curious how you keep the wrinkles from coming back when you transport the table cloth to the fair after ironing. I spent a ton of time ironing a fitted tablecloth that I bought and by the time I got to the show, it was wrinkled.

    1. I would recommend laying it on top of your crates as you pack, not folding or packing it in a box. The other thing that has always worked for me for my seasonal table cloths is to hang them on a pants hanger for transport. Some materials wrinkle more easily than others, so some require a little more care when moving.

      1. To prevent your table cloth from wrinkling you could wrap it around a long cardboard roll, plastic pipe or even a (new clean) broomstick (and don’t forget to secure so it doesn’t roll off). Easy for transport and storage between shows / fairs.

  12. Using fitted table clothes has definitely improved my sales (I use Downy wrinkle spray for cotton cloths). #craigspnt

  13. I usually use shorter tables or tubs with cloths mostly under my taller tables so full length table cloths weren’t usable just in the way.

    1. I do use white tablecloths. I make arrangements and wreaths and cork ornaments and such. If I used colored or printed table cloths my items would look lost. I normally do fall and Christmas shows and my products will stand out against a white background.

  14. I usually use black sheets to cover my tables but always had trouble keeping the sides in place when the wind blows….exposing all my junk underneath. This year I made fitted full length covers with those sheets.Now all I have to do is slip them over the table.I made a slit in the middle of back side for easy access.I also am using color and pattern by topping the table with a dusty rose sheet cut to size and black and white gingham mattes on top of that.Good contrast with a shabby-shriek look.

  15. Kati: I did many craft and flea market shows with my dad and mom. Always they had clean tablecloths for their tables and they all came to the ground in front. Because they never say the back, it was usually half half length.
    Anything point that can be interesting is that they purchased ‘bed sheets’. Yep, they did. You can or used to, be able to purchase fairly inexpensive queen/king sheets cheap if you didn’t buy the most expensive on the market and the darned things seemed to last forever. Now days they come in many plain and complex patterns. So, for those interested, it’s just a thought.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing in this conversation! I agree, sheets can work really well sometimes. I go to a lot of fairs which you can walk around and see behind tables (just because of the style of set up), and I was always disillusioned when I saw a bunch of rubbermaid tubs behind the tables, so I do my best to have table cloths long enough I can completely hide mine under the tables from any angle. Also, I have found that you can actually get real tablecloths for even cheaper than sheets, and you don’t have to buy a whole set! I get mine from linentablecloth.com. The ones I buy are usually only $5-7. 🙂

    2. I used to use black sheets, then I came across some creme and beige Colton, satin sheets at a thrift shop, came with four pillow cases, I covered tablel with sheet, then put cardboard boxes cut to size to place in the pillow cases, for height worked great with added mini lights at christmas craft sale. My sales were tripled

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