How to make easy/cheap/light art panels for art shows...

Hey people , I thought I would share my brain wave with you all, I don't like being able to see through wire panels holding artwork ( so distracting!), I didn't like the price tag or the scary gray carpet of 'pro panels' so i came up with this instead.

The 'magic ingredient' is ..................

.............screen doors!!!!!!
I bought some from Home depot , only $ 19.95 I used the 36 inch wide

Roll this mesh down the length of the door and cut to size ( with good wire cutters)the mesh is also 36 inch wide). I just left the original screen mesh on the door.

You find it in the outdoor section of Home depot

It looks pricey , but there is 25 ft... lots of panels....

Staple gun on some black felt from the craft store ( I bought mine from Hobby Lobby , it is sold on a big roll,just get it cut to whatever you need)
Voila , showcase that gorgeous artwork of yours!!!

Tips- an electric staple gun , much easier

Hang your art on a metal curtain hook...
I poke the sharp end of a metal curtain hook through the felt and the mesh, then hook my art wire over the hook!
Move your curtain hooks wherever you want depending on the size of your artwork
Make sure you carefully remove all hooks at the end of the show , so as not to tear felt when stacking panels.

I made 6 panels , but often only use 5.
My canopy is an EZI-UP three panels fit along the back , I put them between the top canopy flap and the metal bar ( they hold themselves up!)
Then I often put one panel on each side ( depends how I am arranging my booth)

I stack the panels on their side inside my suburban , but you could maybe get them on a roof rack.

You can trim the edges with black gorilla tape , to finish them off, if you like.

You could also staplegun black waterproof fabric to the back, but the eziup 'velcro on' side panels just fit around them. You may also want to hang more artwork from the back of the side panels, therefore do not apply waterproof fabric ( I didn't bother)

Here is a pic of the panels ( screen doors) in action.........

You could always just start with one , better then artwork all lying flat on a table...

I so hope this sounds as easy as it is to make ...... any questions are most welcome...

Thanks guys... Feel free to share , a link back would be most appreciated..
Cheers , Helen


  1. Hi Helen,

    Fellow fishie here, I just wanted to leave a note to say hi and also to say that I stopped by your etsy store and your paintings are divine! I adore your style and girl you can seriously paint so well, but you keep it cute at the same time.

    I wish you lots of success



  2. umm... Katie Anna...

    I think I love you...

    heehee , thank you so much!!

  3. Hi Helen very clever and effective way to display your beautiful art.
    Have a great market this weekend.
    I'm setting up a stall outside my friends shop in Whitianga Coromandel @ Labour Weekend.It's called THE CAVE I've made up gift baskets full of natural skin care products,hand made soaps,body scrubs and soy candles. I'm aiming for the early Christmas shoppers. Whitianga's populations swells from 3 thousand to over 20 thousand on long weekends and during summer. Will take some photos for my blog page.Arohanui Char

  4. Hey thanks , Charmaine, ...
    what a great idea catching that crowd!!!! I hope you sell a zillion baskets!! Yep post a pic of your set up on your blog , and a post to say how it all went!!
    Lots of blessings to you!

  5. Hi Helen,
    thanks for stopping by my blog and thanks for this amazing idea! I'm considering (sort of) the art fair summer circuit for next year and these would be great to create for that. so clever! xox susie

  6. Thanks , Susie, they are so easy, you should go for it!

  7. What a handy tip! thanks a ton, Helen!

  8. Thanks Kate , hope you can use it!

  9. Brilliant, Helen! As I recall, I was at your house the night you first designed these and you had a handsome 6'4" hunk helping you....never a bad thing! (you lucky, lucky woman!)

  10. What a rocking idea and what an awesome post. Your illustration of how you did this is wonderful and thank you so much for sharing. P.S. I'm so digging your artwork! Have a great weekend and see you in the Fish Bowl! Cheers

  11. yes epuype , a gorgeous , south african man does make putting these panels together ...ummmm... a lot more enjoyable!
    Ciao H

  12. Wow, what a great idea! I was also thinking of getting into the craft fair circuit next season and this is a great idea. I was thinking you could easily hinge a couple of panels together if you wanted to. Probably just a regular door hinge would do.

    Thanks for the tips!

  13. Great idea Jessica, you know you could probably even build a photography studio this way too, I would love something to hang back drops on!

  14. Awesome ideas Jessica and Pam!
    yep , a few hinges and you could do all sorts of things..hmmm I like the backdrop idea!
    Thanks for your input..! Helen

  15. Hello Helen! Thought I would tell you how much I love your 3 original pieces that I own as well as the 3 prints!! You are wonderful! I also might steal your screen idea if we need them for art shows.... Dawne

  16. Anonymous18:08

    Nice post and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you for your information.

  17. Wow it looks so professional!

  18. Anonymous17:46

    Very nice and intrestingss story.

  19. it is a clever idea for displaying your art - fun!!
    I was looking for a friend's etsy shop (moon in the willows) & your blog came up in the search - fun!! (her shop isn't quite up yet - will have to remember to 'look' again :)

  20. Anonymous16:43

    Thanks from the bottom of my heart for sharing such a great idea in these recession times as we artists plug through. My husband is grateful too since he has to make them!!

  21. Your idea is the solution I am looking for! I have been invited to participate in a small art show, and I only have 4 weeks to put it together. Thanks for the help!

    I do have one question: do you have any problem with them tipping over? Have you done anything to stabilize the bottom to make it more sturdy?


  22. I love your idea! Thank you so much for having a solution to a problem. I have been invited to participate in a small art show, and only have 4 weeks to get it together.

    I do have one question: do you have any problems with the screen system tipping over? I was thinking of putting boards on the bottom (Perpendicular to the screens) to make it more stable. Have you done anything like that?


  23. Anonymous09:04

    Just starting out and not a lot of money to invest yet. Trying to figure out how to make my own panels and voila, you have provided a great way! Thanks so much! Sandy

  24. Anonymous06:14

    Thank god!!! I was wondering if I would ever find a cheaper way. My first art show is coming up at the National Harbor in DC. I am so nervous, and was wondering if I would be out of pocket way before I get started. Thumbs Up Girl, Thanks.

  25. Love this idea. Thanks for sharing. I was trying to figure out a way to make portable wall panels. I am going to hinge them together. I was wondering about a way to stabelize them from tipping over. Any ideas?

  26. Great idea....I am JUST starting out in Art Shows....I owned a Gallery for years but we know how the art market is....if the people won't come to me I will go to them. I love this idea...but HOW did you secure the heavy wire mesh to the screen door and do you really NEED the wire mesh if your art work is light? ANY suggestions are welcome....oh and I don't have a handy hunk helping me....so this is something that I have to be able to do myself. Also.....what kind of weights do you use? I see people making PVC tubes filled with cement...aggggggg.....I don't know how to do this......sand bags seem better! HELP! THANKS!

  27. Love the idea. I am a disabled artist and this seems right in line with what I can handle and light weight to boot. How do you get them to stand? Your pic seems like they lean against the tent? I am thinking I could easily add just some T legs of some sort but any ideas appreciated.

  28. Hi Jordan yes the only way that I stood the panels up was to wedge them between the cloth and the frame of the tent .. it works very well! Good Luck !

  29. Anonymous18:59

    Thanks for the great idea. We're new to the art show world and are scrambling to figure out how to display photography for an upcoming show. We just ordered the EZ-Up tent and side panels. Your pictures of all of the materials helped tremendously. Marci

  30. Screen doors! What a great idea! I was going to use pegboard, but now I think I'll try this, and hinge them together.
    Thanks for the instructions!

  31. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for sharing this diy project. I have my first art booth this coming Saturday, and it's not in the budget to purchase panels. So, my husband and I are making ours, using your instructions. --Emily

  32. Thank you so much!!! Your post was exactly what I was looking for, and I was able to put it all together myself. Thanks to your instructions I created a beautiful looking art display. I linked your directions to my blog post, I hope that is ok! http://paintingtodorovich.blogspot.com/ Thank you!! -Jelena

  33. Thank you so much for the fantastic directions! They were exactly what I was looking for. I linked my posting back to you. http://paintingtodorovich.blogspot.com/ Now I have a beautiful booth ready for summer festivals :) Thanks again! -Jelena

  34. Anonymous06:58

    Great idea! How long did it take you to make these? And do you staple the metal grid to the door
    frame before stapling the felt?

    Thank you in advance!

  35. Anonymous09:52

    Been looking for an inexpensive way to start out with Fairs etc. I bought a 10X10 EZup and that looks great. Now I think I will make your panels they sound like the easiest, cost effective and lightest panels I have found in my research. Wish me luck. I'll let you know how they turn out!
    Thanks so much for this post. I'm excited

  36. Thank you so much for this idea! I plan to get involved in the local art fair scene around Atlanta this spring so this will be a great way to look professional without breaking the bank. I will blog about my little DYI adventure so I will definitely link back here to credit you with the original idea. Thanks again!


I love to read your comments, thank you xx