Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tutorial Tuesday: DIY Pegboard Display

Difficulty: Easy 

This week's tutorial is a colorful pegboard display which is my new favorite method to show off small merchandise. If you haven't noticed, pegboard is one of this years trends which means it's a great time to get pre-made bases like this wooden pegboard crate from Michaels Arts and Crafts store. I picked this up on sale for $6, but if you can't find one at your store you can always buy pegboard and craft your own with just a few pieces of wood. The other materials you need to create this display are spray paint, pegboard pegs, and some materials to mask off your wood (I used washi tape and scrap booking paper)

The first thing you need to do with your plain pegboard display is to mask off any areas you don't want painted. I used scrapbooking paper sheets because I have plenty on hand, PLUS I can use what's left to make boxes later down the road (watch out for that tutorial!). The easiest way to mask off this particular display was to trim 3" off either side of the paper, leaving a 9x9 square, and 12 and 9 inch strips.


Once you have your strips, your going to tape them in place. The 12" strips are long enough to fit in easily, while the shorter strips will need to be bent slightly to nest snugly against the wood. This is nice though because it helps form a sharp corner and keep paint from leaking under.

With paper in place, tape all exposed wood. This means the top edges, and if you're really bad with over spray, the outside as well. If you're really picky, grab some painters tape for your masking and measure and cut your paper to size. I tend to lean towards a "rough around the edges" sort of style though. If I don't fuss over perfection, I don't feel terrible if I don't get it.

Once everything is masked off, guess what happens next? Spray paint! Take your time with this one, because drips are never pretty. Give a light dust of color to start, let it dry, then coat again. If you can, let your project dry flat, just in case you get a little heavy with the paint.


Spray paint dries pretty quickly, but it's still nice to leave your project outside if the weather is nice. No one likes breathing in paint fumes if it's avoidable!

Some fun ways to make this project your own:

  1. Mix up the colors. Start by coloring the outsides of your box, then paint the interior a different color. What about lime and teal? Red and black? Make it yours!
  2. Paint it backwards! If you don't want that shadowbox look, flip this display around. The ledge of the box will still balance nicely on the table, but you won't get as many shadows on your merchandise.
  3. Light it up! Get some seed lights and trim your box. Just be sure to tuck all power chords and boxes out of the way. 
Cheap projects like this allow you to be flexible, yet still have a personal touch to a display. 

After you complete your box, finding the right hooks if the next challenge. I recommend picking up a variety pack if you aren't sure what you'll use. I found a set at Harbor Fright for roughly $6, and it gave me plenty to work with. You can also check with local supply stores to find out what they carry. Because pegboard is so common, there are lots of places you can go to accessorize your display. The one thing to keep in mind about enclosed pegboards is some hooks may not work. Long pegboard hooks may knock into the top of your display. Again, having a variety pack will let you see some of these little quirks and plan accordingly. 

Merchandise is easy to display on boards like these, but sometimes inventory can be overwhelming. If you do sample only pieces you can store extras under a table or behind a display to keep your table clutter free. 

Have any fun pictures of a pegboard display? I'd love to see them!

 Related articles (Coming Soon):
Gridwall, Slatwall, Pegboard Tips and Tricks
Shopping the Trends

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Finding Your Audience

I'm going to tell you a secret that I took far too long to realize: not all artists are created equal. This isn't a matter of talent, or even a matter of training, but it comes down to something as simple as style. One artist can be cultured, another crafty, and those characteristics become your identity. Preserving that identity can be difficult, however, if you're in an environment that opposes it.

One of the easiest ways to grow as an artist is to find out what makes you unique, and then finding people who embrace that; rather than fighting to go against the grain, you can find yourself lifted and validated. An audience is a lifeblood for a growing artist, and it isn't something that should be taken lightly. Not all artists are created equal, and as such, not all audience will be ideal for them.

Escaping the Mold
When I was in college, I spent a lot of time in galleries. We had art shows once a semester, and I knew how to mat and frame my artwork like a pro. But it didn't always mean I felt like one. Oh, I could make the little nameplate, wear a fancy dress, but most of the time, that world was a little foreign to me. I wasn't a landscape painter. I didn't really love doing still life drawings, and abstract art seemed, well, abstract. In my heart, I was a nerd to the core, and my art reflected that. Most of the strangers that visited our galleries weren't looking for my style of art.

Enter a comic con. I was in my sophomore year of college when I first displayed in an artist alley, and my world was changed. Here was an audience that spoke the same language I did. My art didn't need to feel polished, and I could be a little rough around the edges. As I displayed at these shows and sold my artwork, I felt validated. My professors tried to mold me into a professional artist, but I was already a professional nerd. Until I took my style to the right place, I was just trying to squish into a mold that wasn't me.

Now, finding an artist alley wasn't the end to my journey. In fact, it was just the start. I found an audience I could build off of, but I was still experimenting to find my own voice. I attended Renaissance Faires, craft shows, and bought vendor booths to display in. Sometimes I did well, sometimes I didn't, but each time, I learned a little more about who I was. At a Renaissance Faire, I was an entertainer. I painted live, created my art at the tent, and people enjoyed what they saw. At a craft show, other artists connected with me and we talked about techniques. With a vendor booth, I was seen as a professional, and my art was valued more. I learned with each event what mattered to me in an audience. I was still in school, but it was out in the real world attending events and selling my wares.

I learned a lot about these different shows though, and what made them unique.

If you want to find an audience, don't stop at the first sign of success. Just like art, mastering one technique isn't the end of the journey. Try something new, find people who understand you, and maintain your identity wherever you go.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Hi everyone, and welcome to my brand new blog! My name is Mati Raine, I'm an author, artist, and current blogger over at Steampunk Sparrow's Book Blog. While I still love doing book reviews, I realized I needed someplace new to talk about another, craftier, side of me. 

Enter: this slice of the web.

As the owner of The Crafty Coyote, I am always up to creative things, whether it's constructing a new display, or organizing a chaotic craft room. My goal with future posts will be to focus on some of those other artistic adventures. I will bring you tips and tricks to survive a creative lifestyle, along with fun projects, occasional reviews, and interesting tidbits. You may also see some posts from my convention experiences, and hear some of my input for those who aspire to be freelance artists. How do you survive a show with a limited budget? What do you do if weather attacks at an outdoor venue? How can you have a creative, yet safe display? What's a fun project you can do at home this weekend? These are all upcoming topics I am eager to share with you so stay tuned, the best is yet to come!