These detailed instructions on how I created my folding craft tables for my booth will show you exactly how to make your own table to fit your exact specifications.
When it was time to get tables for my booth, I had to go through two thought processes. First, I had to figure out exactly what specifications I needed , and then I had to determine how to get or create what I needed.
This article takes you through both parts of the process.
The first section, Determining My Needs, describes how I decided on the best dimensions for the folding craft tables. It will help you to think through your own needs.
The second section, How I Built My Folding Craft Tables, describes how I built my display tables and how you can build your own to your specifications.
This is what I decided I needed:
I legs that could be fully folded down for easy transportation and efficient storage when not in use.
I wanted a height of about 33 inches.
Standard table height is about 30 inches, which is just a bit too short for use as part of a display. For people to browse and look at items (especially smaller items) comfortably, you need a height of about 33 to 34 inches.
I wanted tables that were about 24 inches wide.
Most of the ones I found were 30 inches wide, which was too wide for my needs.
I figured, if I created a U shaped craft booth, and I placed two 30 inch tables across from each other in a standard 10 x 10 booth space, they would take up 5 feet of width in my booth, leaving only 5 feet for customers to walk around (see diagram below for further clarification).
If the tables were only 24 inches wide, the floor space for customers would be a full foot wider (see diagram below). One foot may not sound like a lot, but when you only have a 10 by 10 foot space to begin with, every bit of space counts.
Also, I felt that 30 inch width would either create wasted space at the backs of the tables or make items difficult to reach.
Customers would have to stretch to reach any items placed at the back (i.e. the edge farthest from customers) of a 30 inch table. So, you either end up placing items at the backs and creating an awkward reach, or you push all of your items to the front, which creates unused, wasted space.
If you make larger items, 24 inch wide folding craft tables may be too narrow for your needs, but it seems to be an ideal width for people who sell smaller items.
I decided I wanted several (I started with three and ended up with five) 4 foot long tables
That size fits within the standard 10 x 10 space, they are easy to transport and that length provides enough flexibility to configure them in several different ways.
I could not find exactly what I wanted in a ready-made product, so I decided I needed to custom make my folding craft tables myself.
They were actually quite easy to make, and they meet my needs perfectly.
I bought folding legs from a hardware store.
The legs I bought were designed to create a table that was 30 inches tall, so I was careful to examine the legs before I bought them to ensure I'd be able to rig something up to extend the height a few inches.
Adjusting the Height with Wooden Shims
The legs are hollow, so I simply popped the end caps off the bottoms of each leg and inserted shims into the hollow legs. The shims are secured with a screw so they won't shift and cause wobbles.
Shims can be added to the legs before or after the top has been screwed on, but the legs are easier to work with before the top has been attached. If you find it wobbles a bit once you attach the legs you can always shave off a little bit of length on any shim that is too long.
If you can't or don't want to use shims to raise the height, you can also use PVC pipes (more on that below) to extend the leg height.
Keep in Mind...
If you use legs like mine that come in sets of two, (as opposed to four separate legs) you'll need to measure the width of the legs to determine the minimum width you can have.
My legs are about 24 inches wide. I originally wanted my table tops to be 24 inches wide, but to accommodate the width of the legs, I had to make the tops 26 inches wide.
You can get a piece of wood cut to size for you at a building supply store. The wood does not have to be finished in any way if you are going to cover it with some type of table cloth.
One big mistake I made when building my folding craft tables was choosing inexpensive material instead of more light-weight material.
My table tops are made of fiberboard. They were cheap, but they are extremely heavy. In fact, I can't easily move the tables myself. I need my husband's help to move them and get them standing upright.
If I were making new folding craft tables today, I'd spend a little more money and get lighter material for the tops so I could handle them on my own.
Measure carefully and mark the location where you will screw the legs into the table top. Ensure there is room for the legs to fold completely, and ensure the screws you use aren't too long so they don't come through to the top side of the table.
Adjusting the Height with PVC Pipe and Straight Legs
Adjusting Leg Height with PVC Pipe and Curved Legs
Please Note - I have not personally cut PVC pipe for curved legs myself, but this is how I understand it is done.
If the legs are bent, cutting the PVC pipe to the exact length you need will be a bit trickier than it would be if the legs were straight.
Some people insert their legs in lengths of PVC pipes to add height to their folding craft tables.
PVC pipe over the legs is a less permanent solution than using shims, so if you want to be able to return a table to standard height it's a good option.
Also, if your legs are not hollow (and, therefore, you can't insert shims) PVC pipe is a good solution.
PVC pipe should be measured and cut after the top has been attached to the legs (especially if your legs are curved) so you can place the PVC pipe on the assembled table and ensure they are cut to the correct length.
If your legs are straight, using pvc pipe to extend the height is a bit easier than if the legs are bent like many folding legs are curved (see above right for curved leg instructions).
If the legs are straight, simply cut four PVC pipes to the length you want (i.e. cut 4 lengths of pipe to 33 inches if you want 33 inch legs). Be very careful to cut the PVC pipes to exactly the same length so your table doesn't wobble.
If you like, you can put PVC end caps on the bottoms of each pipe to finish them off.
Making your own folding craft tables is really not a lot of work and not all that difficult. It can be quite difficult to find a readymade product that exactly meets your needs, so taking the time to make your own to your exact specifications is well worth the bit of effort it takes.