Tuesday, July 20, 2010


By now, you have probably noticed that some of the photos of my booth  feature shelves on the foam board walls...These amazing shelves were the perfect size and weight for trade shows and were available at Ikea for years, to make matters even better (at the time), they ran about $3 per shelf, can you believe it? They called it the STRIPPA shelf (trust me, it is taking every ounce of restraint I can muster to not comment on the name).
Back to the perfect $3 shelf. Kind of too good to be true!...Yes, yes it was! Ikea does not make them anymore. (Waaaaa WAAAA, can you hear that disappointment music?...) I will post a bunch of close up photos of them however, when I am reunited with them in August at the show, if you know a carpenter or woodworker, you might be able to have some made, the construction is crazy easy.
If you want to use another type of small shelf, you can, and hanging them might sound like a process, but in actual fact, it is not that horrible to do, it just takes a little patience, some measuring and some organizing.
Here it goes.

Basically, what you are going to do, is sandwich your foam board between a strip of wood and a shelf,
that is how the shelf will stay up.
In the case of the STRIPPA shelves, there were simply 2 holes supplied, right in the shelves to hang them up.
A screw in each and presto, the shelf was up.

here's a closer shot of a single shelf, you can see where the screws go in on either side of the clipboards.

My process went something like this.
1- I would decide how many shelves I wanted to use and where I wanted to place them on the walls.
2- I would organize my 4-5 ft wood strips and drill holes about a half inch from the top of each one (hole should be wide enough to get a tie wrap through).
3- I would tie wrap the strips of wood to the top pipe (through the drilled holes). The strips of wood would now be hanging down from the top pipe/bar.
you can repeat this step as many times as you need, ie: if you want to put 3 shelves up on this back wall, you will need to tie up 6 wood strips, 2 per shelf. You can do the same for your side walls.

4- Once my wood strips were in place, I would place a sheet of foam board in front of the wood strips, essentially hiding them. For example, if I was starting to put up my foam board in this example on the left side of the back wall it would look like this.

 5- Before you do anything else, it's time to attach a shelf!  I would simply hold my shelf where I wanted to hang it, have a helper hold it, or have the helper reach around and hold the wood strips in place, and drill! (I liked to put my handy little level on the shelf before drilling, just to make sure that it was straight)...As I drill the screw through the shelf holes, they go right through the foam board and into the wood strips behind it. The wood strips ensure that everything is solid and tight and able to bare weight without the foam board tearing. In essence, the wood is carrying the burden of the weight and the foam board is simply sandwiched between the wood and the shelf. It's that easy!

later that day...

but, here's what it will look like (without xray vision)
So, there you have it...the process I used to put up sturdy little shelves in an unstable little world!
I will be testing out lots of new ideas at the show this August however, as I am working with http://www.foamwerks.com/ testing out all their really cool products! I can't wait to share ideas, tips and tricks!


  1. This is genius! Thank you and why-o-why has it taken me this long to find you. Much appreciated.

    1. well, thank you, and finally, some new stuff coming, just got back from NY :-)

  2. thank you so much for this tutorial~ Extremely helpful!