DIY Display Risers.

This week has been nuts. Like, over-the-top busy and exciting nuts. I've been preparing for the SF Birth & Baby Fair (had I mentioned that yet? Oh yeah, here and here and here) and also working on custom commissions and a big wholesale order. My to do list has been growing, shrinking and then growing again as I make progress on my fair plans. It seems every box I check creates another three empty boxes with new to-do's. I've received so many great ideas, tips and advice from friends that I feel really good about how my plan is coming together. (I mean, I even got advice from someone who's planned trade show booths that are used at conferences with tens of thousands of people, total pro.) You guys are awesome, thank you.

Since I've been pulling all of the fair stuff together and already gave you a peek of my plan and the mood board, I thought I'd share one of the big projects I took on in preparation.

A friend actually sent me this pin on Pinterest (which was linked to this post) and it seemed like the perfect way for me to display paintings and create height on my table. So I gathered up my materials, including my new hot glue gun - a tool I haven't picked up for nearly two decades, and got to work.


  • foam core (3-4 sheets, size depends on how big you want your risers)
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • glue (elmer's worked for me, mod-podge or any other craft glue would work too)
  • straight edge or ruler
  • self-healing cutting mat
  • measuring tape
  • x-acto knife
  • optional: paper of any type to cover finished structure (wrapping paper, craft paper, bulletin board paper, etc.)

1. Measure out the side panels of the steps. I wanted my width and height of each step to be equal, so I measured 5 inches over, 5 inches down/up and marked my "stairs."

2. Cut the side panels. Once I had the measurements drawn onto my foam core, I cut out the side panels. I was able to use a single sheet of foam core to create both of the sides. I used  a second sheet to create a third panel for support in the middle of the finished stairs.

3. Cut 8 flat panels for the front and top of each step. I cut each "flat" to 5 inches tall, using the full width of the foam core sheet.

My cuts weren't perfect, so I did a little testing to put my puzzle pieces together in the cleanest way. I used some support on each side of the structure as I was building it to be sure that it wouldn't completely topple over as I added flats to the steps.

4. Start gluing the top of each step using the hot glue gun.

5. Glue the front of each step using the glue gun.

6. Add glue to the "stepped" edges of the support panel, slide it into the back of the risers.

Here are some photos of the finished structure from the front and back.

Since I didn't love how it looked plain white and because my cuts were imperfect leaving little holes along the seams, I decided to cover my structure with something. I picked up this faux-wood bulletin board paper thinking that it might be a nice neutral behind the paintings.

I'm not sold on whether it looks good, but I certainly don't have time to make another set of risers or find more paper to cover it up, so these risers are coming with me as-is! Hopefully it looks okay with all the other materials I'm using and with the paintings displayed on it.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, but I hope some of you have a chance to stop by and say "hello" on Sunday. Click on the link over to your right and use the code "GIGGLE" to get in for $4. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 – 10 A.M. to 4 P.M.

Fort Mason Center Herbst Pavilion 99 Marina Boulevard San Francisco, CA 94123