Table top displays are a way to show off a hobby, collection, event, or other project. Or you can showcase your unit’s program. As part of the Hobbies Troop Program Feature for Scouts BSA, table top displays are used in a hobby fair to show of each Scout’s particular hobby. In addition, for several of the Venturing awards, Venturers must create a table top display.
Table top displays are not just for Scouting though. Creating displays for Scouting projects will help Scouts later when they need to create displays for school projects, science fairs, and even later in life for business.
So how do you create a great tabletop display? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Tips for a Great Table Top Display
Know the Rules
First of all, find out what sort of limitations will be placed on your display. Don’t assume you will be allowed unlimited space. Find out what the maximum width, depth, and height of your display can be. Must all of your display be attached to a board, or can you place loose items on the table. Are perishable items like food allowed? What about batteries or liquids?
Obtain a Display Board
For most displays, you will want a display board. You don’t need to purchase an expensive business quality board. Look for an inexpensive tri-fold presentation display board like this one. Just make sure it meet the rules. Having the display board in hand before you start creating stuff to put on it will give you a solid idea how much space you have to work with.
Organize Your Thoughts
The material on your display board should be organized into different sections. These sections should have brief descriptions which catch the viewer’s attention. For example, if you are making a display about Leave No Trace, you might have a section for each principle – “Dispose of Waste Properly”, “Leave What You Find”, “Minimize Campfire Impacts”, etc. A display for a science project would be completely different. It might have sections like “Problem”, “Hypothesis”, “Background”, etc.
So you need to come up with your own way of organizing the material. About six to ten different sections works well for most displays. But be flexible and do what works best for your particular project.
Type It Up
After you organize your thoughts, type up a heading for each section and then the material. Your heading font should be really large so it catches the eye. The material under each heading should be in a large enough font that most people standing in front of the display can read it without leaning forward or squinting.
You might have to do some trial and error to get the sections printed up correctly so they fit on the board. If you have additional information you want to make available, but it in a report and place it on the table in front of the display. (You might want to attach it to a long string so it doesn’t wander off.) Just be aware that most people won’t pick up the report, so get your main ideas on the display.
A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words
Depending on the rules and what information you are trying to convey, you might not be able to use physical objects to share your ideas. But you can often use pictures. If you are creating a display to recruit new Scouts and it lists some of your great activities, add lots of pictures.
Use Color for Impact
Add construction paper boarders to your typed information and section headings. One way to do this is to print the material with wide margins, cut off some of the margins, and mount it on the construction paper. Add boarders to your photos also. If your display still lacks impact, add some brightly colored shapes with key words neatly written on them.
You’ve completed your display. It looks great. You take it to your location, set it up, and on no! Something has fallen off. Take some glue, tape, string etc with you in case you need to make last minute repairs. You probably won’t need it, but you will be glad you made the extra effort if you do.