Rethink Your Display: Fun and Unique Ideas for Displaying Vintage Smalls

Rethink Your Display: Fun and Unique Ideas for Displaying Vintage Smalls

Finding unique and creative ways to displaying vintage smalls for resale shouldn’t be stressful but sometimes it can be. How do you display them so customers can easily see them without your booth looking like a hot mess? Here are a few fun ways to display small items!

Okay, so when I started selling I stood in my booth staring at a bunch of broaches that I had picked up and drew a blank with how I was going to display them. As creative as it sounds, I just spread them out on the table.

Wah! Wah! It was a flop.

Now, I wish I could say that all the ideas I’m going to share with you are mine but I stole a good portion of them from the exceptionally creative women I work with at Picket Fence Gals and Vintage Junky. I started looking around at what other vendors were doing and I was so disappointed in my “heap them on the table” solution.

Let me share some of the best ideas!

Ideas for Displaying Smalls for Resale

So what are smalls? Pretty much anything that’s not furniture or wall art is considered a small item (hence smalls) but some smalls are smaller than others. Cups and figurines you figure out how to display quickly when you start selling but jewelry is fiendishly hard to display. So let’s dive in!

Pins & Earrings

Ah, the problem that started it all! How can you display vintage pins and earrings so the customers can see them? Sure you can go out and buy a bunch of expensive retail display pieces but not everyone can afford that, especially when you’re starting out.

earring rack created from a log
A birch log has been transformed into an earring display

You can get creative and save yourself some money. The best part about earrings and pins is they can pierce just about anything.

I have seen them studding a pinnable dress form, stuck to a banner and draped against the wall. Genius!

I opt for playing cards. Playing cards are easy to find and inexpensive. As you can see I’m able to punch a hole for my price tags and the second hole in the upper corner is so I can hang it up if I choose.

Here are a few other solutions:

  1. Use a clear plastic box with a hinged lid to package the earrings. This allows customers to easily see the earrings and gives them a secure place to store them. You could also use foam inserts to keep the earrings in place and prevent them from getting damaged.
  2. Package the earrings in a small, decorative tin or box. This could be a great way to add a touch of whimsy to the packaging, and it would also give the earrings a secure place to be stored. You can buy decorative boxes at Dollar Tree or on Amazon (I like these marbled boxes). BONUS: You can add your logo to the box with a sticker like these from Sticker Mule!

I’ve seen other vendors use vintage bingo cards, flash cards . . . Use your imagination. You’ll be surprised at how many ideas you can come up with!

Necklaces and Bracelets

I don’t sell too many necklaces. When I do find them I will typically hang the necklaces in some way. Occasionally, I will drape them across a book stacks, or the edge of a bowl, but I think they sell better when they’re hanging.

The Vintage Junky Necklace Display
Necklaces displayed at The Vintage Junky

Some of the other Gals in the shop have constructed frames with wire mesh so they can put hooks through the wires and hang a lot of necklaces at once. Even if you simply use cup hooks screwed into a board, hanging necklaces give the customers a nice way to look through your inventory.

Above is a photo I took at The Vintage Junky. It’s not my display but you can see the vendor found a way to hang their necklaces. They build a display using cabinet knobs and cup hooks.

  1. Use a small, decorative box with a hinged lid (Like these from amazon) to package the necklaces. This could be a great way to add a touch of elegance to the packaging, and it would also give the necklaces a secure place to be stored. You could also use foam inserts or other protective materials to keep the necklaces safe during shipping.
  2. Create a display stand for the necklaces. You could use a piece of foam board or cardboard and cut out holes for the necklaces to be hung from. This allows customers to easily see the necklaces and try them on without having to open a package.
  3. Use a mannequin or dress form to drape your necklaces.

Buttons and Marbles

Marbles are an especially popular item in vintage booths. I’ve seen collectors come in and buy every last marble in our shop. I admit to knowing nothing about them other than if I see them when I’m out junkin’ I will pick them up.

Vintage buttons are also an automatic yes when I see them. A lot of time they will still be in their original packaging but you will find baggies full of buttons at sales.

Marbles displayed in a jar
Marbles artfully displayed in a jar

Here are three ideas for creatively packaging vintage buttons or marbles for resale:

  1. Package the buttons or marbles in small glass vials or jars. This could be especially effective if the buttons are small or have intricate details that are best viewed up close. 
  2. Create a themed package for the buttons or marbles using clear cello bags like these from Amazon. For example, you could package vintage buttons that have a particular color scheme or design theme together in a set. Or package marbles of a certain style together.
  3. Attach buttons to some card stock using a pipe cleaner and a small hole punch. Just thread the pipe cleaner through the button, then punch a small hole in the card stock. Thread the pipe cleaner through the hole in the card stock and spread the pipe cleaner apart so the button stays in place. For extra security you can place them in a cello bag if you want.

Spoons, Knives, and Forks oh my!

For things like spoons, forks and knives use small creamer pitchers, jars or even a tin can with the label removed to display them. Larger wooden spoons can be displayed this way too but you’ll need larger pitchers that don’t swallow them completely. Bowls can also be employed to hold silverware.

silverware in a bowl
Spoons displayed in a bowl

Speaking of bowls!

Bowls are valuable real estate in the world of vintage selling. You can fill bowls with so many small pieces and people love to dig through them. I used a large enamelware bowl to display Tupperware gadgets to great success. My only caveat is if the bowl is for sale you might find yourself scrambling to find a place for all those smalls if the bowl sells so be sure to have a back up somewhere in your booth.

A toolbox full of smalls

Any container is really fair game. If you have a tacklebox like the one pictured above, fill it with little things. It makes an interesting display for your customers.

Seam binding in and old chamber pot

Have fun displaying vintage smalls!

Visiting your local vintage booth can be a great source of inspiration for displaying vintage smalls. You can see firsthand how other vendors are showcasing their items and get an idea of what works and what doesn’t. Not only that, but it’s an opportunity to connect with other vendors and learn from their experience. Take note of the displays that catch your eye and the ones that don’t and see if you can incorporate those elements into your own booth. Don’t be afraid to ask vendors for advice or for permission to take a closer look at their displays. Remember that displaying vintage smalls is an art and is always a work in progress, so don’t be discouraged if it takes some trial and error to find what works best for you.

Don’t get overwhelmed when displaying small items get the best of you. Share this post with other vendors and entrepreneurs to help them get creative with their displays. Let’s all work together to make our businesses thrive!

If you like this post on displaying vintage smalls and want to see more posts on vintage reselling check out my business posts page!

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