A Visual Merchandiser’s Tools
Every good display person keeps a toolbox filled with tools they will use on a day-to-day basis. Here’s what I keep in *toolboxes and recommend.
*I have several toolboxes, one in my truck, one in my garage/studio, one in my office, you get the idea…..
Measuring Tape: this is the quintessential tool needed in everyone’s toolbox, and probably the one tool you’ll use the most, next to the staple gun.
Staple Gun: You will use this tool to cover a myriad of items from the ceilings to the floors. Invest in a good one!
Hot Glue Gun: The sister to the staple gun. There’s nothing I can’t fix with my handy glue gun! Invest in a large and small one.
Hammer: You don’t need a large serrated head framing hammer, a good 16oz., smooth head, finish hammer will do; because the most hammering you will be doing is pounding in finish nails. If you need to secure something heavier, I would suggest using screws instead of nails if possible. Remember: everything you install will eventually come down, screws are a lot easier to remove than nails. And PLEASE don’t ever pound screws in with your hammer!!!
Levels: You’ll use this tool to help you find out if something is straight up and down. We call that plumb (vertical) or level (horizontal). Levels come in various sizes. I have a four-foot level (48″), and two foot level (24″), and a small 12″ level, sometimes called a torpedo level. Make sure this tool does not get knocked around a lot, you could ruin the calibration (that’s the reading the instrument gives you).
Various Screwdrivers: Keep both flat-head and Phillips in your toolbox, in a variety of sizes.
Scissors: These I actually keep in my back pocket or stuck in my work-apron pocket!
Pencils: I keep a bunch of the flat carpenter’s pencils thrown in the bottom of my box as well as in my pocket.
Pliers: This is handy to have when you need to remove pins or staples that are stuck.
Bradawl: I know some display people who keep this tool around. It punches holes into materials. I’ve also been known to use a large nail if I don’t have this tool around.
Safety Glasses: I’m big on working safe and keeping yourself properly protected around power tools!
Materials to keep handy: various pins for hanging lettering, double-stick tape, a variety of screws and nails, florist wire, fish wire (monofilament), thin metal wire, glue sticks.
These are just the basics to get you started if you freelance or do your own shop displays. If you work for one of the major department stores they will most likely have all of the above and more on hand.
I wear cargo pants (those pockets really do come in handy), T-shirt, and comfortable shoes,; over this I sometimes have my carpenter’s apron or overalls. The smaller tools are stuffed into my pockets and the rest go in a 5 gallon bucket that I carry with me to each display.
What tools/materials do you use daily?