The Prop Closet

During the 2012 Summer Olympic games, I took advantage of the theme and created a window display for Chris Cleave’s Gold. I had an idea that I wanted to create the Olympic rings out of bicycle wheels and procured said wheels from an artist friend. Here’s how the window turned out.


So when the games ended, the display came down and the wheels ended up in the prop closet (read: my office) with all of the other stored props.


A well-stocked prop closet is one of the most important tools a marketer can have; a well-crafted display should stop customers in their tracks. Besides typical book display items–like book stands or sign holders–it should contain risers or items to elevate displays. (Available real estate for display tends to be vertical.) I like to use glass blocks, wine crates, old suitcases, etc. I also like to keep different types and colors of fabric. Tulle is inexpensive yet can be very effective. And finally, the prop closet is rounded out with great items… my favorites have been old typewriters, terra cotta pots, art brushes & easel, bowling pins & ball, old movie reels, a tricycle, small chairs, trunks and a saddle.

The danger with collecting props? Space. That’s when a little ingenuity comes in handy. As much as I loved *having* the wheels, I didn’t know if I could keep them. And then I had this idea.


Four of the five wheels only provide visual interest by filling in some of the vertical space, but one wheel from a road bike is perfect for hanging t-shirts on display.

Do you have a great prop closet? I’d love to see it. Snap a pic and share with me on Facebook. Oh… and let me know if you come up with another use for that saddle.

Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay