Here are a few tips to help you keep these costs down.
1. Borrow display pieces from other artists. If you know any other artists or crafters who do shows, chances are they probably have some display pieces that would work for your art. Ask if you can borrow some of their display. Many artists are willing to help out a newbie. Just be sure to return the items in good condition and well before they need them back for their next show.
2. Look around your house. You may have some furniture or other items that could be used for display. Get creative. For example, an end table turned upside down can be a print bin. Planter boxes can also make good makeshift print bins.
3. Go to garage sales and flea markets. If you can't find stuff in your house that will work, you may be able to find something that someone else doesn't need.
4. Look on Craigslist. There are often artists and crafters who need to sell display pieces they no longer need. You can pick these up for a fraction of the price when new.
5. Go to Ikea. If you are lucky enough to live near an Ikea, they have many reasonably priced items that are perfect display pieces. Even better, go to the "As-Is" department near the checkout. Pieces that are missing a drawer or a door, or that have some other damage are often deeply discounted.
6. Build it yourself. If you are handy with a hammer, or know someone who is, then this is a great option because you will be able to build exactly what you need. It may not be the cheapest option, but if you have specific requirements, this is a great way to go.
7. Find shows that provide a tent, tables, and chairs. Some shows provide these items as part of the booth fee. Other shows make them available for an charge extra. It can be worth it not to have to purchase a tent when you are just starting out. And, an added benefit is that your tent will already set up when you arrive at the show saving you time, hassle, and your back.
Understand that your booth display will evolve over time. You may find that part of your display that worked last year no longer works this year. Or you want your display to have a different look. Be sure to take photos of your display through the years. It is fun to see how your display changes. And it's handy to have those photos when you need a reminder as to how you set up your booth the prior year.
I hope I have given you some useful ideas. For more ideas, the next time you go shopping, look past the merchandise to see what's underneath. You'll be surprised at the interesting and unique things that are used for display.