How to Make Holes in Your Trade Show Fabric Graphics

Categories: Trade Show Tips

Sometimes we get asked questions that occur often enough that it’s worth their own blog post. Today I want to answer questions about how to make holes in your trade show fabric graphics.

Holes or cuts in your fabric graphics can be necessary for a TV mount, arms for adding shelves, or holes for wires or cables for back-lit trade show exhibits.

While the main thing is to measure twice and cut once and not make any mistakes, there are some helpful tips and techniques that can provide better results and lead to the longevity of your graphics.

Use a Hot Knife to Make Your Cuts

The main technique we like to use and that you can do as well on your end is to use a hot knife instead of scissors.

Since most trade show fabric graphics are made with synthetic fibers, it melts the fibers to prevent any streaking in the fabric and seals it really well.

Here are some simple steps you can follow to make cuts the right way on your end, whether at work or on a trade show floor.

Step #1 – Buy an Inexpensive Soldering Iron (Hot Knife)

First things first, buy an inexpensive soldering iron from Amazon or another retailer if you don’t already have one.

Weller Soldering Iron

Step #2 – Set up Your Fabric Display

Next, it’s much easier to make precision cuts when the display is fully set up and the fabric graphics are on the frame.

Step #3 – Mark Your Cuts

You’ll now want to mark your cuts carefully using a non-smear marker or, better yet, blue painters’ tape that doesn’t leave a residue.

Trade Show Back Wall Showing Where to Make Holes

Step #4 – Make Your Cuts

Once your cut marks are made, plug in your soldering iron and wait until it’s completely hot, which may take several minutes. Be careful not to touch anything or drop it, especially on any trade show floor carpet.

Carefully place the tip on your fabric, starting at the top and working your way down.

Here is a video tutorial:

Cuts are made and time for hardware to stick through:

Trade Show Back Wall Showing TV Stand Arms

Time to put the TV mount on:

Trade Show Back Wall Showing TV Mount

Add the TV:

Trade Show Back Wall Showing TV on Mount

It’s show time!

Trade Show Back Wall at Show


That’s it! You now have the holes or cuts needed to complete your exhibit. Remember that if worst comes to worst, using scissors or a box knife is entirely acceptable.

As mentioned earlier, most of the dye-sublimated fabric for trade show graphics is made with synthetic fibers, so it’s less prone to tearing or streaking. But given enough time, using a hot knife is the way to go!

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