There are many Banner Finishing Options available based on how you plan on using your banner and by determining your installation preferences. Since there are essentially two different materials that banners are most commonly printed on (Vinyl and Fabric), this article will focus on Vinyl Banners and the Fabric Banners will be the topic of a future article coming out soon.
Vinyl Banner Finishing Options
Vinyl banners are extremely popular and range from the soccer banner to tradeshow banners. Here’s a look at the options available from most suppliers:
Hemmed edges not only make the banner stronger but also give it a nice finish look. Here are the three main ways to hem the banner edges:
1) Stitched & Sewn Hemming
This technique is very popular because it is really strong and can be used for grommets or Pole Pockets. Your supplier will usually try to match the thread color with the colors in your banner design, but it is worth asking when placing your order so you don’t end up with white colored thread in a banner that is a dark color. It will stick out like a sore thumb!
2) Banner Tape
Banner tape is another great option that is fast and convenient. Many suppliers that don’t have an industrial sewing machine may use banner tape to create the finished edges of your banner. In my experience, this is a really nice option and you don’t need to worry about the color of the thread used since there isn’t any need with this option. If you plan on doing this yourself, make sure you use a good quality double-sided banner tape. I recommend heading over to Fellers, since they carry great products like banner tape and much more. I personally like the Oracal 1395 brand for seaming edges.
3) Heat Weld
Last but not least is Heat Weld. This uses a special tool that runs across the edge of the banner and literally welds the vinyl plastic together creating a permanent joint. This tool can be used for finishing the edges as well as creating Pole Pockets.
Vinyl Banner Attachments
Velcro with Vinyl Banners
In addition to finishing the edges, sometimes (although not often) Velcro can be applied for certain applications. This is commonly found more often with fabric banners, but can be used with vinyl as well. For vinyl you will want to use an adhesive back Velcro to stick along the edges. Also, I highly suggest using Velcro brand since the adhesive is an acrylic-based adhesive that is much stronger and more reliable than rubber-based adhesive found on many generic Velcro brands. Again, I recommend Fellers for name brand Velcro. Also with vinyl it doesn’t matter as much which side of the Velcro you attach, but I typically recommend using the loop side to attach onto the vinyl banner (the fuzzy side). Use the hook side for the wall or wherever you plan on attaching them. Lastly, if you were planning on rolling these up to transport them, you might want to rethink the Velcro option or wait until you arrive at the install destination to apply the Velcro. Otherwise they will never roll up well once the Velcro has been applied!
Vinyl Banners with Grommets
Probably the most common way for vinyl banners to be attached is with grommets. They are cheap and easy to install. Your vinyl print supplier should have a way to add grommets to your banner. This is usually done with a Hand-Press or even one of the fancy Automatic Grommeting Machines. Grommets and hemming usually go hand-in-hand since the hemming provides a nice reinforced edge to hold the grommets in place. As far as placement goes, this really depends on how you plan on attaching it, but generally speaking I usually recommend anywhere from 16 inches to 24 inches apart along the top of the banner and then also in the bottom left and bottom right-hand corners. You can use zip ties to hold it in place whether it is going up on a chain-link fence or on a pipe and drape in the trade show booth.
Pole Pockets for Vinyl Banners
Pole Pockets are used when you need the banner to Lay flat and be as straight as possible. Adding a pole pocket along the top, bottom or both can help solve the problem with the banner that is wrinkled or not lying flat. Remember to include plenty of extra bleed space on the top and bottom in your artwork layout since it takes about 5 to 6 inches of material to create a 2 inch pole pocket. Once the pole pocket is created, you will want to buy a dowel or PVC pipe to fit through the pole pocket. Keep in mind the need to attach the top pipe while the bottom one can just rest in the bottom pole pocket to weigh down the banner so it lays flat. Clips may be used to prevent it from sliding out.
Cut to Size
Lastly, some customers prefer to order their vinyl banner without any additional finishing. We call this the ‘poster’ style, but really this is just printing out your design on a banner and trimming it to size. You can then just use double-sided banner tape to secure it to the wall or application of your choice. Simple enough! Just watch out for little left over strings with scrim banner vinyl that can stick out sometimes. Usually a clean cut does the trick.
Hopefully this article helps explain some of the different options at your disposal. Remember to explain to your printer how you plan on using the banner so that it gets finished with the proper method. If you are unsure of this or have any questions they will be happy to help you and make suggestions so that your banner prints out perfect!