Give Your Banners an Edge
PremierDisplays.ie / Blog / Give your Banners an E?
14th April 2021
Everyone likes having an edge – aka, an advantage – whether it’s in business, in sports, or life in general. Having an advantage, even a slight one, can often mean the difference between being a front runner or ending up at the back of the pack. Banners can benefit from having an edge as well. An edge finish – aka hem – will provide your banner with increased durability and a more pleasing appearance, whether the banner is fabric, mesh, or vinyl.
Sewn Edge for Fabric & Mesh Banners
If it’s a fabric or mesh banner you’re creating, a sewn – aka “stitched” – edge or hem is the way to go. The stitching reinforces the edges of the banner to add to its robustness while also generating a clean, professional aesthetic.
It’s worth emphasizing here just how much a banner’s durability can benefit from the addition of a good edge. The edge gives a supporting structure to the banner – and, so, more strength – enabling it to better withstand any challenging conditions. Yes, vinyl will, by its very nature, hold up better than fabric in stressful environments, but you’d be surprised how much a fabric banner will benefit from a skillfully done edge. Plus, a sewn edge will typically last the lifespan of the banner itself.
Keep in mind that sewing a banner intended for commercial use requires some “industrial-strength” tools and materials – well beyond the needle and thread your mother probably used when darning your favourite childhood sweater or injured teddy bear. Let’s take a look at some of these.
The primary tool to produce a stitched edge: the sewing machine. As noted above, however, this is a brawnier version of the home or craft version you’ll find at your local Walmart. Industrial sewing machines typically have a higher percentage of metal parts (vs. plastic) than their consumer cousins, plus they boast larger motors, can achieve higher speeds and tend to be more maintenance-free. Importantly, they can take on the heavy-duty repetitive tasks required of them while still producing nicely finished seams. As you might guess, there are industry- and task-specific industrial sewing machines. And some operations make use of a serger – this is a version of an industrial sewing machine that also cuts the fabric as it stitches.
Welded Edge for Vinyl Banners
Heat welding an edge provides you with the strongest option for vinyl banners, which are typically used for exterior applications (but can be used indoors, too). A welded edge not only prevents any fraying but also ensures that the banner maintains its shape and helps prevent any stretching that might occur.
Of course, many people hear “weld” and can’t help but think of metal arc welding – complete with an acetylene cutting torch and full helmet. Or maybe you’ve simply seen the opening scene from Flashdance one too many times.
Flush Cut and Other Options
You can also choose to not have any hem or edge finish on a banner – this is referred to as a “flush cut.” Here, the banner is cut to the same size as the design.
Flush-cut banners typically work fine if you’re not going to hang or otherwise suspend your banner. In this case, because there won’t be all that much stress on the edges, it’s unlikely the banner would experience any edge fraying. So, if your intention is to simply lay your banner flat on a table or other surface, or perhaps if the banner is to be inserted into a frame, stand, or system, then a flush-cut banner can work quite nicely.
Fence Banners, Grommets and Pole Pockets
Now, a few words are probably in order here regarding fence banners, grommets, and pole pockets.
Fence banners: Our custom fence banners (aka fence wraps, screens, or coverings) are available in either vinyl mesh or solid vinyl versions. Most commonly placed on chain-linked fences, they can also be applied to any other type of fence or wall, and they’re primarily used for outdoor applications such as construction sites, schools, sporting sites and events, and concerts.
Just as with standard banners, the high-quality finished edges on our custom fence banners are produced by either sewing (mesh) or welding (solid vinyl). However, you also can add an optional reinforced edge on our custom fence banners – we sew an additional layer of nylon webbing material along the banner’s outer edges, which adds considerable strength to the banner edge and helps protect the banner from tearing in windy conditions or other severe weather. The webbing is folded into the hem, so from both the sides and front, the result is a very clean finished product.
Grommets: Inserted into the material of the banner, grommets are 3/8-inch metal rings that are brass in colour and enable you to use ropes, clips, or zip ties to hang your banner, attach it to a fence, etc. Our automatic grommet machine can cut a hole in just about any material (even aluminum sign board and Kevlar!), and we use it to make grommets available on our fabric banners, mesh banners, and vinyl banners. For our fence banners, it’s important to point out, we use a larger and heavier-duty grommet especially designed to go through the extra-strength webbing (our standard grommets won’t handle the extra thickness that this webbing adds to the banner).
For all of our banners, we can add grommets every 400mm, or in the banner’s four corners. Keep in mind that if you choose to have grommets inserted into your banner, you cannot also add pole pockets (see below). Grommets are free on fabric, mesh, and vinyl banners. .
Pole pockets: As the term indicates, sewn pole pockets allow you to insert poles into your banner to display it – enabling you to take your message mobile. Made of the same material as the banner, the 3-inch pole pockets are sewn using industrial-strength thread (see above) and can be added to the top and bottom of the banner.