Arena Graphics with a Twist

Printing and installing arena graphicsPrinting and assembling 84 panels, each one 12 feet long and 42 inches wide, might seem like a grueling task, but it was one Vickey Williams of Mountain Dreamworks in Ketchum, Idaho, was more than up to.

The panels were hung along the length of two walls at the Sagebrush Horse Arena in Hailey, Idaho in honor of the Sagebrush Cowboy Ball on July 7, a fundraiser for the Sagebrush Equine Training Center for the Handicapped (SETCH).

Once installed, the panels created a full-length mural. Williams worked with the party planners to create the backdrop using stock photos of horsesPrinting and hanging graphics in an arena scattered around a sunflower-filled carnival theme.

Though the impressive outcome was certainly worth it, as was the $450,000 SETCH raised from the event, it was a time consuming project. Williams did all of the printing on her Canon iPF8100 using LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene, to which she credits much of the success of the project.

“That material made it so much easier to deal with a project this size, because it doesn’t tear, and it doesn’t seem to wrinkle all that much. Plus, the Canon will print borderless so I didn’t have to trim the unprintable area of the print,” says Williams. “We used LexJet Heavy Duty Banner Tape to create the hem pockets and make it easier to install, so I was able to do the whole job myself.”

Williams contracted a cherry picker to help with hanging the panels on-site. “Basically, we got into mass production mode at the shop, printing the panels and then stapling wood lathing in the top and bottom hem pockets so it would stay put, and drilling holes in the top hems. That way, all we had to do when we got there was unroll it and zip-tie it to a wire that went horizontally around the whole arena. They hung like drapes.”

Printing graphics for a special eventWilliams admits that a project of such large volume might have been a nightmare if she didn’t have just the right combination of printer, print media and support from her LexJet customer specialist, Michael Clementi.

Her own personal skills and innovation played a key role, but Williams says that calling Clementi and sharing the scope of a project was equally important. “I may have been able to do most of this job myself, but in reality it was a group effort. Michael learned about what we were trying to accomplish and recommended the perfect material for the job,” she says.

The short video below was taken during the installation of the panels…

Finishing Banners Quickly, Reliably & Economically

Why sew when you can tape? Whether it’s to make pole pockets, create a seam for grommets, or to tile two pieces together for a larger banner, double-sided LexJet Heavy Duty Banner Tape provides all the advantages of sewing, plus it’s faster and is easier on the material.

Sewing perforates the banner material, which can lead to fraying and cause premature failure at stress points. Heavy Duty Banner Tape avoids this problem, and is designed to be conformable to the varying checkerboard-like patterns in the scrim.

Banner Tape application makes finishing banners a lot quicker and easier than sewing, plus it's less expensive and less damaging to the banner material.

Because it’s so conformable, it works with any material one might use for a banner, from polypropylene to fabrics. Simply mark a straight line on the back of the banner where the edge of material will fold over, apply the tape along the mark and attach the edge of the banner to the tape.

A 3×8 banner should be easily finished in five to ten minutes, which is much preferable to waiting for 24 hours or more if you send it out to be sewn. Even if you have this capability in-house, there is far more time and labor required to sew a banner.

Banner tape is less than 30 cents per linear foot, so the cost of finishing with it is minimal. “My six-year-old son can use banner tape, but he can’t use a sewing machine,” says LexJet’s product manager, Jeff Leto.

“The only time I would think someone would want a sewn banner is if that’s the look they want, so there’s no other reason why you wouldn’t use banner tape as a direct replacement for sewing,” says Leto. “The only thing to keep in mind about banner tape is if you make a pole pocket and stick ropes through the pocket instead of a pole. At the ends of the banner where it’s folded over on the corners, they will need to be re-enforced. You can either reinforce the corners with a grommet, or a single stitch with carpet thread. This will prevent the corners from lifting.”

If you’re installing the banner with ropes, or something similar, Leto says it’s preferable to run the rope through pole pockets as opposed to looping rope through grommets on the four corners of the banner and it tying them off. Instead, run the rope through the pockets. This makes the tension across the banner even, as opposed to all of the tension being placed on the grommets at the four corners.

Another method is to attach bungee cords to the four corners since the bungee cords will give in the wind and distribute the tension evenly along the banner. Furthermore, this method is much more preferable to cutting wind holes, which looks bad and effectively lowers the lifespan of the material.

“The nice thing about banner tape is that it fits all of the potential environments in which you would install a banner. There’s a reason why you’d use Tyvek, polypropylene, a 500×500 denier vinyl, or a 1000×1000 denier vinyl in different application situations, but there’s one product you can use to hem all of them in any environment,” says Leto.