Vinyl Banner Hemming – Should You Glue, Tape, Sew, or Heat Weld?
Question: How do you hem a printed vinyl banner if you don’t have a sewing machine to stitch the edges?
Answer: This is a good question, as many shops don’t have an industrial sewing machine to hem banners. However, glue is not the only way to hem banners, although it does not require machinery to hem your PVC banners with glue.
The way to use glue is first, of course, to get the right glue for vinyl banners. The way we did it when we glued hems for a short time was to lay the banner flat on a table, then we would take an eight foot ruler that was two inches wide and lay it along the edge of the banner. Then we would use the ruler to draw a straight line, two inches in from the edge. Once the line was in place, we would spread the glue just inside the line to the edge of the banner on one side. Then we’d fold one inch over to the pen line, then, using a hard rubber roller, we’d seal the vinyl into itself. Then we’d repeat the process on all four sides.
In my opinion, though, this is the most difficult way to hem a banner of the four main ways to hem a banner. An easier method is banner hemming tape. We used essentially the same method as described above. Layed the banner flat, put the two inch by 96 inch ruler, marked the 2” line with a pen, but then layed the tape along the line. Once the tape was down, we peeled the backing paper off the tape, folded over the material, and pressed the material together with the hard rubber roller.
The previous two methods are the only two methods we ever used to mechanically fasten the banner material together, but there are two other methods that are as good or better, but do require equipment. The first was already mentioned, and that is the industrial sewing machine, typically fitted with a double foot to enable parallel stitching. This is a simple method if you have an industrial sewing machine. You can purchase these machines online on various websites (make sure the company you’re purchasing from doesn’t have a bad rating for customer service or selling off brands that may or may not perform).
Learning to use a double footed sewing machine is much more difficult than purchasing one. It takes a bit of practice to be able to consistently fold an inch of the vinyl banner material over and sew it with a fairly straight seam and without bunching the fabric. Once you’ve gotten that down (or your employee), then learning to sew straight and fast is the main goal.
The fourth method is the heat-welded seam. This is a method that requires special equipment. There are two types of heat seamer/welders. The first moves along the edge of the banner, whereas the other moves the banner through the heated hem welder. Banner hemmers can also create pole pockets just like the other methods.
So, regardless of which method you use to finish your indoor or outdoor vinyl banners, the end result will be about the same. The only method I personally don’t like is the taping method, because if you roll a taped hem, it will tend to get unsightly wrinkles periodically along the hems. However, for an exterior banner with a fair viewing distance, it really doesn’t matter too much.
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