Durability of Polyester Poplin Fabric Banner for Parades

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Are Poplin Fabric Banners Suitable and Strong Enough for Parade Events

Question: We’re planning to purchase a banner for our high school marching band for an upcoming parade. Is a poplin fabric banner strong enough for this usage?

Answer: I’m assuming you’re using a polyester poplin material for the banner as that’s the only poplin banner material that can be printed with dye sublimation printing? Secondly, what exactly are you planning to do with this banner in the parade that might worry you about durability!?

Polyester fabrics are generally pretty durable, and for use in a parade, I can’t think of any reason or usage, rain, snow, sun, or whatever, that would hurt a polyester poplin fabric banner. The dye sub print process permanently infuses the poly fabric with color during the print process so that you can send these banners through the washer without color loss, and a rain storm would be more gentle than your average washing machine, we’d think.

In case you’re unfamiliar with dye sublimation printing of banners and displays and more, let me explain a little bit about this print process, as it is one of my favorite topics because it produces beautiful, high quality, and durable prints if good printers and inks are used.

Dye Sublimated Fabric Banner

First, in this printing process, the first clue is in the first word. Dye. Inks, per se, are not used in this type of printing, but rather, because we are printing on fabric, we use dyes. The dye set used in dye sublimation printing is slightly different than inkjet printing, and instead of the standard CMYK (cyan-magenta-yellow-black) set of ink cartridges used on a digital printing press or even screen printing, dye sub uses the dye set CMYO, which stands for Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Overprint Clear.

Rather than printing direct-to-substrate or fabric as digital printing would do (with less durable results, in our opinion), the dye sub printer first prints to a transfer paper, aptly called “transfer paper.” The image is printed in reverse on the transfer paper, and once printed, is removed from the printer and “married” to a piece of olefin based material, typically polyester. Natural fibers cannot be used in the print process due to their cellular structure and the chemistry of dye sublimation.

Once the fabric and transfer media are matched, they are run through a set of heated pressure rollers at around 400°F (about 205°C). As the material passed through the rollers, the heat causes two things to happen simultaneously. First, the pores of the polyolefin fabric expand and open. Second, the dye from the transfer paper is converted to a gaseous state and the pressure from the rollers forces it into the open cells of the poly fabric, thus infusing the color to become part of the fabric itself. Which is why rain, snow, or your washing machine won’t disturb the colors in these banners any time soon.

As the fabric cools, the pores close back up around the dye, but are now whatever color the dye was that infused them. This process is somewhat like photo printing in that the tones are continuous, unlike the dot pattern of an inkjet printer. This also is what creates the richness of color, tone, and continuity in dye sublimation printed fabric graphics that catch everyone’s eyes.

As far as durability if you want to use the material for a trampoline, we can’t speak to that, but we do know that if the material is over 150 grams per square inch, you should be able to make a hammock out of the material that would bear most people’s weight. Not that this is a preferred usage, mind you, and in fact, we would advise against such a usage unless the parade is a one of a kind event and you won’t be using the fabric again. If that is the case, do whatever you want with it, and let me know how it goes, so I can write about a new aspect of durability I’d never thought of on another post!

For dye sublimated fabric banners you can definitely have for outdoor usage like parades, go here: https://www.visigraph.com/fabric-vinyl-cloth-banners/dye-sublimation-polyester-fabric-cloth-flags-banners/

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Fabric Banners for Art Reproduction and Sporting Events

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Fabric Banners  – Dye Sublimation Printing of Photographic Art – plus – Printing for Sports Events

Question: I am an artist and a photographer, and was wondering if I can order pictures or art reproductions on fabric?

Answer: The only limit to printing on fabric is your imagination. Dye sublimation printing on fabrics is not only available, it is the best way to reproduce your pictures due to the dye sublimation printing process itself.

Photographic printing on cloth fabricIn dye sub printing, first the dye, which is similar to inkjet printing, but uses a CMYO process (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Overprint Clear) rather than the standard 4-color process CMYK (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black), is printed to a dye sublimation transfer paper, a paper that is treated to accept CMYO dyes.

Next, the transfer paper is place on the fabric, and together they are slowly fed through heated rollers. Here is where this process is magic. As the cloth material and paper go through the heated rollers at around 400°F, the ink on the transfer paper is converted into a gaseous state. Simultaneously, the pores in the polyester or other petro-based fabric open to allow the gas to penetrate the cellular structure of the cloth, and as the fabric cools on the back end of the rollers, the fabric is infused with a gorgeous continuous tone print, similar to photo reproduction done on photo paper.

If your file resolution is high enough, you can create very large photographic or art reproductions, as dye sublimation printers can go up to around 124 inches in width, and of course, much longer than that with the rolls of fabric.

I personally think that dye sublimation printing will give you the purest reproduction of your artwork and photography of any reproduction method currently available. There are also fabrics that appear to be painted that can be printed digitally as well, but I still think this method will give you the most photographic reproduction of any available printing method in the 21st century so far.

Question: How would I make a fabric banner for a sporting event?

Answer: There are a couple of ways this can be done, I suppose, without having a dye sublimation printed fabric banner created, which would be my first advice.

fabric cloth banners for sporting events

If you have lots of time and mad sewing skills, you could, in theory, create a appliquéd banner, where you would cut out letters and logos and maybe something else and, like a quilt, sew the appliqués to your base fabric.

Or you could, possibly, get some fabric paint and paint a banner, though I think that would be pretty amateur looking. However, if that’s what you want and you don’t care much how it looks, or if you are an artist with experience painting on fabric, then by all means, this is likely not a terribly expensive way to create a fabric banner.

Of course, my best advice is to have a print shop that specializes in dye sub fabric printing print a really professional-looking banner for your sporting event, but as I don’t know your budget, that’s just my best advice, not necessarily my cheapest advice.

For more about art and photographic printing on cloth banners, check here: https://www.visigraph.com/fabric-vinyl-cloth-banners/dye-sublimation-polyester-fabric-cloth-banner/

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Where Can I Find Custom Printing of Cloth Banners?

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How do Purchase Cloth Banner Displays with Custom Prints

Question: How and where should I go to purchase a custom printed cloth banner?

Answer: It will depend on what type of custom printed fabric banner you’re looking for, as well as the size and quantity.

If you’re looking for a one off, simply enter dye sublimation printed cloth or fabric banner into the search bar on your web browser, and you should find a company or two that you can work with. If you are a re-seller, your search may not be much different, but you’ll maybe want to add the word “wholesale” or “resale” or “reseller” to find a company that will sell wholesale to your company.

cloth fabric pole banner

If you’re looking for street pole banners, you might query “screen printed street pole cloth or fabric banners.” Or “dye sublimation printed cloth or fabric street pole banners.” Again, if you’re a reseller, you may want to add one or all of the three words in the previous paragraph into that mix.

Companies that use very durable acrylic fabrics for screen printed street pole banners typically don’t sell one or two banners, or if they do, the cost is pretty high. When you’re shopping for an outdoor street pole banner or a fabric/cloth wall banner or advertising banner, you’ll want to compare pricing for the various styles of printed cloth banners, such as dye sublimation, direct to fabric, and screen printing. Ask about the durability of each option when you call or email a company that prints cloth banners. If they are knowledgeable, they should be able to give you the information you need. Trust your gut when speaking to a company. If they sound knowledgeable and have competitive or comparative pricing to other companies, it’s likely they know what they’re doing.

If it is of any importance to you, you can ask if they print in house. If they don’t, where do they print? If the prints are from Asia, what kind of printers and inks/dyes are being used (hint: Japanese and Korean printers are what good print houses both domestically and foreign use. They also use inks from Japan, Italy, Germany, or the US. They DO NOT use Chinese printers OR ink or dye, ever. At least not at this time).

Finally, if you don’t mind paying a higher price from a local vendor, if there is one in your area – the larger cities will likely have dye sublimation or screen printers of fabric – you can visit the print shop of these vendors. However, in the 21st century, it is not a big risk to purchase these banners online.

If you need to check out the company you’re dealing with, though, the world has shrunk in size as you can now go online and check any company out anywhere in the world. If any company has a “rap sheet” of bad customer service, quality, or both, you should be able to ferret it out on a consumer complaint site such as the Better Business Bureau website, or more aggressive sites that don’t have paid membership like www.complaintsboard.com or www.ripoffreport.com.

Most companies do also offer preproduction prototypes and/or samples of the printed fabrics they sell as well, so ask if they can mail you a few swatches. If you need the printed fabric banner swatches overnight, do expect to pay for expedited shipping. Most print houses will mail you samples free of charge, though.

For custom cloth and fabric banners printed through dye sublimation, proceed to this page – https://www.visigraph.com/fabric-vinyl-cloth-banners/dye-sublimation-polyester-cloth-fabric-banners/ 

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Making Appliqué and Dye Sublimation Printed Fabric Banners

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Part 3: Best Way to Make or Buy Fabric Banners for a Medieval-style Wedding

Original Question (Don’t worry, I will answer it eventually!): I am planning a medieval themed wedding and would like to know the best way to make or buy cloth fabric banners for our celebration?

Answer: I’ll finish up the history on this installment here in part three and answer the original question tomorrow.

In this section, I’ll discuss the modernization of appliquéd cloth fabric banners and other uses of appliquéd cloth.

Colonialization and Appliquéd Cloth

Applique Fable DesignAlthough the Kingdom of Dahomè fell to the French in 1894, the banners created by the Fon peoples prior to this time have survived until modern times as they were hidden away.

Obviously, the colonial French discouraged royal appliqué banners, but not the artistic style of these cloth art appliqués. They suggested to the people other subjects like farming and hunting. On the surface, they complied, but as a probable form of resistance to the French, the appliquéd banners continued to grow in length, and, rolled up, could be moved from location to location without detection as they might have simply appeared to be a bedroll or a blanket.

Appliquéd Cloth Banners in Benin Today

In the southern part of the Benin Republic today, particularly around Abomey, appliqué artwork on cloth banners and clothing are still being created. The town of Whydah, a former slave trading center, became a center of the arts in the early 20th century. This area has preserved the traditional art form and colors used in the past.

Applique Tacking Technique

Of course, because the older forms are not understood by tourists, many artists have changed their subject matter to nature, animals, or other themes that appeal to tourists in order to make a living.

In 1993, some artists introduced a new multi-colored “Dutch Wax Cotton” fabric to the art at the annual “Voodoo Cultures Festival” that takes place in Whydah. This fabric has added a third dimension to the artwork. This new style is now being taught to young artists in south Benin’s Abomey area. It is being used to depict local stories using appliqué art, both old and new. In larger towns, some of the more business-oriented artists have created more of an assembly line style of production where artists of various skill level perform a single task such as cutting out the pieces or tack them to the base fabric or sew them on when they’re ready. They are then transported to major urban centers where they are exported or sold to wealthy patrons in the cities.

Now, while I know you didn’t ask for that much history, I find that it is very helpful to know that they didn’t use appliquéd banners in medieval times, but probably used painted banners or wooden banners that were more like what you’d think of as a sign. This means, more than likely, you’ll want to pursue and authentic look, but you can dispense with appliqué if you want to.

Now, back to answering the original question – “I am planning a medieval themed wedding and would like to know the best way to make or buy cloth fabric banners for our celebration?”

In the modern era, if you choose to appliqué cloth banners, you can use different fabrics for appliqued banners, such as felt, cotton, polysatin or polyknit fabrics, to name a few. Commercially, some companies use acrylic fabrics because of their heavy duty quality and longevity, but the average home sewing machine cannot handle the weight of these fabrics.

Another method for producing fabric banners is via heat transfer printing, also known as dye sublimation printing. DTF (direct to fabric) digital printing is a 3rd option. In dye sublimation, a printer using CMYO (cyan-magenta-yellow-overprint clear) dyes prints to a special dye ink transfer paper, which is then matched up to a similar size piece of blank white fabric, and the pair is put through heated rollers at about 400ºF. In this process, the dye is converted to a gas and the molecules within the polyester or other synthetic oil-base fabric open up to ingest the dye. When the fabric has moved through the rollers, they quickly re-close, now infused with the color that was on the dyed transfer paper, creating a photographic look to the print.

This type of printing is not cheap, but is reasonably priced, and if you don’t have hundreds of hours to spend appliquéing banners by hand, and you have a decent budget, you can afford to purchase dye sub printed fabric banners at a fraction of the time spent on the more time consuming appliqué methods. If you have a friend who is a designer, they can also create “authentic-looking” graphics that will have a 3D look to them when printed like an appliqued banner would.

Good luck with your big event!

For more about customized and personalized cloth and fabric banners, Go here.

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Appliqué and Dye Sublimation Printed Fabric Banners Part 2

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Part 2: How Appliqued Banners were Used in Ancient Times

Original Question (Don’t worry, I will answer it eventually!): I am planning a medieval themed wedding and would like to know the best way to make or buy cloth fabric banners for our celebration?

Answer: Still unpacking the history here in part two –

King Glele Applique

Use of Appliquéd Cloth in Danhomè History

Originally, because it was the art genre of royalty, most of the older examples of appliquéd cloth banners depict various military campaigns of the king and his assumed name or likeness. An assumed name was one he took upon ascension to the throne, one that typically would reflect how he got there or a god by which he attributed his success or even an animal, such as a lion, that he compared himself to. So, similar to the European coat of arms that featured lions or eagles or bears, the king of the Kingdom of Danhomè also had something that marked his reign as king.

In using appliquéd banners to tell his story artistically, an artist might use a series of banners or pictographs that, in combination with one another, revealed the assumed name of the monarch, similar to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic art. One example given by Professor Joseph Adandé is that a picture might depict a fish, refusal, and a net, representing a fish that escapes from a net, never to return to it and to be free from it. This might be done using a fish facing a net. Or again, it might simply be an animal that the king liked and felt a kinship with, including buffalos, elephants, whales, various birds, lions, or horses, to name a few.

As the reign of a Danhomè king grew longer, the larger the banner became. The banners celebrated various weaponry, original or imported, that were used in the various battles or military campaigns, slaves, and victims.

Africanse Cloth Applique

In the Danhomè kingdom, appliqués were also used for military banners to mark divisions or ranks among the divisions. Appliqué art was also used on court clothing to establish rank of importance within the court, similar to the patches worn by various ranks within the US military today. These appliquéd patches displayed the seal of the officer’s rank, military and/or civil. Appliqué art was used also for religious shrines and ceremonies, as well as the aforementioned funerals of important individuals within the kingdom.

Over time, appliquéd cloth began to be used by the Fon people within the kingdom to celebrate friendship. Probably the best modern example of this is the logo imprinted t-shirts, polo shirts, or back hip tag on blue jeans. It identifies you as a “member” of the “tribe” or group of friends who like a certain brand of shoe or clothing or computers or whatever. However, as with different cultures, the uses were different, and among the Fon people, friends of a deceased person would wear an appliqué extolling the good qualities of the deceased. The meanings of most of the appliquéd messages are unknown to us today.

In Part 3, I’ll discuss the modernization of appliquéd cloth fabric banners and other uses of appliquéd cloth.

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History of Appliqué and Dye Sublimation Printed Fabric Banners

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Part 1: History of Appliquéd Banners and Dye Sublimation Polyester Fabric Banners

Question: I am planning a medieval themed wedding and would like to know the best way to make or buy cloth fabric banners for our celebration?

Answer: Making appliquéd fabric banners would be the most authentic way to accomplish this, but it will depend entirely on your budget. Appliquéd cloth banners are an art form and require some sewing skills akin to quilting, although possibly a bit more complex than quilting. The word “appliqué” comes from the French word appliquer, which simply means to “put on” or “apply.” Essentially, you cut out your lettering and/or designs and apply them, typically with either a fabric adhesive or by sewing, to the main cloth substrate or banner.

First, because I love history, a bit of history on appliquéd cloth fabric banners. According to Joseph Adandé, Assistant Professor of History of Art at the UniversitéNationale du Bénin, appliquéing began in the Kingdom of Danhomè in the area now known as Benin. This kingdom was known for its banners that were initially used at funerals of the wealthy and the monarchy under King Agadja (1708-1740) as a mark of friendship for the family of the deceased. France conquered the Kingdom of Danhomè around 1894, and imported the art of appliqué to France and Europe from there.

Applique Display

King Agadja had in turn brought appliqué art from the voodoo artists of a conquered tribe near or in modern day Benin who wore appliqued skirts of many colors. He wanted to be dressed like that, and this is reputedly where the source of appliquéd cloth banners in the West came from.

Initially, appliquéd fabric banners were, by necessity, monochromatic, with the various fabric colors being simple designs that didn’t overlap. In 1727, however, upon the conquest of Whydah by King Agadja, the way was opened for cloth that was manufactured in the west, and appliquéd fabric banners and clothing became very popular amongst the wealthy.

King Glele Applique

The Appliqué Technique

“Tacking” is the process of placing one piece of cloth onto another and holding it in place with straight pins or, in modern times, a temp adhesive may also be used, in order to be able to move the pieces around to get the perfect arrangement. As art, it simply means the artist chooses a base fabric (mono or multi-colored,but most often white or black), then other fabrics, cuts them to the desired shape, and attaches them to the base fabric, usually a fabric with strongly contrasting tones and color in comparison to the base fabric.

Once the pieces are arranged to the artist’s satisfaction, he or she hems the pattern into the background fabric, typically leaving a frame around the appliqué similar to a picture frame, although this is not always the case with some artists.

In Part Two, I’ll continue the history of appliquéd cloth fabric banners and their royal origins.

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How an Internally Illuminated Cabinet Pole Sign Is Constructed

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Making and Designing an Internally Illuminated 4×8 Sign

Question: Our church is requesting that some of us “handymen” construct a double-sided internally illuminated sign for the church. Are you able to help us design and build a 4’ x 8’ sign like this?

Answer: That is a loaded question. First, if you are in the US, Canada, or most Western European countries, labels are required on your sign requiring it to be listed with a government agency that has approved you to produce an electrical sign. If you are in a developing nation, it is unlikely that this type of labeling is required, but then, it is also likely that the sign may catch fire and burn up itself and anything it is close to as well.

internal interior lighted signage

I can and will, though, tell you how these signs are built in the US, as they are really quite simple.

First, a steel or aluminum frame, typically using angle iron (steel) or aluminum are welded into the shape of a sign. For a 4’ x 8’ sign, for instance, the depth of the sign cabinet should be about 18”, so as to avoid “hot spots” when viewing the sign at night. Hot spots are when you can see the fluorescent light tubes through the opaque plastic as bright spots. If the lamps are eight or so inches away from the opaque plastic, and it is a good material such as polycarbonate or impact resistant acrylic, then you won’t typically see these hot spots.

For the internal part of the cabinet, there may also be a cross member or two added for strength, to keep the sign from twisting in high winds. Usually across the top/bottom or sides of the sign, depending on the orientation of the lamps, sheet metal fabricated tracks will be added with the fluorescent lighting ballasts and sockets for the fluorescent lamps. For a 4’ x 8’ sign that will be mounted on a pole, it would be most likely that 36 inch vertically oriented lamps would be used, in order to allow a pole to be inserted vertically through the cabinet for mounting.

Typically, where a vertical pole will be used, a short piece of steel tubing, maybe 5 or 6 inches in diameter and six inches taller than the cabinet (it will stub out of the bottom of the cabinet to be welded to the main pole later), will be inserted through the cabinet and welded to a bracket at the top and bottom of the cabinet added for attaching the pole by welding.

Now, a “galvaneal” steel sheet metal is typically either spot welded or riveted to the main frame, then a rolled steel sheet metal strip bracket is screwed or riveted to the top and bottom of the cabinet as a retainer for the sign plastic or whatever material will be used (usually high impact acrylic or polycarbonate plastic, especially if the sign will be illuminated from the inside as I have described here.

The electrical wiring will be run into a switch box (waterproof for exterior usage) or to an electronic light sensor that will tell the sign when to come on at dusk and when to shut off at dusk. Most signs that use the light sensor will also have a shut-off switch, but signs that have only the shutoff switch are normally controlled from the electrical panel in the store and are manually lit or shut off.

As stated previously, in the US, you will need to have an Underwriter’s Laboratory label on all electrical signs, and in Canada, a CSA label. Most European countries have similar labeling standards and requirements for electrical items such as internally illuminated exterior and interior signage.

To see more of the other various graphic signs, check in here: https://www.visigraph.com/signs-letters/

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Dye Sub Printing File Resolution & Trade Show Exhibition Questions

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File Resolution for Dye Sublimation Banner Printing and some Questions Answered Regarding Exhibiting in Trade Show Events

Question: For dye sub banner printing, what resolution do you need our files to be at?

Answer: Most files will print clearly full sized at 100dpi, or half-sized at 200dpi. In the dye sublimation printing process, because through heat and pressure the printing dye is converted to a gaseous state, a lower resolution file will yield a gorgeous print compared to the same dpi with digital inkjet printing. The result is similar to developing photographs from film or digital files.

Question: We’re going to exhibit at a trade show next month. Do we need to use the employees at the convention center to set up our pop up display?

Answer: That is a question you will need to ask the particular convention center you’re going to be at. I know that many of these venues have their own set of rules and are run by unions that require you to use their services, but you’ll definitely want to check with the management of the convention center you’re headed to for specific information and requirements regarding set up and tear down.

Question: The convention center we’re exhibiting at in two months is requiring that we have fire retardant fabrics for our trade show display graphics which we’re planning to be dye sublimation printed polyester fabric. Are your fabric banners flame retardant, and do you have the certification for them?

Socks for tables table cover cloth

Answer: We are able to provide both certified and non-certified fire retardant polyester fabric banners, depending on the requirements of the facility you’re exhibiting at. This is becoming a hot topic (no pun intended) and more and more facilities are requiring this certification although, in my opinion, it is a way to get you to spend more money for very little real reduction in fire risk in real life usage.

The facts are that if you hold a lighter up to a flame retardant banner, it is not supposed to light on fire, whereas a non fire retardant banner is flammable and would likely catch fire. I don’t believe, on the whole, that this is a likely scenario, but due to the litigious nature of our country in the 21st century, if something is possible (although not very probable), there are regulators who will add regulations such as fire retardant certification of fabric graphics.

Having thus stated my opinion on this subject, now I will again reiterate that we do have the fabric and the certification available, though it is a bit costlier with the fire retardant than without it.

Question: I know for an upcoming trade show that we’ll need a good quality trade show pop up booth and back wall, but what else do you recommend for our booth?

X-Banner stands

Answer: There are lots of things that you can add to your booth, although the size of your booth and your budget will be your most limiting factors. In addition, the type of promotions you’re engaging in will determine the types of additional features you could and should add to your exhibition.

For starters, though, generically regardless of what you’re selling, I’d recommend some attractive banner stands on the aisle side of your display with your best “hooks” (verbiage that will attract show goers such as “Free Box of Swiss Chocolate Cremes if You Sign Up for a Free Estimate”) to get potential clients to visit your booth. If you’re selling a service such as network administration, you may need literature racks or an attractive table top display with brochures and a readily available sales rep to answer any questions visitors might have.

If you’re selling products at the show, such as phones or MP3 players, you may also want to add some attractive merchandising shelving or display cases. Many companies also sell or rent multi-media displays with flat screen televisions and looping sales videos for those show goers who prefer to watch a video than talk to a potentially annoying sales associate.

There are other items, of course, that you can add, but this should cover the bulk of the items that might be needed for most shows. Good luck at the show!

For more about dye sublimated fabric graphics you can make use as trade show displays, check here.

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