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Pull Up, Roll Up, or Retractable Banners – What Materials are Used to Make Them?


What Materials are Used to Make Retractable, Roll up, or Pull up Banners?

Question: What are pull up, roll up, or retractable banner stands and banners made from – what materials, that is?

Answer: Depending on the banner stand, the exterior shell is usually aluminum or plastic (cheaper models will be plastic), the end caps are most often plastic, but some are aluminum, and the internal hardware is usually steel with plastic parts as well.

As far as the graphics, there are four main options.

The best quality in our view would be cloth fabric graphics, printed using the dye sublimation printing method. Dye sublimation is a print method that uses dye instead of ink, which, during the post printing process is put through heated pressurized rollers and is converted to a gaseous state.

Advertising Pull Up Banners

Simultaneously, the cells of the polyester fabric (which is the most common fabric used for this process and comes in many different styles from sheer to stretchable to satin to heavy two-sided knit material) expand and open, allowing the  dye, which is in a gaseous state, to become trapped inside the cells as they cool down having passed through the rollers.

This print method produces continuous tone printing, similar to a photographic print as opposed to the dot pattern printing of a digital printing process which is used on the other types of banners used in retractable banner stands.

The second type of material would be PVC or vinyl banner material, usually a lighter weight material so that it will stay compact when rolled up inside the cartridge. Vinyl banner material is almost always printed digitally now, whereas it used to be screen printed. Screen printing is cost effective when the quantities are large, but there are now digital printers that can print upwards of 200 units per hour with almost no setup time involved like screen printing has, so printing is moving toward digital printing in such a way that one wonders if screen printing will become obsolete soon.

A third type of material would be flexible polypropylene, a glossy material that prints nicely, but would probably not bear more than a couple usages as it is a flimsier material than  either of the previous options. However, for inexpensive short term advertising where our client may be switching out graphics weekly or monthly, this can be a viable option.

The fourth option would be a plasticized paper product that is water-resistant and relatively tough. It can have a gloss or matte finish, but would be similar to the previous banner material in that it would be best for short term usage or as a pull up banner that was changed out relatively frequently for retail or promotional usage.

I personally like fabric best, but it will cost a few dollars more on the average than vinyl, and vinyl will cost a few dollars more on the average than polypro or paper, so what you need will really depend on what your intended use is and how long you need each print to last.

If you’re going to be using a banner many times, you’ll want to purchase a higher quality metal roll up banner cartridge, but a plastic cartridge might work OK if you’re looking for a “throw away” quality retractable banner.

To see features regarding graphic printing on pull up or roll up banners at wholesale price, go here:  visigraph.com/fabric-vinyl-cloth-banners/banner-and-stands


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Barry K. Brown

Barry Brown has been in the Sign, Banner, Decal and Display Business for over 20 years. It isn't what he thought he'd do with his life, but he says he knows too much now to do anything else!

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