was successfully added to your cart.


All Posts By


LED Lighting

By | LED | No Comments

Types of LED Lights Commonly Used for Backlit Fabric Graphics and Lightboxes

As if the printed fabric landscape was not confusing enough, someone had the bright idea (pun intended) to use LED lights to make backlit fabric a “thing”. Enter the LED family of LED lighting products. I will hereby attempt to shed some light (wow I’m good with the puns today) on the various types of lights available to one when one wishes to make something back-lit. Let’s start right at the top. There are only two ways to light up a flat piece of graphic. Front lighting and back lighting.


We’re not going to talk about this much because it’s boring and uncool. What I will say is that it doesn’t take much to front-light graphics; regardless of the printed material, you can shine a light on it and Voila!!! you have yourself a front-lit display. It’s not rocket science, heck it’s not even bicycle science, it’s just a light source placed in front of the graphics. Stand if front of a poster with a flashlight and there you are 🙂


This is where s*%t gets interesting. One does not simply backlight any fabric, one must first have the right type of fabric. For the sake of keeping this post short-ish, I’m gonna assume that you are using a high-quality backlit fabric (more on this topic in future posts). You have a few lighting choices; in no significant order, they are as follows:


(aka edge lit, edgelit, edge lighting, edge mounted, perimeter lighting)

The LED modules are mounted around the perimeter of the graphicLight shines toward the centre of the lightboxLight is scattered within the lightbox and indirectly shines thru the printed fabric graphics


(aka LGP, light guided panel, flat light panel, edge lit panel, edgelit panel, sheet lighting, and sometimes cabinet) - I know edge lit is used for both, annoying aint’ it?

The LED module is oriented around the perimeter of a sheet of clear rigid material which sits behind the graphic. Light shines into the clear sheet, scatters around and indirectly shines thru the printed fabric graphic


(aka backlit, direct backlit, backlighting)

The LED modules are mounted on the inside the fabric lightbox, on the backLight shines directly forward and thru the printed fabric.


(aka ladder lights)

The LED modules are suspended inside the lightbox, from top to bottomLight shines directly forward and thru the printed fabric.

“Great" you say, “but how do I know which one to use for which application?” Here’s one of my favourite visual aids in the whole world ever, a visual aid with powers of magnificent proportion, a chart! To make it easier to digest, I have highlighted the key features of each light type, it’s reason d’être, the answer to “why would I use this product?"

Questions? Email me at estimates@shomi.ca
Have a bright and wonderful day 🙂


Layouts To Save Time And Money!

By | Printing | No Comments

What’s the one thing we’ve all been taught by our elders? That “Time is money” which is especially true in the banner business. You can save both if you layout your banners following these simple rules:

1 - Print trim/cut lines right on the banner; it’s easy to drop it in the file once but much harder to mark every single banner on the floor. Crop marks are NOT considered cut lines!!!
2 - Print little marks where you want grommets. Refer to number 1 for advantages.
3 - Print a faint fold line for pockets. You’re getting the picture 🙂
4 - When doing multiple banners, DO NOT LEAVE SPACE between the banners. If two banners can be cut with one cut, you just saved yourself half the labour.
5 - IMPORTANT!!! Allow a minimum of 1” overlap for multi-panel banners, and then leave at least 1” of white material beyond the overlap for seaming/welding

Street Banners

By | Outdoor Banners | No Comments

Street banners are a mystery it seems, or they were until we got in the game. I have seen dozens of different “engineered” methods to finish a banner hanging over a street.

Most of these methods are either too weak or ridiculously over engineered. But there is a better way, all you have to do is take the wind-load off the banner material and transfer it to something stronger like seatbelt webbing. Oh and you really have to avoid using rope and grommets, they are evil when it comes to street banners.

Here’s how it’s done:

○ Finish the banner with a webbing reinforced hem. 2" wide webbing is preferred.
○ Attach metal D-rings to the webbing on all four corners of the banner.
○ Attach aircraft cable to the D-ring and fasten to pole or structure.

That’s it, it’s that simple. By doing this you are taking the load off the banner which on a good day could withstand a couple hundred pounds of load and transferring it to the webbing which will take anywhere from 500 to 2000 Lbs before it breaks.

To Reinforce Or Not To Reinforce

By | Finishing | No Comments

Have you ever lost sleep because you just couldn't decide whether or not to reinforce a banner. Or worst yet been embarrassed because you didn't even know how to reinforce? This third installment of "To or not to" series will help you get through such tough situations and let you catch up on your sleep!

Let us first discuss just what reinforcement is. There are only a handful of banner finishes which can actually be reinforced; here is a list of how we recommend each one be done:

○ Reinforced Hem – Place a webbing or car seatbelt (a bit overkill but hey, it's up to you) in the fold of the hem. Now proceed to sew or weld everything together.
○ Reinforced Pocket – Place a separate piece of material (usually same as the banner material) inside the pocket thus creating a pocket liner, or double pocket if you please. Now proceed to sew or weld everything together.
○ Reinforced Grommet – Place a patch of extra material (this could be anything from banner material to webbing to velour if you like), not much bigger than the grommet itself, where the grommet is going to be set in the banner. Now proceed to set the grommet making sure it goes through the reinforcement patch.
○ Reinforced Corners – Place a patch of material, usually triangular in shape, on the back of the banner right on the corners. Now proceed to sew or weld everything together.

Now that you know what you've always wanted to know, use these rules of thumb to decide whether or not you need reinforcement at all.


1 - Reinforce a hem if it's going to be an outdoor banner, especially if it's getting installed with grommets (yuck)
2 - Reinforce a pocket if the banner is made of mesh and requires aircraft cable/wire rope inside the pocket. The metal will cut through the weak mesh if the installation is long-term
3 - Reinforce a grommet only if your customer really, really, really insists. Putting a patch on a grommet has a placebo effect on the owner of the banner, not much else.
4 - Reinforce corners is also one of these placebo things. You will get the same strength out of a good reinforced hem. Most times the requirement for this comes from a finishing specification sheet that the customer has made on their own, or with the help of an engineer. Do it if the customer asks for it but don't offer it as a solution.


1 - Reinforce a hem for indoor banners, very small (3' x 4') outdoor banners or short term outdoor banners.
2 - Reinforce a pocket on indoor banners, sewn outdoor banners (the stitching is the weakest link).
3 - Reinforce grommets with small pieces of material; it does not really do anything.
4 - Reinforce corners unless you have an engineer stamped finishing specification sheet or a pushy customer who thinks they know it all 😉

To Sew Or Not To Sew

By | Finishing | No Comments

There are three ways to finish a banner; sew it, weld it or tape it. Seems pretty simple doesn't it? Well it isn't and we know this because people ask us all kinds of questions on the subject. Questions like "Can you sew these panels together to make one big banner?" or "What if I just tape the pockets in-house? Will that work?" or "What's stronger, sewing or welding?"

The sewing machine, one of the most important inventions of mankind and going strong since about 1810, has a warm gooshy place in the banner industry. It can do a lot but it can't do it all, here's a run down of the DOs and DON'Ts:


Sew anything indoors, it will last forever no matter what kind of thread is used. Where there is no sun, there is no UV breakdown of thread. Hemming all around; but if it's outdoor and large ask for some seatbelt webbing reinforcement.Back to back pole banners with sewn pockets, also ask for webbing but on the sides only.Use a special sewing machine called a serger (not to be confused with Sergio) to sew stretch fabrics so that the seam stretches with the fabric. Feel free to call us if you have any questions about sewing banners, sewing machines and threads.


Use cotton or clear (like fishing line) thread for outdoor banners, it won't last more than a month. Sew multiple panels together to make a larger banner. Always get multi-panel jobs welded.Ask for sewn pockets on big outdoor banners and billboards.Use double sided tape instead of sewing for pole banners, they fall apart right quick.


○ Sewing is reasonably strong, cheap and fast.
○ Welding is strong but slower and expensive.
○ Tape requires no tools but can be finicky; you can only use it on smaller banners.