January 29, 2018
Retractable banner stands are awesome trade show displays. They're inexpensive, easy to set up and take down, and easy to transport. You can use just one, or set up four our five for a back wall display.
But how do you put them together? And what if you want to change out the graphics?
So let's address these two questions.
***Note: I've included two videos at the bottom of this blog post showing examples of how to install and fix tension issues with your retractable stand (and now back to the show:)
This information won't help with every stand, as some are fairly unique and may require additional steps. However, this should point you in the right direction.
Setting Up Your Retractable Banner Stand
If you purchased a retractable stand, and need to set it up yourself, here's an overview of the basics.
Your stand will come with several pieces. The base that you're graphic will affix to and "retract" into when storing or transporting. The top bar that holds the top of your graphic. And the pole, which is used to hold your graphic upright.
Most stands feature one of three different types of methods to hold your graphic in place. They normally use a "clamping" mechanism, Velcro®, or double-sided tape. Sometimes they use a combination of two of these.
What will you need to quickly and easily set up your stand or change a graphic? (this pertains to the very first time you set up your stand, or if you're planning on removing an old graphic and changing it to a new one.)
I recommend for first time set up that you have a nice long table to work on (the floor will do if necessary,) and one person to help you. Safety glasses are also a really good idea- just in case. If you're by yourself, you might want to have a clamp handy to hold the base or top piece. Why the clamp or other person to help? Because when you're affixing a new graphic, the tension in the base can be tricky. If it starts to retract before you affix the graphic correctly, it can spin or roll-up the graphic incorrectly, or worse yet, it can spin with no graphic, which means you'll need to take the base apart and re-set the tension (no fun.)
I normally affix the top of the graphic to the top bar first. Most top bars use a clamp mechanism. Just open the clamp and slide the graphic into the clamp mechanism. Sometimes it takes a little patience to get it into the clamp completely straight. Once your graphic is in the top, secure the clamp to the graphic. Some clamp bars require a hammer or mallet to tap the clamp closed. Make sure if you use a hammer, that you place a rag or something soft over the clamp so you don't ding the metal bar.
Once you have the top bar secure, clamp the bar to the edge of the table or have a helper hold it securely so it doesn't move.
Most graphics require @ a 6 inch bleed at the base to give you room to secure the base to the graphic without cutting off any content. Place your base on the other end of the table making sure you have it facing the correct direction. The "pole hole" on the base should be facing the back of the graphic. So if your graphic is facing up on the table, your base should have the pole hole facing the table so that your graphic is facing the correct way once the pole is set up to display your graphic.
Open the end of the base that has the tension key. This is usually the only side that will open fairly easily. Most of the ends are held to the base with magnets or snaps. Once you remove the end of the base, you'll see a metal key. DON'T REMOVE IT YET! Removing the key initiates the tension to spin freely. This is where many people run into problems. They usually pull the key early and lose their tension (again not good. This means you'll have to take the base apart to reset the tension which is time-consuming and takes practice.)
Determine how your graphic will affix to the base. You'll either be securing it with double-sided tape, or it may come with a Velcro® strip that you'll need to adhere to the bottom of the graphic first. Line the graphic up as precisely as possible to the base tape or Velcro®. Once you have it in place, remove the double sided tape and secure it to your base. If you have a Velcro® attachment system, you'll need to adhere the Velcro® to the graphic first, then adhere it to the other piece of Velcro® on the base. If you have a double sided tape system, you'll want to add an additional line of tape (packing tape works really well) to the front and back of the graphic to give your graphic additional security to adhere to the base.)
Once your graphic is secure to the base, and clamped at the top (or being held firmly by a helper,) you can then start to remove the key MAKING SURE YOU HOLD THE BASE FIRMLY BEFORE YOU REMOVE THE KEY. The tension mechanisms are strong, so once you "wiggle" the key out, it's going to want to pull the graphic into the base.
You must be careful at this point. Very careful! Once the key is removed, you can SLOWLY guide the base up to the top, or have your helper slowly guide the top to the base. You will need to guide the graphic straight into the base.
One time, I had a helper accidentally let go of the top as we were installing the graphic. The top flew into the base faster than I knew what was happening. Luckily it went right in correctly. But this is why I recommend being really careful and wearing safety glasses. Better to be safe!
Once your graphic is in the base, place the key in the end of the base (there's usually a place that holds the key for future use,) and replace the end of the base securely. ***Make certain you don't lose the key. Put it back in the base, or place it somewhere where you won't lose it. Trust me, you will probably need it someday, especially if you plan on changing graphics. We all know what a pain in the *SS it is to lose your key(s).
When you're ready to display your stand and graphic, you'll simply get your pole ready (some are fixed, and some are telescopic meaning you can adjust the height to some degree.) Place the bottom of the pole into the pole hole, and slowly start pulling your graphic out of the base. Pull it until it reaches the bottom of the graphic (just above the bleed) and secure the top of the graphic to the top of the pole. Most poles have a hook that affixes to the top of the pole.
Wal-la. You have a retractable display ready to go!
If You're Switching Out Graphics...
If you're switching out graphics, you'll follow the above instructions but you must remove your old graphic first. So you will need to pull your graphic out of the base and secure it at the top and bottom so the tension can't move your graphic (again, use clamp bars or a helper or two, and wear safety glasses!)
Once your graphic is static and secure, place the key back into the key lock hole on the base (see, I told you you'd need the key) to keep the tension system from moving. After the key is placed in the hole, double check to make sure you don't have any tension.
You can then remove the top of the graphic. If it's a clamp bar, you might need a flat head screwdriver to open the clamp. Once the top is free, then remove the bottom part of the graphic. If it's Velcro®, it should come off easily. If it's a double-sided tape system, it should also come off fairly easily, but you might need to trim any excess tape.
Once your old graphic is removed, roll it up and store it in a dry place for future use.
Then just follow the above directions to install your new graphic. Most stands come with an extra set of Velcro® or double sided tape. We offer replacement products for your stands if needed.
Most of our retractable stands also ship already loaded, but you may still wish to switch out your graphics at some point.
Here's a video how to set up a Silverstep Retractable Stand (one person set up)
Here's a video how to reset your tension in the base unit:
Lets Go Banners
****Velcro® is a registered trademark of Vecro Brand Products. We LOVE Vecro®. I think Velcro® makes the world go round. Thanks Vecro®!
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