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Monthly Archives: June 2014

26 06, 2014

The Many Uses of Custom Digitally Printed Fabric

By |June 26th, 2014|Digital Printing, Products|0 Comments

Have you ever stopped to consider how many ways you can use digitally printed fabric?  Because we make so many digital band backdrops, we tend to post most frequently on that application.  But there are actually quite a few other great applications, and so I thought I’d post on several of them.

Custom Exhibit Booth

Lun Gui_4

Whether you are a small independent exhibitor at a local trade show, using pipe and base hardware, or a large company with a custom manufactured booth at a huge convention, digitally printed drapery can set your space apart and grab the attention of show attendees.

From simple drapery designed to fit on standard pipe and base hardware, to more elaborate panels manufactured to fit a custom-designed and built structure, digitally printed drapery and soft goods allow you to feature whatever design you’d like.  That design might be as simple as your logo or could be something much more elaborate.

Promotional Backdrops

Have you ever noticed, while watching a press conference or awards show interview, that there is frequently a backdrop featuring a single logo (or several logos), on a solid color background, with the logo(s) repeated at regular intervals throughout the backdrop, from top to bottom and from side to side?  This is called a “step and repeat” design, and is one of the easiest ways to call attention to your logo.  Use a step and repeat backdrop for photo ops and interviews, or even as exhibit booth drapery.

Theatrical Backdrops

In the past, scenic backdrops for plays and musicals, whether for schools, amateur productions, or professional theatre, were hand-painted.  While hand-painted backdrops are still used, many organizations are switching to digitally printed backdrops, which are generally lighter and less prone to deterioration than painted backdrops.

Special Event Murals

The flexibility of digital printing onto fabric means that you can print nearly any image, and so all you have to do is create (or purchase) a print ready image that fits the design theme of your event, and then have that image printed onto one or more backdrops.  Does the event design call for a Secret Garden theme?  Why not line the ballroom walls with digitally printed backdrops featuring garden images, to give guests the feeling that they are actually outside in a garden.

Band Backdrops

And, of course, digitally printed backdrops are a great option for musicians.  Whether you are part of a small indie band that wants its logo printed onto a 10’ h x 10’ w backdrop to hang behind the band for club dates, or a major recording artist who needs a 30’ h x 60’ w backdrop featuring custom art designed specifically for this year’s 30 city tour, digital printing is something that works particularly well for music performances.

Want more info on digital printing options?  Visit our digital printing page on our website.


24 06, 2014

Five Common Misconceptions About Flame Retardancy

By |June 24th, 2014|Education, Flame Retardancy|0 Comments

I have posted on the subject of flame retardancy of stage drapery before, but when I received several inquiries yesterday from clients asking questions about flame retardancy, I thought this was a good time to post again.



Flame retardancy can be somewhat complex, in regards to the various laws, rules and regulations surrounding the subject.  For that reason, we have posted several white papers on the subject on our website.  However, I do find a few questions / misconceptions popping up repeatedly, so I thought that a blog post would be a good place to address some of these misconceptions.

I don’t need to have my drapes checked for flame retardancy. It’s not my problem.

When drapes are being used in any public space, whether it is a theatre, a school, a restaurant, or any other “public gathering place,” it is the responsibility of the owner or user of the drapes to take appropriate steps to ensure that the public is safe while frequenting the space. This includes ensuring that the drapery meets requirements for flame retardancy. Otherwise, the best case scenario is a Fire Marshal may require you to remove the drapes. The worst case scenario is that there could be a fire…

A flame certificate is good forever.

A Certificate of Flame Retardancy is typically only good for one year. After that year, it is the responsibility of the owner/user of the drapes to confirm that the drapes remain flame retardant.

I am just using the drapes once, so they don’t need to be flame retardant.

Whether drapes are being used for a long-term permanent installation or just for a one-time, single-day event, they always must be certified as flame retardant. You never know when a fire could break out.

IFR (Inherently Flame Retardant) means that the fabric will be flame retardant forever, no matter what.

Not necessarily. While a fabric that has been certified as “inherently flame retardant” or “permanently flame retardant” or “durably flame retardant” is intended to remain flame retardant for the life of the fabric, environmental conditions can affect that “permanent” flame retardancy. For example, a drape that has been hanging for a long time without maintenance may accumulate a heavy layer of dust on the drape. You may not realize this, but dust is full of all kinds of flammable matter – so although the fabric (technically) is permanently flame retardant, the drape may become flammable.

No retesting is needed, especially not for IFR fabrics.

We recommend (and many Fire Marshals require) annual re-testing of all FR fabrics (including IFR/PFR/DFR) to ensure that the drapes remain flame retardant. A certified testing company should always be used, and assuming that the drapery passes the test, a Certificate of Conformance (similar to a Certificate of Flame Retardancy) should be provided by the testing company.

Questions on Fire Retardancy? See our whitepaper, “Five Common Misconceptions About Flame Retardancy”.

23 06, 2014

The Transformative Powers of Stage Lighting

By |June 23rd, 2014|Education, Products|0 Comments

Every once in a awhile, I like to go onto one of our company websites and try to see it from the perspective of a brand new visitor.  Is it interesting, inspiring, easy to navigate?

Today I focused on the Rent What? website, and while I was clicking through the website and landing on the various pages, I noticed something about many of the rental drapes that appear in photos on the Rent What? Drapery Collections pages. It was the tranformative effect of stage lighting on the drapery.

TT_Monsters of Folk Burg Venetian 9

This Super-Vel Venetian Contour Drape appears red, burgundy and even purple, depending on the lighting at this Monsters of Folk concert.

The natural assumption would be that the appearance of a stage drape is static, unchanging, especially in regards to color. Yes, you might decide to hang a drape a different way.  But the color of the drape doesn’t change, right? You choose a silver drape, you get a silver drape.  You choose a black drape, you get a black drape.  And so on.

But that isn’t really true.  The use of colored stage lighting can transform nearly any stage drape. And not just once, but over and over throughout the course of a show or event.

Here’s an example.  As part of the Industrial Textures Drapery Collection, there is a rental drape made of Black and White Camo Net gathered into random pick ups of small swags across the drape.   Sounds simple, right? A black and white drape.  But within the photos on the Industrial Textures page, check out photos # 219 and # 228.  Both are of the exact same black and white drape, at the same show, but thanks to colored stage lighting, the drape appears red in one photo and purple in another.  In our photo archive, we also have photos of that drape in which it appears that the drape has a multicolored ombre appearance, with green at the top transitioning into blue at the bottom.

I have also seen amazing transformations that made Silver Satin drapery appear orange, blue, red – nearly every color of the rainbow – through the magic of a talented lighting designer. I have even seen drapery look like an Impressionist painting solely by the addition of lights.

I really am in awe at the talent of stage lighting designers and technicians.  They can take a single stage set and completely transform that set throughout the show with the right lighting design.

17 06, 2014

Presenting a Unified Visual Experience to the Audience

By |June 17th, 2014|Clients, Products, Projects|0 Comments

During a concert tour, there are so many elements that, consciously or unconsciously, can inspire a reaction from the audience and either enhance or distract from their experience.  Of course, the concert set design is a big element – from hard elements (such as stages and risers and runaways) to projection components (such as projection screens and LED walls) to stage drapes (such as swags and legs and backdrops) – the set design furnishes the background and provides context to the audience’s experience.

But I believe that the most successful concert design is when all the elements – even including the costumes or clothing worn by the artist or band – all complement each other (and the music) to create a unified visual experience for the audience.  It occurred to me recently in looking through our Flickr portfolio that just such a unified experience was created at The Avett Brothers New Years Eve 2013 Concert.

DW_AvettBros NYE-White Voile 6

The primary focus of the set design initially appears to be the gorgeous White Voile Swags, part of Rent What?’s Delightably White Drapery Collection.  But look closer, and you’ll find that, though the gorgeous rental drapes definitely make the biggest impact, there are other subtle elements that complement the drapery and visually unify the entire visual effect onstage.

The drum and keyboard risers are also made of a white fabric, and the drum skin is white as well.  Even the projected visual is in black and white.  Even more interesting to me, though, is that the artists are all dressed in white.  But not in a “costumey” way – rather in a natural organic way, as if they just happened to choose to wear white (rather than deliberately trying to “match” the drapery).


In looking again at the photos, it also occurred to me that there is very little color on stage, other than that added by lighting – and somehow, that makes the entire set so much more impactful.  I love the way that so many elements – drapery and soft goods, clothing, and projection and lighting – all work together to evoke a cohesive mood, without feeling overdone.  It really was, all in all, a beautiful picture to present to the audience.

16 06, 2014

Exciting New Changes Afoot!

By |June 16th, 2014|Company, News, Rent What Team, Sew What Team|0 Comments

This has been an extraordinarily exciting time to be a “Whatter” here at Rent What? & Sew What?. We have recently written about some of the big changes we’ve been going through with our company this past year in many provocative ways— to have more of a social media presence online, to help streamline our processes, and to make things even easier and more convenient for our clients. And now we are super excited to be able to show some of them off to our loyal readers!


One of the most impressive features of these changes is the creation and implementation of three brand new offices in our warehouse for three managers of different areas of our workforce, who really needed to become more “present” out back with our wonderful warehouse staff.  One of the offices is for Andrea, our Printing Department Manager, who is now conveniently located directly behind our Digital Printer and near all of the sewing staff.


Another one is for Rick, our Warehouse Manager (and “do everything under the sun”-guru), and another office is for myself, Logistics Manager, and we are both located right in the heart of our shipping bay area. This way we can have a firm grasp on everything that is coming and going in the warehouse, as well as have the pleasure of working closely with our hard-working shipping and receiving coordinators Chris and Raul, too.

Rick pic 1a

Getting to be right in the thick of things has been thrilling for all of us, but for Andrea and myself especially since we have been working inside the main office area for the past few years, so being out in the warehouse is a completely new and fascinating environment. It has been a fairly big change for sure, but definitely a FANTASTIC one, too! It really helps us all to realize that this is just another positive step in the right direction for our company to fully integrate with Sales, Rentals, Printing, Sewing, and Shipping. I personally cannot wait to see what other exciting changes are in store for our company in the future…..!