Why We Love Tension Fabrics

At Monster Displays we are always pushing the status quo when it comes to what can be done with tradeshow display media. If you have an idea, we want to help you make the vision a reality! In recent years materials have advanced to a degree where tension stretched fabrics have become a promising platform that allows for near limitless application.  It’s no wonder why tension fabrics have quickly become a go-to tradeshow booth backwall style. They offer versatility, mobility, compatibility, and ease of setup in just minutes for most exhibit spaces. Here we will discuss a few reasons why we love tension fabrics!

Virtually any shape imaginable can be created using tension fabric tube frame components. The highly malleable fabric printed graphic is then stretched taut till the image becomes wrinkle free and clear.

What is it?

The tradeshow industry uses many proprietary, jargon, or even slang labels for similar tension fabrics including “stretch fabric” and “tension displays”. Tension Fabric, as it is commonly known is an exhibit using elements that feature stretched printed fabric. Its use arose when manufacturers began experimenting with different fabrics as a less restrictive way to built display shapes like curvatures where previously rigid substrates.

These advancements lead to some of the most impressive large scale event designs, even spanning entire convention halls and auditoriums with arching, ribbon-like fabric designs. Booth layouts that would have traditionally been achieved with expensive truss systems, or reliable pop up displays with laminated graphics. These are now often fabric hybrids like our “tension fabric pop up” accordion frame that makes use of benefits from both display methods.



Since their initial inception, the world of tension fabrics continues to evolve and expand its offerings. Eco-friendly material alternatives are now offered for the environmentally conscious exhibitor, while others gravitate to the savings and portability. Especially after the economic downturn of the 2000s, it has become more important than ever to effectively manage your event budget. As marketer’s seek to do more with less money, the lightweight portability and cost-effectiveness of tension fabrics has caused them to increase in popularity.

While the original designs mostly featured tubular aluminum frames with stretched fabric over top, after 2005 several manufacturers began including fabric lines with soft foam stitched up to the edge. This change allows the fabric to be inserted into a groove in the center of the posts or beams. As the use of fabrics grew, so did techniques to print on these materials. New technologies allow higher resolution printing with more vibrant colors and virtually wrinkle free installations.


Representing the reason for the large migration to tension fabrics, these material focused displays are renown for their portability. When all you need is a lightweight, aluminum tube that snaps together with other modular style tubing combined with pillowcase style fabric stretched over top of your scaffold you are able to accomplish much more with visual impact with less weight, less setup, and less cost.

When looking at printing cost, the production of textile printing such as tension fabric is actually lower than traditional photomural laminated prints the industry relied on before. Considering the exuberant costs of shipping exhibit displays from manufacturer, to client, then often back to their final convention site it is no wonder why weight is such an issue. Fortunately with the advancement of lightweight tension fabrics, weight-based drayage and shipping fees can also be cut down.

As mentioned, tension fabrics are hugely popular because of their versatility. Maverick booth designers are now able to envision long curving, fabric ribbons that lead their attendee through a dream-like path to their engagement with a brand.

The ever changing, creative application of tension fabric materials has lead to the counterpart of printing to change to meet the demand. Recent innovations in digital-printing technology and equipment have allowed graphics suppliers high-quality, near limitless and imaginative wide-format fabric graphics and they can print with fade-resistant inks in a full spectrum of colors. These materials are now being shaped in ways to create whatever mood that should accompany an audience during a show.


Tension Fab-ulous

Tension Fabrics have opened up the trade show industry to a whole new paradigm of what can be achieved in design, especially when working on a tight budget. We love how these materials empower booth designers to create something that truly expresses their brand. The types of exhibit styles that we are asked to create, allow us to offer the close consultation we strive to offer with our services. After 14 years of experience, growing with the industry and stretched fabric materials we can proudly say – we know tradeshows!

Have questions about how to built the most successful displays using tension fabric? Our experienced team is always happy to answer your tradeshow event questions. For an in-depth understanding of the benefits of tension fabric materials, checkout our eBook The Marketer’s Pocket Guide to Tension Fabric Displays.

The Monster Displays team can be reached at Sales@MonsterDisplays.com or call (888) 484-3344, we’d love to put our experience to work for you.