ULTIMATE GUIDE
FOR CUSTOM TABLECLOTHS

Ultimate Guide for Custom Tablecloths

As with any marketing collateral, there are seemingly countless trade show table covers on the market. This guide is designed to make the process of selecting the right custom table cover for your event marketing needs an easy and seamless experience.

1. Why buy a custom table cover with logo instead of a plain cover?

1. Why buy a custom table cover with logo instead of a plain cover?
Shown above: a custom stretch tablecloth with 4-sided print allows for brand exposure on all sides, no matter what angle the customer views the table at.

It's pretty straightforward: capturing the attention of your prospects and making a strong first impression is essential to making your event marketing efforts a success, and a custom table cloth can help you do just that.

According to Hubspot, most initial sales interactions last a total of just 30 to 40 seconds. At a trade show or other public event, not only will you be vying for those precious few seconds, but you’ll also be competing with dozens or even hundreds of other brands at the same time.

Trade shows and other events provide the opportunity for brands to connect and engage with potential new customers, which makes table space prime real estate. Given the short amount of time you have to captivate your audience , a plain table cloth just won’t cut it.

In fact, it could end up giving your prospects the impression that you didn’t adequately prepare or that your company lacks professionalism. That’s the last thing you want to happen.

A professionally designed, eye-catching custom table cloth, on the other hand, will help you not only catch the attention of passersby, but it will also help your brand stand out from the crowd. And any successful exhibitor knows, achieving maximum brand recognition is the best way to generate a positive return on your investment. Simply put, custom tablecloths allow you to make your presence more prominent, which will attract more visitors to your booth and ultimately lead to more sales as a result.

2. How much does a custom table cover cost?

2. How much does a custom table cover cost?
Shown above: Pacific Portraits chose our "1-Color Front Panel Print" tablecloth, which features a single color cloth and single color logo for customers seeking a lower print cost.

Generally speaking, the cost of a standard 6’ branded table cover averages just around $150 to $300. That being said, the price of printed tablecloths varies based on a number of factors. In particular, the type of fabric, print style and size all play a role in how much a custom table runner will cost. Many people are surprised, however, at how affordable a tablecloth with logo can be.

That’s a very small investment when you think about the impact it’ll have on your trade show marketing success - think about the comparison to how much you may spend on paid advertising, email marketing, and other initiatives to advertise your brand.

It’s worth noting that some print providers offer custom tablecloths that may seem very inexpensive at first glance, but pose the following risks:

• Ineffective or nonexistent color matching (not great for brand consistency)

• Low-quality material

• Very particular limitations on print (i.e. only white background, 1-color logo, etc.)

At the end of the day, when it comes to trade show table covers, you get what you pay for.

If you still want to explore customized branding options for your event table, but are very restricted on budget, exploring customized table runners to pair with a plain table cover are a great compromise for a lower cost. They're often made out of the same material as printed polyester or stretch table covers.

3. What to know about tablecloth printing fabric

3. What to know about tablecloth printing fabric
Shown above: the detail of our "Stretch Mural" table covers showing the thick stretch fabric and durable stitching along the bottom arc.

As mentioned previously, one of the things that differentiates customized table covers is the fabric from which they are constructed. Depending on your needs and budget, there are a number of different options available to you, as follows:

Polyester

This is by far the most common/popular and can come in a variety of weights and substrates. They can be a very basic polyester fabric, or some companies offer fire retardant polyester to comply with event regulations.

Liquid Repellent Polyester

These may not look so different to standard polyester, but this fabric stands apart thanks to a special coating that allows it to be liquid repellent. These tablecloths are great for food and beverage companies.

Spandex/Stretch

Those looking for a more dynamic-looking table covering will love custom stretch table covers. Typically made from spandex or a knit stretch polyester, these covers are modern and eye-catching. These can also be fire retardant for those that need it.

Outdoor/Canvas

Made from the same sturdy material as tent canopies, these covers are excellent for brands who frequent outdoor events or need something to stand up to extra-heavy use. Canvas custom tablecloths are usually liquid repellent and fire retardant.

If you're not sure what custom tablecloth fabric is right for you, many companies will offer a sample pack so you can have a hands-on review of the different materials before making a decision. At MVP Visuals, we offer free tablecloth samples shipped via USPS and most samples can be sent within 24 hours of your request!

4. Which custom table cover fabric is best for your event?

4. Which custom table cover fabric is best for your event?
Shown above: Our "Outdoor" canvas custom tablecloth, made from the same heavy-duty 600D as our custom pop up tents, is favored by breweries.

To determine which fabric option is best for your needs, take into consideration:

• The environment in which you’ll be exhibiting (indoor vs. outdoor)

• What you’ll be using your table for (e.g. food demonstrations)

• How often you plan on using your custom table cloth and what type of look/feel you’re trying to convey.

If you are working with a limited budget, this may also play into the type of fabric you choose for your custom table cover, as materials like spandex or outdoor canvas are typically more expensive than polyester.

For example, polyester is by and large the most common fabric for most custom printed table covers. You'll see them anywhere from trade shows to retail shops. Some do use it for occasional events outside, but if your brand is attending a lot of outdoor events and looking to invest in a custom tablecloth fabric that's going to hold up, spending more on tougher canvas will benefit you in the long run.

There's no absolute "best" tablecloth in a one-size-fits-all sense, but there is a best tablecloth for your needs.

Still not sure? Fill out our Quick Quote form to let us know what you need, and we'll send you a personalized recommendation.

Request information now

5. How can I design my custom tablecloth?

5. How can I design my custom tablecloth?
Shown above: This spandex table cover is our "Front Panel Print" version, where customers choose a solid base color for the other panels, but can print whatever they'd like across the entire front!

The design options for your custom table cover will primarily depend on the print provider you choose. As mentioned above, some print companies impose limitations on their products, such as the ability to only print on a white background or print in just one color. However, most suppliers in the industry will split up their offerings to provide a flexible ordering experience.

Limited Print Custom Table Covers

These table covers will usually be lowest-cost, but have high restrictions to how you display your branding. They may only be white in cloth color, or offer a limited swatch of "stock" colors to choose from. You may only be able to print on the front panel of the table cover - which some argue is the most important spot, anyway!

All-Over Print Custom Table Covers

Custom tablecloths with unlimited print are best for brands who are looking to utilize all sides of their table cover for 360-degree messaging, or those who may have a more colorful or illustrious brand design to show off. Depending on the supplier, these covers may come at a premium cost.

Printing with Pantone Color Matching

If you have a very particular brand color, you want it to display the same across different mediums, such as digital assets, business cards, banners, apparel or trade show displays. The Pantone universal color matching system allows for the best shot at color matching on different fabrics and mediums. Ask your supplier if they support Pantone color printing with their products to ensure the best color consistency across all of your marketing materials - the last thing you want is for your tablecloth to be purple when it was supposed to be indigo!

Designing your own custom tablecloth with digital templates

Some print companies will allow you to download their print templates so that you can set up the product design yourself. This is great for design-savvy brands that want more precise control over how their product looks, rather than submitting a logo and design assets and entrusting it to the supplier's design staff.

For example, on our website we have a Templates page where our digital templates for our custom tablecloths (and more!) are able to be downloaded and customized within Adobe Illustrator or other vector-based programs. You can upload your finished file with your order and our team of Art & Display Coordinators will check the file to ensure it'll be perfect for print before passing it along to production.

6. Choosing style options for your custom tablecloth

6. Choosing style options for your custom tablecloth
Shown above: A graphic displaying the difference between "throw" and "fitted" polyester tablecloths, and the difference between "open back" (or 3-sided) and "closed back" (or 4-sided) tablecloths.

In addition to the various fabric types, you can further customize your branded tablecloth with extra style features such as fit and back paneling. Here’s a quick review of some different styles you may find available, even across different fabrics.

Customizing the fit and back panel of your tablecloth

Fit: Polyester tablecloths are most commonly found in a throw style that drapes over the table (can also be referred to as “table throws” or “table drapes”). You can also get a custom polyester table cover in a fitted style, which may be a boxy fit that slips over the table, or more similar to “throw” styles with tucked inverted pleats for a more polished appearance.

Back panel: Some suppliers might differentiate this by how many “sides” you can choose for your custom tablecloth. Closed-back or four-sided tablecloths are the most classic, but open-back or three-sided table covers are favored by those who might want to sit at or store items underneath the table. Some closed-back table covers can also be customized with a zipper - this is more common for stretch or stiffer canvas tablecloths to allow for an easier on-and-off experience.

Your choice of style will ultimately depend on your own needs and preferences.

7. What is the best printing method for custom table covers?

7. What is the best printing method for custom table covers?

Just as there are a number of different printing style options for custom tablecloths, they can also be made using a number of different printing methods. The two most common ways to create a tablecloth with logo are:

Screen Printed Custom Tablecloths

This method prints the ink on top of the fabric. It's generally outdated and less popular today, but may be a more cost-effective option, particularly for 1-color or simple designs in a large quantity. Color matching is achieved by mixing different inks. Screen printing may not last as long as the ink can be susceptible to cracking or flaking off.

Dye Sublimated Custom Tablecloths

Dye sublimation is the preferred method in the industry today as it allows for high-quality printing of artwork, colors, and images. This method uses the CMYK 4-color process for printing and actually dyes the design into the fabric, and can achieve more accurate color matching than inks used with screen printing. Dye sublimation has a longer lifespan than screen print, and is reliably machine washable.

The print option you choose for your custom table cloth will ultimately depend on your budget as well as the complexity of the design you have in mind. Unless you have a very basic logo or are on an extremely limited budget, digital printing with dye sublimation will enable full customization and a highly-impactful end-product.

8. How long does a custom tablecloth take to make?

8. How long does a custom tablecloth take to make?
Shown above: our custom table covers are made in just 1 business day after you approve your design!

The industry-wide average production time is 3-5 business days for a custom table cover, though some providers may be able to complete it sooner. (At MVP, we print our custom tablecloths in 1 business day after artwork approval). Other providers may need longer than 5 business days to complete a custom printed order. Here are the factors that go into the overall turnaround time of a custom table cover:

Design set-up and approval

Many print companies handle the design portion of the order process differently. Some have a self-serve platform where you can see your design in real time. Some require you to submit artwork, where their internal team will set up the design for you and then send back for your approval. This may mean the difference between a few hours to 1-2 extra days in the process.

Production time

Then comes the actual making of the product. Most custom table covers are made by printing the individual panels of the cover and then sewing it together by hand. As a result, some companies with a larger staff may be able to complete this part faster. Other companies with a smaller staff might need more time. This process can take anywhere from 1-5 business days.

If you need your table cover in a hurry, some retailers will offer rush production and/or rush shipping for an additional cost. Be sure to check on this before choosing your print company to avoid any unfortunate or costly delays. Ultimately, making sure you schedule orders ahead of time is a very important part of the event planning process when it comes to procuring promotional and large-scale print display materials.

Shipping time

The last piece of the puzzle is the time it takes to ship your custom item from the manufacturer to your door. This can vary by carrier and method, plus the distance of your location from the manufacturer. For example, it takes about 5 business days to ship a custom tablecloth from California to Connecticut via regular FedEx Ground service. During higher-volume times like around the holidays this may even take up to 7 business days. If you need your table cover in a rush, some companies may offer expedited shipping options like 2-Day or Overnight.

9. What sizes are trade show table covers?

9. What sizes are trade show table covers?
Shown above: a standard 4ft custom tablecloth.

Most trade show table covers are designed to fit standard rectangular size folding tables. The general specifications for these are as follows:

24” x 4’ x 29” tall

30” x 6’ x 29” tall

30” x 8’ x 29” tall

The majority of trade show and event tables will be either the standard 6ft or 8ft size. If you’re not sure what size you’ll be using, there are also convertible table covers, which provide the option of easily switching from 6’ to 8’.

Some retailers also offer 42” covers, which are ideal for bar height tables. Round, “cocktail table” style covers (i.e. 24” x 42”, 30” x 42”, etc.) are also available, and are typically constructed from stretch material.

For those in need of custom/non-standard sizing, read on to the next section for instructions on how to order a special size table cover.

10. What if I need a custom size table cover?

10. What if I need a custom size table cover?
Shown above: our client, Perfect Bar, needed custom made table covers to be 36" tall for their specific tables being used at Costco activations across the US.

If the table you’ll be using at your next trade show or event isn’t standard size, most print providers can offer custom size table covers made-to-order. Keep in mind that your measurements for a custom size printed tablecloth will vary depending on the fabric you’ve chosen. In general, the following requirements apply:

For Polyester Throw or Fitted Table Covers

Provide the full L" x W" x H" dimensions of the table being used. Standard custom polyester table covers are intended to drape to the floor.

For Spandex and Stretch Table Covers

- Provide the full L" x W" x H" of the table being used.

- Provide the dimension of the space between the legs of the table.

- Provide the dimension of the space between the feet of the table at each end.

When in doubt, it’s best to choose a print provider that offers quality support and expert service. That way you can contact them should you have any questions or need clarification on anything. The last thing you want is to end up paying for a customized table cover that doesn’t fit properly.

Do you need a custom size printed table cover? Our team will provide a personalized quote within 24 hours of your request.

Send details and get pricing

11. How do I wash and care for my custom table cover?

Once you’ve received your tablecloth with logo, you’ll want to take appropriate measures to ensure that your investment pays off for many years to come. The proper care of your custom table runner will vary, based on the fabric you’ve chosen. Industry standard is as follows:

How to wash a custom polyester table cover

 Machine Wash: 160 degrees F. Use synthetic detergents that don’t contain bleach or softeners, as these might adversely affect the flame retardant coating of the fabric. Do not bleach printed table covers.

 Tumble Dry: 120 degrees F. Remove immediately.

 100% Polyester – Excessive heat, loading and leaving too long in extractor or dryer will detract from permanent press characteristics of all polyester fabrics.

 Ironing – If above instructions are followed, no ironing is required. If necessary, light touch up with hand iron at 250 degrees F. Key: Do not mangle.

How to wash a custom spandex or stretch table cover

 Hand or machine-wash in lukewarm water.

 Do not use chlorine bleach on any fabric containing spandex. Use color-safe bleach only.

 Rinse thoroughly.

 Drip dry. If machine drying, use low temperature setting.

 If ironing is required, iron rapidly and don't leave the iron in one place too long. Use a low temperature setting on the iron.

How to wash a custom canvas table cover

 Sponge clean using warm soap water.

 Not recommended for machine washing.

Other Care Information

 Storage: Storing your custom table cover in its own bag in between uses will help to keep it looking clean and fresh. Some retailers may include a free storage bag with each cover purchased, or you can buy one separately.

Adhering to these care instructions should help you get the most out of your custom tablecloth so you can use it to represent your brand at many trade shows and events to come!

12. Where to buy custom table covers

12. Where to buy custom table covers

You can find a myriad of custom table cover suppliers with a simple Google search. There are also print providers selling custom tablecloths on other platforms like Amazon and Etsy.

So how do you decide who to purchase from, with such a wide variety of choices? Here are a few key factors you should consider before investing in a company to create your custom tablecloth:

Honest, fair pricing

Steer clear of companies who showcase low pricing when you initially click on a listing, but gradually tack on random set-up and design fees when you get to check out.

Turnaround times

If you have a specific event date you need to hit, make sure the company you choose can fulfill your order in the desired timeline! If it's not clear when your order may deliver, try to get in touch with the company's customer service prior to hitting that checkout button.

Happy customers

Reviews and social proof are a huge indicator of a company's track record. Do they have a stream of glowing 5-star reviews, or are people sharing their poor experiences? Do they share their work on their website and social media to showcase the quality of their work, or is it hard to tell what you'll be getting until the order shows up at your door?

A custom table cover can enhance your company’s presence, promote greater brand awareness and help you maximize your event marketing ROI, not just at trade shows, but at anywhere you want to make a strong impression. That includes business conventions, job fairs, community events and more. If you want your brand to stand out from the crowd and make the biggest possible impact, printed tablecloths are the way to go.

With this in mind, it's so critical to choose a print provider who will give you great service and a great product. Here at MVP Visuals, we're proud to hit all 3 of the above points - we have a policy of no setup fees, fast production to get your order delivered in time for that next event, and hundreds of 5-star reviews from brands like yours.

MVP Visuals is proud to be a top provider of quality custom tablecloths to brands big and small since 2006. We can't wait to make one for you, too!

Request a quote for table covers now

Call Us   (800) 980-6871   or  Email Us   hello@mvpvisuals.com