Ultimate Guide for Inflatable Arches

Ultimate Guide for Inflatable Arches

These days, businesses are always trying to find new and unique ways to stand out from the competition. One creative way to increase your presence, make a bold statement and attract more attention to your brand is to incorporate custom inflatable arches into your event marketing. Inflatable arches are easy to use, affordable and can be custom-made to represent your brand.

1. Different Types of Custom Inflatable Arches

As with most marketing materials, inflatable advertising comes in a wide variety of styles and options.

The shape of your inflatable arch

The first feature to consider is shape. Standard inflatable arches are typically:




Or, they can be designed in a variety of custom shapes, based on your specific needs.

How your arch will be inflated

The second thing to consider is how you want your inflatable archway to be filled. For instance, with a sealed-air arch, you only need to inflate it once and it can be left inflated for up to 72 hours without a re-fill. Conversely, a constant-air arch uses a continuous blower, which requires a power hookup.

How your inflatable arch will stand

The third thing to consider in terms of inflatable arch style options is whether you’d prefer one that is free-standing or tied down. To determine which of these custom inflatables is the right fit for you, consider the location you will be using it and what its purpose will be. Are you using it on concrete, or is your event location in a grassy area or soft ground? Will there be a lot of people around that may bump into it?

Keeping these factors in consideration is an integral part of the inflatable arch shopping process.

2. What is an inflatable arch made out of?

2. What is an inflatable arch made out of?
Shown above: our "Iron" inflatable arch made out of PVC tarpaulin material.

The two most popular high-quality materials used in advertising inflatables are denier polyester and PVC. An important point to remember when choosing an inflatable arch is that the quality of material matters. Ending up with a deflated archway the morning of your event will certainly make an impression on your audience – just not the positive one you were hoping for.

Understanding the difference between inflatable arch materials will help you make a more informed decision on your investment.

Denier polyester

Denier polyester is popular for its durability and affordability. Denier comes in a number of different grades. For example, the most common denier grades you will find available from inflatable arch suppliers range from 210D, 420D, to 600D. Generally speaking, the higher the denier measurement, the heavier and stronger the material – a lot like fabric count on bedsheets.

PVC tarpaulin

For those in need of more durable inflatable advertising, there is also the option of PVC tarpaulin. This is basically the same material used to make bounce houses and other interactive inflatable games you may see at festivals or events. It may come in varying thicknesses depending on intended use; anywhere from 0.25mm (millimeters) to 0.40mm is commonplace. This material is the strongest and therefore requires more of an investment.

Again, determining which material option is best for you will depend on a number of factors. For instance, if you are only planning on attending one or two events a year, a 210D or 420D arch should be sufficient. If you plan to participate in more regular events or activities that will take place in harsher conditions, upgrading to 600D or PVC might make more sense.

3. How Long Does An Inflatable Arch Take to Make?

3. How Long Does An Inflatable Arch Take to Make?
Shown above: A custom "Colorscape" inflatable arch on the track of the Jackson Hole Hill Climb that we made for event sponsor, Coors Light.

The average timeline to make an inflatable arch from design to delivery is about 4-6 weeks.

However, as with any custom made-to-order promotional display, it can vary between providers across the market.

It's important to remember that the overall lead time of your inflatable project includes other factors besides actually printing and assembling the arch, including:

Artwork Setup. That involves the time it takes to set up your artwork - anywhere from 24-48 hours depending on how much assistance you'll need - and for you to approve the print-ready design ahead of production.

Production time. Given that custom inflatables are a more complex product and require a little extra attention during the manufacturing process, this will take anywhere from 2-3 weeks on average depending on the provider. With some retailers, rush production is available, but that may only adjust the timeline back a week or two.

Shipping transit. When you're getting started with your project, it's important to take into account where your provider is shipping from, and how long the standard shipping transit will be. How much time do you have until you need the item in-hands? Expedited shipping, like 2-Day or Overnight, is sometimes a possibility, but keep in mind that this may add significant costs to your order total.

Overall, it's always a good idea to start planning for your inflatable arch as far ahead in advance as possible! Last-minute ideas and needs certainly pop up, in which case you need to make sure you choose a promotional display company with an attentive service team to help you out and see what's possible.

4. Design options for your inflatable arch

4. Design options for your inflatable arch
Shown above: A custom inflatable arch made for ArcticFX Graphics showcasing our inflatable arches' all-over print capability with a very cool design.

Inflatable arches are best utilized with custom printing to make the most impact on your customers and event attendees, but it’s important to know what options are available if you have a restricted budget.

Custom printed inflatable arches

These arches include full-color, unlimited print on both sides of the inflatable. It allows for maximum brand exposure and the best signage providers will let you print anywhere on the inflatable - meaning, you won’t be restricted to a single area for your logo or event message.

Generally, these inflatable arches will be more expensive because of their flexibility for custom printing possibilities, and the design and print process is more involved.

Solid color or limited print inflatable arches

These arches might be a single color with no print, or very limited print, such as only across the top on one or both sides. They’re best for companies with a smaller budget, as it may cost less for a company to print a simpler display, thus leading to a lower cost to you as the customer. Oftentimes plain colored arches are paired with a printed banner tied to the arch to allow for customized messaging.

It's key to note that these types of arches will likely limit you to a small selection of colors, shapes, or sizes. If the ability to showcase your branding with no limits is important to you, a custom printed inflatable arch will be your best bet.

5. Why Buy a Custom Inflatable Arch vs. Renting a Solid-Color Arch?

5. Why Buy a Custom Inflatable Arch vs. Renting a Solid-Color Arch?
Shown above: While they opted for a minimalist style, purchasing a custom printed arch allowed Make-A-Wish to use their specific brand color rather than choosing a stock color that may not have matched.

Buying a custom inflatable arch maximizes your brand exposure and generates the best return on investment for event marketing costs.

When it comes to marketing, experts will tell you that consistency is key. You want your customers to have the same experience, regardless of when, where and how they interact with your brand.

If the inflatable archway you’ve got representing your company at events doesn’t coincide with your branding, not only will you fail to stand out, but you could end up confusing your audience. That’s why custom inflatables are such a valuable marketing tool.

Furthermore, while the cost of renting a solid-color arch may seem more attractive than purchasing one outright, over time those rental expenses can really start to add up. Provided you choose a high quality custom inflatable, you’ll be able to use it year after year, making it a much smarter business investment.

Check out this customer success story from the Ronald McDonald House of Orange County to see how investing in an inflatable arch saved them money and frustration from previous years of purchasing disposable balloon arches.

6. How Much Does a Custom Inflatable Arch Cost?

6. How Much Does a Custom Inflatable Arch Cost?
Shown above: A custom printed 600 denier inflatable arch with removable printed banners.

Inflatable arches are offered widely across many promotional and event display retailers. Naturally, prices will vary in a general range depending on the provider. The biggest factors influencing the price of your customized inflatable arch will be:

Material of the Arch: Denier fabrics (less expensive), or PVC-based (more expensive)

Imprint Area: All-over print, specific location limit, or color/logo restrictions

Production Time: Typically, arches can take up to 2-3 weeks to produce, but some retailers may offer rush production for an added cost.

Shipping Method: Standard ground is usually the most cost-effective, but if there's no rush production available and you need it in a hurry, expedited shipping charges may rack up the costs.

Ultimately, the range for most custom Inflatable Arches on the market can run between $900 - $5,000+. 20ft wide, which is typically the most popular size, averages at around $1,300 - $1,500.

7. Why Use a Custom Inflatable Arch at Your Event?

7. Why Use a Custom Inflatable Arch at Your Event?

There are a number of benefits to custom inflatables, some of which we’ve already mentioned. The biggest advantages are as follows:






And inflatable advertising isn’t just for races, either. These powerful visuals can also be used to make a big impression at a variety of different events, such as:

Corporate Gatherings

Trade Shows




Sports Games and Tournaments

8. Inflatable Arch Sizes

8. Inflatable Arch Sizes
Shown above: a 15ft wide inflatable angled arch, which has an inner height clearance of about 7.5ft.

True to their name, custom inflatables are available in virtually any size desired. While the industry standard runs between 10ft and 50ft+ wide, the most common size for an inflatable archway is typically 20ft to 30ft wide. In other words, wide enough to fit across a standard-sized road.

To determine the size that you need, consider what you plan on using your archway for, then determine the inner clearance you will need in terms of height and width.

The goal is to achieve maximum exposure, however, you want your inflatable to be appropriately sized. For instance, if you want to use an arch outside your of shop to promote a new product, a smaller arch would probably make the most sense. For an inflatable archway to mark the finish line of a race, on the other hand, you’ll probably need a much larger one.

Another important factor to consider when choosing the size of your inflatable arch is how it will affect shipping weight and storage. Obviously, the larger the arch, the more it will cost to ship and the more room it will take up while it is being stored.

While it should not be the deciding factor on what supplier you choose for your inflatable arch, some companies offer benefits like flat-rate or free shipping on inflatable products to offset the cost.

9. How to Utilize Removable Custom Banners for Your Inflatable Arch

9. How to Utilize Removable Custom Banners for Your Inflatable Arch
Shown above: A custom inflatable arch with removable velcro banners along the top and legs. This specific client wanted to be able to change the event year and the sponsors as time goes on.

What happens if you plan on hosting or participating in a variety of different events? Are you stuck with the same permanent custom inflatable at every one? Thankfully, no.

In contrast to having your entire arch customized, there’s also the option to choose an inflatable arch with sets of custom-printed banners. This enables you to change the look and feel of your inflatable as often as necessary. Change sponsors, dates, event names – whatever details you’d like.

Different types of removable banners for inflatable arches

There's also more than one way to attach a banner to an inflatable arch, making them an incredibly versatile add-on.

Velcro Banners: These banners are typically ordered at the same time as the original arch. During production, velcro strips are affixed to the inflatable arch to easily place the banners on or off. The opposite side of the velcro will be affixed to the back of the banners, allowing for a super-discreet look.

Wrap-Around Banners: If you want to order banners after you've already ordered an inflatable arch, these banners allow you to cover up existing branding with ease. Like the name suggests, they simply wrap around the leg or top tubes of the arch and attach to themselves with velcro.

Hanging Banners: Inflatable arches can also be customized with extra d-rings along the underside of the top tube at the time of ordering to allow for a banner to be tied to them. If you want to hang a banner after you've already ordered the arch, you can also utilize an arch's existing d-rings along the top tube that are used for the tie-down ropes.

10. How to Choose the Best Inflatable Arch for Your Event

10. How to Choose the Best Inflatable Arch for Your Event
Shown above: World Marathon Challenge selected a 15ft wide arch made from 600 denier polyester to use at the last leg of the marathon event in Florida.

Now that you’ve got a clear picture of the purpose and benefits of inflatable advertising, it’s time to determine which option is best for you. To maximize your investment, there are several important factors to consider, as follows:

Attendance – How many people will be passing through your archway at any given time? This will help you determine the size of inflatable you’ll need.

Frequency of Use – How many events do you plan on attending in a given year? This will help you choose the right material for your needs.

Weather/Climate/Conditions – Where will you be using your inflatable archway? This will help you determine the material and necessary equipment you’ll need.

Budget – As mentioned above, the stronger the material and larger the size, the more expensive your custom inflatable will be. Figure out the budget you are working with before you start shopping.

11. Best Custom Displays to Buy With Your Inflatable Arch

11. Best Custom Displays to Buy With Your Inflatable Arch
Shown above: Custom advertising flags accent the start of this race held by Generation UCan.

In addition to customizing the arch itself, there are a number of other options available to further promote your brand. For instance, you can use:

Personalized Table Covers

You can use custom table covers for event registration areas, merch tables, or simply to cover those unsightly folding tables with another opportunity to showcase your logo. Custom tablecloths are relatively inexpensive and there are a wide variety of materials and styles on the market.

Custom Canopy Tents

There are a few different options for custom tents depending on what you're using them for and how much you're looking to spend. Inflatable dome tents continue the easy set-up trend as, like arches, they come out of the bag and are ready to use in just minutes. For something that may be a bit more durable or less expensive, custom pop-up tents are a classic you're sure to find at any event. If you're planning a large-scale event, custom star shape tents can cover a massive footprint and are incredibly eye-catching.

Advertising Flags

Custom printed flags are so versatile! Use them as mile markers, wayfinding signage (like showing where parking is available), signs for activity spots, or simply maximizing your logo exposure and brand recall. These flags are affordable and available in a range of styles to curate the exact look you're aiming for.

Other Inflatables

Don't let the ease and fun of inflatables stop with your arch! Other inflatables like custom tunnels, 3D shapes and product replicas are guaranteed to turn heads - and they're also a favorable photo-op spot.

Investing in other branded displays to coordinate with the design of your arch will help to create a cohesive, connected look and feel at your event.

12. How to Set Up and Care for Your Inflatable Arch

12. How to Set Up and Care for Your Inflatable Arch

Most custom inflatables come standard with everything needed for fast, easy set up and convenient transport and storage. This typically includes corresponding tie-down ropes, stakes and a carry bag.

Setting up your archway can be done in just minutes. For instance, our inflatable arches can be up and ready to display in as few as three quick steps:

Simply lay the arch flat, attach the ropes and blower and guide the arch upwards as it inflates. Once inflated, secure the ropes and weight source and you’ll be in business.

For dirt or grass surfaces, tie the ropes to the stakes and insert them firmly into the ground. For other surfaces, such as cement, secure by tying the ropes to weight bags, water bags or nearby buildings.

For constant-air arches, ensure access to a continuous power source, such as a portable generator. It’s also a good idea to have a backup or replacement blower on hand, just in case. Your inflatable arch supplier will likely have replacements available for purchase. But, if not, these standard products are readily available at most home improvement stores, such as Lowes or Home Depot, or through other online retailers like Amazon.

Caring for your inflatable arch during and after use is simple, but critical for the longevity of your investment.

13. Extending the Life of Your Inflatable Archway

13. Extending the Life of Your Inflatable Archway

As with any business investment, you’ll want to take proactive steps to maximize your return and get as much use out of your inflatable advertising as possible. To extend the life of your custom arch, keep the following best practices in mind:

Avoid use in winds 15 MPH or stronger

Store arch and accessories in carry bag in a cool, dry place (high temps and moisture can cause damage)

Keep ground stakes properly wrapped while stored to avoid risk of puncture

• To clean, spot treat with a damp cloth and gentle cleaner (never use bleach or harsh chemicals)

14. Where to Buy Your Custom Inflatable Arch

14. Where to Buy Your Custom Inflatable Arch

Last, but not least, you’ll need to choose a company to design your inflatable arch. As with size, shape and style, your options for this step are many.

Whether you already have a vision in your mind of what you want your inflatable arch to look like or you’re feeling completely overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin, you’ll want to find a display company that can meet your specific needs.

That being said, while there are a lot of companies out there offering this service, all are not equal. To ensure that you get the most out of your investment and end up with a quality product you can use for many years to come, look for a custom display company that has the following:

• Experience/Specialty in Inflatable Advertising

Track Record of Success (i.e. established in the industry, positive online reviews)

Solid Online and Social Media Presence (preferably with customer images)

• Straightforward, Affordable Pricing

• Standard Customization Included

• Reliable Customer Support

At MVP Visuals, we are proud to meet every one of these requirements. We offer free layouts and samples, no set up fees, live help and an “on time or it’s free guarantee.” Since 2006, we’ve been helping brands across the US tell their story through powerful and effective custom marketing materials, and we’d love the opportunity to help you do the same!

Questions? Concerns? Need a quote? Get in touch today and let us help make your next event even more memorable.

Let us help you create the perfect inflatable arch for your next event!

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