Banner Drop Guide

A banner drop is when a banner is hung in a public space to bring awareness to a campaign or a social issue. Banner drops allow a small group of people to bring a large amount of public exposure to an issue.

Don’t Pay banner drops will let more people know about the campaign, encouraging them to join and take action.

Step 1: Choosing the right location for your banner drop

When selecting the location where you will do the banner drop, try to find a place that is:

  • Visible
  • Accessible to the people who will drop the banner
  • Visually impressive on photos and videos
  • Safe

Think about locations with high footfall and traffic.

Visit your location in advance at the time you wish to install and ensure it is safe to position a banner there.

If installing on road bridges, consider the main direction of the traffic, for example around larger cities, banners could be sighted above arriving bound carriageways in the early morning as the public leave/enter for work.

Step 2: Making the Banner

You can either buy a banner, or make your own.

To buy a banner follow this link: coming soon

The main types of banner you can buy are vinyl, fabric and mesh. If installing on a bridge over a road, use a mesh banner for safety in the wind.

Make your own

There are different sizes of banners that you can make, we recommend either 5m length x 1 m width or 7m length x 1m width. Leave a margin of extra 10 cm on each side to sew later.

You can use any spare fabric that you have, you might want to consider the colours, our main campaign colours are yellow, black and white.

Before you paint on your lettering, you should use the sewing machine to trim the edges (the 10cm you left). You can fold over and iron the 10cm fold to make it easier to sew in a straight line.

If you want to be able to hang your banner, you will also need to make eyelets. You can cut out holes and put in eyelets every 100cm along the top of the banner.

Along the bottom of the banner you will need to sew in some weights to prevent the banner from fluttering in the wind. For this you can use special banner weights or just some pennies you have lying around at home. Make small pockets alongside the bottom of the banner and sew in the weights.

You want your banner to be written in capital letters. Remember to iron the fabric before painting the letters. There are two ways that you can use to paint the lettering on your banner:

  1. Making a banner using a projector (graphic file coming soon)
    1. You will need a projector and a big enough wall.
    2. Place the projector far enough so it projects the whole of the text in appropriate size on the banner that you have secured to a wall or a board (you can use duct tape to secure it).
    3. Trace the letters using fabric chalk.
  2. Making a banner using stencils
    1. Print out your letters (graphic file coming soon) on A3 paper.
    2. Cut them out and trace them onto a stronger material like cardboard or card. It’s easiest to use a stanley knife for cutting out the letters.
    3. Once you cut the letters, work out the middle of the banner and place your letters on the fabric. To make sure they are all in line, draw a chalk line along the top of the letters and along the bottom. Pay attention to keep consistent spacing between the letters, you can use your fingers for that (for example two-finger gap between each letter).

If you are using an airtex fabric make sure you put down old newspapers under the banner, as the paint will go through the fabric.

Make sure you use vinyl paint to paint your letters - it is waterproof so won’t run in case of rain.

Once you have painted the banner, lift it up carefully (will need a few people to do that) and hang it up to try on a washing line.

A few suggestions for text (keep it simple and short!):

  • Don’t Pay: Oct 1st
  • Don’t Pay Your Energy Bills
  • Don’t Pay: No-one freeze this winter

Step 3: Pre-planning

Before the action can start, plan how many people you will need to hold / install the banner, and where each of them should stand / access the site.

Ensure that people are prepared to talk to the police / security / public / press should they arrive.

Consider staying beside your banner so it does not get stolen and you can hold it in place if there’s a risk of it being damaged by the wind. This might require shifts of people.

Also consider moving your banner to another location to get more than one shot for social media.

If you have a strong team you can take your banner on a tour and leave it at a site where it gets the most public views for an extended amount of time.

If planning on installing your banner on a bridge over a road, please ensure you have a safer Plan B site in mind if it’s too windy at your original location.

Step 3: Installation

A team of 3 - 4 is best for larger, heavier banners. Use heavy duty plastic zip-ties to secure the banner.

Pedestrian footbridges are easier and safer than road bridges (especially if cycling to the location).

Safety tips for installing above a road:

  • If you are hanging your banner above a road on a bridge, safety is the highest consideration.
  • Wait for a gap in the traffic to install the banner. If the location is busy, consider installing it very early in the morning. Be aware that wind increases significantly as large trucks pass under the bridge.
  • Use mesh banners for safety in the wind. Banners must be hemmed with eyelets every 100cm and it’s recommended to reinforce eyelets with heavy duty waterproof tape (Tesa extra Power Clear Duct Tape - Waterproof Repair Tape, 10 m x 50 mm or Gorilla Tape).
  • If installing above a road avoid using padlocks or carabiners which could be dropped. Mesh banners do not need weights when hung from road bridges.
  • If the site allows, ideally install all the top fixings along the length of the banner on the inside of the railing and then flip the banner over to the outside. Ensure the fixings can easily take the weight of the banner and are not in a position that they will rub and wear in high winds.
  • Fix the rest of the banner in place, ensuring all the edges are secure.
  • Material strength. Whatever your banner is made from, be sure it is strong enough not to rip in the wind and that attachment points are also strong.
  • If you’re not 110% sure it will be safe, hang the banner somewhere else.

Step 4: Pack-down

Ensure that you use the same levels of safety when you remove your banner as you did when you installed it. If your banner is installed above a road, wait for a gap in the traffic to remove it - making sure nothing can fall into the road from the bridge.