B•Informed: Custom Hand Fans

Custom Hand Fans, known by a variety of other names including Rally Fans and Church Fans, are a great, lower-cost, promotional product that not only provides great branding opportunities but also is functional.   There fans are perfect giveaways for outdoor events during warm weather (or crowded venues) including at rallies, parades, sporting events, fireworks displays, concerts, large seminars, college orientations and much more… including church services (thus the name, “Church Fans”) and even weddings.  In a voting year, they also make great giveaways for political rallies and events.

From a branding perspective, they offer relatively large imprint areas as well as the ability to use multiple colors (including full-color imprints), a variety of unique and eye-catching sizes and shapes and even the option of custom shapes.   As important, they serve a great function for the recipients in being able to help them stay cool and comfortable… while prominently displaying your logo and branding information on the fan.

There are also more creative options available beyond simply using these fans to keep people cool in warm weather conditions.  They can be imprinted with the agenda for an event, sent as an invitation to the event, imprinted with maps of a venue or even used as a menu for events.  They are a great option for restaurants featuring outdoor dinning areas as well.

Types of Hand Fans

There are basically several types of hand fans available including:

  • Custom Card Stock Hand Fans typically feature a wood or plastic stick with your custom imprint applied to card stock that is attached to the stick.  Of course, there are stickless versions of these fans that typically include a finger-hole to grasp the fan without use of a stick.
  • Custom Folding Fans are often referred to as Asian Styled fans which are more of an accordion style construction which can be compressed into a narrow bundle which (according to the classic movies anyway) can be flared open to dramatically make a point!  In addition to the more common, asian styled folding fans there are spanish styled fans which are less common but similarly constructed.
  • Custom Expandable Fans are somewhat of a hybrid of the card stock and folding fan.  These utilize two or more pieces of card stock that are bound at one pivot point so that the cards can be “opened” to create more fan surface area or closed to the size of one piece off the card stock.
  • Custom Pop-Open Fans are a more recent addition to the assortment.  These are typically styled similar to the card-stock fans but are made of a synthetic material (e.g. nylon).  Like those car windshield shades, they can typically be compressed to fit in a pocket or purse and then will “pop open” for use.

Custom Hand Fan Options

Custom Card Stock Hand Fans

Custom Cards Stock Hand Fans are made to order based on the specific requirements.  A customer’s imprint is printed on the card stock, it is cut to the desired shaped and the fans are assembled and shipped.  Even at very high order quantities, most card stock hand fans can be cost effectively manufactured in the United States for domestic shipping.  This helps to limit shipping costs and reduce lead times required.   It also means that these fans can be economically produced in lower order quantities than is economically feasible for overseas manufacturers.  In general, the minimum order quantity for stock hand fans is around 100 pieces while custom shaped fans is about 250 pieces.

Stock Shapes:  There are a wide range stock shape custom card stock fans available from basic ovals and squares to hour-glass, star and even cowboy hat shapes.  Most commonly requested shapes are already available in a stock fan which helps to limit costs and speed production.  There’s even an “awareness ribbon” shaped stock hand fan that’s perfect for Breast Cancer Walks and other fundraiser events.

Custom Shapes:  For those who cannot find a stock shape that will suit their needs or who want to create a fan-shaped like their logo, Custom Shaped Hand Fans can be manufactured to your specific requirements.  These fans are typically priced based on a maximum size, for example, up to 8″ x 8″ or up to 10″ x 15″.   While some manufacturers may consider larger sizes on  a case-by-case basis, it’s important to recognize that there are practical limits to the size of hand fans… after all, you don’t want recipients to be smacking themselves in the face when they try to use them!  It is important to recognize that custom shaped fans require custom dies to cut the stock in to the required shape.  As a result, an additional set-up is typically required, per-piece pricing may be higher based on size and other factors and the minimum order quantities required will typically be higher for the factory to justify the additional effort.

Stick Fans:  Most hand fans include a wood stick that is attached to the fan.  The imprinted cards are attached to the sticks either with an adhesive or staples.  Some manufacturers will offer the option between adhesive or staples, however, most do one or the other.  In general, BNoticed recommends use of an adhesive since there’s less opportunity for tearing and the imprinted card stock remains unmarred by staples.

Custom Stickless Hand Fans Regardless of the shape, many custom card stock fans can be made with or without a stick.    While stickless are typically lower priced options and will also have lower shipping costs, they can be more awkward for recipients to use and carry.

Single vs. Double Sided Imprints:  Fans are typically constructed using a single sheet of card stock for stickless fans.  A single sheet may also be used for stick fans where the stick is attached to the back side of the fan and exposed.  As a third option, fans may be constructed with two sheets of card stock with the stick sandwiched between the two sheets so that only the handle is exposed.   When printing on both sides of a fan, the single sheet style will necessitate printing around the stick on the second-side while the double sheet/sandwich stick option will offer an unobstructed imprint area on both sides.  The Custom Sandwich Hand Fans, however, is priced higher since additional card stock is used and labor required to attach the three pieces.  It will also incur higher shipping costs associated with the added weight of the additional card stock.

Imprint Options:  The standard pricing on Custom Card Stock Hand Fans includes imprinting of one color one side of the fan only.  Typically, each additional color adds to both the printing cost (i.e. “run charge”) and to the set-up cost.  There are options available for full color digital imprinting for an additional charge.  When printing several colors, use of full-color digital imprinting may be more cost-effective than individually applied spot color imprinting.

  • Other Options:  There are other options available as well including mini-sized hand fans that are comparable in construction and imprinting options but smaller in size (typically 5″x5″ instead of the normal 8″x8″.  In addition, there are options including Custom Recycled Hand Fans which are constructed with recycled material and even plastic versions of these styled fans.  Some of the newer and more innovative options available include Custom Coupon Hand Fans that incorporate a coupon into the card stock fan which can help build traffic for a business and Custom Sun Shade Hand Fans that include sunglasses in the shade which can be great for outdoor events.

Custom Folding Fans

Custom Folding Fans are have a bit more variation in their construction from the more traditional Asian style fans made with accordion folding paper and wood or bamboo spines/frames to more contemporary fans made from synthetic materials and plastics frames.  Typically, these fans are constructed overseas.   As a result, they are most often available only in high order quantities (over 1000 or more pieces) in order to be economically viable.  In addition to the Asian style fans like the Custom Bamboo Folding Fans, there are other variations available including a Custom Spanish Folding Fan.

There are a few manufacturers that produce the products overseas and will then imprint them in the US at lower quantities. However, because these fans are printed after being manufactured, they typically are available only with a small imprint area in the center of the fan or only on the frame or handle of the fan.  Also, these domestically printed folding fans are often only available with a one color imprint since it can be difficult if not impossible to align multiple colors on prefabricated fans.  In addition, the color choices of domestically printed fans is limited.

If purchasing high quantities manufactured overseas, the entire surface of the fan can typically be imprinted with a custom design or logo in one or more colors.  The pricing will vary based on the quantity, number of imprint colors and construction materials.   In addition, the lead time will typically be longer to allow for overseas shipping.   Typically, production lead times on overseas produced products include the lead time to reach an US port with shipping from the port to delivery destination being additional.  As such, production lead times can range from 14-25 or more days.   Lead times will increase if a pre-production proof is required which is typically recommended for overseas manufactured goods.

Custom Card Stock Expandable Fans

As mentioned previously, Custom Card Stock Expandable Fans are somewhat of a hybrid between the card stock and folding fans.  These fans are basically made from multiple pieces of card stock that are bound at a pivot point so that they can be expanded to provide a larger fan surface area.  While there is a more limited selection for these fans than card stock fans, they can be particularly well suited to be used for invitations, meeting agendas, wedding programs and menus where multiple “pages” are desired.

Custom Pop Open Hand Fans

A newer entry into the hand fan arena are the Custom Pop Open Hand Fans that are similar in concept to those larger nylon Custom Automobiles Sun Shades that you place in the windshield of cards to keep them cool.  These pop open hand fans can be twisted and folded into a relatively small size that make them easy to carry in a pocket or purse.   When needed, a flick of the wrist will pop them open to function as a hand fan.  There are options for these to come with or without a handle.  These pop open fans are typically constructed from nylon.


For more information on Custom Folding Fans, call us at 877.300.5005.  For a complete selection of Custom Folding Fans, visit our website at www.bnoticed.com or just click on one of the links in this article.  Book mark our blog for more B•informed (TM) articles to come!