In this paper we describe solutions to effectively address critical challenges in direct fabrication of amorphous silicon thin film transistor (TFTs) arrays for active matrix flexible displays. For both metal foil and plastic flexible substrates a manufacturable handling protocol in automated display-scale equipment is required. We have successfully demonstrated a temporary bonding protocol that required development of new enabling materials, tools and processes. For metal foil substrates, the principal challenges are planarization and electrical isolation, and management of stress (CTE mismatch) during TFT fabrication. For plastic substrates, the principal challenges are dimensional instability management in conjunction with manufacturing-ready temporary adhesives. Solutions required a systems-level approach to address the challenges of the substrates and their handling simultaneously.