Color Me Quick

Wrap-cast vinyl makes for colorful – and fast – installations

With all the color choices, even color-shifting ones for wrap-cast vinyl, sign businesses can and definitely do compete with custom auto paint shops for vehicle restyling. Need to rework that used (sorry, “pre-owned”) Cadillac currently wearing Mary Kay Cosmetics pink? No problem. And because unprinted wrap-cast vinyl requires no laminating, the materials and time savings allow signshops to execute these jobs more quickly and cheaply than with printed wraps. Sometimes winning the job can be as simple as offering a quick change of color for the right price.

Chazzzam Signs & Graphics (Belling-ham, WA) has done several such wraps, including half a dozen already for local auto salesman Ryan Cross. Typically, Ryan specs a more subtle color, but last year he brought in a 2003 Mercedes E55 AMG requesting something that would, according to Chazzzam part-owner and sales/marketing manager Jerry Spraggins, “Turn some freaking heads!” Jerry used Adobe Creative Suite to aid in the design, finally settling on ORAFOL Lawn Green 464 Premium Wrap Cast, “the brightest green you have ever seen,” according to Jerry.

Installers Carlos Olvera, Sam Malich and Will Born used heat guns (some), torches (more), Geek Wraps squeegees and Fine Line Knifeless Tape, “which we love,” Jerry said. “We also use IR heaters to localize the entire side of the car we are working on to keep the vinyl nice and pliable.” Ryan allowed Chazzzam to emblazon one window with the company name, and in turn, Chazzzam went the extra mile to wrap the wheels with some extra vinyl they had on hand.

Jerry said when Ryan picked up the wrapped E55, he was apparently so excited he wanted to show off a bit and laid down two of the longest and fattest tire marks they’ve ever seen. “He smoked the tires up like he was on a drag strip,” Jerry said. “It was awesome!” Well, awesome as long as he did it in the Chipotle parking lot next door.

Seeking something slightly more subtle yet still detailed, Inphantry, a forward-thinking marketing company based in Boston, brought its 2015 Chevrolet Suburban to SignArt Inc. (Malden, MA). As its name suggests, Inphantry uses several military-inspired themes and images in its branding, from a hand-grenade logo to dog tags to toy soldiers on its home page and more. “They were looking for a low-key, high-end, classy look,” said Ed Spinney, SignArt VP of operations and sales. “I suggested we tint the windows 35% black and cover the ugly interior wood grain with 3M 1080-CF12 Black Carbon Fiber material.” Inphantry agreed and gave the order.

Designer Rich Miner took the job from layout, to proof and production proof, through printing and cutting the lettering and graphics. The unprinted vinyl was cut either on SignArt’s 24-in. Graphtec plotter or hand trimmed. Andy and Lucas Layman initiated the assault on the Suburban with a full wrap using 3M IJ 1080-S12 Satin Black film. Chris Spinney performed the more covert interior wrapping of the wood grain and windows. “Then we applied most of the die-cut graphics with 3M Black IJ Gloss vinyl, including the logo, with a second layer of Etchmark film,” Ed said. His team aimed and fired heat guns and a propane torch, and wielded Olfa silver knives, Monkey strips and 3M Gold Squeegees, in following their orders.

“The client liked all of our suggestions and had no issues with the pricing,” Ed said. “They were glad they had us do the interior and the windows.” Mission accomplished.

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