“You can have as many happy little clouds in your world as you want.” Phrases like that, spoken in the kindest, softest tones by the late PBS artist Bob Ross, as he completed an entire painting in only 30 minutes, helped me nurse many a hangover on Saturday afternoons back in the ’80s. As testament to Ross’ ongoing popularity, several stations still air his show, “The Joy of Painting.” Though not an artist myself (and without making a value judgment about his art), I admired the freedom Ross expressed as he painted the blank canvas astride him.
While most vehicles lack the broad, flat and rectangular shape of the artist’s canvas, trailers come closest. And although lacking the license that allowed Ross to say, “We don’t make mistakes; we make happy accidents,” a sign shop can stretch its imagination, indeed, its “world,” on a trailer. Following are two such service-vehicle trailer projects.
“YOU GET A LITTLE ROLL OF PAINT”
Nothing fires up youth sports teams more than emulating the pros. From painting on eye black to lacing up size 7 cleats, kids love looking and acting like their gridiron heroes. So when the Lake Stevens Youth Football (LSYF) team needed a design for their concessions trailer, Wicked Wraps (Mukilteo, WA) offered to do the wrap, and for half the usual price. “As a community-oriented organization, Wicked Wraps was proud to sponsor this wrap,” said Katherine Becher, the shop’s owner/creative director. While Katherine wouldn’t go as far as to call trailers “easy” or “flat” given the tricky rivets, she did say, “Trailers and box trucks, being wide open canvases, allow the company to flex its creative wings and do something fun without having to worry about the usual obstacles.”
Katherine took LSYF’s existing logo and added elements for the look and feel of a crowded, professional stadium. “The stadium imagery was heavily manipulated to get the shading and coloring to complement the logo,” Katherine said. She worked with Bad Wrap’s custom-design template as well as Photoshop CS6. Wicked Wraps output the final design on Avery MPI 1005 SCEZRS vinyl using an HP Designjet L26500 printer, with Avery DOL 1360 overlaminate applied on a Kala Mistral laminator. Installers Wade Becher and Antonio Ng handed off heat guns, Yellotools blades, Geek-Wraps Power Slam Magnets and squeegees, and Knifeless Tech Systems Finish Line Tape to push the job over the goal line.
“Remember that passenger sides of trailers almost always have some sort of door,” Katherine said. “So the artwork from side to side can’t be 100% the same or you’ll run into fitment issues on the passenger side.” Of course, there’s no “off-sides” on this professional-looking trailer. And in addition to inspiring the kids to drive for pay dirt, the trailer drives for its own pay, raising valuable funds for the team through its traveling concessions sales.
“TREES COVER UP A MULTITUDE OF SINS”
Sin City Motorsports brought their trailer just west of Phoenix to azpro (Avondale, AZ) on a referral from one of the shop’s existing clients. Sin City coveted a rebrand, as well as absolution from its current wrap, which was “non-laminated and was on for five-plus years, so removal was a bear,” said Star Padilla, brand and marketing leader. To help keep costs down for this new customer, azpro sanded the edges of the old wrap, which covered only part of the trailer. “We t
hen wrapped right over the top of the existing wrap and it was nearly undetectable,” Star said.
Andy Mejia and Mathew Schafer, designers for azpro, customized the generic appearance of Sin City’s trailer to suit the target audience, as well as to “give a glimpse of what was inside the trailer for sale,” Star said. The team created the design using Illustrator and Photoshop and output it on 3M IJ180Cv3 vinyl using an HP Latex 3000 printer and SEAL 62 Pro laminator. Todd Wendell installed the wrap using, among other tools, 3M PA-1 Gold Applicators. However, “since [silicon] can’t be wrapped, it must be removed to prevent a failure and to create a clean, consistent trim,” Star said. After removing the silicon from Sin City’s panels, Todd bathed the trailer completely before installing the wrap and then reapplying the silicon.
“With some careful relief cuts around lock bars, handles and hinges – along with care to not stretch the vinyl down and around the protrusion – you will be in good shape,” Star said. To avoid having to confess such trespasses, Jason Prenovost, azpro’s president and 3M preferred installer, always says, “Lay vinyl like you should live your life: stress free.” That sounds like something Bob Ross would say.
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