VINYL WRAP | A COLORFUL FRONTIER

From embellished designs, to shades that are outright audacious and bold, vinyl wrapping is a sector of detailing that has gained a great deal of momentum and popularity within the past decade. Of course, vinyl wrapping isn't necessarily a "one size fits all" option for vehicle owners. One thing is for certain, you can easily impart feelings of whimsy and imagination because vinyl wrapping is considered to be the "blank canvas" by which technicians can convert your imaginations into a reality.

Although there may be a myriad of applications with regard to vinyl wrapping, let's take a brief look into the history of vinyl wrapping and the origins of this limitless option of artistic customization.

When mobile businesses were ripe with advertising in the early 1900's, many business owners had sought a way to advertise without having to empty their pockets. In direct response to this demand, company magnates such as Milton Hershey chose to post unique lettering alongside his company vehicle. At around the same time, the only painting method was a lacquer-based painting medium. As time passed, smaller innovations had developed into the marketplace, whereby businesses could introduce intricate designs and custom-made signage. However, the prevailing method of producing a graphic was by the use of an antiquated, lacquer-based vehicle paint.

It wasn't until 1926 that the Goodrich Corporation had unintentionally discovered vinyl chloride, which had altered the future of vinyl wrapping forever. In its simplistic form, vinyl chloride is a mixture of several ingredients, which in turn produces an elastic and resilient property to rubber and plastics. However, the only way in which this can be achieved is by the use of a catalyst. In order to illustrate this process, you'll find a short video below showing the production of this substance. Yes, this video was produced back in 1954. Somewhere in the distance, I can hear the intro to "I Love Lucy".

Once the world was introduced to vinyl chloride, only a few select organizations had the means to incorporate this material onto their machinery including the United States Air Force and other government regulated organizations. Once 1977 rolled around, a select set of manufacturers made this material universally available to smaller businesses and to the general masses.

As soon as the 1990's came into the picture, die-cut vinyl wrap was introduced creating a new benchmark within the production of custom lettering and logo customization. However, with new technologies comes with it a certain level of exclusivity. In other words, once this new innovation entered into the marketplace, a select few had the means to use it simply because it was so cost prohibitive. With a great deal of trial and error, manufacturers had wrestled with the idea of producing a full-scale vinyl wrapping medium, but many experiments had haplessly failed.

With the convergence of several vinyl production companies and the introduction of the piezoelectric inkjet machine, the first full-fledged wrap was successfully introduced. These two videos below cover a few talking points on the basics of how multiple dyes and colors transfer onto a single sheet of vinyl.


To date, the biggest influencers within the world of vinyl wrapping include 3M, Avery, Arlon, Hexis, and the list continues. Textures and new colors are always being introduced by talented graphic designers and engineers.

So, now back to the application of detailing. When it comes to vinyl wrapping, you can choose any color within the spectrum of the rainbow. I know, how awesome is that? How do I know if vinyl wrapping is appropriate for my vehicle? The answer is always highly debatable. On one end of the spectrum, vinyl wrapping can serve as a means of protection from your original paint color, or perhaps it's a way in which you can differentiate your vehicle from the next. Consequently, vinyl wrapping needs to be handled by a certified installer. If vinyl wrapping is installed by someone with a skilled hand, on average, your wrap should last you several years before the material shows signs of wear and tear. Of course, every installation should be supplemented with a warranty.

Another mind-blowing technology is that of electro-luminescent paint. Mind you, this is a small departure from vinyl wrapping, but I believe it still revolves around the relative category. I'll tell you, if money were of no object, I would sink a pretty dime into this service!



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