Van wrap project continues
Learning how to wrap
Students receive tutorial in vehicle wrapping
The assignment seemed simple enough: wrap the vinyl around the vehicle.
As students learned recently, the job is not so easy. There are doors, windows, a gas cap and more that must be factored into the process.
The details on how to place a wrap on a vehicle were shared with students when Al Chieco from the graphic installations company Application Unlimited, based in Dobbs Ferry, visited the Center for Careers Services on June 6. He met with students in the Commercial Art class as well as students in the Collision Technology class.
The tutorial is the next step for a special collaborative project the two classes undertook earlier this year.
In the spring Commercial Arts students were assigned with designing a vehicle wrap, an ad that covers the entire or partial exterior of a vehicle. The wrap assignment came from The Color Group, based in Hawthorne. The students’ designs went before a panel of judges comprised of staff at the center, and five were selected to present to the client.
With a design selection made, the next step will be to place the wrap on the van. Students in Collision Technology will help with this part of the project.
Mr. Chieco stopped by the garage to show students how a wrap is applied.
“Take the overall measurements of the entire van,” Mr. Chieco said, referring to the first step.
With a tape measure in hand, Mr. Chieco measured each portion of the vehicle — length, height, width — factoring in things like the van’s windows and area for the license plate. These measurements will be sent to the designer who makes the physical wrap.
Mr. Chieco also discussed the difference between bleeding and overlap, two options the students will have to consider before they place the order to have the wrap pieces made.
Bleeding, Mr. Chieco said, is when the background color is “longer” than the other colors on the material so it can be wrapped around the vehicle and tucked into parts that will not be seen on the outside. Overlap refers to panels that comprise the wrap that are made one quarter of an inch or a half inch longer, allowing one panel to be laid on top of the other to ensure continuity in the design.
Before anything can be done, Mr. Chieco said the most important step the students must do, and the one thing he does first, is to clean the vehicle. He said a superficial wipe down of the outside is not appropriate. The job requires meticulous care of the surface.
“A van like this should take an hour to clean,” he said. “You want to be confident the wrap will stick.”
“Get it into your head — cleaning, cleaning, cleaning,” he stressed. “It’s so important.”
The cleaning extends to the wheel wells, behind the gas cap and the door handles too.
“If you don’t clean it well you’ll have a nightmare on your hands,” Mr. Chieco said.
Once the vehicle, in this instance a Ford E-150 van, is cleaned the vinyl panels that comprise the entire design can be taped to the vehicle. This will enable the customer to see it and get a sense of what the overall look will be. He advised to stand back at least 20 feet to get a real good sense of what the entire design will look like.
“Then it just becomes work,” Mr. Chieco said.
As the panels are put in place, Mr. Chieco said he prefers not to do any trimming until the very end. This enables adjustments to be made if necessary. Once any cutting is done, there is no going back. If there is a mistake and the wrap does not fit, it will have to be reprinted, which becomes an expensive and timely problem.
“You have to focus because this job is intense,” he told the students. “Any problems you have create a waterfall of issues.”
In his estimate this particular van would take about five hours for one person to complete the wrap.
Students will adhere the panels to the van, being sure to tuck the ends of the vinyl under surfaces and using a squeegee to flatten the panels and tuck them around indentations that are part of the sides of the van.
If a mistake is made, Mr. Chieco said, and it happens sometimes even after being in the business for 40 years, the best thing the students can do is have a good attitude.
“Your attitude will guide you in how you deal with the problem,” he said.
With the end of the school year fast approaching the van wrap work itself will be put on hold until students return in the fall.