Behind the Scenes with Justin Pate: Vehicles

Live workshop tips for car wrapping.

Big Picture

Read about Justin Pate's tips from the same workshop about wrapping windows, walls, and floors here.

Wrap expert Justin Pate led a two-day workshop at Cincinnati’s own Vivid Wraps in February. Co-hosted by Avery Dennison and Mutoh, the workshop is part of a nationwide series for PSPs, wrap installers, car detailers, and more.

Who’s Who
Seventeen installers, including four women, came from all areas of the Midwest for the vinyl installation training. Some had never wrapped a car, but brought experience from the car detailing and window tinting businesses. Others had been wrapping for a dozen or more years and were hoping to fine tune their skills. Others, like Anthea McSwain of Boree Unlimited (pictured on the left), were sign shop owners looking to broaden their offerings.

One of the trends that stood out most and was often repeated was the number of attendees – including Nick Durante of Vivid Wraps and Mike Fredenburg of Xtreme Auto Sports – looking to emphasize or break into digitally printed, customized wraps instead of color change installations. Attendees said the painstaking time and effort of a color change wrap often isn’t worth the small profit margin in the end. For printed graphics, however, installers can be more efficient (since the intended effect isn’t to replicate a paint job), and profit margins go up.

Xtreme Auto Sports's Mike Fredenberg (left) and Fultz Signs Company's Shane Cash add heat to a vehicle wrap in the hands-on portion of the workshop.

Hands-on Vehicle Wrapping
Attendees practiced with Avery Dennison MPI 1105 Easy Apply RS with DOL 1360Z gloss overlaminate, and MPI 2528 perforated window film.

The one thing you know for sure that’s straight on every car is the line from the center of the front wheel to the back wheel.

• Always check the window part of the graphic before you start wrapping the rest of the car. If it’s not right, you’ll have wasted a lot of time.
• Masking tape creates a low surface energy for wrapping door handles. Can save you an hour or two of time if you don’t have to take them off.
• The one thing you know for sure that’s straight on every car is the line from the center of the front wheel to the back wheel. A great way to make sure your text is level is to tape off this line and measure against it.
• Save scraps. You never know.
• The hood is a weak point because it’s often opened for maintenance. Wrap past the edge of the hood to the bumper so that you have extra material to wrap all the way around.

Bo Packett and Brian Phipps of Graphic Creations work on wrapping the vehicle's hood.

Read Justin Pate's tips for windows, walls, and floors and follow @BigPicturemag on Twitter for live updates from events all over the globe.

View more from this Big Picture issue