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A blog dedicated to custom commercial signage, vehicle wraps and graphics, and business signs of all kinds!

Specialty Vinyl Wraps You Didn't Know Existed

Posted on April 30, 2014 | Posted by Brooke Randell

Environmental graphics, now sometimes being called "experiential" graphics, are designed elements that add to the branding and artistry of any room. These graphics can involve anything from giant wall murals to sign lettering to giant architectural pieces. 

One of our favorite methods of adding environmental graphics to a room, is by adding a vinyl wall or floor mural. We typically use film on walls meant for vehicle wraps because it conforms and adheres really well to the surface but, unfortunately, these films don't always work for the surface or purpose you have in mind. Here are some alternative specialty vinyls for your environmental wraps project.

Textured Surface Overlaminates

One problem with regular wrap films is that they need to go on a smooth, clean surface to really adhere well and not bubble up. Thankfully for people who would like to get graphics on a brick wall, concrete floor, or cinderblock, there's textured surface films! This is a great option for outdoor graphics that need to be robust enough to last through weather and contact.

Wall mural on a textured surface. 12-Point SignWorks Signage Blog

We applied this mural to a textured wall for Birdsong Creative and Oasis Church in Nashville. 

Antimicrobial Laminates

There are germs everywhere, it's a fact of life. But, fear not germophobes! There are antimicrobial films (like this one by Hexis) that can reduce bacteria by 99%! This permanent clear laminate that comes either in gloss or matte is known to reduce dangerous bacteria such as E. Coli and MRSA, which makes it a great product for any place that gets a lot of human contact. It's pretty popular to apply the laminate to door handles (and even toilet seats), but some of the laminates even have the capability to be applied over touch screen technology without inhibiting the machines from reading touch. Sounds like something that would make for a good smartphone cover, huh?

Antimicrobial wrap film from Hexis

Howie Mandel's dreams come true. Photo courtesy of Hexis. 

Microvented Vinyl

Along the same lines, some companies choose to get microvented vinyl for their interior murals or graphics. This basically means that there are thousands of teeny tiny holes poked in the vinyl to work as vents. This helps keep mold and bacteria from thriving underneath your interior wall murals. Normally mold and bacteria buildup should not be a problem for any vinyl wall mural, but if you are getting a mural in a particularly humid area—like an outdoor patio or near a restaurant kitchen—it might be a good idea to use microvented vinyl. 

Dry Erase/Whiteboard Vinyl and Laminates

If you would like to put dry erase boards in unconventional spaces, then dry erase vinyl or laminate is for you. Because vinyl can be applied to virtually any surface, the possibilities for turning something into a whiteboard are endless. The tops of desks in a classroom, a column or hallway wall in an office space, or a floor of a nursery can all be turned into creative spaces. 

Chalkboard/blackboard Vinyl

Basically everything you can do with dry erase vinyl you can do with chalkboard vinyl! The nice thing about using chalkboard vinyl instead of chalkboard paint is that it's so much easier. You don't have to worry about drips or uneven coats, and you don't need to sand and layer coats to get a good surface for writing on. If you're trying to decide on whether to paint on your chalkboard or use vinyl, just look up "Pinterest chalkboard fails." If that doesn't convince you to think twice about DIY chalkboards, then I don't know what will. 

Anti-Graffiti Laminates

As much as we love street art, it's no fun when your signs get defaced by graffiti. Thankfully most major wrap film suppliers sell anti-graffiti laminates. It's kind of like you put your sign or mural in an invisible page protector. Most of the laminates will last for at least 3 years and allow you to wipe any graffiti off with just a wet cloth. That means everything including spray paint, permanent markers, acrylic paint, and more just wipe off! One by SEAL claims that you can still wipe graffiti off after it's been on the sign for four months. There are also graffiti wipes that allow you to wipe graffiti off of smooth surfaces including vehicles, trailers, acrylics, signs, and walls. 

Etched Glass Vinyl

For companies that love that frosted glass look but who don't want to pay for chemically etched glass, this could be the answer to your prayers! Frosted or etched vinyl can mimic a wide variety of textures from a powder, to etch, to crystal look. We recently put of frosted glass vinyl in our building neighbor's office. They're a medical facility so they wanted to cover up some of their large windows with the vinyl to give their clients more privacy. They also used the vinyl to brand their front lobby and doors with their logo.

Specialty vinyl: etched glassWe put up this vinyl at Fresenius Medical Center to give their patients a little more privacy.

So, now that you're an expert on specialty wrap materials, which do you think would work best for your company? Leave a comment below!

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