Helmet wraps have been popular for several years but they can be difficult to install because of their contoured shape. They're getting easier thanks to advances in film technology and conformability. Avery Dennison digitally printable Supercast and opaque Supreme Wrapping Films are ideal for helmet wraps because of their ability to conform to the contours of the helmet. Tommy Strader of 360 Wraps has been doing helmet wraps for many years and offers some perspective based on his experience.
Tommy Strader, founder and president of 360 Wraps, has been in the graphics and installation industry for more than twelve years. His family has been in the automotive aftermarket business for two generations. He grew up in his grandfather’s auto paint shop. After returning from serving in the military, he began his career in marketing and painting in several different jobs and businesses. While painting helmets for racecar drivers, he discovered he wasn’t as good with an airbrush and he would have liked. His creativity exceeded his ability. When he discovered Adobe software, digital graphics and printing – he was hooked.
With his experience in the industry and specialty in automotive and helmet wraps, we thought we’d get his perspective on advances in film technology and wrapping. Strader believes that more shops should consider the cost of using inferior products to save a little money on a job versus using the premium films specifically made for the application. He says, “Less expensive films are more difficult to install, which can cause mistakes, and can take twice as long to install which will end up costing the shop more money and possibly a unsatisfied customer.”
“The properties of a high quality, cast film allow it to stretch, be heated and meet the contours of a helmet,” he adds. “We use Avery Dennison MPI 1005 Supercast filmsbecause of the films’ conformability, ability to stretch and mold to the helmet. Avery Dennison films don’t require a primer, which makes the wrap easier to remove.” Strader estimates his installers are able to install a wrap 30 percent faster with Avery Supercast films because they’re so much easier to work with.
The majority of the helmet wraps that 360 Wraps installs are custom designs that are digitally printed on Avery MPI 1005 Supercast with DOL 1460 gloss overlaminate. This combination provides the ultimate in conformability for graphics. DOL 1460 Gloss is the most conformable overlaminate offered by Avery Dennison and conforms to the most extreme 3D curves, corrugations and crevices while protecting digitally printable graphics. The shop most frequently wraps race helmets and creates a custom template for each helmet.
Strader notes there’s a misconception in the industry that helmet wraps have to be done in one piece. “If a helmet wrap is installed correctly, you won’t see the seams,” he says. “I can complete a helmet wrap in 45 minutes to an hour because I’ve done so many and have developed a technique. The key to doing a helmet wrap and making it look great is the ability to visualize the finished helmet while designing it.”
“Additional methods that can be used to create a seamless look are including a stripe in the design,” says Molly Waters, technical specialist. “A stripe can be included in the design or added on top of a digital design and be wrapped around the bottom of the helmet.”
“I wish more people in the industry would think forward, meaning long-term, when they choose what material to use for a wrap or project,” he emphasizes. “When my customer comes back to me in two years to remove a wrap and update the graphics, I’m going to be in business because I’m using the best product for the job and one that’s going to be easier for me to remove.”
360 Wraps offers in-person and video training, helmet design templates and graphic design, production and installation for a variety of corporate and individual customers from its headquarters in Dallas, Texas. For more information, please visitwww.360wraps.com.
For more information on Avery Dennison Graphics wrap products, pricing or roll sizes, designers and printers can visit www.averygraphics.com to locate a distributor (on the Partner Page) or contact Avery Dennison at 800-282-8379 for additional product information.