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Preparing a Truck for Vinyl Wrapping

Info and tips from the pros on preparing a truck to ensure a top-quality color change.

Jul 23, 2020
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We're close! No, seriously, we're now very close to finally closing a long, drawn-out chapter of our 1995 Ford F-350 makeover project.
For new readers, and for those who are following the journey—and we sincerely appreciate your patience—we decided to give the rig that's affectionately known as "Big White" a full cosmetic makeover that includes basics such as wheels and tires, lights, etc. But it is highlighted by a major color change, from original Oxford White to a Racekinz-inspired combination of Blue Metallic, Light Blue Metallic, and Gun Metal Grey.
The dramatic upgrade is being done to present relatively affordable alternatives to spending a lot of money on a newer pickup, especially if you want but don't really need or can't afford one. Of course, we acknowledge that the brand-new rigs are incredible now, but there's a lot to be said about older rides, and they're actually becoming more popular and desired.
Photo 2/7   |   005 Preparing A Truck For Vinyl Wrapping
If you have or are considering buying a 1990s or early 2000s-era truck, sprucing up its appearance—as necessary and/or to your taste and liking—can make a big difference without putting you in the poor house.
Consider our Big White. To paint the crew-cab dually, and we're talking about a quality job that includes doing all of the necessary bodywork and using good materials, auto body shops estimate the job at $10,000-$15,000. And understand, we're not talking about SEMA-quality custom paintwork, or a color change, which we have in store for our rig. That type of work is even more expensive.
Of course, there's always a "buddy who can do it cheaper." And yes, a DIY effort will probably cost a lot less, but our estimates were made by appraisers at three reputable shops in Southern California. The bottom line is, painting a dually is a spendy proposition. And with this being the case, we're covering and recoloring—"wrapping"—Big White with Avery Dennison vinyl.
Photo 3/7   |   004 Preparing A Truck For Vinyl Wrapping
We're actually trying to execute the truck's entire exterior facelift for less than $15,000, and in the end, hopefully give our OBS Ford dually a slightly modern or "late-model" appearance while maintaining its classic style.
"Prep" has been our motto from the outset of the project. As we learned with during the bed-lining stage, ensuring areas and surfaces are clean is critical whenever refinishing of any sort is being done. As we stated earlier, we're extremely close to finally being at that point. And in this report, which is more video focused than pictorial, Mike and Terell Smith of Raceskinz in Simi Valley, California, give us great insights on the process. That ranges from conceptualizing a wrap and creating renderings, the difference between color changes and commercial wraps, and tips on the all-important prep that's necessary before the material is applied.
One final prep piece follows this one, covering dismantling Big White and inventorying parts, replacing the cracked windshield, and getting the last DIY ducks in a row before Raceskinz takes over.


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