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Mark Kissling

Vinyl Wall Mural Impacts Town’s Cultural Scene

This “scaled-up” drawing is a popular backdrop for selfies.

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The mural is already a popular photo-ready spot for concert goers, residents and musical artists. Elayne Brick, owner of the Sellersville Theater, is on the right. The mural is already a popular photo-ready spot for concert goers, residents and musical artists. Elayne Brick, owner of the Sellersville Theater, is on the right.

REMEMBER THE SHOE Fashion Fone? One may need be “of a certain age,” as the novelty item dates back to the 1980’s, when its appearance on a highly rated television show helped to sell millions… But what’s this got to do with prints or wraps, you ask?

Artist Dominic Falcone, advertising executive and the Shoe Fashion Fone’s designer, had retired to Sellersville, PA, an old textile town, according to Peter Naber, president of a Signarama location in neighboring Lansdale. Falcone reconnected with Steve Barth, a consultant charged with developing economic vitality in Sellersville and surrounding towns. With the blessing of Sellersville Borough Manager Eileen Bradley, Barth approached Elayne Brick, owner of the Sellersville Theater, a 300-seat live music venue and the central feature in town. Barth envisioned a mural on the side of her building and Brick was thrilled, Naber relates, as she’d always wanted to do a mural but didn’t know where to start. “Not an uncommon thought!” Naber adds.

Instagram posts with the mural as backdrop — and celebrities such as Billy Bob Thornton (left) and J.D. Andrew — will help promote the Sellersville Theater.

Serendipity shone on Barth when Falcone appeared at the borough offices and volunteered to help beautify the town, but at 80 years old, Falcone couldn’t paint a mural as large as envisioned, so Barth turned to Signarama Lansdale, “a company experienced in applying graphics to rough walls,” Naber says. Falcone provided a hand-drawn mural and reviewed the process of producing and applying it. “The team was now assembled,” Naber recalls. “We were set from concept to completion.”

The mural measures 40 ft. wide and 20 ft. high. However, the rendering for the mural came in just slightly larger than a piece of paper. The drawing was scanned and traced in Adobe Illustrator so it could be vectorized.

“In homage to the century of music performed at Sellersville Theater, the contemporary design incorporates elements of musical instruments,” Naber points out. An Easter egg is incorporated into the acoustic guitar with an outline of the Liberty Bell. “Legend has it that the bell was hidden in Sellersville during the Revolutionary War to escape capture by the British,” Naber adds. “A keen eye can see the Liberty Bell crack in the mural!”

Signarama Lansdale used SAi Flexi for layout and proofing, which went through multiple revisions over many weeks until all parties were satisfied. Once the team in Sellersville was able to see a sample of the vinyl actually being installed, it exceeded their expectations and they particularly appreciated how the texture of the wall was able to show in the vinyl, Naber says, making it look more authentic.

Given the go-ahead, Naber’s company used SAi Production Manager as the RIP to print 18 panels, each approximately 52 x 12 in., on 3M Envision Print Wrap Film LX480mC, employing the shop’s HP Latex 360 printer. They then used their Ledco Laminator to apply 3M Scotchcal Matte Overlaminate 8520.

Installation took three days, requiring a 3M TSA-4 Two-Handed Textured Surface Applicator coupled with a Wagner heat gun for the majority of the work. They also used a 3M TSA-1 Textured Surface Applicator to tack the vinyl on the top few inches of the wall. The mural is expected to last several years.

“Proper installation technique requires tremendous heat partnered with the right speed,” Naber says. “Setting the heat gun to 1,000 degrees and moving the TSA-4 with the appropriate speed and with the appropriate overlap ensures good adhesions to the wall. Too fast and the adhesion isn’t complete, but too slow and the vinyl can burn. It’s important to keep the pressure even and the heat gun at a consistent distance from the wall.”

For each panel, Naber advises, set the edge on three sides without heat to leave a pathway for air to escape. “There’s no way around it; it’s a slow and tedious process,” Nabor concludes. “We applied 800 sq. ft. of rough wall vinyl one inch at a time.”

PHOTO GALLERY (2 IMAGES)

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Mark Kissling is Signs of the Times’ Editor-in-Chief. Contact him at mark.kissling@smartworkmedia.com.

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