Giant wall murals are always a challenge, especially when it comes time to install the behemoths. Park Printing Solutions, working in conjunction with its client, Gander Mountain, found the perfect solution.
Gander Mountain was in the midst of opening a number of new stores and updating some of its older stores when the outdoor gear superstore heard about Park Printing Solutions. Given Park Printing’s expertise and reputation for creating outstanding environmental graphics programs, and the nature of Gander Mountain’s needs, Park Printing was a logical choice.
The question, as always, centered on the best material for such a project. Some of the wall mural installations would go up on drywall, others on painted cinder block. The drywall solution was simple: inkjet receptive, commercial grade vinyl wall covering that’s applied like regular wallpaper. For the cinder block walls, Gander Mountain decided to build giant frames upon which to apply the wall covering. Gander Mountain stuck with an inkjet receptive vinyl wall covering (pun intended) for this project because the Gander Mountain installation team preferred a wallpaper-like application, it would maintain a consistent look and it would simply look better.
“If you compare a flat matte wall covering material to a typical vinyl that has a sheen to it, the wall covering will look much more chic, which is what they were going for,” says Mike Stolen, product manager for Park Printing Solutions, based in Verona, Wis. Park Printing Solutions chose to use LexJet Velvet WallPro SUV for the project, which would entail dozens of approximately 12 ft. x 50 ft. murals.
“You could have a material that looks great printed, but your installation team may call back and tell you that it doesn’t lay down well. What we were running into was a seaming problem; we were using a thicker wall covering material, and because it was thicker it was difficult to get that micro edge you’re after for a seamless seam. You could see a little strip of white, which wasn’t acceptable to some customers,” says Stolen. “We found LexJet’s material and we went back to an area in our shop where we have some white walls and installed a 14-foot mural as a test. Our installation team said it went up very nicely. It was thinner, lighter and easier to work with. Most importantly, when it went up we noticed that the seams were almost invisible. When we brought this product to the attention of our customers they were a little skeptical at first, but when they saw the product every one of them thought it looked great. We’re on our fifth or sixth project with the LexJet material and we’ve had great luck so far.”
Gander Mountain also tested the product before going through with the order. Though Park Printing has its own installation crew, Gander Mountain also has a professional team it prefers to use in its stores. Park Printing sent them an eight-foot section to test. They called a couple of days later, said they loved it and told Park Printing to start the presses.
Park Printing used its low-solvent Roland printers to produce the job, sealed the graphics with its Seal liquid laminator and shipped them to Gander Mountain for installation.
“We don’t have to use liquid laminate, but our track record has been so good all over the U.S. that we don’t want to switch. The installation team likes it because they can put more pressure on it and work with different tools,” says Stolen.
The panels were applied vertically in 54 in. strips, double butt-cut for the seams. Stolen says that from five feet away, which is their normal distance to check graphics for quality control, the seams were practically invisible.