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Old 06-05-2018, 08:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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DIY Vinyl Graphics

Hi friends,

I just did a complete custom vinyl graphics package for my car.

This is a 2012 Mitsubishi iMiEV. It was just plain white. However, Mitsubishi had an official partner which provided graphics for these cars as an alternative to paint-jobs. One of them was a cow spot pattern called the "Moo Moo Edition".

There was even a scale model collectable of the Moo Moo Edition, but as far as I know, nobody ever actually got that graphic package.

So, to keep my car from being boring AND have a little fun, I thought I'd make my own.

This was actually pretty straight-forward. I used a Silhouette Cameo 3 cutter. That's a consumer-level CNC cutting device. It's about the size and shape of an inkjet printer. I did a little work in a graphics program to make the cow spots, then exported the files to the cutter.

I cut the spots from a roll of adhesive-backed vinyl. To apply the spots, I spritzed the car body with a spray bottle of soapy water. That made it so that when I applied the graphic, it didn't just stick instantly - I could reposition it as needed. It also made it so I could get the air-bubbles out which would otherwise be trapped under the vinyl. When I was happy with it, I would squeegee out the soapy water and the graphics would be neatly applied and permanently in place.

I made a 60 second video overview and a full-length step by step of the process.




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Old 06-05-2018, 08:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I recently bought my wife a Cricut brand cutter.

I can't say I would have that design on my car.... but I do like the creativity!
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Old 06-05-2018, 09:21 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Haha, you did it!

How long would you say it took to do it all?
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Old 06-05-2018, 09:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I did the driver's side first, as a test to see how it would work, and if I would like the overall finished look. That took a solid afternoon.

The rest probably took two more afternoons. Plus some general messing around, figuring out how to do the project. I also built a "paper towel holder" to support the vinyl roll to make it easier to do the banner-style cutting.



Lastly, my hand isn't 100% yet, I just got the cast off 2 weeks ago. I think I was still wearing it when I did the driver's side of the car. Only having one and a half hands makes things a little challenging.

Overall, I would say that if somebody else were to do something similar, it's a weekend project.
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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OK, now all you need an exterior speaker and a button on the dash so you can MOO! at pedestrians in parking lots to avoid of creeping up and startling them!


I put a bicycle bell in the grille of the ForkenSwift for that. But a mooing car would be much better.
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
OK, now all you need an exterior speaker and a button on the dash so you can MOO! at pedestrians in parking lots to avoid of creeping up and startling them!


I put a bicycle bell in the grille of the ForkenSwift for that. But a mooing car would be much better.
That a good one, I have had several people walk out in front of me.
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I felt bad when I occasionally startled people. The bell was a good solution. Tapping the horn wasn't a good solution (also unnecessarily startling), but a bell is a much friendlier sound. And it made some people laugh when saw a little electric car, not a bike, behind them.
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Old 06-05-2018, 06:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I always liked the Forkenswift bell.

I think that perhaps this car needs a cow-bell hanging from the mirror. I can hit it with a drum-stick and yell "More Cow Bell!"

The car does have bluetooth on the stereo. I've played mooing sound effects from my phone through the car speakers. I did that one time with my wife and daughter in the car while we were driving through the downtown of our local city. We were all laughing pretty hard from that.
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Old 06-06-2018, 10:10 AM   #9 (permalink)
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So, was cow car 2.0 easier or harder to do than your first cow car?
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Old 06-06-2018, 10:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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90 day: 334.6 mpg (US)

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It was different.

The original cow was was just some really simple newspaper stencils and cans of black spray paint. I freehand cut the spots however I wanted. I also got some over-spray of the black. I probably should have used more newspaper to mask larger areas.

On the new cow car, I was trying to REPLICATE a particular pattern from a model car. I actually traced those images and scaled and matched them to my vehicle. It was more total time and effort, but I also put a lot more thought and purpose into it.

Using a vinyl-cutter was nicer than working with paint. If I don't like the spots, I could always remove them. They look really nice and clean. I really like the finished effect.

The feel of both cars is the same - fun, simple, silly. You look at it and smile. It's not an aggressive sports car, it's not a performance vehicle, but nor is it just a plain boring car.

I just did a little write-up on the WHY I did this. You can read this at my blog:
The Cow Car Rides Again!

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