That seems to be our mantra many days and for many projects- whether its a widget for a theater projector, or a school project, or a sign solving a previously undiscovered problem... or this week, a bumper sticker display.

I spent a few minutes waking around Ace Hardware last week with the manager, Lou, trying to find the perfect plastic tray to keep a new sticker stacked neatly and displayed for sale at his store. You see, just that morning I had finished the artwork on the Mountain Strong sticker that we were going to sell and donate profits toward flood relief, and had decided that we would also try offering it in a few retail locations...

They didn't have the perfect tray, so back to the shop. I poked around our shelves and stacks of irregular containers saved for unique circumstances like this, but never found the perfect one.

Then I came across the stack of Coroplast... If you know this material, you probably also love it. Coroplast closely resembles corrugated cardboard except its polypropylene and nearly impermeable to chemicals and adverse weather in addition to being super lightweight and difficult to destruct, so I like it because we can make stuff easily, and with minimal cost since each piece is less than a couple of dollars. I started to visualize a sticker stand, with a display sign and bold promotion to BUY A STICKER NOW.


And now dear reader, witness the birth of the Mountain Strong sticker stand:


1- The 'bold' size Mountain Strong stickers measure about 4 x 8, and theoretically a display holds them in a neat stack, but at least advertises them and provides a place to keep them together.




2- Coroplast is a fun, sturdy solution for many display fabrication projects, we use it for short term signs that need to be produced quickly and efficiently. We'll use an 18 x 24" sheet for this project which will yield 2 of our new sticker displays with some scraps left over.




3- To start to play out some ideas and get a concept of what the stand will look like, I started by cutting the material to the width of the sticker, with the flutes running parallel to the top edge of the sticker, which allows for easy cuts through half of the plastic and easy bends at any angle. Then I used 2 or 3 pieces trying different angles and cuts to fabricate a sturdy stand and base.




4- Cutting across the ribs it's imperative to use firm pressure on a metal edge. Easy first cut to score, then a firm second cut, then the third breaks through. Get too aggressive and you'll go off track. Everytime. Oh, you'll want to triple check that your finger and thumb tips are inside the cutting side of the metal edge. I lose fingerprints when I violate this rule- but it hasn't happened for a few years.




5- This shape seemed to provide the best shape to hold a small display sticker above the stack, and maintain a base for the stickers to stay together with the sign.




6- I'm surprised how much we use this double sided tape. It's strong enough for  small projects like this, and on larger projects can hold quite a bit of weight (with enough tape). It's MUCH less expensive than commercial VHB foam tape, and with coroplast becomes an invisible bond thanks to the thin profile and high tack. This position will hold the display back up and form the first side of the support triangle.




7- I love being the manufacturer! We can print anything on any material, and fast! Makes for excellent prototypes or display building. Oh, also comes in handy for clients' sign projects!




8- One of the tricks with Coroplast is laying vinyl down without getting a billion bubbles. I find that rolling a vinyl piece on (dry) and parallel to the ribs works 99% of the time unless I get distracted. The ribs create little channels that trap air if you work perpendicular to them. Then, trim vinyl to match edges.




9- You can see the concept of the display now. Still needs to be fastened somehow at the base.




10- Velcro is my other fabrication buddy. We buy an industrial velcro fastener in big rolls, so we're not afraid to use it. Here, the loops applied to the bottom edge of the display sign will lock into a small piece of hook material on the base.




11- I located the hooks on the base by positioning the display sign at the angle I liked, then moving it out of the way to stick the loops down, and ...




12- Voila! Sturdy stand up display sign ready for a couple more stickers and sample sticker.




13- When un-velcroed (is that a real word?), the display lays flat.




14- Having laid the stickers in place, I trimmed the front edge of the base off to hide the white plastic. I have already applied the sticker that provides our website for reorders when the stickers run out.





15- I applied one of the finished Mountain Strong stickers as a display sample. The logo is bright and colorful from the mind of graphic designer Gary Hazelton at the Estes Park News. This is the same artwork that Tim Buck is printing shirts with at Trail Ridge Printers.





16- Nothing goes out the door without a Signs of Life sticker! This allows clients to easily reorder stickers, an new sign or just put the name in front of them every day... Always 'sign' your work sign people!




17- Ready to deliver- this display made its way to True Value Hardware just 30 minutes after being assembled when they called and asked if they could join the effort to raise money by selling them.


Now, this piece will provide an easy display for a custom sized product that doesn't have a 'perfect' container. The concept works for almost any size of sign display project. We've used it for life size digital prints of people with the same success.

Is your mouth watering for a Mountain Strong sticker? You can also find them online at : http://www.estesparksign.com/stickers.php