Instead of having it painted, how about having a local shop silk screen it?
If you check around with them, someone may already have a set of screens for t-shirts that they use or something.
See the trouble with vinyl is that a lot of stuff doesn't like to stick to it either.
I think that the covers that come with something printed on them are silk screened or heat transfer or something along those lines. That way it doesn't peel off.
OH! I have an idea! Take it to an upholstery shop! They could do it as an an applique!
06 Rubi with some sort of double ended, chrome knobbed, cross threaded, infinitely adjustable, frequently breakable, worn out flammywhammers zip tied onto it.
It used to be a jeep thing... til that sh!t broke!