We have created a quick little list for you to take note of prior to wrapping your vehicle with the aim of making your install as problem free and as easy as possible.

But first, these are some of the tools most commonly used to wrap a vehicle:

  • Heat Gun
  • Squeegee
  • Cutting Blade
  • Cutting Tape
  • Cleaning Solution
  • Measuring Tape
  • Gloves
  • Infrared Thermometer​
  • Vinyl holding magnets
  • Film Backing Cutter

Before you begin wrapping, you need to remove any trim, inside liners, mouldings, handles, etc. that might prevent you from covering an area entirely. Make sure you have plenty of room to work. Even if a handle does not cover the surface you plan to work on, if it impedes your movement at all, you need to remove it.

Identify the areas that might be a cause for concern. Which pieces have a lot of curves (such as the bumper) that will create tension on the wrap? Are there issues with the paint? Does the car need bodywork? Vinyl, like color, shows every imperfection once it’s applied. It’s imperative that you fix anything that is not perfectly smooth on the vehicle surface.

Need some gear? We got it all!!

Top Tips For A Successful Vehicle Wrap:
1. Make sure you have images of the vehicle prior to planning the design.
2. Determine where all the joins will fall (if any). Use the natural lines of the vehicle, whether horizontal or vertical. Use door panels/weld lines to cover overlaps and ensure if the film is textured, such as brushed steel or carbon fibre, that the grain will run in one direction, usually front to back
3. Thoroughly wash the vehicle down with soap and water, removing any wax coating, dirt and grime, especially in deep crevasses and door jambs .
4. Degrease the vehicle with a 3M or Avery isopropyl alcohol surface cleaner. Surface cleaners are usually fast drying so each complete panel can be done directly prior to wrapping it to ensure from the time it is cleaned, to the time the film is layed on the panel, no dust or dirt will have a chance to stick to the surface.
5. For solvent printed media allow a minimum of 48hrs to outgas. The rolls should be left standing vertically and loosely wound (print side out) to help with airflow and should be turned regularly as the solvents are heavier than air. The more the vinyl can be allowed to de-gas, the less tacky the adhesive will feel and the easier the graphic will be to fit.

FML Design prints using a latex wide format HP printer, eliminating the need to wait. You can laminate within minutes of the film leaving the printer.
6. Laminate with cold rollers only. Do not use excessive tension on the rollers.
7. Use a hard velvet edged squeegee or similar to avoid scratching.
8. Apply the vinyl to the flattest part of the panel first (create a base line) working from side to side, keeping the vinyl as level as possible. Stretch the vinyl without heat over the whole area and do not work the film into the more complicated areas such as recesses until later.
9. When stretching the vinyl, always pull outwards from the largest area of the vinyl you can to spread the tension. This also applies when you use extra heat to soften and stretch the vinyl, apply heat to a larger area than you need as this should help to avoid distorting the graphic.
10. Try not to cut the vinyl directly on the body of the vehicle, but if you must, when cutting through the vinyl on the bodywork or around handles you can stick electrical tape to the surface first for depth control. Use a new blade each and every time you cut through the vinyl. The weight of the blade should be enough without having to apply extra pressure.
11. Post heat to 95ºC or above and unless you have had extensive experience, try to always use an infra red temperature gauge to be sure that you have reached this temperature. Anything less and the vinyl will retain its memory and cause the graphic to pop out of recesses and curves. This post heating must be carried out scrupulously on all areas where the wrap has been stretched to fit, especially in deep recesses. Do not overheat as you may damage the film.
12. If vehicle wrapping in colder weather it is sometimes better to ensure the vehicle doesn’t leave the workshop until the following day. The vehicle and vinyl should be allowed to cool down at the same rate as the workshop. This will help to avoid thermal shock and reduce the risk of failure in the recesses.

We hope these few tips were helpful if your planning on trying a little DIY wrapping. If it looks a bit too tricky, remember FML Design offer a complete end to end wrapping service on any make/model or vehicle. Fire us an email or give us a call to discuss your project further.

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Author fmldesign

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