Vinyl car wrapping is a great investment as it can help protect your vehicle’s paint job, more affordable than an overall body paint, and there are lots of design possibilities. While you’re sure to get a more polished look when done by professionals, vinyl wrapping is also possible to do on your own if you’re a seasoned DIYer.
With a steady hand, you can apply a smooth, durable and long-lasting full wrap thanks to more resilient vinyl, air-release technology and better adhesives.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to wrap a car:
1. Do a quick check of your car
Check the car’s surface – it should be smooth enough for wrapping. While minor scratches usually won’t be a problem, rust, dents, and chips can affect the vinyl wrap. If the wrap sticks to the dent, it will be more visible.
This is because wraps are designed to contour to the vehicle. If it doesn’t stick, the wrap will bubble and ruin the wrap job. This is why it’s recommended that damages should be repaired first before attempting to wrap your car.
2. Choose a location and check the temperature
Make sure you work in a clean and controlled environment to keep dust away from under the wrap. Any debris, dust, or bug can ruin the vinyl finish. Sweep, vacuum and close the doors for a good vinyl wrap result.
Also, wash the car to avoid any contamination during installation. Insufficient cleaning of your work area may result in bubbles, vinyl lifting off the surface, and debris under the vinyl.
Since vinyl and adhesives are temperature sensitive, your car and the wrap should be at the same temperature, around 20 degrees Celsius. Vinyl can become brittle and tear in colder environment, while the adhesive can make it difficult to install during hot weather.
You can use an infrared thermometer to constantly monitor the temperature, or start the job at a different time of day to let everything acclimate for a while.
3. Gather your tools and materials
Usually, an average car uses a vinyl roll that’s about 7 metres long and 1.5 metres wide. Other materials you’ll also need are:
- Wax and grease remover
- Lint-free cloths
- Cutting tape
- Utility knife
- Heat gun
- Cotton wrap gloves
- Cutting tape
4. Measure each section you plan on wrapping
Sketch a diagram of your car’s panels and record the measurements. Remember to measure twice and cut once. Always add a few inches for handling. For instance, don’t try to wrap a 1.7-metre hood with a 1.7-metre wrap as it’s guaranteed that you’ll come up short.
5. Lay the first sheet of vinyl
Start with smaller and flatter sections to help build momentum. Use your sketch and measurements to figure out the size of material to cut. Wearing your cotton gloves, hold the vinyl in the air and carefully remove the backing paper. Keep even tension to prevent creases or wrinkles.
Carefully lay the wrap on the panel and leave a few inches around the edges to let you easily manipulate it. Gently press the wrap on the centre while keeping tension. Use the squeegee to work overlapping strokes from the middle, toward the edges of the panel. It will help remove air and adhere the vinyl to the panel.
6. Press out air and wrinkles
Curved surfaces are the challenging parts, so if you notice bubbles or wrinkles, gently peel back the wrap and apply heat, about 80 degrees Celsius. Add tension to properly stick it into place, then use the squeegee to help work it to the edges. Be patient in getting it right, especially on curved surfaces.
The easiest way to make seams is to overlap a piece of vinyl over another. It just requires careful alignment with no cutting. You can use snap knives to avoid snagging – just be gentle to avoid damaging the underlying paint.
7. Wrap the edges of the panels
Trim excess material off the edges, and use a heat gun to evenly heat the panel and vinyl wrap to about 100 degrees Celsius. Use the squeegee to seal the edge of the vinyl, and ensure it cools down before trimming.
Once the edges and corners are sealed, use the heat gun for the rest of the panels to activate the adhesive. This will help for a long-term bond, but if bubbles appear, you can pop them safely with a pin, then press down with your fingers. Use a thermometer to ensure even heating, then wait for at least 12 hours for the adhesive to set completely.
To maintain your vinyl wrap, gentle hand washing is recommended. Use a silicone squeegee in removing excess water, then dry with microfibre towels. Avoid brush car washes as they can scratch the surface of the wrap.
High-Quality Car Wrapping Services
Seven Smart Auto offers car wrapping services that add more personality and protection to your vehicle. You’ll get a customised service and excellent results that will last a long time.
Call us today at 0452-471-690 or fill out our online form to find out more about our services.