Vinyl wrap is a simple, easy, and affordable way to achieve a new look for your car. Vinyl is an adhesive-backed plastic sheet that allows for hassle-free car customization. The popularity of vinyl-wrapping for cars has grown, and so have options and choices – such as colors, graphics, and patterns.
How to DYI vinyl Wrap a Car
Due to innovations and ever-increasing improvements in the car wrap industry, it is now more affordable and easier than ever to ‘do-it-yourself.’ Types of vinyl of higher resistance, advanced quality adhesives, and air-releasing technology, mean that both professionals and DYI dabblers can now quickly achieve expert results.
Although it is now a simple process, you must still take care and wrap the car properly to get the best outcome. Observe the following steps to achieve a professional finish of high standards..
1) Choose the Vinyl
The color and design is an important choice. However, you need to take into consideration your budget and the purpose of wrapping. Is your preference longevity and quality, or are you looking for something more cost-efficient? Two common types of vinyl are Cast Vinyl and Calendered Vinyl, which provide differing degrees of vinyl quality at varying costs.
Cast Vinyl –
Cast vinyl is a very thin material that has a close resemblance to a paint finish. It is highly recommended for longevity and, if cared for properly, can last up to 12 years. Cast Vinyl is a pricier option but boasts better quality.
Calendared Vinyl –
Due to its stiffness and thickness, Calendared vinyl is much easier to use and handle. It has a higher production rate, which brings down the cost, meaning that this a much more affordable option.
2) Car Surface Preparation
For a superior DIY vinyl finish, the car must be prepped before the wrap begins –
- Clean the car thoroughly. Make sure to use alcohol products, and ensure there is no lint or dust on the car’s surface.
- Remove obstacles from the car’s surface. Although it is possible to wrap-around mirrors, emblems, headlights, and so on, it will save you a large amount of labor time if you remove them first.
- Measure car sections. Make sure to take measurements of all the sections you plan to wrap, and include a couple of inches for handling.
Place the Vinyl
Take your time and refer back to the measurement you made.
- Begin with flatter and smaller sections.
- Keep tension on the wrap while removing the paper backing.
- Lay down the wrap carefully, and leave spare material at the edges for easier manipulation.
- Use your hand or a squeegee to smooth out any wrinkles or air pockets.
Edge and Finish
Cut down any excess material with a utility knife. Once the vinyl is cut to a quarter inch of the perimeter, heat the edges of the wrap to activate the adhesive. Firmly seal the vinyl edges to the panel of the car with your hands or with a squeegee. After the edges and corners are sealed and set, use a heat gun on the rest of the vinyl and panels. Any bubbles that appear at this point can be safely popped, or smoothed out with your hand.
Care and Cleaning
For long-lasting results, wash the car often to prevent grime and dirt build-up. It is best to clean the vinyl gently, so the recommended method is hand washing. Wax products and polish can cause clouding and can affect the vinyl’s appearance, so check and research for products that are vinyl friendly. With proper upkeep and care, the car’s vinyl wrap could last up to 10 years.