The COVID-10 pandemic is somehow giving people enough personal time that may seem unattainable before. Almost every person in the world is having the time of their life. People are now resting well, enjoying family bonding, binge-watching, and developing their skills, which include DIY car wrapping!
Now, turning your dull car with a killer vinyl wrap at home by yourself has never been easier. Thanks to the widely advised social distancing, car wrapping professionals are tipping us with good advice on how to DIY car wrapping. These pro tips are readily available everywhere online, but we’ve summed up everything here for you. Read on.
A standard 60-inch wide and 25 feet long vinyl roll will not usually work. Suppliers would typically recommend 5-15% extra vinyl film when doing a complete vehicle wrap. Other experts would advise adding 4-6 inches as an allowance, too.
For example, take a look at this simple car measurement:
Car Length x 3 (allowance for the edges) + 10-15’ (extra vinyl film)
After that, round it up to the closest vinyl roll size you can order online. Whether it’s a 5-15% or a 4-6” add-on, both will ensure all the edges can be neatly tucked, or you’ll have enough material in case you mess up a panel of the car.
Any vinyl application will last long and hinge well on a clean surface. Even if you’re using one with a quality adhesive, it would never stick well if a surface is greasy and grimy. That’s why the rule of thumb is to clean all car areas that you want to vinyl wrap meticulously. According to experts, the oiliest, waxiest, and dirtiest areas in your car include:
Rusty areas shouldn’t be overlooked, as well. Vinyl doesn’t glue to rust for a long time. Insisting to cover rusty spots would only cause small openings over time. What’s worse is your car might continue to rust below the vinyl. Eventually, an unattractive bubbling of rust will occur through the film.
How about surface mars, like deep scratches or paint chips? These recesses will show through the vinyl, so make sure to have them refilled. As a final touch (for cleaning), it’s advised to wipe 70% Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol on car sections where you’re going to install vinyl.
When tucking the edges, avoid overstretching the vinyl adhesive tape. If you overstretch the vinyl and consequently made it thin, the amount of glue allotted per square inch will decrease. As a result, the tape will not effectively adhere to your car, which eventually results in the vinyl wrap lifting or curling.
Overstretched vinyl tape adversely alters the film’s look, too. For patterned vinyl films like those of Autowrapz Car Wraps in Sydney, overstretching the vinyl will stretch and distort the supposed pattern of the tape. Also, it can cause discoloration of solid colored vinyl. For instance, it can turn matte finishes to be shiny or gloss finishes to be less sleek.
In addition to ineffective adhesion and damaged vinyl film looks, your car will also be less protected if the film has thinned out. Hence, you want to be careful when applying the heat on the tape. Vehicle vinyl film gets easily overstretched when the heat is applied.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean you’ll skip post-heating. Your DIY vinyl car wrapping will always be incomplete unless you post-heat. Doing so sets the vinyl in place for good, especially areas like curves, shapes, and corners, and gets rid of bubbles caused by any trapped air. There’s no need, however, to heat areas on flat surfaces.
Once more, pay close attention to the amount of heat that you’re going to apply. Don’t place the heat gun too close to the tape. Ideally, enough heat means you want the tape to soften a bit to smooth out any wrinkles eventually.
Also, be vigilant with warnings like when the vinyl comes off the surface. This means it’s no good, which may translate to the inability to withstand the stresses of strong weather. You have to reapply the vinyl if this is the case (but that’s no big deal, given that you’d prepared extra film).
It’s true that there’s always a difference between an amateur job and a professional finish. One example of this difference is on tucking the edges. Most DIYers put much tension in the vinyl film, especially when wrapping it along the curved edge of one panel. Consequently, this would tear the tape. If this happens, let go of this tension with the use of a heat gun and, again, be sure not to overheat the tape.