A car wrap is a digital print affixed to the surface of a vehicle for aesthetic, protective or advertisement purposes. In recent years car wraps have become more popular. Some businesses even pay car owners to advertise their goods or services. Choosing to install your own car wrap can save you a lot of money. Although the designing and printing of the wrap is technical, the actual installation is a rather uncomplicated matter. There are two ways in which wraps can be applied--dry or wet. The dry application is the easier of the two.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Car wrap
- Sticky tape
- Sharp knife or scalpel
- Heat gun
- Sponge or squeegee
Prepare the vehicle by cleaning outside thoroughly, paying particular attention to paint work. Remove any extra items that would get in your way, such as windshield wipers, side mirrors and bumper stickers. Leave the car to dry fully.
Take the car wrap and tape it around the car fully in place. This will ensure that you have enough to cover all detail. It also allows you to check that details (texts and images) are in the correct place such as door hinges.
Starting at the back of the car, carefully apply the wrap. Use the sponge or squeegee to press on surface and ensure that there are no bubbles or raised areas. It can take more than an hour to apply the whole wrap. Although the wrap may stretch a little around corners, it can also tear rather easily. Use the heat gun to apply heat to the surface in order to make the wrap more malleable and allow it to stretch further around the edges and corners as needed.
Check the car for any bubbles and raised areas that you have missed. These weaken the bond and can lead to tears fast. Using a pin, allow the air to escape and gently smooth wrap down with the squeegee.
Using a fine scalpel, cut and trim the wrap to fit neatly around the car lights, screens and windows. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, or else the paint will be cut as well. Once finished, allow wrap 24 hours to adhere fully before driving the vehicle.
Tips and warnings
- If you are not confident using a knife, cut out detailing around lights, windows and other objects before applying wrap to avoid unsightly cuts.
- Using a razor blade to remove bubbles may be advised in other places. Unless you know what you are doing, don't do this. A tiny cut can easily become a tear and ruin your wrap.
- Do not overstretch the wrap. This creates weak points and may lead to ripping. Use the heat gun to make wrap more workable. Allow the wrap to cool down, however, before applying any paint.
- Work the heat gun gradually from a distance, slowly moving toward the surface area in order not to apply more heat than is needed to stretch the wrap without tearing it.
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