Unless you’re into cars, or have a very unique job, you probably don’t know too much about vehicle wraps or vehicle wrap installation. However, since you’re reading this article, it’s safe to assume you want to fix that. With that in mind, here’s a short tutorial / guide about vehicle wraps – what they are, why you should use them, how to use them, and so on – and vehicle wrap installation, in terms the layman can understand. Enjoy!
What, Exactly, is a Vehicle Wrap?
For those that don’t know, vehicle wraps are just what they sound like: a sheath of material which is wrapped around a vehicle, and to which graphics or other custom artwork is applied. They are also a low-cost, high-quality alternative to expensive, labor-intensive custom paint jobs, in that unlike traditional custom vehicle painting, a vehicle wrap can be easily removed when you’re done with whatever job necessitated its installation. This is especially helpful if you’re leasing a vehicle, rather than simply modifying one you already own.
What Type of Material Should I Use?
Now that you know what a vehicle wrap is, the next step in the vehicle wrap installation process is choosing the right material for your needs. There are basically two types of material used in vehicle wraps, and, as with many other things in life, which one you choose to work with depends upon your budget and the needs of your particular project. Here’s a breakdown of each material, along with a handy guide on why you might choose to use one over the other:
* Cast Film: The entire point of vehicle wraps is to mimic the look of a custom paint job without actually having a custom paint job. Vehicle wraps made of cast film accomplish this very well. This is due to the fact that the material used to make the wrap has an inherent ability to conform to – that is, mold to the shape of – the vehicle undergoing the wrap. Additionally, cast film is, on average, about two millimeters thick, which helps it give vehicles that “just painted” look. Finally, cast film vehicle wraps are also extremely durable, lasting up to five years. The trade-off to all of this is, as you might have guessed, price. Cast film is more expensive than the other material used to make vehicle wraps…
Vinyl: Unlike cast film, which is used almost exclusively for full vehicle wraps, vinyl is used for individual graphics. This helps cut the price of the vinyl option (so if you’re on a budget, this may be for you), but it is also less durable and prone to aesthetic abnormalities. The bottom line is that vinyl will do the job, but it is not designed to be a long-term solution.
How to Apply Your Vehicle Wrap
To apply your vehicle wrap, a thorough cleaning of your car’s exterior is necessary. Make sure you remove all waxes and other substances, or the wrap won’t stick! After everything is nice and clean, you want to make sure that your temperature is optimal – around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes the wrap more pliable, and thus, easier to apply. If you’re working with vinyl graphics, you’ll want to place them where you want them, and then tape them down with masking tape. In both cases, final application will be accomplished using a squeegee (you’ll then want to remove any tape). An air release tool of some kind will be helpful in eliminating any bubbles that might form, and of course, a tape measure is always advised. Lastly, in the case of full vehicle wraps, you’ll want a very sharp blade for cutting & trimming purposes (around the door handles, wheel wells, and so on). It’s worth noting that you can do all of this by yourself, but having help makes it both easier and more fun!
And there you have it. If you follow this outline, and ask for help when you need it, you should have no trouble finishing your very own vehicle wrap installation. See you on the road!