#automotivewrap PHOENIX, AZ

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The Vinyl Wrap Process

Step By Step Guide ~ How To Vinyl Wrap

Step 1: Approach / Inspecting Area / Removal of Vinyl Wrap

The first step in any quality install is good prep and a solid approach. To properly plan your projects, you must know how much vinyl is necessary to wrap the part. You will also want to try and remove anything that is blocking you from wrapping the surface entirely. Knowing how much vinyl you need, where tension areas are, issues with the paint, etc. are all important things to consider. Once you have all parts removed such as liners, moldings, handles, etc., it’s time to get cleaning!

Step 2: Cleaning & Prep Prior to Vinyl Wrapping

A clean surface/product is by far the most important thing to consider when wrapping anything. Most surfaces can be cleaned by using a degreaser and then 70% Isopropyl Alcohol. You will want to make sure the surface that you are wrapping is smooth to the touch. You would think that the vinyl would cover chips, scratches, or dirt debris, but it doesn’t. The vinyl contours to any area and if there are imperfections, they will be visible once the project is completed.

Step 3: Vinyl Wrap Size & Measurements

Once everything is removed and the surface is cleaned, you will want to measure out a piece of vinyl that fits roughly 4-6 inches longer than the piece that you are wrapping. If you are skilled, you can trim the vinyl to a smaller size if you are looking to save money on the vinyl. For starters, it’s easier to work with more vinyl than less. The vinyl comes in a 60” roll by 25 feet in length. Some companies will sell less material based on the project but the standard roll is 60” or 5 feet. Most panels on a vehicle are smaller than 60” but there are times when you have to cut multiple pieces for an oversized hood/roof/trunk.

Step 4: Laying Vinyl Wrap

Double check that the surface is prepped and clear of dust and debris that might have been floating around while you were taking measurements. It’s easiest to have a friend with clean hands help pull the backing off the vinyl, but you can also fold back one of the corners, tack the edge, and pull gently across the surface if you know what you are doing.

Once the backing is off, the adhesive will be tacky but not 100% tacky until pressure has been applied. For wide surfaces, it’s preferred to work inside out. Trapped air is your enemy. So you will want to keep your edges lifted so that you aren’t trapping air as you are squeegeeing. It is recommended that you hold the vinyl slightly off the surface as you run your squeegee across the surface.

Once you have all the air released and your vinyl is perfectly flat, test your work by taking a heat gun and go over the area that you just flattened. If any air is trapped, it will bubble and you can push the air out if the vinyl has air release. Heating before you make your cuts ensures that you can lift the vinyl off the vehicle if trapped air is too stubborn to release.

Step 5: Cutting Vinyl Wrap

First thing to remember when making cuts is that the razor will slice thru paint very easily, so you want to watch your blade and put it away when not in use. When the vinyl is laid on the panel, you will want to trim the vinyl to fit the piece perfectly to the edge or enough to wrap behind it. When wrapping a body panel, you can use the outer edge of the body line to make the cut so there is roughly 1/4cm or so to tuck around the edge. This will ensure that you have enough vinyl to cover the color underneath or in the cracks. Always keep the blade off the vehicle and only using the edge to run across but not slicing. Practicing on other parts before wrapping the body paint would be the best idea if you are unfamiliar with wrapping.

Step 6: Tucking Vinyl Edges

After all the cuts are made, you will want to tuck all your edges. This process can make or break a wrap. There are a lot of people that can wrap a flat panel fast and efficiently, but they lack the quality in wrapping edges nicely. A proper edge shouldn’t have wrinkles (fingers) and it shouldn’t lift. If there is too much stretch or tension, the edges will fail.

Step 7: Post Heat

The final step is a quality post heat over what you’ve just laid, cut, and tucked. Post heating the surface will make sure that there isn’t too much tension on any area and will usually show you signs of failure by the vinyl curling up or failing. On deep pockets and contoured edges, a post heat will help to make sure that those areas don’t pop when the wrap is exposed to the sun. Clean the surface after the post heat with some alcohol and inspect your panel!