---:WARNING: This is a DIY in progress.
It is not finished. Information may change over time, modifications, corrections, editions will happen. Please keep this in mind while reading, planning or commenting.
Readers and all Guests:
Please comment. Your Advice, information, experience, your homework around WILL help me and I'm sure anyone else interested in Vinyl Wrap.
I do not take responsibility if you scratch or damage your paint.
I can not stress this enough: you run a seriously real risk in damaging your paint in doing this DIY if unprepared. Still, no risk - no reward!
Anyways, you can always repair and repaint a car back to stock.
It's time to tell you a story, about seeing the car of your dreams - but it's the WRONG color. You've been there. Sitting in the dealership, haggling with the dealer that "It's not the right color". In the end, you swallow your pride, and take that bright neon green corolla. Mine was tan. I preferred a Forest Green one. Anyways. Again! My Aurora Blue RX-8 is well.. not the color I wanted. I was looking for a black RX-8, Brilliant Black or better - BlackCherry. Oh yeah!
So After having the front bumper one shade of Aurora Blue, and the rear bumper another shade of Aurora Blue; I've come to the decision to take my car back. It looks horrible. Workmanship on the front bumper is better, but still is off. So I began talking to friends, people that work in the painting of cars. Being me, I don't like not doing things myself. Enter Vinyl. I was interested in getting my paint to look stock, really Aurora Blue and not Off Shades. Somehow or another I mentioned stickers, and Greg mentioned why not get a "giant sticker". This is where I remember thinking about Duct Tape cars... not a great image. Greg said I should do my research and think about it... So here I am after a month of research and looking and reading... this is my guide. My knowledge about Vinyl Wrapping, for everyone.
The great thing about this is that Vinyl, in the clear form acts as a clear protective bra for factory paint. You know those wonderful rocks and bird crap that etch your paint. Yeah, that's something you can do yourself instead of paying someone.
We've got a few choices:
1. Paint the entire car.
1) Permanent. 2) Same color throughout the body 3) Able to be polished and shined 4) Looks great in all ways. 5) That Wet look is easy.
1) Permanent. 2) depends on the workmanship 3) Very expensive 4) Workmanship and Budget go hand in hand 5) Can drasticly decrease resale value 6) Takes a lot of preparation (More money) to do it right. 7) If it's a daily driver, you'll need transportation. 8) Time to do an extensive, detailed paint scheme will be higher and may need air brushing. 9) Can be very toxic
2. Paint one part at a time.
1) Permanent 2) Cheaper than shooting the entire car one color 3) less time is needed to prepare 4) Body panels can be taken off and the car can be driven 5) No rental needed.
1) Permanent, depends on the workmanship, May decreases the look of a car if the paint is not matched perfectly, Hard to replicate factory paint (flakes, especially
), Time spent is decreased for a part which may decrease workmanship. Parts tend to go unpainted for a long time, looking horrible.
3. Vinyl Wrapping.
1) Not Permanent (read below
). 2) Easy to work with medium. It can be pushed, pulled, heated, poked, cut, shaped and molded all without breaking the vinyl. It's very forgiving to work with. 2) Cheaper than painting the entire car and can be done at a fraction of the cost. can be done at a fraction of the cost which will help to speed up the color process. 4) Protects paint from bugs, small rocks, scratches. 5) Because it's not permanent, it protect the car's worth overtime - all the while changing the look of the car. 6) Can be done at home, with every-day objects. 7) Does not require a respirator. 8) Much more cost effective than painting a car for a business. 9) Vinyl designs can exceed what painting and air brushing can do - at a fraction of the time 10) Time. 2 days for a professional crew to do an entire car from scratch.
1) Not Permanent (read below
). 2) Workmanship matters: Preparation, Patience and Tools. 3) May cause paint damage. 4) It's a giant sticker, if inspected close enough, seams will be found. 5) Most people will not know how to take care of vinyl in an auto store - it's not something that's common. 6) Not a lot of people will do this themselves. 7) Can be very difficult to remove.
Vinyl is a much cheaper alternative than painting. Essentially it's the act of putting large, paint safe stickers to a vehicle. Known by other names: Auto Wraps, Car Wraps, Vinyl Graphics, Vehicle Graphics, Custom Vinyl Graphics, Vinyl Vehicle Graphics, Fleet Graphics, Vinyl Car Graphics. It also helps to protect the paint under the vinyl from rocks, scratches, etc. This option didn't really dawn on me until I seen the "Matte Blue" color on the internet. Seeing the transformation amazed me. And all done by one man. You know I'm not going to be shy about that!
The best thing about Vinyl is that it's a DIY thing - Solo. It's a stretch (pun not intended
), but it can be done. While Vinyl wrapping is still expensive (Prices 28.99 to 1000+), you can get your car your color much faster than waiting to paint which may be 2x to 4x expensive.
I've tried to include instructions for those that are also intrested in buying services for Vinyl wrapping. Mostly because I know not everyone will want to do this themselves - and that's okay.
Everything I type here is meant as a starting point. Not the "be all" guide. Technologies in car wrapping include "Knifeless Tape", Vinyl with Air release, Longer lasting, cheaper vinyl. Please watch videos, read articles, and more. I've tried to make my DIY current as of 2011. I am NOT a professional at car wrapping.
[|||||||||||||||||] A0. INTRODUCTION \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Originally Posted by Menu so far
-- A. Preface:
-- -- A0. Introduction
-- -- A1. Wrap Providers
-- -- A2. Terminology
-- -- A3. Learning
-- -- -- A3.1 LikeRx8club Theads
-- -- -- A3.2 Forums & Websites
-- -- -- A3.3 Videos
-- -- -- A3.4 Car Wrap Training
-- B. Do it yourself: Preparation
-- -- B1. Examining The Car
-- -- -- B1.1 Panel Sizes
-- -- -- B1.2 Mathmatics
-- -- B2. Vinyl Shopping
-- -- -- B2.1 Online Stores
-- -- -- B2.2 Questions to ask
-- -- -- B2.3 Shipping and Handling
-- -- B3. Tools Needed
-- -- -- B3.1 Basic Tools - Beginners
-- -- -- B3.2 Intermediate - Do it Yourselfer
-- -- -- B3.3 Expert - Professional Grade
-- -- -- B3.4 My Tools - Ghetto
-- C. Wrapping:
-- -- C1. Hints
-- -- C2. Final Preparation
When it comes to my cars. I'm very
peculiar about what happens, who touches, how it's done. Wrapping your car is much like ripping your engine out of the car without doing any homework. If done without proper care, you run the risk of vinyl lifting, peeling, tearing, bubbling. Worse still, you may damage your paint underneath. I'm writing this DIY in hopes that you too also care about what you drive, i've been researching, planning, reading forums
Let's face it, when it comes to modifications - the sky is the limit. There's also the monetary limit. Skill can be forged from the fires of learning. I will make mistakes. I don't have a doubt. I am not a professional. I do not do this as a profession, or even as a hobby on other people's vehicles.
Information that you should know before going further:
Typical lifespan of a car wrap is 3-5 years. For a more permanent solution find higher-year rated material: 5-7. Wrap can be extended if a car is left protected from the sunlight.
The better manufacturers of Vinyl- in order: 3m, Avery and Oracal
Stay away from "Arlon" and "MACtac".
Not all Vinyl is created equal.
Even services may be limited to how much you can put towards the budget.
-- A0.2.4. Cheap
Vinyl can speed up vinyl degridation by cracking, fading, peeling, distorting, sliding. Cheap vinyl will make removing it more difficult.
-- -- ● Intermediate:
Lower-quality vinyl. More used as signs and not recommended for cars.
-- -- ● Performance:
Vinyl are made better, last longer, easier to cut and shape.
The Bottom line: Professional installers all have their favorite vinyl makers. All Makers also have garbage vinyl that the professionals won't touch. Each Vinyl has it's Pros and Cons.
For cars that are outside (like mine
)- Car Covers are recommended to help extend the life of the vinyl by decreasing sun exposure.
A0.4. Vinyl Cuts:
Measurements are usually measure in "Inches by Yards". Vinyl is cut to yards. for vinyl used in large-scale installs: Limos, Buildings, Walls, floors.
There's 36 inches per 1 yard: 12 inches = 1 foot. 3 feet = 1 yard.
-- -- -- -- Example:
(24" x 50 yds
) = (24 In x 1800 In
A0.5. Rocks, Dirt, Bugs:
Expect unfixed scratches and other paint blemishes to show up. Wash your car clean, clay bar it as well. Then, Repair them using Rock and Chip repair systems. [See More: "Rock Chip... Help"
A0.6. Ruined Paint Finishes.
It's been noted, by many "car wrappers" that - Yes. You can ruin the paint finish. I must stress that MOST, 99% of the factory finishes are kept in tact. Most of the paint issues come up by aftermarket paint - not factory. Poor, or lazy finishes by painters can cause paint problems when uninstalling Vinyl.
A0.7. Insurance Polcies:
The color of the car is inside each car's serial number. The insurance companies look at the serial number of the car, that's it. If the body color is changed, it will not have an effect on the insurance policy. A factory red car, painted and/or vinyl to a different color will still be charged as a "Red" car. I talked with several insurance agents, but i urge you to talk with your agent to see if your policy would be affected.
A0.8. CarFax Reports:
The body change may also be recorded as a body color change for CarFax Reports. I doubt it would be affected if you had Vinyl - it can come off.
I received for my RX-8 Price quote: $2600
Nationally, Prices you can expect for quality work: $2500 to $3000
Prices for the materials range widely.
Vinyl costs a lot to ship. It's Big, awkward to carry and may be heavy. I mean look at it!:
[|||||||||||||||||] A1. WRAP PROVIDERS \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Not everyone will be interested in doing their own cars. Yes, you save A LOT of money to do it yourself and also claim bragging rights. Not everyone has the tools, the time, or the patience but still want their car wrapped. This should help you out.
It's easiest to locate providers close by. It may also be cheaper - but cheaper isn't always better.
A1.1: Car Wrapping Services:
-- A1.1.1. Fellers
- 1 (800) 654-8405 - 7am-7pm M-F CST
-- A1.1.1. SkinzWraps
- Dallas, TX: 214.741.4529 / Florida: 954.330.4680 / Los Angeles, CA: 310.593.4784 / New York City, NY: 646.825.0572 / Mooresville, NC: 704.858.4504 / Rome, Italy: +39 346 8577577
-- A1.1.2. DecalFX.com
- No Phone Number Available
A1.2: Questions you should ask when you call for car wrapping services:
-- A1.2.1. Workmapship Warranty.
-- A1.2.2. Material used.
3m and Avery are the top vinyl manufacturers
-- A1.2.3. Material Warranty.
How many years before my vinyl fades? Cracking? Peeling?
-- A1.2.4. Portfolio.
Past cars they've worked on.
-- A1.2.5. Cost.
Do I get charged for someone to look at my vehicle? How much for problems in the future? Charge per hour?
-- A1.2.6. Time.
How long will my car be in your hands?
-- A1.2.7. Transportation.
Is a rental covered?
-- A1.2.8. Removing Vinyl cost.
Vinyl may last years, but eventually you'll probably want it to come off. How much will that cost you?
-- A1.2.9. Seamless Converage.
Seams make the vinyl work cheap, and much easier to fall apart and tear with the wind and rain. Seamless push the edges of the vinyl into the seams of the car, Hiding the edges and making it appear like the car was painted. Do they attempt to hide the seams? Do they seam with the weather or against the rain?
[|||||||||||||||||] A2. TERMINOLOGY \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
- Cuts that allow the vinyl to bend around objects, or conform easier to a shape.
- The act of lining up sections of vinyl panels together so it's one consistant picture.
[|||||||||||||||||] A3. LEARNING \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
RX-8 Club Threads
-- A3.1.1: Link
- "DIY: Dry CF Console Side Plate Wrap
" by Vlaze
External Forums and Websites
Car Wrap Training
-- A3.4.1: Feller's Wrap Training Companies.