Whether you have chosen to colour change a vehicle, or apply a full colour Solvent Digitally printed Wrap, the process and method are still the same in order to complete a successful Vinyl Wrap – Here are “SIX OF THE BEST” Tips for all Vinyl WrappersSTEP 1
PLAN, MEASURE and CHECK
Estimating the amount of material that will be required to fully wrap a vehicle is unsurprisingly a lot more difficult than one would at first imagine, but with experience and increased number of successfully completed Vinyl Wraps this part of the project will take less time and be easier to accomplish. However, for the first wrap and in the early stages, take time measure rather than estimate, and use a square system to calculate the area, if necessary use newspaper and masking tape to make a template and then lay it out flat to measure it and see how best to “Jigsaw” the corresponding handed parts from the other side of the vehicle. Should this project be a Corporate Branded Logo or Photograph that is being reproduced in vinyl on the vehicle then it is advisable to check where the joins and main features are going to fall in relation to the bodywork, so the message can be seen and read without being hindered by door handles, windows or wiper blades, when the doors are opened or closed ( See Accompanying Photographs of “Spectacular fails” in planning and measuring printed wraps). The MOST IMPORTANT point to take away from this step is DO NOT underestimate how much VINYL you need for this project, we usually recommend to have 2-3 meters “spare” on a full vehicle wrap- Top Tip is when wrapping a bonnet that is for example 1250mm X 1500mm it is suggested that 1500mm X 1700mm of wrapping film should be used so that the material can be taken underneath and over the inside lip of the bonnet in order to make a flawless finish and avoid Vinyl flying off at high speed on the motorway! and the bonnet that has been Vinyl Wrapped is usually the main focus of the job, whether it is a colour change or a Printed Mural – so it needs to be the show piece.
STRIPPING, CLEANING and PREPARATION
To achieve perfection when wrapping a vehicle the body parts must be fully exposed, so badges, mouldings, trims, handles and ALL accessible and detachable parts must be removed with the utmost care and attention – as some of these fittings can be brittle and hugely expensive – so if you have the services of a bodyshop to hand, this might prove invaluable to strip and prepare the vehicle ready to wrap. So once the area is exposed the preparation of the paintwork to be wrapped must be treated with a degreaser and a silicone free cleanser, The Vinyl Corporation will always recommend the AVERY SURFACE CLEANER as being the ideal solution to this problem. Now it is important to check that the VINYL WRAPPING FILM and all the required tools are to hand and ready to wrap!
DO NOT OVERSTRETCH
Laying the large pieces of vinyl across the vehicle and getting the registration of the main areas aligned, then gently and evenly applying heat up to between 40-50 degrees C and easing the VINYL GRAPHICS or SOLVENT PRINTED MEDIA into place, but DO NOT overstretch , as this not only thins the material but also the adhesive is thinned, making it less able to adhere to the vehicle. A good firm Squeegee needs to be used for this purpose, the New Blue felt edged squeegee fulfils all these requirements, some fitters prefer the all felt block by MACTAC, whereas some prefer the AVERY PRO SQUEEGEE, this is just a matter of personal preference as they all do a great job – in the right hands! When the largest pieces have been placed and aligned firmly and evenly make broad strokes from the centre of the Vinyl Decal to the edge, overlapping in a herringbone pattern, so expelling all the air. At this point it is worth noting that we are now on the third generation of “Air Egress” materials this might be called RAPID AIR RELEASE, EASY APPLY, BUBBLE FREE, AIR FREE, XSCAPE, AIR RELEASE or any other generic term that indicates that the material has channelling in the adhesive to allow the air to escape and therefore not necessitating the bursting of bubbles through the surface of the VINYL, as mentioned these Air Egress adhesives have been developed so as not to effect the adhesion or the vehicle wrap or signage that has been applied, with this New technology we can all wrap with confidence.For the more intricate parts of the wrapping a cotton glove can be used to mould the vinyl into the grooves and recesses more accurately than a squeegee can, and with much less chance of damaging the vinyl with this “Hands on” approach.
CONFORMING THE VINYL WRAP
Now all the large pieces are in place and the edges have been squeegeed down, the whole vehicle is worked over methodically bringing each area up to 40-50 degrees and checking every deep and shallow recess has been totally covered, firstly with the cotton glove ( this works better if it is wet) and then with a good firm sqeegeeing to ensure that the pressure sensitive adhesive has been fully contacted with the bodywork, and all the air channels are squashed flat to the surface.
This is the MOST IMPORTANT stage of vinyl wrapping, and one that DIY enthusiasts usually omit – this leads to many issues later. The Vehicle WRAP is not complete until you post heat the wrapping film, this is for the areas of vinyl that have been stressed and worked into and around contours, the vinyl in these areas is heated up to 95 degrees or above to ensure that the Vinyl Wrapping Film has “Lost it’s original memory” and will retain the shape and conform to the NEW position that it has been placed into, this is absolutely imperative when wrapping deep, textured recesses, grooves and three dimensional curves. Always being very careful not to get too close to the vinyl surface or overheat the film as it will damage the material.
DO NOT FORGET !
Some might say that this is the most important part of the whole Vinyl Wrapping process, when the vehicle has been wiped down, photographed for the web site gallery and wrapping tools tidied away ( yes, including that scalpel on the windscreen wiper!) then call 0115 930 1133 and invite Danny to the pub for a “Post Wrapping Refreshment” and to thank him for supplying the very best Vinyl Wrapping Materials available at the best prices and giving ALL these top tips FREE OF CHARGE! – well Done . . .