Yes, you can vinyl wrap your car. Here is how

Shutterstock.com/ Ikonoklast Fotografie

An increasing number of cars on the road are choosing to use vinyl wrapping. The reasons are simple. For marketing purposes, a vinyl wrap with a clear marketing message looks professional and attracts attention. If you have a sports car and give it a vinyl wrap it can make it look incredibly sleek at a lower cost than a new paint job. Vinyl wrapping has always produced a beautiful look, the reason we are seeing many more cars with this finish today is that the technology is now cheaper and easier to use. If you are just a little bit handy you will be able to vinyl wrap your car too. Follow our step by step guide and you will have a beautiful vinyl wrap finish on your car in no time.

The first thing to discuss is tools. I hate reading DIY explanations online only to find out halfway through that I am missing a lot of the required tools. If you don’t have these tools there is no alternative. You will need them for this job. If you will never have a use for them again it may be better to go to a professional to fit your vinyl wrap. You will need a heat gun, a squeegee, a Stanley knife, cutting tape, cleaner, measuring tape, gloves, and ideally an infrared thermometer. The thermometer is probably the only one that I think you could survive this job without.

It is important not to dive into your work straight away, make a plan. By now you will likely have already decided on the type of vinyl you are using and the amount required. A standard car takes 25 feet of 60 inches wide vinyl. Depending on your car you can get more or less. You can take rough measurements of your car to determine if you will need more. Remember to add 10% to your measurement to account for the part that will tuck underneath.

The next big issue is your car itself. Look at the car and spot any potential problem areas. Are there handles that need to be removed? Are there strange corners that will be tricky to cover? If you have any blemishes or scratches on your car don’t think that the vinyl will cover them over, it will amplify them. Get your bodywork fixed before you apply any vinyl wrap or it will look terrible.

Clean the car and the surrounding area thoroughly. There is nothing worse than cleaning the car only for new dust to settle on it moments later because your garage is a mess. Start measuring each area of application in detail now. I suggested measuring an area and adding 4 inches to account for the tuck required. For your first application choose a small panel of the car, it will be easier and you can then move on to the big areas with confidence.

Make sure one more time there is no dirt anywhere in sight. Peel the backing off the vinyl sheet that you have prepared. I always get a friend to help here because the vinyl sheet can be hard to manage. If it starts to stick to itself you are going to encounter a lot of trouble. Pairing up on this task ensures success. A good tip I learned from applying a lot of vinyl wrap is to start applying it in the middle and work towards the outsides. Now take the squeegee and work again from the middle to the outside. 

Once that is done it is time to grab your heat gun. When you use it, don’t be surprised if air bubbles appear. Modern vinyl wraps allow the air bubbles to be easily removed by pressing. Don’t cut your finish until you have all air bubbles removed (as it can be helpful to lift by en edge to remove air).

Once that is looking good cut around the edges leaving ¼ centimeter extra around the panel be careful not to cut the paint of your car. Start to tuck the edges in now but be very careful to do this in an even way. If you pull too much you will weaken the wrap, too little and it won’t look pristine. I believe that this is the key to a great wrap.

When finished get your heat gun and apply heat to the entire wrap, this will set it in place for good. Once it is strong and set you are ready to clean the surface and take some nice pictures for your Instagram. You just vinyl wrapped your car, great work!