Good question. Can I wrap a vehicle myself? Well … yes, but we wouldn’t recommend it, at least nor a full wrap. Decals sure, maybe even a partial wrap would be a different story, but applying adhesive vinyl graphics around complex curves, under equipment, and around seams and edges takes knowledge, practice, and skill.
We might not recommend you attempt to wrap a vehicle, but could you? Yes, however, to do so correctly, takes time, planning, and patience. We can share story after story of DIY (Do it yourself) vehicle graphic installations that we’ve been asked to “fix”. Many of these do it yourself attempts damaged the vehicles surface, by improper cutting, use of the wrong materials, or inadequate preparation. At this point, if we haven’t talked you out of attempting this on your own here’s a short guideline/checklist to follow:
Wrap Application Checklist
- Thoroughly clean and dry your car or truck, remove all grease and film. Leaving even the smallest amount of dirt and debris can lead to bubbles and rips.
- Prime the vehicle. Some installations require primer, such as 3M Adhesive Products.
- Remove mirrors and trim. Similar to painting a room, where the best practice is to remove the outlets and fixtures rather than trying to paint around them. However, check the condition of the equipment before attempting to remove it – some pieces shouldn’t be taken off.
- Check measurements. Components should match up. Take your time. Remember the old saying, “measure twice, and cut once.”
- Apply the vinyl with a squeegee. Here’s one example, Avery squeegees.
- Cut away excess vinyl.
- Use heat to smooth the vinyl over complex angles and curves, but be careful—too much heat will damage the vinyl and can damage the surface of the vehicle.
- Judiciously use a razor or Xacto knife to cut around rivets, seams, edges, and bolts. Be careful not to damage the paint under the vinyl.
Start Small, Take Your Time
We mentioned in the first paragraph the option of installing decals. Decals placed on flat surfaces and not around curves, over seams, or under equipment might be the best option for a newbie. Decals can be very effective, as well as attractive and can avoid the processes of removing equipment, cutting around protuberances, and using heat.
So, Can I Wrap a Vehicle Myself?
Do you think applying a wrap to your vehicle is something you’re ready to tackle? If so we wish you the best. However, if you’re uncertain Contact Us. We don’t have the exact numbers, but since 1985 we’ve installed adhesive vinyl graphics on more than one million vehicles of all makes, models, and sizes.
If you like to learn more, we found this video from 3M helpful, wrapping a vehicle.