Car wrapping is a popular alternative to painting. Possibilities vary, ranging from striking and sporty designs to advertising texts. With the proper preparation, you can also apply foil yourself. We show you what you need for this and provide valuable tips for applying foil on your car.
Why wrapping your car?
An attractive bodywork design is not only in demand for sports cars or in the tuning scene. Plenty of car fans enjoy upgrading the look of their car, which is traditionally done with one-colour paint. Car wrapping, or applying foil to the bodywork is an alternative to car painting with plenty of advantages. Applying and removing it is much easier than the lengthy and minute task of painting the car. Furthermore, foil enables exciting colour hues, patterns and motives. This is particularly helpful if you want to turn your car into an advertising object for your company.
DIY car wrapping or in the garage?
Applying foil is less cumbersome than painting. It is nevertheless a complex task requiring the necessary precision.
Only by working minutely with size-cut foil, an exterior upgrading of the car is possible. Especially in case of full wrapping the necessary skill and working with two persons are recommended.
When wrapping a car you must discern between the printing of plastic foil and applying it to the car. For manufacture of wrapping foil the professional local printing shops and those found in the internet are the right points of contact. These guarantee attractive execution of your print motives, so that they can be applied to the car in the right resolution and the correct shade. As soon as the foil is printed and supplied, you need to consider if you are sufficiently skilled for applying it. Folds and tears cannot be removed without visible traces. In case of doubt it is better to contact a garage.
Full vs partial car wrapping
DIY car wrapping depends on the size of the foil and the chosen motif. The supreme discipline is full wrapping, e.g. covering the entire bodywork with foil. This is mainly done as an alternative for applying a new paint layer. The foil sheets are relatively large and therefore should be applied with great precision. Visiting a garage is the best choice in this case.
Partial car wrapping is different. Here, foil is only applied to individual parts of the bodywork, like for example the side doors or the windows. Partial wrapping is popular with companies for adding an advertising slogan, the company logo or a telephone number. The separate foil sheets are small and can easily be managed by DIY’ers. Working cleanly and precisely is required, but feasible with a bit of skill.
Basic tips for car wrapping
For clean application of the foil, the best circumstances are required, starting with the surface, which must be free of dust, dirt and roughness.
Bigger cracks and paintwork damage should be smoothed prior to applying the foil for an even surface without creases.
Regarding creases: even when very meticulously applying large sheets of foil, formation of small air bubbles can’t be avoided. Even in a garage you should count on minimal degradation of your foil motive. With their experience and the right tools, experts can minimise the risk of bubbles.
For optimal adherence to the surface, the environmental temperature is essential. Experts recommend an outside temperature of 20 ˚C or slightly higher. Under other circumstances the foil shrinks or expands in case of cold or heat. The ultimate result will become apparent only a couple of hours or days after application. In extreme cases the foil has torn or formed creases due to expansion.
The most important information in an overview
|What do you need?
– Adhesive foil of high-quality printing
– Plastic squeegee for smoothing out
– Cleaner for the surface
– At least two persons (for full wrapping)
– Anti-adhesive agent (for removal at a later stage)
|Requirements for the car
– Clean surface
– Surface as smooth as possible
– No corrosion or paintwork damage
|How expensive is it?
– 100 to 200 euro (£90 – £175) for partial car wrapping
– 300 to 1.000 euro (£260 – £900) full car wrapping depending on quality
– Several hundred pounds (professional car wrapping)
|DIY car wrapping – advantages
– Considerable price advantage
– Individual positioning of the partial wrapping
|DIY car wrapping – disadvantages
– Extensive and minute work
– More difficulty in case of bubbles
DIY car wrapping – manual and tips
Start by ordering the synthetic foil with your printing motives. Especially in case of full wrapping, take exact measurements, which are also mentioned in the car manual or can be requested from the car manufacturer. Ultimately, it wouldn’t look good, if one or several centimetres are not covered by the foil.
When the foil is supplied, clean the bodywork thoroughly and see to it that the surface is dry. If you plan to remove the foil after a certain amount of time, start by applying the special anti-adhesive from the specialised dealer. This makes removal considerably easier. As soon as the anti-adhesive has dried, the application of the foil can start.
Apply the protective layer in a corner and put it on the bodywork at the right spot. Ideally, one person keeps the foil at the right place while another person removes the protective layer and applies the adhesive side firmly and smoothly to the surface. A plastic squeegee helps you with smoothing out the foil over large surfaces and is especially indispensable in case of full wrapping.
If the foil is applied correctly you will notice air bubbles, which will disappear after a few days. If this doesn’t happen, prick them with a needle and smooth them out.