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Vehicle wraps. Wrap a hood in the right directions

Vehicle wraps. Wrap a hood in the right directions

We have mentioned the directional film in terms of how to wrap with it. But when it comes to hood wrapping, installers can be confused still. Thus, today, we will be showing you how to set up panels for color change on the hood when the film is directional.

Wrappers have asked a lot about getting the direction right with material on the hood. Generally, the most common directional films we have are pearl, satin, gloss metallic, matte metallic, carbon, brushed film, and color shift material. But it might be quite confusing to create a uniform look when it comes to areas like hood, roof or trunk.

As we wrote previously before we do anything, we have to first recognize the logo on the backing paper and use it as our direction. We can mark down arrows for easy indication, which is very clear and straight forward, helping us find the right direction more conveniently.

Start with the fender first. As you put the film on both the driver and passenger sides, make sure the arrows on both pieces are facing the same way – for instance, both facing up to be consistent on the sides. So then, your bumper and all those kinds of parts will have to be wrapped with material facing up as well. Keeping the color and hue consistent is extremely important for a perfect finish.

However, when it comes to the hood, it is a totally different story. Which direction should wrappers take here?

Let’s go back to the fender piece first, so we have its direction facing up on both sides. Now we have the hood, where the panel stays horizontal. So apparently as you apply the piece on it, it will be looking different. But the logic is that the fender is vertical to the hood. So in whatever direction you put the material on, the angle will be shifting anyway.

So once you get to the hood, you have more freedom in terms of where and how you put the panel based on the material. Before doing this, surely we have to measure first to see how wide the hood is and have a clear mind about the size of the wrap film.

If you have a 74 inches wide hood, which is wider than the panel we have (60*152), but the good news is that the hood is mostly less than 60 inches from the top to the front of the hood. Therefore, we would take the roll and do it horizontally across, cut it out, and fit it left to right. Make sure there is no overstretching, though.

This is the case for hood panel wider than 60 inches. If it is not wider than 60 inches (for example, when you are working with a compact car), you can then actually take the panel and put it on a vertical way, and roll it top to bottom.

 Now let’s talk about direction again. In the case of panel wider than 60 inches, which is more common, what we have to think about is this: Whether you have the arrow of the panel facing up or down, the color or hue is never going to match both sides (even if the three panels are facing the same direction).

However, if you are working with a hood with the size less than 60 inches, have the arrow go in the horizontal way, which means facing either the passenger side or the driver side. You will then have at least one side matching with the hood. Otherwise, if you have to arrow facing up, neither of the sides will match - but this might be more consistent in away. So just think about this.

Once you have a clear mind about these, creating a uniform look with your wrap job will no longer be a tricky task anymore. The hood will never match the side 100% perfectly, but if we can figure out how it works, it will help us understand clearly to meet customers’ expectation more easily.

Vinyl wrap. Paint protection film. Full coverage corners with PPF

Vinyl wrap. Paint protection film. Full coverage corners with PPF

Often times, when installers apply with PPF film and cut off the corner, they would basically take the material to the top and face the surface, then cut it away around the corners. But how to get do it in a different style, which we will be able to have full coverage corners (like color change) that create a higher quality finish?

The technique we want to describe is almost like a 40% pre-stretch. We are going to take an applicator and get it about a centimeter and a half away from the corner. Just make sure our material slides and glides behind it. It is critical that we have this setup and have the material held back as well as hooked right to the corner.

And again, it is half inch (about a centimeter and a half) away. This is where we are going to pick the material up high and hook the corner. By doing this, we are actually stretching the PPF film here, which in this case it is probably around 5-10% stretch. And we are stretching not just from the corner where we started, but stretching from farther back, which it is about 15-20 inches.

By hooking the corner, we are setting up with the tack solution first instead of glide solution, which help the material stay stable and clean. Then use our squeegee to get all the moisture up from underneath. We can spray on the top surface with the hooked corner and even out the moisture underneath, squeegee it down straight forward.

This is actually a 3D pre-stretch technique. With color change or even full print film, we generally use this at the end, then come back with heat to shrink the material back. However, PPF film does not work with heat, so we are not doing it, but just hook and lock.

We have the material locked right there where the tack solution is underneath for about 12-15 inches (around 30 centimeters) away from the corner. This means when we stretch that half inch (one centimeter) to the corner, the film is only going to stretch 6-7%. Just always make sure everything you wrap stretch under 10%, no matter it is full print, color change or PPF film.

So we have the applicator and we have set up half inch away from the corner. Pull and stretch the material, then hook it to the corner. And we can see nice and fluent movement there. Once the corner is hooked and the tack solution is placed as well as holding, use our squeegee to flat area in the middle afterwards.

This is actually very similar to how we work with color change film or cold pre-stretch technique – only this one is 3D. As we always mentioned, work with the corner first, and do the flat area last, because if we go with the flat area first, tension would go to the corner. And troubles are going to build up there at the same time.

When cutting, use the Belgium corner technique where we cut at a 45-degree angle, just like what we do with color change where we neutralize the corner by 2 inches (or 3-4 centimeters). So we are cutting flush to the base of the corner – 45 degrees away from the corner. This angle of cutting is critical for us to avoid any kind of wrinkles that build upright to the upper corner of the hood.

Trim back the excess film precisely afterwards so that we have around half inch (or one centimeter) to wrap around at the front. Hold the material away and cut it clean – this is where we can use our free hand to pull the film with even tension to help, then wrap it around. Remember to cut just a bit more at the top. As soon as we get the top edge uniform, take the application glove and simply just wrap the material around.

Once everything is set, we can either let the air dry or come back with tack solution, and form it around the corner straight forward. By using this technique, we are able to have full coverage corner, which help us bring the quality to next level as well as give extra protection to the vehicle.

Vinyl wraps. Wrap door handle cup with double thumbs

Vinyl wraps. Wrap door handle cup with double thumbs

Many installers have come across a time when they wrap a door handle cup, tons of adhesive lines appear even though they have done every step right. There is a technique which will help eliminate those adhesive lines in handle cups and improve your job quality. Even more, it saves your install times, especially for color change.

Let's take a look at what would happen precisely without this technique and then show you how to use this technique to keep you from those troubles.

In a very standard way to install a door handle cup, we will take the material and bridge it around the area. Then we have our application glove prepared and work around the panel like normal.

There is a fact where the adhesive of materials has been changed in the last couple of years. So with this standard technique that has been applied for ages, where we are working with overlapping finger stroke, working up to the top, forcing the material and air out evenly, and there are no bubbles, every time when we squeegee the material, the film sets up on the edge because of the change of adhesive though. In other words, it is not so much adaptable anymore.

When we are wrapping a van, where the cup handle is particularly steep on the side, what we usually do is to cut the side (where the groove for the door handle is), then hold the material up and work it out. But if we do it this way, you will notice that whenever we pause, there is an adhesive line.

Even though this area is behind the door handle, some clients do care about it, especially when it is for color change. If we get a close-up, we will see tons of lines here, looking like a bad paint job when it is a bad warp job.

It is not necessarily because we did anything wrong, but because of the adhesive is changing the setup. So whenever the adhesive gets to a tension point, it gets set there. And we will be able to see the trace of stroke. This will lower down your wrap quality. If the client is picky enough, sometimes you would even have to re-do it because of those lines, which is frustrating.

We will implement a new technique, where we will use our two thumbs to get everything done. It is based on the palm technique that was developed by professional wrappers, where we work the material to the recessed area first before getting to the flat area to avoid adhesive lines. And this is especially helpful for color change.

Before applying this double thumb technique, we will have to risk prep the material as usual – so clean it thoroughly. Then we take a bit of masking tape and bridge it over the groove of the handle – use just enough to hold it and make sure the air can escape through it.

As soon as we prep it, we put the material on as normal – put it on and bridge it just exactly how we used to do. Next, we come across with the difference: get the heat gun prepared and give the material a bit of heat.

Then, we are not using application glove here. But take both of our thumbs and lick them. In this way, we can easily work the material out of the recessed area is one stroke without getting any bubbles.  

By doing this, it is promising that there will be absolutely no adhesive line at all because we went straight for the recessed area – just like the palm technique: recessed area first and flat area last. But with door handle cup, the flat area is done with this one stroke as well. It is much quicker than doing an overlapping stroke. After everything is set, pick the side up and pull the masking tape out, and the handle cup is well done.

With this technique, there will be no more adhesive lines, and it will raise your wrap quality, particularly for color change job. And the more important thing is that it will keep both you and your client happy.

Vinyl wraps. Cold Pre-Stretch and corners

Vinyl wraps. Cold Pre-Stretch and corners

We have introduced cold pre-stretch for wrapping in the past, which is a beneficial technique. And today, we will be showing you how to use this specific method do wrap a hood.

Unlike a standard method, we start with the corner this time and pull the film away from the edge. In this case, there will be no tension on the corners. And the material will shrink back right to the corner if you heat it. This is how you would get perfect corners. With the technology of adhesive where there is reposition with air regress, we can easily stretch the material and get it in place. Thus, wrapping the flat area in the middle becomes very easy.

Usually, when installers have a more aggressive film to wrap a hood, they would start with the hinge. But as you install in this way, the tension would then move to the corners, which can become tricky as it is easy for corners to wrinkle. However, if you start with the corners, it is almost promising that you would achieve the promising quality of your work.

First, spread your film over the surface of the hood that is about to be wrapped. Hold the material with the triangle technique towards the upper corners. And we can wrap it deep behind the corners there. By doing this, we create glass from side to side of the tops. The permanent hinge would necessarily begin at the top in this case.

When it comes to the corners at the bottom, pick the material up and towards the edges with the triangle technique as well, and work on the flat area in between the corners. You can do precisely the same as for the upper corners: pull the film towards the corner and wrap it deep behind using triangle technique to create glass.

Thus, here you can see, this trick is not just about cold pre-stretch and starting with corners, but also it has another keyword: triangle technique.

Do not squeegee the film until you get 100% glass there, because the adhesive is not yet touching the surface of the hood at the moment and you can use the reposition technology.

Once the corners there are set, you can work around the material in between the corners. Keep in mind that when you pull the film, pull it with even hands so that you can spread the tension out, especially when it comes to the edge. Keep working from left to right and shifting the material back and forth until you create 100% glass on the main surface area. And you can now squeegee it.

When the four corners have already been wrapped, the material is tucked behind them, and there is glass on the area. So you can use a wet squeegee buffer with soapy water on, just in case the film gets scratches.

You would realize how easy for you to squeegee on the surface, unlike starting with the middle part first and work towards the corners. In this way, there is no tension on the corners but on the flat areas, especially the sides. So you can work up and down with your squeegee on the surface very quickly.

Corners at the bottom can be a bit more challenging to deal with than the upper one. After you squeegee the film, come back to the corner at the bottom of the hood. You can heat it a little bit, and you will see it shrink back and literally underneath the edge. And you can simply take your knife and make an empty corner there.

The trick with cold pre-stretch is always: heat it, shrink it, seal it, and work it away.

As you work the film away from the corners, you make one little slide with your finger at the base of the corner. You might find there is tension. And the tension is actually on the material on the flat area between the corners. You can hold it up rather than pull it, and relax the film. As you heat it up, the tension will be taken out.

Now, make your cut to the edge with a blade in 180 degrees from the edge – so that it gets full cover. Angling your blade out as far as possible will get you a perfectly symmetrical cut. Once the cutting is done, you can pull the excess material away and seal the wrap. But keep in mind though: only sealing the edges rather than the corners.

Comment and let us know how you feel about this technique if you have tried out.

Vehicle wraps and Ceramic coating

Vehicle wraps and Ceramic coating

There are tons of aftercare products for vehicle wrap in the market nowadays. Some are even convenient enough to allow clients to spray on and wipe off themselves. However, somehow, it turns out most customers do not want to maintain the wrap. Instead, they want a one-shot deal.

This has led to the fact that more and more people would ask to put a ceramic coating on the vehicle wrap as a part of the job, as it can protect the wrap and the client do not have to maintain it.

But in fact, the ceramic coating can affect the hue or color in the final vehicle wrap differently depending on what type of film wrappers are using. And this has made it extremely important for installers to think ahead and understand what would happen to show this to the client before the actual application.

There are several kinds of TeckWrap vehicle wraps that wrappers use the most in the market: Carbon, matte, brushed, gloss, and chrome film. With each different one, ceramic coating performs differently. This is something installers should test on the sample once a client chooses a wrap and ask for ceramic coating after wrapping because once the coating is on and it changes what the customer is looking for, it might lead to a re-do.

Ceramic coating can protect the vehicle wrap by putting a hard seal on the surface and keep moisture from getting into the film. And in some cases, it even protects the vinyl from UV so that it stays well for a longer time. These are the positive side of it. But it is not so good when it changes how the vehicle wrap is supposed to be.

By testing how it would go, let’s prepare the five different styles of film samples on the work table. And put a thin masking tape right in the middle on every panel to separate them from top to bottom for each one.

Once the panels are set, apply the ceramic coating to the top half of each one. To be more professional, have the glove and applicator ready. Wipe the coating down with micro fiber towel and evenly spread on the surface.

When wiping, just work side to side and top to bottom with the applicator in this process. For films like brushed and carbon, make sure the coating is filled in all the grooves of the wrap – In some cases, doing a couple of times coating if it needs.

Once all the panels are covered with a coating, it is important to come back and buffer them with micro fiber towel before the panels dry, because if they dry with streaks on, those streaks will become permanent. So use the towel to even those streaks out. Just use it to evenly spread the coating on the panels side to side.

When all these are done, pull the masking tape away to see the difference on each kind of film:

For gloss film, the section with coating on is looking much deeper and richer now. So the ceramic coating creates more of a gloss look here; For the brushed film, the two sections do not look very different. In fact, they are pretty even; As for matte, the section with coating on actually looks lighter, which is interesting, because people might think of the opposite here; And for carbon film, the one with coating on looks darker here; As for chrome, the section without coating looks much flatter and duller comparing to the one with coating on. The two become like totally different materials here. So if the customer expects a lighter color, maybe ceramic coating is not the best option.

These are all about doing beforehand and let the clients know what is going to happen with or without ceramic coating so that they can make their best choice. Even better, it keeps installers from unnecessary re-dos. So this is a win-win for both sides, and it will also show the client that the wrapper is professional enough and this will even gain installer or the wrap shop a bit of reputation here.

Car wrapping tips. Edge Seal Tape

Car wrapping tips. Edge Seal Tape

There are times when the deadline is coming, and wrappers might often time choose not quite to do everything right and skip steps to finish the job on time. This can be truly risky for either wrappers or business owners, as when the bad result comes, it would lead to a costly re-do, and worse, you would then have an unhappy client too.

This situation might happen a lot, especially when installers are tired at the end of the day. So if you are the one in charge, how can we ensure a promising result and make everyone happy even in this circumstance? Today we will be introducing such a way to make wrongs right!

Often time, what installers might skip is post-heating in car wrapping – this is also why we always emphasize the importance of post-heating because once is skipped, it is hard to promise long-term durability on the film, and lifting might come up as well. But at the end of the day, when wrappers are exhausted, this is where they would jump so that they can get home earlier.

In this case, edge seal tape will save the world! There are several types of edge seal tape. Some can be clear, which is generally used for undersize section, for example, windows or bolts. While some are visual edge seal tape like Mold n’ Hold, which is generally for putting on mirrors. Either case, make sure you have edge seal tape in hand whether you are a wrapper or business owner. If you are an owner, you can even make edge seal tape a part of your protocol, because it is hard to avoid the situation when wrappers skip some of the steps, however, edge seal tape will ensure a good result anyway.

The goal for installers is to finish the car wrapping job well and meet clients’ need, whether it is Monday-to-Thursday or Friday. When wrappers tend not to use the right way to do this job, but desperate for the same result, edge seal tape is something not only saves time during the install but also protects us from costly re-dos and keep the material from lifting.

As an example, we have taken the same car wrapping material and used the same technique to wrap both mirrors on each side of a vehicle. The only difference is that for one mirror, we cut the film back short a little bit with knifeless tape and used Mold n’ Hold strip on the side, and for the other, we took the material right to the edge and cut it. We have skipped post-heating for both cases to show what would happen.

Twelve hours later, we came back to the working space and check. The one we took right to the edge and made the cut has obvious material lifting, and we will see major fingers there too – apparently because we skipped post-heating. However, the one we put Mold n’ Hold on is looking fine still. By cutting the film on mirror back short just a little bit and putting edge seal tape there will save the day.

For the business owner, it is better to bear this in mind that no matter your installers are beginners, intermediate or even advanced, they would have times skipping major steps like post-heating. When this happens, make sure they use Mold n’ Hold will be the way to avoid terrible result and costly re-dos, because as we see here, the one with Mold n’ Hold is looking fine and holding fine there. Try to make it as a part of your protocol with wrappers, because if you do, you will keep everything stable even if steps get skipped.

This works the same on areas like a bumper. Putting the tape on will only take a few seconds to do, but it keeps you from so many potential problems afterward.