How to Figure Out Where the Inlay Should Go / License plate

There are areas on a vehicle where installers have to do inlay or overlay pieces when wrapping. This is especially crucial for color change work. In this article, we will be giving some tips in terms of figuring out the right place for an inlay.

For a case study, we are taking the license plate on the back bumper. And before we do the actual install, we have to have these tools prepared: raised ramp – so that the car is off the ground and you can easily do the job, application gloves, knife, clicker, dry erase marker, and knifeless tape.

When installing an area like this, it is essential to make it clear where the inlay should go and how we should get it there. Some people might say that it is more convenient to wrap it in one piece. But the fact is that you will for sure come across with different compound curved areas – for instance, you know slides are going pretty deep into the license plate area in this case, so it will take you hours and hours to wrap it well. Meanwhile, it not only costs you extra time, but it is also very risky.

Thus, inlay should be the best choice you can make, particularly in this case, when wrapping a license plate area. But it is important that your inlay piece is not too short or too far. Otherwise, it will lead to a re-do. Knowing exactly where you should apply the inlay piece will help you avoid these and cover up the area right where it needs to be.

To begin with, we can take a scrap piece of wrap film that roughly covers up the whole license plate area – we encourage you to save the scraps as you do wrappings daily. They are super helpful when you need to wrap door handles or mirrors in terms of saving you from using more materials than you need. And it can be used for practices in your spare time as well. Now, this is also a good example in regards to how scraps can save you from spending extra material.

Place the panel on the area, bridge it right over the license plate section. Make sure it has just enough material on each side. Tack it to the top, and pull the film down. Imagine you are doing the same way as you wrap the bumper, and feed the film to the bottom, to create an endpoint where the material is going to end.

Now use your finger to seal it down, creating glass on the entire area. This is about how far you would go when wrapping the bumper. Please go over the entire outline of the license plate area to make sure it is set up correctly, and the whole panel is applied tight enough there. Once this is set, it is time to make your cut and making an overlay piece.

Before cutting the overlay piece, do not forget to click your blade, because you do need a sharp blade here so that your cut can go smoothly and steadily. Cut across the top bridge evenly so that you have an overlay piece going inside the area. Do NOT angle in towards the edge, however. Otherwise, you might cut on the car. Cut just enough to the end to make sure both sides are symmetrical – because whether doing inlay or overlay, one of the secrets to success is symmetry.

As soon as the cut is made, use your finger to seal down the top bridge, and squeegee the overlay piece inside to the top. Cut it clean on both sides on the overlay piece to, again, make it symmetrical. If you are not so sure about cutting directly, you can also use knifeless tape here. Once it is done, you will see clearly where the inlay piece has to go.

As you could see clearly where the inlay is going to be, use your marker to mark the area right on edge all the way across and around. An inlay piece is always to be done first. So by now, you are free to remove the whole scrap panel and only have the marker left.

Use your knifeless tape to go along the edge of your mark uniformly (Do the top part first, bottom afterward). Make sure you are creating a precise outline for where the piece is going to fit correctly. This will require lots of patience. As we mentioned, one of the secrets to success for inlay and overlay above here is the other: Precision.

So it is crucial to be sure the tape is going exactly along the mark as well as the bodyline of the car – do NOT let it cover the mark though, as a marker has low surface energy. As soon as it is done, erase the marker right away.

Now you have the exact area where your inlay should be now. And it will help you make sure your material is not too short or too far away. The film will fit precisely there.

This does take some time but definitely will not get to hours comparing to what you need when wrapping in one piece. So it is worth doing – and it is much safer to do, so why not!
How to Figure Out Where the Inlay Should Go / License plate