How to Form Vehicle Wrap Film into Recessed Areas
Often times, there are various types of recessed areas around sections like mirrors, bumpers, lights or anywhere similar on a vehicle, and some of them even have deep angles. This can be quite a challenge for vehicle wrap installer in terms of keeping the film under control and avoid getting it overstretched.
Let’s take the back bumper as case study. In between the bumper and the light area, some vehicles might have this little square area where it is deeply angled in to the body. Normally we emphasize that working away from corners is the best choice because the tension would not stick to a corner then, so wrinkles can be avoided.
A common solution for installers in this case is to bridge the material over the light area there, they would then pick it up, squeegee it down, and tuck it in. Because they bridge the film out so there is no tension so far. Next you might make a relief cut in between the light area and the bumper from one end of that square area to the other. Then, take your heat gun to heat the vehicle wrap film up, and you simply just try to push the film into the recessed area, particularly feeding in the sides of it.
This is where things might go wrong, film might be distorted and failures follow. Right now, you would find tension building up at the bottom corner where you started everything. Even if installer tries to push it in, the chance of film popping out remains high. It will not last for over one or two weeks, because from what you did, you have overstretched the vehicle wrap film way too much than 15%.
Let’s re-think about it: When you bridge the material over and you push it in, you are basically spreading the material out. The adhesive gets thinner in this way and the memory effect of film is triggered in this way.
So how can we avoid this happening in areas like this? Wrapper might want to try working the material to the corner instead of working from it, in which we can call it the “leeching technique”.
We can do the exact same things beforehand when applying this technique: Set the material up on the area, squeegee it, tuck in, pull it and create glass. And you click your blade to make the same relief cut there. But when it comes to heating, before you take your heat gun, think twice about which spot you would stretch the most and which stretch the least. Then go from where you know you would stretch the least – which in this case, it is the bottom corner on the left of this square section.
So take your heat gun and start forming in the material on the left side. As soon as you get to the top corner there, make another relief cut right at the corner. This is to help you take the tension out of the film. In areas like this, the light or any similar object might be grabbing your film, making the cut will shift more material out.
Use your heat gun to soften the material and start pushing the material down to the corner so that you can also work the material to the corner at the same time.
As you work the material, you can repeat this process several times: pick the material within the area up, heat it up a little bit, squeegee it to the corner, then make another relief cut and continue – The idea is to shift as much material to the corner as possible.
As soon as you finally get to the corner, you would realize everything has become much easier, because you have fed the material all the way to the corner by literally pulling and squeegeeing the film to the corner.
You are now at the spot where it normally gets most tension. So obviously installer still has to work the material down to this corner. You can just repeat the same process here, then set the film up by doing what you would normally: pick up and tuck in. You will find no tension there in this case.
This leeching technique is actually combing shifting technique with logic, and it helps vehicle wrap install avoid wrinkles and bunches. Thus, it is especially good for wrappings of areas where it is deeply angled in to the body of vehicles, or sections like lights, bumpers, and mirrors or anywhere similar.
This technique can affectively keep installers from failures or film distorting when wrapping sections like these. Even more, your vehicle wrap film would look much more authentic like real paint on the body in this way. If you have not tried it, definitely give it a shot. It might completely change your way of wrapping.