Inlays are essential for perfect color change projects. It not only enhances the precision of a wrap job, having the vehicle fully covered by the vinyl wrap film, but also helps protect the car wrap from overstretching, as it minimizes the tension of the material (especially in recessed areas with compound curves), where the wrapper would come across when installing.
Here we have several important tips for wrappers to create inlays using knifeless tape. If you can master them, whether inlays or overlays should no longer be a problem for you.
In order to create an inlay with knifeless tape, first, the wrapper will have to create a template to ensure 100% precision for the later install - This is actually a great chance for you to make the most of the scraps you have left from other projects.
It does not matter if the scraps are scattered – In fact, it might even be better this way, as small pieces together will help you fit the section more precisely, as long as you make sure they are stick together, and most critically, their straight edges are lining up to the inside edge of the section that you are going to create the inlay for.
As soon as those pieces are set in place, you can cut away the excess material from the point where it is roughly around half an inch away from the outside edge of section (often times where there is a body line).
At this point, you will have a complete template for your inlay. And you can now remove it from the body of the vehicle carefully. Do it from where you started applying to make sure the pieces of scraps will not separate as you pick them up.
After this, place the template you created on top of the actual material that you are going to use for the inlay, which should be placed on a safe cutting space beforehand.
When everything is ready, take a sharp blade to cut along the “inside edge” of the template (on top of the material-to-be-applied), which is very important to be precise at this point in order for you to fit the material to the deepest area later.
As for the “outside edge”, it is more easy-going. You just have to leave it long enough so that there is enough material to make a full coverage when you apply to the section.
Once the inlay piece is cut out, keep it in a safe place to prepare for the later application.
Now it is time for the knifeless tape. Run the line along the inside edge (body line) of the section where the inlay should be. The trick here is to keep the edge of the tape exactly on the edge of the body line so that there can be a symmetrical cut. However, do not try to pull too hard with the tape though, but just simply run it around.
As soon as this is done, you can now take the inlay piece you prepared, and place it into the section (The liner should not be completely removed until the material is in position).
This will require a lot of caution and patience, as you will have to take your time to place the “inside edge” onto the right spot perfectly so that the material will fit evenly.
When everything is in place, you can now release the liner completely and squeegee the material down to the surface.
To shift the tension away, when you come across steep curves, it is helpful to make relief cuts around and form the vinyl wrap film onto the edge (body line) of the section. If it is just a moderate curve, you can heat the film up a little bit, and form it into place.
Once the vinyl wrap film is perfectly applied and formed, you can release the line of the knifeless tape across the section. And then remove the excess material as well as the tape under the film.
By following these steps above properly, you will achieve a perfectly formed and cut inlay that blends into the body line of the vehicle. And you are certainly not far away from a successful paint-like finish by now!