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Vinyl Wrap DIY
Published by TreyR28
08-04-2013
Vinyl Wrap DIY

I have spent the past week vinyl wrapping my E92 matte silver. When I decided to go all in and order the vinyl I began to research how to vinyl wrap and what kinds of supplies I would need other than the vinyl. Surprisingly I found little information on how to vinyl wrap a car. That I why I am writing this, I am going to try to give links to the best information that I found from my many hours of research on the internet, and fill in the blanks with material that I write. This thread will probably be very long and boring but hopefully helps those who decide to wrap their car.

Firstly I think the most commonly asked question is how hard is it to do and how much does it cost to vinyl wrap your car. Well the answer is that it is extremely hard to do and requires about 40 to 50 hours of labor if it is your first time. It also requires at least two people and I would recommend 3 or 4 people. Cost wise you are looking at around $600 to 700 in vinyl at the time this was written (August 2013). I ordered my vinyl from autovinylsolutions.com and ordered 50 x 5 ft of matte silver 3M vinyl and 8 ft of gloss black 3M vinyl for the roof.

Now after that it was time to gather the necessary materials to wrap the car:
- Squeegees, I ordered the AVS Super Soft Squeegee and the Lidco Felt Squeegee, and I found the AVS one to be the better one and used it for the majority of application.
- Razor Blades, I got the Olfa blades from AVS
- Heat Gun/Hair Dryer, I bought a heat gun for the project and didnít even use it because the hair dryer worked perfectly and had much less risk of burning the vinyl or paint.
- Tools to disassemble car, for my E92 I used a 8mm socket, Allen wrench (size 8 I believe), and a few other various tools

Once I finished purchasing everything I would need the research began. I wasnít able to find too much, but here are some links to the best material I found. (I donít think itís against the rules to post links to other forums?) If you are planning on wrapping your car it is NOT something that you can just go and stick on your car without knowing how to do it beforehand, so I would strongly suggest your read/watch all the links I have listed below, and do your own research. All the time you spend researching before hand will save you loads of time and money later on, I promise.

http://forums.corvetteforum.com/c5-g...ajor-pics.html
This link above is definitely the best written tutorial I found on the internet, the main problem with it is that none of the pictures he took show up anymore. So maybe at the time of you reading this the pictures are working again..

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=738592
I found this thread to be extreme useful for our cars and kind of a good inspiration. However he leaves out some of the information on how to disassemble things and what not.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=376442
This thread is definitely the most popular wrapping link on e90post and also one of the more popular ones on the internet.


These videos might be a little goofy but I went through and watched the majority of the wrapping videos on that channel to try to learn some of the techniques that professionals use to vinyl wrap (monkey see, monkey do?)

There were a few other thread and videos that I found a few weeks ago when I was in the research stage that I canít find now, but these cover most of the information you need to know in order to get started.


CAR DISASSEMBLY

Door Handles:
The thing that I found the least information on throughout the whole process was door handle disassembly and reassembly. I found nothing whatsoever on how to put the door handle back together and nearly had to go to a shop to get them reinstalled. This link shows you how to take off an e92 door handle:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=681698
post #7 specifically

Now in order to put them back together you have to reach your hand inside the door and grad the metal door latch. I found it easier to hold the door handle on the inside of the car open to relieve pressure on the exterior on you have to pull to get the handle back in the door. After that put the puddle light back in place by snapping it into its notch inside the door. The problem that I ran into is that the plastic that the light and smaller part of the door handle assembly attach to fell back into the door. I used pliers to pull it out and then was able to put the light back in place. Once the door handle is back together open and close the door and it should go back together like it was before. If there is no pictures here yet I intended to put some here to help out since the writing is probably uselessÖ

Roundels:

In the video he used a pry tool that I didnít have so I got a very small flathead screwdriver and wrapped it in painters tape, then used a credit card the same way he used a towel. This didnít work at first but after about ten minutes of messing with the hood roundel I was able to get it off. I removed the rear on the same way but it was easier.



Taillights:
Taillights are removed by:
1. Removing the interior covers Ė (Center Lights) Take a screw driver and use them to open the pop connectors, then pull each plastic connector out of the trunk. (Outside Lights) The outside lights are covered but a plastic cover on the driver side that you just pull off. On the passenger side you turn the black knob 90 degrees and the plastic wall of the trunk and the plastic bin the manual goes in will come off as well.
2. Unplugging the lights Ė The lights are pretty straightforward to remove, you just compress the connectors and remove. On the outside lights an entire light holder assembly comes out when you compress the grey tab.
3. Removing the 3 8mm bolts holding on the lights Ė Remove the bolts and pull out the headlight. ( Careful not the drop a bolt under the battery like I did)

Kidney Grill Removal:



Paint Prep:
Before you can wrap anything you need to prep the paint. This is basically a very good cleaning to allow the vinyl to completely adhere to the paint and to keep the paint from being damaged over time because of contaminants trapped between it and the vinyl. This is a very important step in the process and you do not want to skip this if you value your paint in the slightest

1. Simple wash Ė Just wash your car as you normally would, except use dawn dish soap instead of car shampoo. Just add a few drops of dish soap and your good to go. This will make sure that most of the wax is removed from the car
2. Clay the paint Ė You need to buy some paint detailing clay if you do not already have some. I bought Griotís Garage brand from like 25 bucks at an auto parts store. This video shows you how to clay a car if you have never done it before:

3. Right before you apply the vinyl to each panel use rubbing alcohol and a rag and give the paint a good cleaning to ensure there is nothing on the paint and to completely remove all remaining wax.

Applying the Vinyl:
I am not going to go too in depth in the application process because the links I listed above do a pretty good job of explaining how to apply vinyl. However, I am going to write some things that I learned along the way that made things easier to me.

The most important thing is to make sure you have lots of friends to help you. For larger panels I would suggest having no less than 3 people. The more people you have the better. The vinyl will need to be stretched and pulled to make to process easier and if you have 4 people two can stretch while one squeegees and one heats the vinyl.

Another thing that you will learn along the way is to get the vinyl as parallel to the car as possible while pulling it, especially on the flat portions. This will allow you to just stick the vinyl down without much heat and it greatly speeds up the process.

Make sure to squeegee every single part of the vinyl as you go or it tends to form bubbles as you go with could require you to have to lift up the vinyl, which become extremely annoying.

Some of the smaller bubbles will disappear after a few hot days of leaving it in the sun. If bubbles remain use a needle to pop a hole in them and then push all the air out.

I did the hood first and after about ten minutes of messing with it I thought it was all over and that I had ruined the vinyl. Donít do thatÖ As long as you get high quality vinyl it can be lifted up and put back down many times. The most important thing is to not give up.

This has been said many times, but wrapping an entire car takes a ton of time and patience It took me nearly a week and at least 50 hours of work, that is with a minimum of 3 people helping me at all times.

When cutting the vinyl be extremely careful not to cut the paint. Very light pressure seems to work best and if you do not cut all the way through you can always go back and get it but you canít unscratch your paint, so be carefulÖ

The heat seems to shrink the vinyl so if possible always cut a little extra to compensate for the amount that will shrink down.

Hopefully this thread makes it easier for someone to go through the awful process of vinyl wrapping a car. In the end it is very much worth it though especially if you take your time and do a good job.

I didn't take too many pictures since I was preoccupied wrapping but here are a few I took along the way, and hopefully I'll be able to get out with the DSLR this weekend for a proper photo shoot. And sorry about the poor quality of these iPhone picture.











































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  #1  
By TreyR28 on 08-04-2013, 09:40 PM
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reserved for pictures
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  #2  
By wonton1017 on 08-04-2013, 11:05 PM
Oooo, I wrapped my interior and was just about to start researching on how to wrap my exterior. Great timing, subbed!!!
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  #3  
By NGEE on 08-05-2013, 05:45 AM
Nice job, nice write-up. thx.
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  #4  
By phozenstone on 08-05-2013, 12:19 PM
that looks awesome....i could never understand why people charge so much for the materials. Vinyl itself can't possibly cost more than $100-200, but vendors charge $600-1000 for rolls of vinyl and then another couple hundred to do the wrap
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  #5  
By TreyR28 on 08-05-2013, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phozenstone View Post
that looks awesome....i could never understand why people charge so much for the materials. Vinyl itself can't possibly cost more than $100-200, but vendors charge $600-1000 for rolls of vinyl and then another couple hundred to do the wrap
Thanks, and yeah I don't understand why they charge so much for the vinyl it can't possibly cost that much to produce.. But I can totally understand why shops charge thousands in labor to wrap a car. It is probably one of the most daunting, frustrating thing to do.
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  #6  
By Jeffman on 08-09-2013, 11:21 PM
How much does all that weigh? Any performance improvements? Maybe it's quieter?
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  #7  
By TeinBMW on 08-09-2013, 11:27 PM
Good job man
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  #8  
By e46m3lol on 08-16-2013, 06:20 PM
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Looks great! Knowing how difficult it is to wrap... would you wrap it again?
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  #9  
By TreyR28 on 08-16-2013, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffman View Post
How much does all that weigh? Any performance improvements? Maybe it's quieter?
It weighs hardly anything, maybe 10 pounds for all the vinyl on the car. I didn't go with carbon fiber vinyl so i got no performance gain out of it. And it sounds the exact same.
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  #10  
By TreyR28 on 08-16-2013, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e46m3lol View Post
Looks great! Knowing how difficult it is to wrap... would you wrap it again?
Some guy came up to me when I was getting gas last week and was asking me to do his BMW, I told him hell no, that he would have to pay me an absurd amount of money because vinyl wrapping is painstakingly slow and time consuming. I might consider doing my own car again eventually, but definitely not for a long long time. And I would never do it for anyone else's car unless they paid me like 10,000 dollars. But in the end I'm glad I did it because I love the way it looks and I learned a new skill.
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  #11  
By e46m3lol on 08-16-2013, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TreyR28 View Post
Some guy came up to me when I was getting gas last week and was asking me to do his BMW, I told him hell no, that he would have to pay me an absurd amount of money because vinyl wrapping is painstakingly slow and time consuming. I might consider doing my own car again eventually, but definitely not for a long long time. And I would never do it for anyone else's car unless they paid me like 10,000 dollars. But in the end I'm glad I did it because I love the way it looks and I learned a new skill.
Nice... I was asking because once you have it down the first time it becomes easier and easier. You will think i'm a little crazy but I've wrapped my car 5 different colors in the 10 months that I've owned it. the last 2 times I wrapped it, it took me exactly 48 hrs non stop and that is including disassembling the car and putting it back together. lol

Feel free look me up on clublexus forum my user name is "e46m3lol"
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