How to Wrap A Car

Wrapping your vehicle in vinyl wrap is a terrific alternative for changing your car's color without spending a fortune on paint. A car wrap is a thin vinyl layer that may be applied to your automobile's body to change its appearance. You can alter the color and design of your car for a lower cost than a paint job. Learning how to wrap an automobile before you begin is important; let us show you how!

Step 1: Planning it out

The first step is selecting your vinyl wrap and the vehicle you want to wrap. You want high-quality vinyl that will last you for years. It is best to go with the top brands that sell the best vinyl in the industry, like 3M, Avery Dennison, Hexis, KPMF, and Metro Wrap.

Be careful of what vinyl material you buy as well. Calendared films are usually less expensive than premium cast vinyl wraps and of lesser quality. They have a tendency to compress, shrink, crack, and curl with time, which lessens their toughness and impairs performance. They are less elastic and more prone to tearing, making them only good for flat surfaces. Cast films are more stretchable nd conformable and provide better durability. This is why Metro Restyling is your best choice for high-quality cast films from major, trusted brands.

Click the link to learn more about the differences between Calendered Films and Cast Films

Decide your workplace area. Make sure to wrap your car indoors at a cool temperature and not outside in the heat. If the temperature is too hot, the wrap film can become soft and cause discoloration and distortion. The perfect temperature would be around 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You also want to avoid dirty facilities or garages with many dust particles. Make sure you have plenty of room for movement, more people if you need assistance, and tools.
Before the process, look for scratches, blemishes, dents, logos, hood ornaments, and marks. Try to fix any minor or significant defects since they can be seen through a vinyl wrap. These can cause bubbling and tearing in the wrap, so fixing them before applying the film is best.

Step 2: Get the Right Tools

It would be best to have the appropriate vinyl tools once you've decided on the vinyl wrap you want, determine the space you'll work in, and prepare your vehicle for wrapping. You will require the following equipment for the application:

  • Gloves

    We Recommend Elite Wrappers Gloves by WrapGlove. These Gloves glide smoothly across any vinyl surface preventing the transfer of oils and sweat from your hands

    Elite Wrappers Neon Orange High-Performance Wrap Glove by WrapGlove

  • Squeegee

    The ProGlide Scatchless Squeegee is made to easily glide across vinyl films and paint surfaces without worrying about mistakes, damage, scratches, marring, or marks.

    Metro ProGlide Scratchless Squeegee

  • Heat Gun

    We recommend the Furno 500 Milti-Temperature for your next vinyl project. The Furno 500 is the first digital, multi-temperature heat gun introduced into the DIY market. This heat gun has a built-in Graphic LED screen, and Touchpads activate 12 distinct temperature settings from 150°F to 1200°F, enabling the user to match the correct temperature to the application.

    Wagner Furno 500 Heat Gun

  • Cutting Blade

    The Olfa 30-degree Knife is a precise cutting-edge knife that works great for PPF and vinyl wrap installation. This Olfa knife has a 30-degree blade angle, a slide-lock mechanism, and seven cutting edges per blade.

    OLFA 30° (30 degree) Stainless Steel Snap-Off Knife | SAC-1

  • Cutting Tape

    3M Design Line Knifeless Tape is a great tool to help you wrap your vehicle. The 3M Knifeless tape helps trim your wraps, create racing stripes and much more without using a knife. 

    3M Design Line Knifeless Tape - 50m

  • Cleaning Solution

    Mfinity's Vinyl Wrap Ceramic Coating is excellent for those who want to provide their vehicle's wrapped or paint-protected surface with incredible slickness and durability.

    MFinity Ceramic Coating for PPF & Vinyl Wrap - 30ml/50ml Bottle

Step 3: Preparation:

You can begin pre-preparation once your tools, vinyl wrap, and workspace are ready. Ensure your workspace is spotless first; try cleaning it a few hours before wrapping. Then, clean the vehicle. Clean the car's surface with paint-safe grease and wax remover to remove dirt or grime. Clean the entire surface with ISO 70% alcohol and lint-free cloths. You do not want to wash and wrap ASAP as the back sides will not be dried, and the film will not hold/lay. Once your vehicle is clean, grab some gloves and check if you missed any dirt, grime, or other imperfections.

Step 4: Measurements

Once your vehicle and workplace are clean, you may start measuring your first piece of vinyl. First, measure the length X height of the surface/panel you are applying, and leave extra material (4-6 inches) on either side. Leaving additional material is recommended for beginners. Measure as many times as you need before you know you are 100% accurate with what you want to cut. Once measured, cut the vinyl wrap with a vinyl wrap blade with your measurements.

Step 5: Lay the Vinyl Sheet

(For this step, finding a partner is advised) While wearing your gloves, stretch the sheets a few inches above your vehicle's surface. Then carefully remove the backing paper and tighten the film to minimize wrinkles. After removing the backing, you will want to glass the film on the surface and gently lay the vinyl sheet on the surface. Make sure to start with the middle and work to the outside edges. Use the squeegee to press down on the wrap with even pressure from your starting point. Make sure the vinyl is smooth as you slowly extend from your center. Our Metro Restyling ProGlide Scratchless Squeegee will help apply pressure to leave no trapped air behind the film.

Step 6: Remove air bubbles and wrinkles

If you see any air bubbles or wrinkles, gently lift the vinyl, use the heat gun to heat the area (around 120F), and gently re-stretch the sheet to lay it flat. It is essential not to overheat the film, which can lead to losing the texture and quality of the film.

Step 7: Cutting away extra material & Tucking Edges.

Leave a 2-3 mm space from the edge when trimming the excess sheets. This extra vinyl should be enough to tuck around the edges or cover the cracks. After cutting the material, tuck the edges. Use the heat gun to activate the adhesive on the rest of the vinyl sheets. Once everything has been tucked and trimmed, go over the panel and ensure there are no wrinkles or tension.

Cutting Vinyl Wrap Tips
Click the link for tips on cutting vinyl wrap

Step 8: Post Heating 

Make sure to post-heat your wrap film, by applying heat on areas that have been stretched out to fit on channels, grooves, and recesses. As it heats, move the heat gun over an area 8 to 10 inches wide until the appropriate temperature is reached. Be cautious not to miss any areas. Applying heat in one spot might cause the vinyl to burn, so keep the heat gun moving. 

Post-Heating Vinyl Film on Recessed Areas
Click here for tips on how to post-heat on recessed areas

Step 9: Aftercare

Let the vinyl wrap rest for 24 hours before washing. For aftercare maintenance, wash your car wrap once a week. Hand washing with a soft sponge is the preferred way to clean your car wrap. Do not use any high-pressure washer, harsh chemicals, or stiff bristles that can damage the material. We recommend only using vinyl approved by a major brand, safe car waxes, and polishes. We recommend MFinitiy Ceramic Wrap Coating to add an incredible slickness and durability to your vehicle wrap. MFinity enhances vinyl and PPF, unlike other coatings available on the market today, and will not change the finish. It is a 7H coating that will protect your vehicle's finish for 2 years.

Even though it might seem challenging, wrapping a car is a rewarding and fun DIY project that can help you save money and give your car a new look. Anyone can wrap their automobile like a pro with the right tools and techniques. Explore our site to find the best premium car wraps that come in countless colors, finishes, and major brands. Please comment below if you have any questions about the installation procedure.

Elite Wrappers

Many of our customers who started as DIY beginners have taken an Elite Wrappers class and have gone on to start their wrap careers. Elite Wrappers is a top vinyl car wrap training facility that provides classes in Michigan, Florida, New Jersey, and New York. Aspiring vehicle wrappers who enroll in these training classes have a great chance to pick the brains of seasoned industry experts. With Elite Wrappers, you can gain the knowledge and skills to become a successful car wrapper and start a rewarding career in this exciting field.

Elite Wrappers Car Wrap Training Classes


Q: How long does it take to wrap a car?
A: A wrap installation takes 2-5 days. This depends on the vehicle's complexity, size, and installer experience.  

Q: Is it easy to remove vinyl wrap from a car?
A: Yes, a vinyl wrap can be removed from a car relatively easily, and it doesn't damage the paint or leave any residue if done correctly. Having a proper heat source will allow for better results!

Q: How long does vinyl wrap last on a car?
A: With proper care and maintenance, a vinyl wrap can last up to five years or more.

Q: Can I wrap my car in any color?
A: Yes, vinyl wraps come in various colors and finishes, allowing you to choose any color or design you want.

Q: Do I need professional help to wrap my car?
A: Not Necessarily, It is recommended to consult a professional before installation on the panel to get a better understanding.
Car wrapping tips

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