5 Easy Steps to Vinyl-wrap a Car

Would you like to change the face of your car by taking it through the process of vinyl-wrapping? Well, you don’t have to be a professional automotive restyler or a vinyl film wrapper to apply a killer wrap on your car. Let’s walk you through the process on how to vinyl wrap as a DIY enthusiast and your perfect vinyl-covered automobile will be ready in a few hours.

What is vinyl wrapping?

Vinyl car wrapping is nothing more than the automotive aftermarket technique of partially or wholly covering a vehicle’s paint with a vinyl wrap. It can be done in a car. But it can be done in other vehicles like motorcycles or trucks.

This technique allows you to transform the image of a vehicle in whole or in part. It is a manual work that has to be done by someone with training so that the finish is accurate. It must be done carefully, without haste, as it is done by placing vinyl panels one by one on the vehicle’s body. If placed correctly, you possibly wouldn’t know whether it is film or paint.

Benefits of vinyl-wrapping

With this technique, it is possible to change the aesthetics without resorting to a new process of painting – a solution with which it becomes more complicated to reverse.

Thanks to this modality, renewing the appearance of the vehicle was not so easy. There is a multitude of possibilities when applying vinyl. The best known is the one that leaves your car with a matte finish.

There is also the option of applying a glossy film.

But, this technique is not just one of those used to transform vehicles. It is through vinyl wrapping that most of the advertising we see applied to automobiles is done. The imagination has no limits when it comes to taking a vehicle through the car wrapping process.

The film has, above all, one more advantage.

It is much more economical than painting a car. Film placement is around $2,000, while a standard vehicle painting job can cost close to $3,500.

How to vinyl wrap a car (5 steps)

There are 5 major steps in which a single piece of vinyl can be used to wrap a car. First, you’d need some materials:

Materials you’ll need

  • Heat gun
  • Cutting blade
  • Squeegee
  • Cleaning solution
  • Cutting tape
  • Gloves
  • Infrared thermometer
  • Measuring tape

1. Clean the car paint carefully

Clean the car paint carefully

Start with a thorough cleaning with paint and alcohol cleaners. Then fix scratches, bumps, and rust. You will need a smooth surface to apply vinyl. Anything that affects your ability to apply vinyl must be removed.

2. Mark the problem areas on the surface of the car

Mark the problem areas on the surface of the car

The vehicle may have a potentially problematic part. It is important to know before applying vinyl. Any curves on the vehicle’s body will most likely cause additional tension on the vinyl.

Mark the problem area on the surface of the car to adjust the application procedure for curves or problem areas. And solve any problem before applying your material.

3. Measure and cut the size

Measure and cut the size

Generally, vinyl is sold in the market at 1.52 * 18m or 1.52 * 28m. Meanwhile, 10-23 meters are needed to wrap a complete car. You can estimate that it will consume 1 or 2 rolls. Then measure the surface of your car and cut the size.

4. Wrap and bubble

Wrap and bubble

Car vinyl uses removable adhesive, so just wrap it on the surface. Then you will find some bubble. Use a squeegee and a heat gun to take out the bubbles. By the way, car vinyl has an airless channel to allow air to escape, eliminating bubbles. During wrapping, you can stretch the vinyl to fit over the curves.

5. Cut the extra pieces

Cut the extra pieces

Use a knife to cut the extra piece. If it is curved, you have to work with the arc-shaped squeegee to avoid small wrinkles that resemble the edges of the bottle cap.

What do I do if the body gets scratched?

When applying car wraps to the vehicle, the risks become a concern identical to what you would have if the car were only painted.

Still, the film material is as tough as paint, but it is not indestructible. If the film breaks, do not despair, nothing is lost. If small scratches appear on the vinyl surface, they can be polished or fixed. Meanwhile, you may check out this video on how to prevent and fix scratches on cars with vinyl covers.

Can I remove the film?

If after some time you think have had enough of car wrapping, or the end result has not convinced you completely, or you simply want to change the film, there is no problem. The vinyl can be removed easily. Just apply a little heat to the area, as you do to remove stickers. A good example of a product for this purpose is the RapidTac Adhesive Remover.

Now the pertinent question is: if you remove the vinyl, do you notice it in the car paint? As a general rule, vinyl wrapping, as long as it is well applied, leaves no marks when it is removed. If the surface was previously damaged, it is another story. Don’t be afraid to apply film. If you are willing, keep the idea, but you may choose to consult a professional. If you still prefer to go the way of doing it yourself, then you may check out how to remove a vinyl wrap from an automobile in this YouTube tutorial.


The vinyl in the car wrap will definitely make your car special. It is a material that lasts, in perfect condition, for about 7 years without problems.

Of course, it is not advisable to expose it to the sun, nor to let other elements, such as dirt, bird droppings or resin from trees remain on it. Remember that prevention is better. So in these cases, it is better to have a garage.

You’ve seen how to vinyl wrap an automobile. We hope you can now give car wrapping a try. Do you have any questions? Don’t hesitate to ask by using the comment section below!