If your customers are demanding custom-printed vinyl wraps for their cars, here is key information about 3M premium vinyl wraps that explains what they are, the various types, and how to apply them properly.

What Are 3M Vinyl Wraps?

3M vinyl wraps are large, adhesive stickers that can be applied to the exterior of a vehicle. They’re made of several layers, including a paper backing layer, a vinyl layer, and a top layer that protects against ultraviolet rays, scratches, and other types of damage.

The vinyl layer is made from a combination of polyvinyl chloride and other materials, giving it the flexibility and durability necessary to conform to the contours of a car's surface while also resisting damage.

Vinyl wraps come in various colors, textures, and graphics, allowing you to offer a wide range of customization options to your customers. Here are three popular types of vinyl wraps you can find with AirMark:

  • Glossy: This style of vinyl wrap is perfect for the customer who wants a shiny, reflective finish to make their vehicle stand out.
  • Matte: This finish is non-reflective with a more understated look.
  • Satin: Satin is a happy medium between glossy and matte, with a subtle sheen that adds a touch of sophistication to a car.

Each of these vinyl finishes can be printed with a wide range of colors or graphics, depending on what your customers want.

How to Apply a 3M Vinyl Wrap

The cost of car wrapping can be significant. If you’re offering to apply wraps to cars in addition to printing them, you want to be extra careful during the installation.

Here are a few considerations to keep in mind:

Clean the Car

Start by properly cleaning the car using soap and water, making sure the surface is free of dirt, dust, or debris. This will ensure the wrap adheres properly and looks great. There’s no need to worry if you have a car that’s ceramic-coated—the coating will simply double the protection.

Sand the Surface

Here’s how to sand the clear coat:

  • Grab soaked 400-grit pieces of sandpaper.
  • Wet sand the car’s clear coat, focusing on the areas with the most damage.
  • Dry sand the paint.
  • Rinse the sanded car.
  • Polish the areas that were sanded to ensure a smooth surface.

Apply the Vinyl Wrap

The vinyl application process is complex. Here is how it is done:

  1. Measure the panels of the car, adding four to six inches on all sides.
  2. Cut the correct amount of wrap using a knife. Get a second set of hands to help because the next steps are nearly impossible for one person to do.
  3. Remove the backing paper while keeping some tension on the wrap and drape it over the panel.
  4. Use a squeegee to stick the wrap to the panel, starting from the middle and moving outward. You can use a heat gun to ensure there are no bubbles in the wrap.
  5. Heat the space between two body panels and glide your fingers across the gap, curing the gap’s edges for a seamless look.

Tips for a Smooth Application

When applying a vinyl wrap, it is easy to make mistakes, especially if you're doing it for the first time. Here are some tips to help you achieve a smooth and professional finish:

Use a Heat Gun

You can use a heat gun to soften the vinyl, make it more pliable and easier to apply, and stretch it around curves and edges. Also, working in small sections can help you stay in control of the vinyl and prevent it from wrinkling or bunching up.

Smooth Out Bubbles With a Squeegee

Use a squeegee to smooth out any air bubbles or wrinkles. It’ll help ensure a smooth-and-even finish without any imperfections.

Don’t Leave Too Much Allowance

More than three millimeters of allowance can risk your wrap’s integrity, causing it to float or become loose. To avoid this, cut the vinyl to fit the body panels, and make sure to heat and press the wrap into place using a squeegee or your hand.

Wrapping Up

Vinyl wraps are an excellent option for protecting a car's paint job and giving it a fresh, customized look. If your customers are looking for custom-printed vinyl wraps and want to know how long vinyl wraps last, this post will help you take the first step in fulfilling their requests.