Posted By Vinyl Frog On March 21, 2023
How To Wrap A Car In Chrome?
A shimmering car draped in an exquisite silver vinyl, sleek and velocious, bedazzles the onlookers. Resembling a gleaming gem, it represents the unique taste of the owner, who defied the norm and dared to be different by opting for a film that is highly distinctive and striking - the chrome vinyl wrap.
What Are Chrome Wraps?
Chrome wraps are premium quality, highly reflective films that are almost mirror-like. They offer one of the most stunning finishes that make your vehicle the talk of the town! They come in three variants: Mirror chrome, opal chrome and satin chrome. Each has a different surface finish that makes it truly mesmerizing.
The mirror chrome wrap, as the name suggests, is specular in nature. It shimmers brilliantly when light falls on it, giving a flashy facade to the vehicle. At Vinyl Frog, it is available in two shades, gold and silver. Opal chrome vinyl is also reflective but it has an iridescent shimmer with a fascinating display of multiple vibrant hues on the surface of the car. It is available in two shades as well, black and white.
Satin chrome is an altogether different story. It has a smooth, pearlescent finish as if the vehicle is covered in silk. It lacks the ostentatious gleam and has just the right amount of shine making it classy and sophisticated. It is available in many bright colors so you can choose the one that you like best.
Chrome vinyl wraps are durable and long lasting with medium malleability. These are thin films made of high grade polymeric vinyl with a pressure sensitive acrylic adhesive. They are equipped with an air release channel so you can ensure a bubble and crease-free installation. They can be repositioned easily leaving no room for errors and once installed, they protect your vehicle against the harsh elements in the environment. Let’s give you a detailed lowdown on the application of chrome vinyl wraps.
Tools Required For Installation
For any project to succeed, it is important to have the right tools. Here’s what you need to wrap your car in chrome vinyl.
- Measuring Tape: To measure the different parts of your vehicle and the vinyl to avoid wastage.
- Cutting Blade: To cut the vinyl according to the measurements.
- Surface Cleaner: To clean the exterior of your vehicle. You can make one at home with isopropyl alcohol. This is mixed with water in 2:1 proportion and put in a spray bottle.
- Microfiber Cloth: To clean the vehicle as it is gentle, scratch resistant and lint free.
- Heat Gun: To ensure strong adhesion of vinyl to the car’s surface.
- Wet buffer: Soapy water in a spray bottle to ensure that the squeegee glides over the vinyl and does not leave any marks.
- Infrared Thermometer: To measure the temperature so as to avoid overheating the vinyl.
- Small Magnets: To hold the vinyl in place.
- Squeegee: To ensure smooth application of the vinyl by removing creases.
- Gloves: To protect your hands and the delicate chrome film from any kind of damage.
Important Points To Know Before Installing Chrome Vinyl
Chrome vinyl installation is slightly different from other films because it is delicate and has to be handled with a lot of care. If you are a novice or do not have enough experience of vinyl wrapping vehicles, we suggest not delving into chrome vinyl. It is best to leave the job to professionals. Here’s what you should know about these films.
- Chrome vinyl is very vulnerable to damage and if not handled properly, you can easily crack or haze it.
- The film also tears easily posing difficulties during installation.
- While installing, one has to apply the right amount of pressure and cannot overstretch or overheat it, otherwise it might lose its mirror finish.
- It gets marks and scratches easily as well. Hence it is recommended to use a soft and clean squeegee for its installation. When removing creases, do not hold the squeegee at a high angle otherwise its corner might scratch the surface.
- Chrome films do not self-heal. It is quite an unforgiving film and if it gets defected, you cannot remove the scratch or mark with heat.
- You have to be very careful when applying heat to chrome vinyl. Do not use a propane torch for this. Only use a heat gun and take care of maintaining the temperature. Use low heat as the film burns easily.
- Chrome vinyl is non-directional so you can apply it in any way you want and it will still look uniform.
Process Of Installing Chrome Vinyl
Below is the detailed process of installing chrome vinyl on your cherished set of wheels:
Step 1: Prepare Your Vehicle For The Wrap
Before you start to wrap your car, make sure it is clean and dust-free. There should be no contaminant on it. The surface should also be completely grease-free. Get any dents or scratches fixed otherwise the whole final look of the vehicle will be ruined.
Wash the car completely. Clean the wheels and all the little spaces thoroughly such as the wheel well and under the wipers. Dry the car using a microfiber cloth. Lastly, use isopropyl alcohol to clean the complex parts like panels, seams, and behind the rubber seals.
Tip: It helps to remove parts like bumpers, mirrors, door handles, trims, number plates, emblems, grilles, apertures, tail lights and headlights for a smooth wrapping experience.
Step 2: Cut The Chrome Vinyl
Measure the different parts of the car and cut the chrome vinyl. Cut 4-6 inches more than the actual size so you can stretch and reposition the wrap on all sides. The temperature of the surface of the car should not exceed 80°F otherwise the film will get damaged. Once you have cut the chrome vinyl according to the panel that you are applying on, it is time to wrap.
Step 3: Apply The Vinyl
In order to do this you will need an extra pair of helping hands. Use magnets to hold the film in position. Once the chrome film is in place, you will have to remove the liner that protects its surface otherwise you will not be able to reposition and stretch it. The liner helps in protecting the film from damage during transportation.
However, the price of professional services will differ from location to location. When searching for professionals, make sure to look for experienced installers and check their previous work to see if it suits your needs. Do not forget to read the customer reviews. Request quotes from different local installers, compare price and services and then make an informed decision.
If you plan on wrapping your boat yourself, you can expect to pay only 50% or less of the price mentioned above. The tools will cost you but not significantly and the overall cost will still be way economical.
Step 4: Remove Creases With A Squeegee
Use a soft squeegee to remove wrinkles. This is an important step that needs a lot of care. Before applying squeegee, moisten the area with a lubricant. You can also use soapy water in a spray bottle to make the squeegee glide on the wrap without causing any tears or marks. Hold it at roughly 45° angle and work in gentle strokes. Push towards the edges of the panel to force out air and fingers in the vinyl.
Step 5: Trim Off The Extra Chrome Vinyl
Now you will have to trim off the excess wrap. Leave 10-20mm extra sheet around the edges. When wrapping chrome vinyl around the edges make sure you are still wearing your gloves. Use a heat gun to heat the edges so that they soften and the adhesive is activated. Pull the vinyl taut to avoid wrinkles and stretch it under the edge. Seal them by applying firm pressure.
When wrapping the chrome film around corners, it is important to use the combination of heat and pulling evenly. Here also you will need a helper to do the job. It is critical to work in small sections and stretch only as much as needed. Once all of the edges and corners have been secured we go over everything with a gentle post heating using the heat gun.
How Much It Will Cost To Wrap A Car In Chrome?
As compared to other vinyl films, chrome is more expensive than a matte or a glossy vinyl wrap. The cost of the material along with installation by a professional will be expensive. It can range anywhere from $6500 to $8000. This also depends on whether you are going for a full or partial wrap and the size of your vehicle. At Vinyl Frog, a 5ft x 10ft roll of mirror and satin chrome vinyl costs $169. A 4.49ft x 10ft roll of opal chrome vinyl costs $169.
Pros And Cons Of Chrome Vinyl
The plus points of chrome vinyl are:
- It is very eye-catching and mesmerizing.
- If applied professionally, it will last up to 5 years.
- Like any other vinyl wrap, it will protect your paint underneath.
THe downsides of chrome vinyl are:
- Elegance can sometimes come with a cost.
- While applying or afterward, if the vinyl gets any scratches, they will be fairly visible.
- It is difficult to maintain. You will need to take good care of the chrome wrap.
Frequently Asked Questions
Wrap It In Chrome!
Chrome car wraps provide a sleek and luxurious look to your vehicle that is sure to turn heads on the road. The high-quality wrap assures paint protection and is a sight to behold. Its cost is higher than other vinyl films but significantly less than the chrome paint job. If you are ready to make this drastic change and give your vehicle a futuristic look, get your car wrapped in the glamorous chrome vinyl right away. Visit the Vinyl Frog website and browse through our Chrome collection for the best wrap!