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RandomlySet 04-07-2010 03:33 PM

Vinyl Wrapping Wheels
Firstly, I take no responsibility to any damage caused to yourself, your wheels, your car, or anything else for that matter. Use this merely as a GUIDE.
I am not a professional at any sort of wrapping. This was my first attempt, but seemed to go ok, and decided I would share with you what I did and how.

Right, so where do we begin? Items required
  • Wheels to be wrapped
  • Vinyl to wrap with
  • Plenty of MFs
  • APC
  • Tardis
  • Clay
  • IPA
  • Wheel Wrench
  • Torque Wrench
  • Jack & Axle Stands
  • Tape Measure
  • Stanely knife (or craft knife)
  • Sponge and Old Credit Cards (or a squeegee)
  • Long straigh edge (I used a spirit level)
  • 21mm Socket Piece/Swissvax Brushes, anything of similar dimensions
  • Heat Gun/Hair Dryer
  • A helping hand
  • Shelter (ideally)
  • Time & Pateince

Ok, so that's the list of items you we require. Some are obvious why, some may not seem obvious, but you will soon see why.

Right then, let's crack on with the "how to"........

First things first, make sure the car is on a nice flat surface and the handbrake is on. If/When removing the rear wheels, put the car in gear, and place some chocks in front of the front wheels.

Crack all the bolts lose. Just 1 turn on each bolt should be enough. Now take your jack, and lift the car up. Be sure to use the recommended jacking points (consult your manual for this, or seek professional advice). Once the car is high enough off the ground, place axle stand under the car, in a nice, sturdy position. You can leave the jack in place if you wise for extra support, just make sure no handles are in the way that cause people to trip and injure themselves or knock the car off the stands...

Now the car is off the ground, you can fully remove the wheel. Whilst the wheel is off, you could take this opportunity to clean the arches, repaint the hubs/callipers etc. (I'll do a separate guide for that).

Anyway, you're car should now look like this

And a wheels like this

As with painting, waxing etc, the key to a good finish is preperation. So now that you have a wheel ready, you need to clean it. My process was as follows:
  • Rinse
  • Wash with APC and MFs
  • Rinse
  • Tackle any tar spots, glue residue etc with Tardis and MFs
  • Thorough rinse
  • Clay the wheel as you would the paintwork on your car
  • Rinse one final time
  • IPA wipedown to remove any oils/product left behind

After the IPA wipedown, you might want to give it a final rinse. Once down, place the wheel out in the sun for around half an hour to fully dry (remember to turn the wheel after 15minutes or so so both sides are dried). Alternatively, you could dry with a Heat Gun/Leaf blower.

Whilst the wheel is drying, it's time to cut the vinyl. Remember, measure twice, cut once ;)

My wheels are 17". 48cm lip to lip (remember to account for any dips, contours etc the wheel will have). I cut a 50cm x 50cm square, so enough to play with around the edges.....

One clean, dry wheel

Now, this is where you need time, patience, and a helping hand.

Firstly, using the heat gun, try to get some heat into the wheel. Doesn't have to be too much. Also, give the vinyl a quick 2 second blast. Nothing more.

Starting at the corner of the vinyl, and near a spoke (makes it easier), peel the backing away and lay the vinyl down, whilst getting a second person to hold the vinyl....

Method I used was, Dave (my "helper"), would hold the vinyl and remove the backing, and I would pat down the viny. Just do a couple of inches at a time....

Two methods we tried. (1) Lay the vinyl slowly. And then go around checking for bubbles, and push them out with a sponge/squeegee. (2) Lay around 50% of the vinyl down, then remove the backing entirely. Grab the 2 corners of vinyl you have, and pull fairl tightly over the wheels, whilst the other person presses it flat. This was results in far less bubbles, but a touch trickier.

Once all laid down, and bubble free, take a sponge and mould the vinyl around the spokes and lip. That's all, forget about any contours at the moment such as wheel nut holes, center caps etc, just the spokes and lips. Also, you can wrap a credit card inside a sponge for the lips etc.

Should look something like this now

Now it's time for some real work.

This is where it gets a little tricky, but hopefully this guide will help you.

The next stage is "wrapping" the spokes. Again, 2 methods of doing this. Both ways are 99% the same. You'll see in a minute.

between the spokes, cut out a small triangle like this
(look near the cluster of red, yellow and orange jelly beans)

Now this is where the 2 different methods come in. You can either do one "section" at a time, which is how we started, or you can cut triangle out of all the sections, and try to fold back the vinyl later on all at the same time. We used this later on due to the heat outside was affecting the vinyl. Either way is fine, down to personal preference.

Here is a picture with all sections cut out.

Ok, let's assume you're doing one section at a time.

Take your blade, and using the corners of the triangle as "starting points" cut from the corner, to the point where the spoke meets the lip. Do the same from the other corner, then fronm the top corner of the triangle, cut towards the center of the wheel, finishing with a Y shape cut.

Now fold back the 3 flaps you have created. Depending on the vinyl quality, it may keeps folding back, this is where you need some heat. The heat my cause it to curl some more, but time and patience, and you'll see it works, keeps pushing it back into position (this is why doing it all in one hit is another option. cut all flaps ready, fold back, then one of you hits them with a heat gun, whilst the other person follows with sponge)

Should look something like this

Another section done, and starting to see it develop

Ignore the cut outs for the centre cap and wheels nuts! Do not do this! This was the first wheel, and discovered a better method on our 2nd wheel.

All sections cut, folded back, and heated into position.

As you can see in this picture. There are no hole for the center caps, wheels nuts etc.

This is possibly the easiest part. Heat the area up for about 5-8 seconds on a medium heat, until feels soft. Then using a sponge or MF, press the vinyl into position. It will stay no problem.

To do the wheel bolt holes, do one at a time. Pierce a small hole, heat up the vinyl until you notice the hole expand slightly. It is now soft enough to push a 21mm or similar, socket peice in. Rotate the peice and keep rotating as you lift it out. Next, fill the hole with a Swissvax brush, or similar sized piece to keep it's shape as heat from doing other holes will cause it to lift out of position.

Next, trim the edges, be careful not to slash your tyres!!! Safest method is to get a fresh blade to avoid snagging. Place back of the blade on the tyre, and point inwards, this way the blade shouldn't actually touch the tyre.

Leave about 5-8mm to fold behind the wheel lip. This is where you use a credit card. Then add heat to help it set, and run around the lip with a card wrapped in a sponge/mf to ensure a nice finish

It should now look something like this

You will notice a lot of black where I haven't covered. This areas need to be filled with any off cuts you may have.

That's pretty much the basics of it.

Here's my final result

Hope this guide has been of use to you. Hit "Thanks" if it has



EastUpperGooner 04-07-2010 03:38 PM


How many "scene" points do you get for that? lol

Good work/guide nevertheless.

RandomlySet 04-07-2010 03:43 PM

got a gazillion points

lock974 04-07-2010 03:45 PM


woodybeefcake 04-07-2010 03:48 PM

Thats fantastic mate! I don't know if I will go for it yet, but if I do I will post up my results! i think the hardest part for me will be where the nuts are around the edge of the rim! Where did you get the vinyl from?

And I like the jellybean, its something different, regardless of what anyone else thinks or says!

RandomlySet 04-07-2010 03:50 PM

someone my brother knows through did it

I did the artwork etc, he got it printed

woodybeefcake 04-07-2010 05:43 PM

Cheers mat! i pressed thankyou on the wrong post before and it would appear that I cant remove it!!

RandomlySet 04-07-2010 06:01 PM

no probs fella :thumb:

who45 04-07-2010 06:23 PM

i bet you a tenner it ends up on barryboys now ;)

RandomlySet 04-07-2010 06:32 PM

pffftttt. **** BB.... I am/was a member on there. only posted once or twice

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