Heating Shrinking Window Tint
Before we even begin you may be wondering why anyone would want to heat shrink window tint in the first place and you wouldn't be wrong for asking. Simply put, no one wants the hassle of heat shrinking but, unless you intend to apply tint as a number of strips to cover a concave surface, then heat-shrinking is a necessity. So, just what is it? In essence, when you heat shrink you use a heat gun to shrink the excess film along the grain (toward the factory edge) and smooth it out with a hard card or microfiber cloth. Suffice it to say that this is a technique best left to professionals but when and if you get it right you will have earned your tinting stripes.
Obviously, like most things in life, the best way to learn is to watch first and then do it yourself. One important consideration to keep in mind is that window film will only shrink correctly towards the factory straight edge.
Heat Shrinking: Wet Method
Begin by taking an uncut piece of tint, spray both sides with soapy water and lay it on outside of the rear windshield liner-side up. You will then squeegee a horizontal anchor onto the film to gather all the excess film into "fingers" at the top and bottoms of the window.
Next, pass your heat gun over one of the fingers briefly. Once you see the film react to the heat you may then smooth the heated finger area flat with your towel or microfiber cloth. In succession you then proceed to smooth each of the fingers that pop up until the entire area has been shrunk.
After the film is has been heat shrunk you will then need to the process with a hard card as opposed to the towel or cloth.
Trim the film to shape and flatten any newly arisen fingers with a hard card as new ones can occur after the film has been cut.
In order to apply the tint, roll it up onto a core or spindle, reverse the liner and roll it out onto the prepared inner surface.
Notes of Caution
IMPORTANT: In order to get the results you want you need to use a heat gun because a blow dryer will not get hot enough. Still, you need to be sure not to pause too long over the finger or it will burn or shrink unevenly. The secret is to prevent creasing of the film when you smooth it initially which is why a paper towel or cloth is recommended, otherwise larger fingers will bend and crease if you use hard card first.
IMPORTANT: Window film will only shrink properly if the fingers are aligned with the grain of the film.
So, if you feel you're ready to jump in and try your hand at window tint go ahead and pick up a precut kit or sheet here but if you still have questions that can't be easily answered over the phone or in a brief email check out our our selection of articles that cover every aspect of automotive window tint purchasing, percentages, installation and more. And, last but not least, if you don't see a topic that you would like to know more about, suggest it to us by send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.