How to Measure Your Vehicle for Vinyl Wrapping  

One of the most common questions we get form our customers is about the amount of vinyl they should buy to wrap their vehicle. And,despite our best efforts, we weren't always able to give the best answer to our customers which is why we decided to team up with Justin Pate from the Wrap Institute to show us how to precisely calculate the amount of wrap film you need to wrap your car or truck. Better yet, he also shows us how to measure and prepare the vinyl wrap you have purchased and cut it into to sections to wrap all surfaces of your ride. Check out the full video below and then keep scrolling to get a step by step guide and tips to make your purchase and measuring painless and fun.   

Choosing the Right Vinyl Wrap Formula for Your Ride

The first thing you need to consider before buying a roll of vinyl wrap film is the type of vehicle you have. After making some quick measurements and using a few simple calculations, you'll quickly be able to figure how much wrap you need for your particular vehicle. In order to figure out how much material to order for a full coverage color change wrap, you don't have to measure every section on the vehicle, there's actually only one measurement that is needed, and that is from the passenger or driver side. The height of the rolls of color change film are all sixty inches wide, so this easily covers the top and bottom of the passenger or driver side. Therefore the only measurement that needs to be taken is the length of the side from the tip of the front fender to the back of the fender.

Measuring a Sedan without Bumpers: One thing to keep in mind, in order to account for the curvature of the car, is that it's a good idea to add an extra six inches to the back and front measurements. Once you know the length, you can plug it into this easy to use formula for color change wrap that won't need bumpers, multiply the length by three point twenty five.

Measuring a Sedan with Bumpers: For a full coverage sedan, including bumpers. multiply the length by four.

Measuring a Truck without Bumpers: If you are wrapping a truck without bumpers, then multiply it by three.

Measuring a Truck without Bumpers: And for a truck with bumpers, then multiply it by three point seventy five.

In the case of the VW Golf GTI shown in the video, the length of the driver's side was 122 inches. This is now plugged into the formula and it's multiplied by four. The total amount of film needed to order is six yards. And one good tip for beginners is to add an extra three yards to account for any mistakes during install.

Step 1: Preparing the Vinyl

Once you get your roll color change film, never open it up on the ground, instead place it on a table and then write down the sections of the vehicle that will get precise measurements on the box for easy reference during the cut down process.

Step 2: Begin with the Hood

Now it's time to measure each section on the vehicle and we'll begin with the hood. Always be sure to add an extra three inches to all sides on the measurements. This is called bleed and the extra material is for pulling the film during install. On the fender don't measure exactly from edge to edge. Instead, give the sides that extra three inch bleed just like the hood, and note that on most fenders, since they are less than 30 inches in height, two panels can be made out of one yard of color change film.

Step 3: Measure the Driver and Passenger Sides

Next we get to the driver and passenger sides and always focus on the back fender area in this case, instead of giving three inches of extra bleed, give an extra 12 inches and make a mark on the fender. Measure from this mark to the edge on the rear of the back fender. This one is exact. For bumpers, never measure from the front bumper. Instead, measure from the back bumper, as it's always wider than the front start in the middle of the back bumper, then work to the side. Add an extra three inches of bleed, then double this measurement to get the full width of the bumper, that bumpers can be wrapped with less than 30 inches of material, just like the front fender.

Tip: Be sure to write down all the measurements and mark the ones that can be cut in half, which in this case are the front fenders and the back bumpers, and now it's time to cut the panels into sections to begin this process. Be sure to get a Sharpie, a dry erase marker and masking tape ready next place, a roll of masking tape on the table, then measure from the box to the end of the tape. This will be your measuring guide.

Step 4: Roll Out and Cut

Always keep the material in the box and on the core tube as it can be easily rolled out of the box. Roll the film with the liner side facing down so the material doesn't get scratched and pull to the end of the measuring guide. Mark the end of the measurement on the face of the film with the dry erase marker, roll the color change film up safely to the box, then pull more material out of the box in order to get the right measurement needed in the case for the hood, it's seven inches. Now cut the panel away from the main roll along the box so as to not cut the material.

Roll the panel up and secure it with masking tape on both sides, then label the panel with a dry erase marker, never set the panel on the ground, but instead place it in a safe area like inside the car. Now we move on to the front fender piece, and this one can be cut in half, a safe and easy way to do this is by placing it on the side of the car with magnets, carefully fold the panel in half and make sure the edges are even. Once even, place the magnets back, so the folded panel is securely held on the body. Now, using a cutting tool called a Snitty, which has a blade safely in the plastic body, cut the fender panel in half.

Once cut, roll the two panels up, one is for the driver's side and the other is for the passenger side. While still focusing on the front fenders, take the piece to the fender and always make sure that the logo is facing up on the liner before the next step. This should be done with all panels during the color change wrap.

Step 5: Secure Wrap with Magnets

Secure the vinyl onto the fender with Avery Dennison Application Magnets then mark the area where the panel won't be needed, like the front bumper and on the wheel. Now cut the material away with the backing paper on using the Snitty. The size of this piece is perfect for the side mirror, so roll it up and place it on the dash for later.

Step 6: Measuring the Bumpers

For the bumpers, both front and back, the protocol is very similar to the front fenders secure, the main panel on the side of the car folded in half, then cut this panel in half with a Snitty, then roll the panels up safely and store them inside the car.

Step 7: Main Side Panels

Now we move on to the main panel for the driver side and passenger side, and this is the one that requires the most focus and holding power. So get out some extra magnets, then roll the pedal out starting at the back of the fender and working towards the front place, a magnet on each door, then first mark the excess area on the back section by the bumper and wheel.

Cut this film safely away with a Snitty and save this material for door handles and maybe even mirrors. Now move to the front and be sure to give an extra two to three inches of bleed during this setup. Using a dry erase marker, feel for the body line at the top of the windows and mark directly below this. What's the top section is marked now feel for an open gap between the back door and the back fender. Once this is marked, then feel for the gap between the bottom of the door and the rocker panel.

When cutting the panel into sections, keep the rocker panel area off the ground by rolling it up in stages, then secure this to the back fender with a magnet before continuing on to the upper section. If enough medics are used at the top, the main panel won't shift during this process, which is key and simply just follow the marker to the whole panel is cut, then roll it up safely and place it in the car.

Step 8: The Doors

Now we're on the homestretch and the focus is on the doors. Move the panel back so the door has three inches of extra bleed on this side towards the back fender, check the bottom for full coverage. And a good tip is to mark any excess material above the doors before this cut in the middle with a marker, then cut the excess above the doors away with the liner on. In some cases, this extra piece above the doors can be used for the top of the hatchback or a spoiler now with a marker on the front side of the door with a three inch extra bleed in mind, then cut the panel in half with a Snitty.

Roll the back door, panel up and secure it to the body with a magnet. Then simply shift the front door panel back so you have extra bleed, three inches on the back door and now you have three inches of extra bleed at the front and you're good to go roll this panel up, secure it to the body with the magnet, take all the mangoes away, and now it's time for the wrapping process to begin.

Final Tip: A final good tip before wrapping up to take a picture of the measurements to save for another round in the future.