How To Custom Vinyl Wrap Door Handles

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Do chrome door handles bother you? Would you like to change the color of your handles to something more interesting?

In this post, we will show you one technique on how to wrap your door handles and why we believe that vinyl wrapping your vehicle is better than painting it.

Wrapping your car is faster, cleaner, and environmentally responsible. There are no paint drips, no brush or roller marks, no clean up, and you will not get dirty. Not only will you love the look and feel of your new car, vinyl is easier to clean and maintain. Vinyl will last for years, giving you a unique look while protecting your vehicle’s paint.

What You Need:

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I have my heat gun set to 250°F, this allows me quickly get enough heat to the vinyl to manipulate as needed

I have my heat gun set to 250°F, this allows me quickly get enough heat to the vinyl to manipulate as needed

Preparation

  • Utilize Youtube for instructions on how to remove your door panels, if there is no video, guess what it’s your chance to make one! Good luck.

  • Remove the inner door panels using plastic trim removal tools. For my vehicle I simply use a small trim piece tucked back between the door and plastic panel, firmly use the leverage from the trim piece to snap out a connector. After one or a few of the connectors pull out then you can use your hands gently but firmly pulling the door panel away from the door.

  • Carefully disconnect all the plugs and sensors, I recommend snapping a photo prior so you know how everything should look when you are buttoning it back up

Plan Your Work

  • Clean everything and then clean it again! The quality of your preparation is directly related to the final outcome. If you have access to an air compressor then clean, blow and clean again. The last thing to touch your vehicle before installing the vinyl should be a tac cloth.

  • Measure and Cut the appropriate amount of vinyl, if installing a colorshift vinyl be sure to pay attention to the text on the backing paper. Remember to leave enough vinyl to cover the area you are wrapping with extra to spare; you can always cut away excess but you cannot add more material…without horrible looking seams.

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Applying the Vinyl (Do it horizontally)

For my specific door handle (Subaru WRX) you’ll want to gently hook the material over the front of the handle and use the hard edge of your squeegee to slightly tuck it behind, you can gently tac the corners down. With the rest of the material off the vehicle cold stretch the material with both hands pulling towards the rear of the car but also away from one another as in left hand north, right hand south if you were on the passenger side working. Look for any bunched up material during the process, get rid of the wrinkles or what we call fingers generally by pulling the vinyl in triangles. Once the material has been installed with your wrapglove or squeegee, look to slightly pick up each corner on the front of the door handle. Come back to those corners with and apply heat, this should cause each corner to fall right in place covering each corner as needed.

Removing Door Handles and Finishing Touches

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Once you have evenly applied the vinyl over the door handle, tuck in the excess around the corners. You need to remove the door handle from the car in order to finish the job. The steps will be different depending on the make and model of your vehicle, so I recommend checking on Youtube or researching this step.

  • First, you need to apply some HEAT to the treated area for about 2 to 3 seconds.

Apply heat at 250°F for 2 – 3 Seconds

Apply heat at 250°F for 2 – 3 Seconds

  • Carefully STRETCH the vinyl around the corners and pull the material at the biggest area in the middle to cover the seams on the rear of the door handle (It is important to take your time at this step because it will either make or break your work.)

(Do not stretch AT the corner, instead pull in the middle)

(Do not stretch AT the corner, instead pull in the middle)

Tips:

You can cut a relief line right down the middle of the vinyl so you can evenly distribute the tension when pulling. Make sure to finish your cut in a circular motion to create a circular edge instead of a straight edge (as shown in the video below.)

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  • Use the Flex Stream Squeegee and tuck in the material at the seam, following line.

Take your time and be precise

Take your time and be precise

  •  When you are satisfied with your work, carefully cut along the seams to remove the excess vinyl (Make sure to angle the tip of the blade towards the excess end of the vinyl.)

You want to angle your blade towards the excess end of the vinyl. You will need a small amount of vinyl leftover so you can tuck it into the seams.

You want to angle your blade towards the excess end of the vinyl. You will need a small amount of vinyl leftover so you can tuck it into the seams.

  • Tuck the excess along the seams using your Flex Stream Squeegee and that should be it!

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How to Remove Fingers (wrinkles) From Your Work

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When working with vinyl, Fingers are an inevitable part of any wrap job. Not only do Fingers make your work seem unprofessional, they will ruin your wrap completely. Since Fingers are indicators that your vinyl is not adhering properly, it is only a matter of time before the vinyl will eventually lift. Water, dirt, or grime will get between the material and the surface of the car, damaging both the vinyl and your paint’s topcoat. This will cost you time and money to either repair or replace. Luckily, you can do a few things to remove these wrinkles from your finished product.

1.       You can cut some of the excess off and reheat the edges to reapply the vinyl.

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2.       You can use a product like Mold n’ Hold to tape down any suspect edges helping to prevent lifting in the future.

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Post Heating

When you install vinyl around difficult corners, complex shapes, and curves, the material is stretched beyond its original form. Since most high-quality vinyl has heat memory, neglecting to post heat will run the risk of having your vinyl curl and lift.

Post heating is a process that allows you to reset the memory of your vinyl. By applying heat to the treated area for an extended period, the material permanently conforms around the shape of your object. Post-Heating is an important step in the wrapping process that it cannot be skipped – your vehicle wrap is not complete until you post heat.

To start, get your heat gun and an infrared thermometer handy. You need to use them in unison in order to determine the temperature of your vinyl – most vinyl will lose memory around 180°F to 190°F (Be sure to refer to the manufacturer’s post heating requirements.) Once the vinyl reaches that temperature, the memory resets.

Apply heat to the treated area for about 20 - 30 seconds. Move your heat gun back and forth and verify with your infrared thermometer. Be thorough and make sure you get rid of all the air bubbles and minor scratches.

Congratulations! You have completed one door handle. Repeat this process to color-change the rest of rest of the door handles.


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