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Expert tips for creating car wraps – without a knife.

Technician using a car wrap tool on the door of a yellow car

Professional advice from Phil Aquin, 3M™ Knifeless Tape Specialist.

Car wrapping is a meticulous process that depends heavily on the cut. How can you ensure each edge is clean and precise?

The first step is to ditch the blade.

Phil Aquin travels the world training graphic installers on how to wrap vehicles without touching a knife. Learn his tricks of the trade using his product of choice, 3M™ Knifeless Tape.

1. Know when to snap vs. pull

Knowing your wire is the first step in graphic installation, Phil explains.

“The wire in 3MTM Knifeless Tape acts as the ‘blade’,” he says. “It’s important to know what material your wire is made of because it will determine how you make the cut. In most cases, you want to snap the wire forward and then pull it through the film. But if you’re using 3M™ PPF Line Knifeless Tape, for example, it has a metal wire so you should skip the snap and go straight for the pull.”

Two hands apply a car wrap tool to the door of a car

2. Choose the right product for the right cut

Different products are better suited to different parts of the installation. Phil breaks the choice down into cutting for design or cutting for finish.

“It’s important to know the differences between the tapes,” he explains. “Design Line is used for any cuts you see. It has a smaller filament that slices through vinyl easier. Whereas Finish Line is used for cuts that are hidden.”

Applying car wrap

3. Know when to release the tension

Designs can have many swoops and curves that may disrupt the tape’s filament. To keep the design intact, Phil says it’s important to take the pressure off.

“It all about releasing the tension,” he explains. “When you’re turning the tape to create a design, you want to prevent the filament from popping out. To do this, only apply pressure on the outside half of the tape. The inside half will buckle and release the tension, giving you clean curves.”

Applying car wrap

Learn more.

Watch a video of Phil applying 3M™ Knifeless Tape in real-time at SignEXPO.

About the Author

[enBio=Phil Aquin is 3M’s resident vehicle wrap expert. With over 15 years of experience wrapping cars, he’s a trusted source of knowledge and expertise in the industry. He travels across Canada sharing professional tips and tricks of the trade. He also practices what he preaches, by decking out his own ride with intricate vinyl wrap designs.],[enJob=Vehicle Wrap Expert, 3M Canada],[frBio=Phil Aquin est l’expert résident en placage de véhicule de 3M. Avec plus de 15 années d’expérience en matière de placage d’automobiles, il constitue une source fiable de connaissances et d’expertise au sein de l’industrie. Il se déplace partout au Canada pour partager ses conseils professionnels et ses trucs du métier. Il met aussi en pratique ce qu’il enseigne en ornant son propre véhicule de placages en vinyle aux motifs complexes.],[frJob=Expert en placage de véhicule, Compagnie 3M Canada]

Profile Photo of Phil Aquin