The Basics: Paint Replacement Wrap ReviewTo understand 3D embossed wraps, it helps to know the basics, so here’s a quick review. Paint replacement wraps are done by applying special, laminated, high-performance cast vinyl to a vehicle. The installation process is the same as that used for printed wraps. In the world of printed wraps, a custom design is printed on a large format printer, then laminated with a clear vinyl overlaminate film to protect the print from abrasion. With paint replacement film, the overlaminate film is applied by the manufacturer, so all the installer needs to do is grab a sheet of it and slap it on the car, one panel or fender at a time. This is of course, a gross over-simplification, but you get the idea. Paint replacement wraps protect factory paint from the elements while giving the vehicle’s owner his or her choice of color, or colors. I say colors – plural - because the newest trend in the industry is a range of films that change colors depending on the viewing angle. One moment purple, the next green or orange. ORACAL’s Shift Effect films and Avery’s Supreme Wrapping Film ColorFlow vinyls are two such products. But that's yesterday’s news. What’s this about 3D embossing?
Embossed Design OptionsORACAL 970RA, you could delve a little deeper into the ORAFOL product line and add a sub-layer of textured film from ORACAL’s 975 structured cast lineup (See image gallery below). These include visually interesting textures like carbon fiber, honeycomb, crocodile, and emulsion. And of course, you can mix and match these elements for a unique, upscale and eye-catching design as ORACAL did at the 2018 NBM Long Beach/WrapsCon trade show. The center of attention in the ORAFOL exhibit was a new Lexus LC500 coupe wrapped in 970RA Color change film installed with a 970RA logo on the rear quarter panels and 975 structured cast Emulsion accenting certain parts of the hood and fenders. The effect was tasteful but distinctive.
How To Install and What You NeedInstalling embossed wraps requires a mixture of vinyl application tools and techniques. To create and install the cut vinyl graphics such as the ORACAL 970RA logo seen above, you’ll need the following:
- A good high quality vinyl cutter, naturally. We have a few of those.
- Vinyl: You can use 2 mil cast vinyl such as ORACAL 951 or, if all you have on hand is 970RA, that can be used as well. Due to its 4 mil construction, 970RA will be more visible as an embossed element.
- Transfer tape for applying the cut-vinyl graphic right where you want it.
- For applying large simple sub-layers, you can use 3M Knifeless tape to cut the swatches.
- Use a round tipped burnishing tool or a felt squeegee to press the top layer tightly around the contours of the sub-layer to accentuate the effect and sharpen the edges.
- If your base layer includes sharp corners, you may have a few air pockets between the sub-layer and top layer after installation. These can be removed with a good old-fashioned bubble-popper tool.
Here are some closer looks at various elements of this stunning wrap job. You'll see the Emulsion under sections of the hood and driver's side rear quarter panel and the embossed ORACAL 975 logo and a swath of 975 emulsion under the green vinyl on the passenger's side rear bumper. It's an elaborate and eye-catching treatment appropriate for such a stylishly designed vehicle.