Tips for car wrapping

Always measure on the vehicle before plotting foils!

In two-dimensional drawings, curved panes, curves and beads can only be represented inadequately. Sloping windows and surfaces are foreshortened in perspective, and corner radii may also deviate. The paths and dimensions of the drawings must therefore not be used for film cutting without first checking them on the original vehicle. creativ collection® accepts no liability for dimensional deviations.

Foil rear windows

In two-dimensional drawings, rear windows can only be shown foreshortened in perspective, so that curvatures and corner radii are not exactly reproduced. If the film is to extend to the edge of the window, the contour cut must always be made directly on the window to ensure a clean result. If the original vehicle is not available for the design planning, the design should be carried out with large tolerances or only the centre of the window should be covered.

Attention StVZO! If there is a third brake light, it must remain free. ABE numbers of tinting films must also be visible. Find out about the current legal situation.

Design tip: Since the vehicle interior is always darker than the surroundings, white lettering on the rear window is easier to read than black. The inclination of the windscreen must also be taken into account depending on the angle of inclination and can be compensated for by slightly distorting the design.

Design of leaded sides on commercial vehicles

If commercial vehicles are not glazed, they usually have prepared window cut-outs in the sheet metal. These edges are represented by lines in the drawings. However, you should not use them to cut the sheets directly:

  • They can be clearly defined sheet edges or rounded curves without a recognisable edge.
  • The corner radii can always deviate slightly

Therefore, make sure you check the exact condition on the original vehicle or, if necessary, on the basis of photos.

Filming tip: If your design is to extend right up to the edges of the sheet metal, you must cut the films accordingly larger and cut them directly on the vehicle; the easiest way to do this is with Knifeless Tape.

Tip: Vehicle manufacturers often launch additional sheet metal or glass variants after the market launch. Since the cut-outs are always the same, you can make a sheet into a window and vice versa by recolouring the drawing.

Foil "around corners" (e.g. mudguards/engine bonnet)

If you are planning foiling over vehicle "corners", e.g. from the wing to the bonnet or from one side of the vehicle to the rear, there is a little trick: push the corresponding views of the vehicle drawings together so that the edges at the transition areas (red lines) are as congruent as possible. You should be aware that such difficult transitions can only be roughly planned in two-dimensional drawings. In order to achieve a good fit, skill and experience are required when bonding to the vehicle. In order to have enough room to manoeuvre, the individual films should have a generous overlap area.

Design tip: When foiling strongly curved metal sheets, there will inevitably be significant stretching of the film, which can lead to unsightly distortions of the design. Therefore, diffuse motifs without sharp edges and straight lines are ideal for these areas, as they conceal distortions best. Abstract, rather small-scale decors are also a good choice here. Geometric objects and shapes as well as images of people, on the other hand, are unsuitable as they unnecessarily emphasise the distortions.

Note attachments - free checklist

There is a wide range of possible add-on parts such as emblems, trim strips, bumper protection, etc. The same model can be configured differently depending on customer requirements. It may also be necessary to paint plastic parts in order to be able to wrap them. Failure to take this into account during the planning stage can lead to unpleasant surprises later on. To avoid this, you can  download a practical checklist here.

Note material and surface properties

Add-on parts such as bumpers, bumper guards or door handles are sometimes difficult or impossible to foil. It is therefore advisable to find out about the condition beforehand:

  • In the same colour as the car or unpainted?
  • Plastic or metal (sheet metal)?
  • Smooth or rough surface?

Door handles in drawings

Door handles can be designed in very different ways: recessed or not, recessed handle with sharp edge or not, fully foilable or not depending on material and texture. Therefore, the representation in the drawings is not suitable for an exact contour cut. Always check the exact condition on the original vehicle or, if necessary, on the basis of photos.

Cutting stone chip protection films

Vehicle parts such as front/rear skirts, spoilers, side skirts, extensions, etc. have strong curvatures. These shapes cannot be represented exactly in two-dimensional drawings and are unsuitable as cutting templates. Therefore, the stone chip protection films must be cut directly on the vehicle.

Decoration sets for emergency vehicles

Many well-known manufacturers offer decal sets ex works for emergency vehicles such as police cars, fire engines or ambulances. If you want to create decal sets yourself based on vehicle drawings, it is imperative to take detailed measurements of the original vehicle to ensure a good fit.

Equipment packages of the manufacturers

Vehicle manufacturers often offer their models with a wide variety of equipment and sports packages (e.g. S-Line from Audi, M-Technik from BMW, AMG-Line from Mercedes). Due to the almost unmanageable number of variants and possible combinations, we are unfortunately unable to offer all configurable options. However, as far as possible, we take into account the relevant packages for the most common vehicles.

If the vehicle with the desired equipment package is not available, you can also fall back on the base model, as the bodywork is usually identical. In addition, many equipment packages only relate to the interior and comfort functions.

Not every foil is allowed!

Reflective films are only permitted on emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire engines or police vehicles. Chrome foils are a borderline case: vehicles may not be completely foiled, but individual components may be. There is no generally applicable rule. Even if these films can be approved or registered in individual cases: Check with the vehicle insurance company beforehand, because in the worst case, the insurance coverage for the vehicle expires. The operating licence may also expire.

Difference between cast and calendered vinyl films

In contrast to cast films, calendered films are pressed by rollers during production. In addition, around 20 to 25 % plasticiser is added to them. "Monomer" refers to short-chain, highly volatile plasticisers, "polymer" to longer-chain plasticisers.

Monomer calendered films
Typical applications: Interior, trade fair construction, shop fitting, short-term advertising campaigns.


  • Inexpensive


  • Only suitable for flat or slightly curved surfaces
  • Short shelf life (up to 4 years)
  • Environmental influences (heat, UV radiation, chemicals) cause the film to become brittle
  • Memory effect: calendered films have a tendency to shrink and return to their original shape.

Polymer calendered films
Typical applications: Interior and exterior, vehicle labelling and part wrapping


  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Similar properties to monomer calendered films, but more durable
  • Polymeric plasticisers mean the film retains its shape for longer and is less prone to shrinkage


  • Only suitable for flat or slightly curved surfaces
  • Average durability (up to 7 years)
  • Environmental influences (heat, UV radiation, chemicals) cause the film to become brittle
  • Memory effect: Calendered films have a tendency to shrink and return to their original shape.

Moulded films
Typical application: Vehicle wrapping


  • Very easy to mould and stretch, ideal for 3D bonding
  • Can be removed and repositioned several times during application
  • High resistance to chemical reactions and UV radiation
  • Long durability (up to 10 years)


  • Expensive

Tip: Production fluctuations
Always use films from the same batch for your orders to avoid colour variations.

Tip: Pay attention to shelf life
Films should not be used beyond their service life, as the onset of decomposition makes them difficult to remove and can damage the paintwork. Horizontally bonded films wear out more quickly due to direct sunlight.

Request photos of all sides of the customer vehicles!

Photos are very helpful if the vehicles to be decaled are not available at the time the order is placed:

  • when choosing the right vehicle drawing
  • when planning the design
  • for assessing the condition of the vehicle

You cannot assume that your customers always know all the relevant details of their vehicles; important information is also often missing from the registration certificates. In addition, photos show possible bodywork damage and rust spots that should be removed before the vehicle is wrapped.

Tip: Always ask for informative photos for each order, ideally also detailed photos of emblems, (modified) add-on parts and damage.

Note the colour of the vehicle paint!

When making your calculation, you should take into account that vehicles with dark paint colours are easier to wrap than light-coloured vehicles if the design is to extend to or over the edges of the sheet metal. This is because with light paint colours, the film must be applied further around the edges of the sheet metal to avoid unsightly paint blemishes. With dark paint colours, small imperfections in the film can be concealed more easily, as dark shadows always appear at the edges of the sheet metal anyway.

Previous damage to the vehicle

Routinely check the paintwork of the customer's vehicle for scratches and other damage before wrapping. Photograph these and inform your customers in order to prevent possible disputes.

Vehicle drawings – Search and info

Useful information on online searching as well as practical tips on working with the drawings can be found in the help.

Design a fleet of vehicles

It can be a challenge to develop a uniform design for different vehicle types. A design can look good on an SUV but fail on the narrow sidewall of a pickup truck. The resolution of a photo may be sufficient for a car, but too low for a van. The vehicle fleet could be expanded later, ... It is therefore worth considering working exclusively with vector graphics, as these can be scaled as required and are easy to change. It is also easy to create a uniform colour scheme with a high recognition value using coloured areas.

Logos and image material from customers

Unfortunately, it happens all too often: when an order is placed, it is said that logos and images are available. In retrospect, it turns out that the logo is just a pixelated bitmap and the photos are mobile phone snapshots. This point should therefore be considered at an early stage so that a final artwork of the logo and/or additional costs for stock photos can be included in the price calculation.

Spray films ("car dipping") Advantages and disadvantages

Spray films are most often used for wheel rims - for visual reasons or for protection. Their strengths lie in jagged and filigree surfaces such as radiator grilles or emblems, which can often only be foiled with great effort or not at all. It should be borne in mind, however, that removal from all cracks and corners can be very time-consuming. Spray films are also used as stone chip protection up to full filming. Basically, the vehicles must be prepared just as carefully as with classic film wrapping. In addition, everything that is not to be wrapped must be masked off. In order to achieve an even result and to avoid running marks, several even layers must be sprayed on.

Removal of existing vehicle wrapping

Before preparing a quotation, clarify whether you already have film wrapping. It is also important to know how old the film is and what type of film it is. High-quality 3D films are easier to remove than cheap plotter films. The additional work involved in removing an old film that is already disintegrating should not be underestimated.

Has the vehicle been modified with tuning parts?

There are many possibilities: Spoiler, front lip, rear lip, sill mouldings, skirts etc. These add-on parts can be glued, screwed or both, and can cause problems during removal. It may also be necessary to paint an add-on part so that the film adheres to it. It is therefore always advisable to inspect the vehicle beforehand.