Designing your own Car Wrap can be fun & simple if you’re prepared and have the right materials.
Based on the fact that you’re reading this article, I’m guessing you probably don’t fall into that category… but that doesn’t mean you still can’t have fun!
In last week’s post, we went over the materials needed to successfully design your own Car Wrap. This week we’ll be putting a couple of those to use and help get you started.
The first step of the wrap process is also the most important, Measuring! The most commonly asked question new client’s ask about getting their car wrapped is “How much will it cost to wrap my car?”
The problem with this question is cars come in all shapes and sizes. Cost is based on the total amount of material needed to wrap your vehicle. This is determined by measuring the sides of your car and using the dimensions to formulate a quote.
Measuring is also important because the fate of your car wrap hinges on how much space you have to work with. Poor or inaccurate measurements can result in logos, artwork, and text running into pesky areas like wheel wells or falling off the car completely. Most businesses that specialize in car wraps have accurate templates based off of the technical drawings used to build the car. Unfortunately those are flat two dimensional images and doesn’t account for all the shapes and contours of the vehicle, which could shave a couple of inches off of the entire wrap, and an inch makes a world of difference in the world of car wrapping.
For this measuring exercise, we will be using a 2010 Honda Fit as an example.
When measuring any section/side of your vehicle, always start and end on the widest point on both sides, make sure to follow the shape and contours of the car when doing so, this will help for a more accurate measurement.
We’ll start with the side of the vehicle, when measuring the height of the car start from the lowest point at bottom of the car body, not the asphalt.
Starting from the asphalt will include the tires into the dimensions and add extra (and unnecessary) square footage to your measurements and make things more difficult and inaccurate when you get further down the road. For the width, start from the middle of the rear tail light, pull the tape measure tightly across the body of the car following it’s body shape, and stop at the middle of the front headlight. Only one side will need to be measured since the other other side is an exact mirror image of the car, though you might want to take gas caps or anything similar into account when taking measurements.
Next we’ll measure the back of the car. The back of the car can be a little trickier because there’s more curves and pop outs on this side of the car.
For the height of the rear, start from the very top and hold your tape measure tightly against the body of the car while sliding it down and follow the shape of the car. A lot of people like to put the contact information for their business on the bumper of their wrap, this step in the measuring process is VERY IMPORTANT because it will make a world of difference between this information landing on the bumper or going off it’s edge making the text illegible.
For the width, start from where the widest part on the driver’s side and pull the tape measure across the widest part of the rear (usually the bumper) stopping at the widest part of the passengers side tail light. Next you want to measure the dimensions of the rear window. This is necessary because any template provided or created shows the rear window as a flat two dimensional space, where in reality, the rear window is always at an angle, making it longer/wider at times compared to the dimensions in the template.
Now onto the roof, start from the widest part of the curve at the top of the windshield and pull it all the way to the back of the car and stop at where the rear window begins to measure the length.
If the trunk/rear of your car hinges at the top of the roof, like in the Honda Fit we’re measuring, stop where the hinge begins. For the width, measure from the top of the driver’s side door pulling the tape measure across and stopping at the top of the passenger’s side door.
Now lets move onto the hood. As you can see in the image below, most car hoods concave at the top to follow the shape of the windshield. When measuring the height, start by visually locating the highest point on both sides of the hood, draw an imaginary straight line from one side to the other (this is line generally 5-7 inches taller than the lowest point of the concave).
This imaginary line is where your measurement will begin. Pull the tape measure from this point down to the bottom of the of the hood following it’s curve tightly. When measuring the width, start at the widest point of the side of the hood, and once again, pull your tape measure tightly across the shape of the hood stopping at the widest point of the other side.
If your vehicle’s hood has a cowl, factor it’s placement into your measurements. This means taking note of where it starts, it’s height, the width of the cowl, and it’s location on your hood’s overall measurements. This is necessary because most designs look their best when the logo lands right on the very top of the cowl, or fit within the dimensions at the top of the cowl.
Finally, to measure the front/bumper of your car, measure from wheel well to wheel well following the front shape of the car for the width. As for height, start from where the hood ends and extend the tape measure along the shape of the front bumper to the bottom of the car pulling the tape measure in a couple of extra inches. (2-3 should be fine) This is done so that the wrap can reach underneath and hold the car more tightly.
Getting the hood and roof dimensions can be very helpful since some templates don’t include the top of the car. So having these will help you design these pieces without the aid of a template.
Now it’s time for a break, you worked way too hard taking measurements of your car. You deserve some “You” time. Grab a cool drink, go outside, and put your feet up.
After you spend an entire week unwinding from the stressful measurement phase of the car wrap process, come back next week and we’ll get started on part 3… Creating a Template.