Yes, vinyl wraps shrink before the heat is applied. Vinyl wrap materials are stretchable, so the vinyl tends to shrink back when you stretch it out and let go. This is how it works.
The heat shrink process can be done by hand or with a heat gun. The heat gun applies the heat directly to the vinyl, and this will cause it to shrink in size and tighten around whatever surface it is being used. This shrinking process will take place after you have stretched the vinyl on the surface of whatever it is being wrapped around.
The general temperature for a heat gun depends on what you’re using it for and how hot you need to go. There’s a variety of different heat guns. Most outdoor, heavy-duty ones can go up to 1100 degrees or more. There are also ones in the 500-degree range for smaller applications.
The best results are when you stretch it either tight or loose without too many creases on your original substrate. Once the surface has been stretched appropriately, turn the heat gun to medium heat and slowly move the gun over the surface, starting from one end and working towards the other. You will notice as you move along that it is tightening up and getting smaller in size around your substrate. Overheating can cause burning, so be careful.
Turn off the heat gun and allow the vinyl to cool slightly before peeling away from your original substrate after heating up. When you remove the vinyl, you’ll notice that it has a few wrinkles where it was stretched. This is how vinyl wraps work and why they’re stretched when you first apply them before heating them with a heat gun.
What is the best temperature to heat vinyl?
A lot of high-end vinyl wraps will come with a specified temperature on the label to assist you in determining how hot is safe to go. With our experience, most car wraps can withstand temperatures up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit without issue.
Every vinyl wrap has a different temperature range that is safe to go with. It all depends on what kind of brand wrap you are using. Some of them will even say on the label not to touch it with your hand or fingers after applying it because it can burn you. If you’ve ever felt a vinyl wrap that has just come out of the heat gun, then you know it’s extremely hot!
Other wraps are meant to stay flexible but not shrink when heated. The best thing to do is follow the instructions on the label or check with your supplier about what safe temperatures are for your particular brand of vinyl wrap.
Does the color of vinyl impact the temperature at which it is heated?
As far as colors go, when you stick to lighter shades, you’ll have an easier time getting the vinyl hot enough without burning. Some say the darker colors are harder to deal with in terms of heating them evenly.
Some are more sensitive than others, so always remember to read the label, be careful not to overheat anything, and use your judgment when trying to figure out how much heat you can apply before things start to burn up.
The heat shrink process will work on all kinds of vinyl, and it is a great way to save some money if you plan on applying multiple layers of vinyl wraps onto your surfaces.