Nefarious Racing

Making and Installing Custom Vinyl Decals On My Honda Civic EF Using the Wet Application Method

In this video I show you how I marked out, cut and installed custom vinyl stripes on my Honda Civic EF. I also show you how to use the wet application method for installing vinyl.

Things You Will Need to Make and Apply the Vinyl Stripes:

  • The vinyl to cut the stripes from
  • Very sharp craft knife
  • Measuring tape
  • Steel ruler (the longer the better, ideally at least the length of the stripe if you can find one long enough)
  • Squeegee with felt on the edge (to not scratch the vinyl)
  • Masking tape
  • Rubbing alcohol (to clean the paint before application)
  • Microfiber towel
  • Spray bottle with water and a tiny bit of dishwashing liquid
  • Heat gun (Could do it without this but it will apply better with one)

Making the Custom Vinyl Stripes

In order to make the stripes, I first used masking tape to lay out and measure the design on the car. I placed the tape where I wanted the stripe, and marked out all the points I would need to cut out on the vinyl.

Once that was all marked out, I took the masking tape inside and taped it down on a flat surface. I taped my roll of vinyl up against it, and laid masking tape on top of the vinyl so that I could mark out the same points.

I then used a steel ruler to mark out all the lines I wanted to cut out, and then used a very sharp craft knife along the steel ruler to cut out the stripes.

Applying the Vinyl Stripes Using the Wet Application Method

Once the stripes were done, I went back outside to apply them.

First thing you want to do is clean the whole area you are working on with the alcohol. Either spray it on the car or apply it to your microfiber and just wipe the whole thing down to get any dirt and grease off.

Now in order to apply the stripe, I taped the stripe in the position I wanted it to go, and then used tape to put little markers all around the outside of the stripe, so that I could place the stripe exactly in the right position.

Then I taped a “hinge” down the middle of the stripe along the door edge, so that I could do half of the stripe at a time while the rest of the stripe didn’t move.

When you are ready to apply the first half, fold the side you are going to be working with over and tape it to the other side (don’t create a crease where it folds). Spray the surface of the car down with your water and dishwashing liquid mix, to give it a wet surface which will allow you to position the stripe. DO NOT GET WATER ON THE VINYL BACKING – You will ruin the vinyl.

Peel the backing of the vinyl on the side you are applying, and lay the stripe down in the position that you want it. Use the markers you placed earlier as a guide.

Now you can use your squeegee to get the stripe to stick and push all the water out from underneath it. Be careful not to move the strip around as it will move due to the water. Start with light passes with the squeegee and go harder over time.

As you push the water out the stripe will begin to stick. Now you can repeat the process on the other half.

Once you have applied and squeegeed the whole stripe, let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour to just let it settle and the glue to stick.

Once that’s done, come back and peel the top layer of masking tape off. The stripe still won’t be sticking 100%, so peel it gently.

Now you can cut the stripe along the door edge gaps and any other slits you need. I cut them right in the center so I can wrap the vinyl around the edge to help it stick.

Now take your heat gun and heat the parts of the vinyl you just cut until the start to curl around the edge. Now just push them down into place and apply a bit of pressure to help them stick. Using the heat gun here is going to help the vinyl mould to the curve and stick better.

Once you’ve done that, go over the whole stripe with the heat gun a few times to get the glue to fully activate. You don’t need to get it too hot, just get it warm. You may see some bubbles popping up, if so just use your squeegee to push them out.

That’s it, your vinyl stripe should now be done and your car should be a little bit faster.

Mateja Matic