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How to Black Out the Trim of Any Truck or SUV with Vinyl Wrap

Daley Visual uses 3M film to cover up the shiny parts of our Volvo XC90 project

Jun 30, 2020

Can Truckin Make a 2nd Gen Volvo XC90 Cool?

The finish on our trucks and SUVs has changed significantly in the last 20 years or so. Back in the day, you had your truck and you could either afford a shiny new paint job or you couldn't. Or you kept your truck in primer while you did all the body mods. The options were kind of limited. Nowadays, you've got paint that looks like primer, primer that looks like paint, patina, paint to preserve patina, matte, flat, and satin paint, and all of the above but in water base. Finally, there is the subject of our story: vinyl wraps. Vinyl has changed the world of truck building, especially on late model builds. At a place like SEMA, there's no way you would have all the trucks with so many extreme finishes without the introduction of vinyl wrapping into the custom truck world. Over the last several years, we've covered quite a few vinyl wrap installations, including a few on our own projects, but the focus is always covering up the paint. This time we're going to try something different.

Photo 2/37   |   Before

When we were deciding what to do with the last vehicle of our crossover buildup series, a 2017 Volvo XC90, one of the things that bothered us about it was the exterior trim. While the dark gray metallic paint looked great, something about it didn't look right. Eventually, it donned on us that there was just about every kind of modern trim finish on this SUV. Besides the gray, other exterior finishes included polished stainless, silver paint, plastic and metal chrome, gloss black and textured black. We definitely needed to do something about it. Pulling all the exterior of an almost-new SUV for expensive paint work seemed excessive. The answer was out in Corona, California, at Daley Visual.

Photo 3/37   |   After

When we gave Josh Daley a call, he said, "We just finished an XC90; I know exactly what to do." We soon had the Volvo in the shop and worked out the details. We decided to wrap just about everything shiny with 3M satin black vinyl. We did leave the silver on the front and rear valance to tie into the silver on the 22-inch R-Design wheels. And like Josh said, if we changed our minds we could go back and do the valances and the wheels, too! A few hours later, we had a completely different looking SUV; it really was a transformation. This Volvo just has more of a high-end, custom performance look thanks to the deleted chrome and stainless. And the only disassembly was the front grille. This was a win-win deal for us, and the same school of thought can be applied to any truck or SUV. Follow along below, and if you want to make some simple but effective changes to the trim of your truck, give Daley Visual a call.

Photo 4/37   |   When we arrived out at Daley Visual in Corona, California, we pulled out SUV in, devised a plan, and the crew got straight to work. Because the stainless glass surround was a main point of focus, the crew started there by doing a deep cleaning around the area and making off the surrounding paint.
Photo 5/37   |   Each trim piece has to be done separately, and the process begins with cutting each section from the roll of satin black 3M vinyl. Then the backing is pulled and the section is laid into place.
Photo 6/37   |   Then a vinyl squeegee, or hand applicator is used to push the edges of the section down behind the surrounding rubber or felt.
Photo 7/37   |   Next, an extremely thin snap-off utility blade is used to trim the excess vinyl.
Photo 8/37   |   It's really that simple. But each section presents different challenges and using the utility knife without damaging the vinyl, paint or trim is an artform in itself. That's why we leave it to the pros.
Photo 9/37   |   In some areas like tight corners, a primer is dabbed on to promote adhesion. In others, heat is applied in the form of a propane torch to make the vinyl more pliable.
Photo 10/37   |   With only the back door completed, you can really see the transformation starting to take shape.
Photo 11/37   |   From there, the crew attacked the other three doors.
Photo 12/37   |   The rear glass section is actually one piece, so a fairly large section had to be cut to cover the entire area. Then the backing is peeled off and it's laid over the stainless molding.
Photo 13/37   |   Once the vinyl is pressed smoothly around the entire section, the excess is trimmed away.
Photo 14/37   |   Next on our list were the silver roof rails. The long, narrow sections were cut and laid into place.
Photo 15/37   |   Then the hand applicator was used to form the vinyl into the nooks and crannies.
Photo 16/37   |   But here's where things get a bit more tricky. The main section if the rail was trimmed where it tucks in the underside. But where the post is, there's nowhere to hide.
Photo 17/37   |   In some areas, the only choice is to make a perfectly clean cut where it meets the textured area of the post.
Photo 18/37   |   Then the process is repeated on the inside section of the rail.
Photo 19/37   |   On the side grilles of the front bumper, there are chrome inserts that had to go. They were handled next.
Photo 20/37   |   The one item we did remove completely was the grille. Once it was removed, we split the chrome section from the black base.
Photo 21/37   |   We split the center badge up and wrapped the chrome part.
Photo 22/37   |   Then it was trimmed accordingly.
Photo 23/37   |   Meanwhile, the large section of vinyl was laid over the outer grille.
Photo 24/37   |   Soon, the badge was ready for reassembly.
Photo 25/37   |   It took some heat to get the outer shell perfect. But soon the excess vinyl was trimmed and we could put the grille back together.
Photo 26/37   |   If you look closely, you can see how the gloss black section was laid over the wrapped part, creating a subtle but cool two-tone effect.
Photo 27/37   |   The same went for the inner and outer grille sections, as the inner bars are factory gloss. Once everything was snapped back together, we reinstalled the assembly.
Photo 28/37   |   While we were leaving the silver section of the valance alone, we still wanted to cover the chrome on the exhaust tips. Here, the tip was being prepped with the 3M primer.
Photo 29/37   |   A section was cut to cover the entire exhaust outlet.
Photo 30/37   |   At this point, the outer edge is laid down and trimmed, while the inner edge is still being laid down.
Photo 31/37   |   This shot shows the wrapped outlet on the left, and the chrome one on the right. We know which side we like better!
Photo 32/37   |   While we were back there, we made quick work or removing the badges.
Photo 33/37   |   The final feat was probably the hardest. These XC90 door handles are paint-matched on the front and chrome along the rear edge. First the area was taped off, then the vinyl was laid over the entire handle.
Photo 34/37   |   Now the painted section was carefully cut out. And once the vinyl was tucked around the rear edge and trimmed, the job was complete! We couldn't believe how fast the Daley Visual crew knocked out this SUV.
Photo 35/37   |   Man, we don't get tired of looking at the final product. A few yards of satin black vinyl certainly went a long way. The window moldings are probably the most dramatic difference.
Photo 36/37   |   Up front, that extra work on the grille really paid off. It really gives the SUV a high-end, sporty look.
Photo 37/37   |   The badges are gone, but those Volvo taillights are unmistakable. We also really like how the silver valance ties in with the wheel accents. All in all, we will consider wrapping the trim on just about anything we get our hands on in the future. The results are killer!

Source Box:

Daley Visual