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First time Camo wrap - Lessons learned

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by doraville, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. doraville

    doraville New Member



    I installed my first camo wrap over the last week, and I definitely would do some things differently if I ever do it again. I'm recording it here for the benefit of anyone else who is considering installing camo wrap for the first time.

    1. I used the CamoClad product from 3M. The quality seems good... no complaints with the product itself.

    2. I applied the undercoating and roll-on bedliner before applying the Camo wrap. This was good. What I did not do was paint all the edges, door jams, etc. before applying the wrap. This was bad. My logic was that i wasn't sure where the underlying white was going to show until after I applied the camo wrap, but the problem is that wet paint acts as a solvent on the camo wrap. So, when you try to touch-up the white areas after the camo wrap has been applied, it turns into a mess because the wet paint wants to dissolve the camo wrap. If I had it to do over again, I would paint the door jams and every edge or seam (or anything that might show) black BEFORE applying the camo wrap.

    3. If you have the option of waiting until summer to apply the wrap, I would suggest waiting. I had a garage to work in but even with a shop heater the wrap was not as pliable as needed to get the best job. I have a feeling that I would have ended-up with far fewer wrinkles if I had done it in the summertime.

    Overall, it looks fine but it could have been better if I had done the above.

    Hope this helps!

    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009
  2. Timetripper

    Timetripper Moderator

    Thanks for sharing your experience with the rest of the forum :)
  3. Mighty Milt

    Mighty Milt Moderator

    is camo clad anything like window tint film? i mean when i tint windows i always spray them down first with water with just a couple drops of dish soap in it. that allows you to slide and move it around and squeegee and wrinkles or bubbles out... when the water dries it sticks forever.

    and i know from doing vinyl stickers and graphics a hair dryer (better yet a heat gun) allows you the stretch and pliability you need for different body contours.
  4. doraville

    doraville New Member

    I don't think you would use the soap-and-water trick with the CamoClad. It's more like installing shelf-liner... it sticks when you apply it.

    The directions that came with the product suggest using a hairdryer or heat gun. This would have helped, as would have just taking my time a little more. I've noticed that I work faster when it's cold outside... in this particular case this was a drawback.

  5. Windmill

    Windmill Member

    Waiting for it to get warm here myself to put one on. Thought of waiting to paint afterwards but not now. Thanks for the posting.
  6. greg0187

    greg0187 Moderator Staff Member

    I can tell you from experience that water will work but I'm not too sure it will help much on stretching around corners as you would have to hold it in place for a long time before it starts to dry.

  7. MiniMuscle

    MiniMuscle Member

    we went with this stuff www.camo4u.com and it turned out pretty good. It is much easier than window film for the person that asked.
  8. dwink

    dwink Member

    The edges are the biggest pain to cover on mini trucks. A heat gun makes the corners much easier. Once finishing the tape, take a heat gun and hit the bends and spots that are not flat.
  9. doraville

    doraville New Member

    Here's another reason to save projects like this until warm weather. The undercoating and bed liner did not adhere well; it's already starting to come off in a few places. I made sure that the surfaces were clean and scuffed-up; I assume that it's probably because the temperature was too low when I applied the undercoating and bed liner.

    Looks like I'll be doing it over this summer. Oh well, you live and learn. Maybe I can save one of you guys the hassle of a do-over.

  10. Badgerland

    Badgerland Member

    Excellent information for those that may want to tackle this project for the first time! Yes...the DIY type of bedliner material is very temperature sensitive and should only be applied in warmer temps in order to "set" properly.
  11. We have always used camowraps and have had really good success. It doesn't matter if it's your 1st time or 10th time, wrapping a truck is still a PIA. Just remember that your going to have to make a LOT of relief cuts in certain areas and don't be afraid of the heat gun. Also, have a brown and black sharpie available when you do this, lots of times when you make the relief cut the white from the middle of the material will show. After you've stuck it down just touch it up with the brown or black sharpie and you'll never see it;)

    We've also never used water, just the removable sheets and worked them in place little by little.
    Hailhound likes this.
  12. cabinmini

    cabinmini Member

    More First Timer Questions

    I am also considering some camo wrap to spruce up my truck this summer. I have never done this and I have never seen the completed vehicle up close so I am looking for some opinions.

    If I used either Realtree Hardwoods Snow or Skyline Horizon (http://www.camowraps.com/patterns.php) would this eliminate the need to paint all the exposed edges and underbody etc. that others talk about? If anyone has installed these patterns, please post pictures or pm me.

    I'm not really looking to "camoflage" my vehicle but I like the looks of most of the products. Is there any other practical reason to go with the darker patterns and put a bit more effort into changing the color of the underbody, exposed edges etc?

    We had some 3m clear protector placed on my wife's white car and even though it was garaged most of the time it did still yellow a bit over time. Especially around the edges. Does anything like this happen with this stuff?

    My truck has a few smaller wrinkles, scrathes and dings in it. Will the wrap "disguise" these well or how would you prep these areas before installing the wrap?

    I see that some people have sealed the edges with bedliner or paint. Is this a necessary step? Does this stuff crack, peel, fade, wrinkle, shrink or discolour over time?

    Thanks for your help everyone and I would like to thank Doraville for this post. Posts like this are a great help for the rest of us rookies:).
  13. Half Life

    Half Life Member


    I am considering the same for my Suzuki Carry and am leaning toward the Realtree Hardwoods Snow pattern. I'd be interested in the same information especially about possibly eliminating the need to paint.

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    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  14. doraville

    doraville New Member


    Like you, I went with the camo wrap mainly because I like the looks of it (and the fact that camo is very much in style here in RedNeckistan). Two additional benefits of the camo wrap (even if you're not using the truck for hunting) are that it helps protect the underlying paint from scratches from limbs, and it does help hide existing dents and scratches on the truck.

    As far as whether or not you have to black-out the non-camo parts of the truck, the answer is of course; "it's your truck and you can do anything you want with it". I can tell you that I have not yet put the camo wrap on the drip rails on the roof of my truck, and the white does look funny up next the the camo. I am using the Mossy Oak-Breakup pattern which is a bit darker than the patterns that you're considering however.

    I used regular spray-on undercoating underneath my truck, and the paint-on bedliner on the inside and outside edges of the bed. The bedliner material does seem to be tougher than the undercoating material. I used the Plasti-Kote bedliner material (I think it was $45 at Walmart), and if I do it again I will look for something better. There are other brands of paint-on bedliner (Rhino and Herculiner are two that come to mind). Maybe someone else here on the forum has had experience that they can share with one of those.

    Hope this helps,
  15. minimurph

    minimurph Member

    Hi Jim- I just did my bed with roll-on Herculiner. The rubber content is settled in the bottom so you have to use a paint mixer drill attachment to stir it, about 15 minutes to get it mixed up the first time. Then every 10 minutes to keep the rubber particles suspended.

    The results are not as even as the spray on, but for $85 bucks the prices was right. I rolled the bed, inside the sidewalls and even the floor inside the cab with one can. It takes 2 good coats to get coverage.

    It is very durable and looks like it will never come off, the only comment is the kids don't like to sit on it cause it's pretty rough to the touch.
  16. minimurph

    minimurph Member

    Jim- I also used 5 cans of flat OD green camo spray paint to do the body. I couldn't stand looking at all that stock white. First I scrubbed the body panels with 220 grit, then used xylene to wipe it down. I also used 3 cans of semi-gloss black to do the chassis rails and bumbers. If you paint the front plastic bumper be sure to use some plastic prep spray first, like Bulldog.

    Came out looking real good for less than $100 bucks.

    Do I sound cheap, or what?
  17. wainair

    wainair Member

    Cabinmini, I'm still waiting on my truck to come in but I plan to do the same thing. I bought the Skyline Apparition after considering the Realtree Snow and Skyline Horizon. I went with that because after seeing some pics of bigger trucks with the Realtree on it I thought the pattern appeared to repeat alot and started to look zebra-ish. The Skyline is not as detailed as the Realtree but at ten paces looks more natural to my eye because the image is not as vivid and sharp. I was thinking the same thing you were about not having to base paint with the snow patterns too. As it turns out I picked a tan based pattern and will be doing some base painting after all. I'll be doing that a few days before I put on the film so the paint has time to cure. Krylon has some great ultra-matt spray paints in base camo colours and black. I've had real good luck in the past with Krylon sticking to plastic, painted surfaces, and metal so I'm going to use that again. And no I don't think you need to paint your seams afterwards(in fact if I read the 1st post right you really run the risk of melting the film with the paint). Just make sure the seams/relief cuts, overlap to the back of the truck and the seams shouldn't lift unless you peel them.

    Good luck and post some pics when your done!
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2009
  18. doraville

    doraville New Member

    Just a clarification... when I mentioned painting the seams in the original post I was referring to the body seams of the truck, not the camo wrap seams. Basically, any part of the truck that is visible, but that will not be camo-wrapped will need to be painted or it is not going to look right.

    It's possible that some of the snow-country camo patterns would look fine with the white. I don't know... I'd love to see some photos where someone has done it.

  19. wainair

    wainair Member

    Ah, yes Doraville that makes more sense. Thanks for clarifying! When I do my base painting that is what I'm going to do. All the panel seems, the door wells and edges of the doors, and the parts that won't have film on them. I thought painting the seems after would be a bit risky.

    Cheers Tom
  20. gdelony

    gdelony Member

    A camo wrap tip I learned was to cut really wavy relief cuts/ seams, if it over lapped or matched up perfectly, the wavy cut blended much better into the camo pattern than a straight cut. Nearly impossible to tell where a seam or relief was. If you have to patch a scrape or tear cut the camo wrap patch out in the shape of a maple leaf or something similar, you will never know it was there.

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