I am always looking at ways to add a custom touch to my cars. Back in the 1970s, I added pinstripe to the body lines of my parents’ cars. In the 1980s, I got into painting grills black and even painted a roll bar neon pink on my 1988 Chevrolet S-10 pickup. I believe a lot of people would like to personalize their car, but may not know how to do it.
There is an easy and inexpensive way to add a custom look to your car. With a little imagination and some vinyl wrap, you too can be a car customizer!
My current fun car is a 2016 MINI Cooper S, in Blazing Red Metallic with a white roof. I really like the red, but the white roof provides a stark contrast to the red. Short of painting the roof red to match the body, I wanted to try vinyl graphics.
A really good place to get project inspiration is Pinterest. So many people post their ideas and final projects pictures on Pinterest. My collection of graphics ideas can be found HERE.
After looking at all of the ideas I collected, I found myself attracted to the Camaro above. Those colors would work well for my car and I thought it would be easy to cut the vinyl in random shapes to achieve my look.
Over the last few years, I have been playing around with vinyl graphics on a couple of my cars. I found that the vinyl wrap made by VViVid offered the best quality at the lowest price.
This vinyl comes in sheets as small as 12 inches by 60 inches, which is perfect for most of my projects. You can buy sheets as big as 5 feet by 20 feet! They offer a great variety of colors, sheens and textures. All of their products can be found at Amazon.com HERE.
The 12 inch by 60 inch sheets run around $10 each. What a bargain!
Let Your Imagination Run Wild
After I gave the camo pattern a try, I discovered that it was not the look I was after. It didn’t help that my camo pattern looked like a bunch of kidney beans.
I hit an artistic block after trying out the camo pattern, so I went to Facebook and posted a comment about this project. I got everything from “sounds like a midlife crisis to me” (clearly not a car guy!), to some productive suggestions. In fact, the one below sparked a new idea for me:
It is interesting to see how the brain interprets an idea. Those three colors in the chevron pattern above sparked an idea that caused me to develop a three-stripe graphic to be placed between the top of the side window and the bottom of the roof rail. I also carried that theme to the inside of the car on the door panels.
It is somewhat reminiscent of the BMW M series graphic (which is light blue, royal blue and red). On the BMW, it is found on the grill. Since BMW makes MINIs, I felt my design paid tribute to the BMW M.
The final design is far from the colorful camo look I started with, but that is how the process works. Sometimes, the simpler design is best.
I shared my process in the video below. This is not entirely a step-by step video. More like my stream of thought. It helps sum of the entire process and shows the before and after on this fun project.
Inspiring Ideas for Young Enthusiasts
DIY projects like this one are pretty easy if you take your time and keep the end result in mind. I find them very therapeutic to do, and love seeing the transformation from projects like this one. It also does not have to cost much. In my case, the three rolls of vinyl cost me around $30. I used a fraction of the material, so I have enough leftover for another project.
I enjoy sharing these project tips and other stories designed to inspire and educate young car enthusiasts. Through the sale of items in the Vehicle Nanny Merchandise Store I am able to provide scholarships and donate to youth automotive programs.
All proceeds from merchandise sales go directly to these programs, so I hope you can find a fun item for yourself that also supports our budding car enthusiasts.