Can I Really Use a Gear Skin to Wrap Anything I Want?
As a gun camouflage company we focus on designing kit templates that will accommodate the most popular firearms on the market, including AR-15s, AK-47s, pistols, rifles, and shotguns. But let's not kid ourselves, there are A LOT of guns out there and rarely are two of them exactly the same.
When someone wants to wrap a variant, custom-build, or unique type of firearm it may be hard to choose which product to use. That's where our generic kit comes in. If all else fails, you can always wrap it with a Gear Skin! This is a single sheet measuring 8" x 50".
Using Gear Skins, we've wrapped AR-10 rifles, sniper rifles, tactical shotguns, spear guns, compound bows, paintball guns, you name it! With a little custom cutting, trimming, and a little heat to stretch, Gear Skins will conform to any shape. There's really no wrong way to do it, everyone will install it in their own way. But here are some tips and tricks that can help you successfully install a Gear Skin, regardless of the application.
Clean the Surface
Okay so this one is not Gear Skin specific, but it's just as important. The vinyl will not adhere to the surface of your object if there is dirt or grease present. Sometimes handling the object with your hands is enough to leave oils on it. Use a brush and an automotive or gun degreaser to work the recessed areas, protruding edges, and any other details that might contain dirt buildup.
Install in Pieces
Unless your object is small like a knife handle or a flashlight, typically it's better to segment your installation in pieces. This is especially important if your item contains moving parts that rotate, slide, toggle, or press in and out. Cut the Gear Skin into rectangular pieces, a little oversized so it encompasses the surface area you want to wrap.
Use heat to press the material on the surface, centered is best. Use your fingers to work the material outward and around if necessary. Heating the material with a heat gun will enable you to stretch it over contoured edges and press it in where it dips. Use a hand squeegee or a piece of cardboard to flatten areas and work the material into places where your fingers might be too big to fit.
Trim to Fit
Installing a sheet of vinyl over a flat surface is easy, but it can be intimidating if there are a lot of protruding pieces, sharp corners, rounded edges, etc. It's going to look ugly before it looks great, but that's okay. After you have the material pressed where you want, it might hang over the edge. You can either wrap it around or trim it right there using the edge as a guide. Either way, you're going to need to use a sharp hobby knife with a fresh blade and trim away the material. Angle the blade outward whenever possible, away from yourself and the surface.
If you're wrapping the front and back of an item in two pieces, we suggest trimming away just past the mid-point on the top and bottom. There's no need to wrap beyond this as the second piece installed on the other side will wrap over the first and create a seam. Depending on the pattern, you can cut a straight line or it might blend better it if you cut around the pattern itself, or in a meandering "S" shape to help breakup the colors.
If you experience a wrinkle while pressing the material into place, there's no need to panic. You can simply peel up the vinyl and try again. Sometimes pulling away from the tension will help relieve the pressure. Use heat to reset the material to remove any hard creases. If the problem persists, consider wrapping the area in multiple pieces.
It's perfectly normal for air to get trapped under the vinyl. The material is non-porous, so it's not going to leak out on its own. Easy fix. Simply use the tip of your knife and poke the air bubble. Hit with heat and press down on the area to seal it up again. Spending extra time on detailing the install like this will really make a difference in the overall finish.
After installing the Gear Skin and trimming it to fit, the last step of the process is to hit the surface with heat and press down on it one final time. Use the low setting on your heat gun and just go over the entire thing. It will help set the adhesion for good and give your installation the look you want.
There's really no limit to what can be wrapped using Gear Skins. We've seen customers use them on their motorcycles, vehicle dashboards, helmets, phone cases, and more. We're blown away sometimes after seeing how creative people are. If you've used a Gear Skin on something truly unique, send us an email with a photo. We'd love to see it!
That's Protection in Camouflage®
Posted on August 06 2018