Ever have a great idea for a bumper sticker or decal for your car, but then realize it doesn’t exist? Well, that’s no problem anymore, thanks to 3M. Their new Custom Image Kit lets anybody add a matte image of their own design to their car paint with ease. Best of all, if you get sick of it, you can easily remove the decal without damaging the paint underneath. And it only costs $25—which means you can afford to add custom decal after decal to your whip without dingin’ your wallet. [Shout-out to 3M!]
Ditch Old School Bumper Stickers for One-of-a-Kind Decals
Whether repping your favorite team, waving your political flag, boasting your music savvy, or supporting a good cause, outfitting vehicles with a bumper sticker has been one of the most coveted forms of expression for decades. Now, 3M is turning the traditional bumper sticker on its head with the new 3M™ Custom Image Kit ($24.99).
The comprehensive kit utilizes abrasive and film technology to let users apply a desired “decal” by hand by lightly sanding the clear coat to create a matte finish image. It also offers everything you need to complete the process in a series of simple steps and a single afternoon’s time, including details on how to create a custom image stencil, place the image stencil on your vehicle, and apply the image using a multi-step sanding process.
The best part? You can remove the graphic if desired and restore the finish without any damage to your paint. Unlike car sticker decals, the 3M™ Custom Image Kit uses no adhesives, so there’s no residue and no chemicals required for residue removal. And while car decals can fade, splinter, or peel – the matte finish image lasts as long as you like. If you decide to remove the matte image and restore shine, it won’t leave behind a “ghost” outline of the image in the paint.
When choosing a place for the image, 3M recommends staying two inches away from any panel edge and don’t place across any body lines. Additionally, they suggest washing and drying the area where you’re going to apply the image, but don’t apply wax. Here’s how to get started on creating your own custom design.
Tools you’ll need:
- Utility or hobby knife
- Microfiber detail cloth
1. Create or print your image of choice and tape it to the white, non-printed side of the Stencil Film and trace with a hobby knife.
2. Then, carefully remove the portions of Stencil Film that make up your image. You should be left with the inverse of the image you want to create. Now you need to support the image stencil with the 3M Transfer Film.
3. Remove the backing of the Image Transfer Film and place it sticky side down over the top of your image.
4. Remove the Stencil Film backing and place the stencil on the vehicle, pressing it down from the center out using firm pressure to ensure that all the areas adhere.
5. Slowly remove the Transfer Film and mask the edges of the stencil with 3M Automotive Masking Tape provided in the kit to prevent sanding in unwanted areas.
6. Use the 3-inch gray sanding disc to make five passes over the image, then wipe the area with the microfiber cloth. If you see any shiny spots, make five more passes.
7. Stop when the image appears evenly sanded, then peel of the masking tape and stencil film and wipe the area with the microfiber cloth.
If you ever want to remove the image and restore shine, use the provided 2500 grit sandpaper with the 3M Scratch Removal System (sold separately). Additional details and how-to video available at www.3MAuto.com