What is knifeless tape? And why it affects the quality of your vehicle wrap

by Deborah Scott on July 12, 2016


What is knifeless tape?

knifeless_tape_around_tail_lights_for_vehicle_wraps.jpgKnifeless tape is a tape that can be used to cut vinyl film without using a knife.   This inventive product is a filament embedded in a thin self adhesive film.  When vinyl is placed over the top of the knifeless tape on the surface of the vehicle the filament is easily pulled through the vinyl creating a crisp clean cut with no risk to the surface of your vehicle.  The knifeless tape is applied to the surface of the vehicle before the vinyl wrap is placed on the the vehicle.   Knifeless tape is an alternative to trimming vinyl wraps directly on vehicles with a blade and minimizes the risks associate with cutting on the vehicle surface.

Knifeless tape is often used for striping and creating large shapes and curves with colored vinyls.  It can also be used around vehicle emblems, tail lights, door handles and other hardware on the body panels of a vehicle.

How is knifeless tape used?

knifeless_tape_around_emblems_for_vehicle_wraps.jpgTape is extremely flexible.  It can turn in any direction The knifeless tape is applied to the surface of the vehicle before the vinyl wrap is placed on the the vehicle. In its most simple terms, knifeless tape gives the installer remarkable control "locks in" the shape of the vinyl on your vehicle.  

Is knifeless tape always necessary?

No.  Knifeless tape is a time saver for wrap installers, but look for the best installers to remove emblems, trim and hardware before installation the vinyl wrap. With the hardware removed, more surface area can be covered.  When the hardware is re-installed, it overlaps the vinyl surface leaving no exposed edges.  

Another common practice is to install the vinyl up to the edge of hardware and then using a small blade, trimming away the excess vinyl around the hardware.  This method should be used only the most skilled and experienced installers and there is a risk of scratching or nicking the paint surface if the installer uses too much pressure against the vinyl. 

Finally, with sophisticated computerized cutters, there are many cases where the vinyl is cut before it is ever placed on the vehicle.  Given the complex shape of many vehicles, it is typically a judgment call by the installer to determine which approach will work best based on the design and vehicle type. 

How do I now if a company uses knifeless tape for my vinyl wraps and graphics?

post_heating_vehicle_graphics_Riveting_Wraps_Bellevue_WA.jpgWe recommend the following:

  1. If the use of knifeless tape is an important consideration for you, Ask about installation practices and policies before you choose your vehicle wrap company.
  2. Look for certified vehicle wrap installers.  They have been trained by the vinyl manufacturers in the best practices for vehicle wrap installation.  This is important as the majority of wrap installers are self taught and you don't want to risk damage to your paint.
  3. Work with a vehicle wrap company you trust.  If you have your doubts, listen to your instincts.  The lowest price players may simply trim around all the hardware with their blades to cut time and costs out of their process.  

Quality Only Begins with the Right Materials

New Call-to-actionVehicle wrap companies have learned that many buyers think using the right materials is the only important criteria to evaluate a quality wrap.  And it certainly is an important criteria. But how the material is printed, handled and installed are equally important.  Proper trimming is an important step in creating a durable long lasting wrap. Learn more getting a high quality wrap by visiting our Do More Than Drive Blog.  Hearing other strange terms from vehicle wrap companies, decipher that jargon and be informed with our vehicle graphics jargon translator here.

New Call-to-actionThese vehicle wrap failures can come with a very steep price.  Get the straight facts on vehicle wrapping, contact Riveting Wraps at (425) 368-5007 or email us at hello@rivetingwraps.com. 

Topics: Wrap It Right

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