How to Make Relief Cuts for Different Films

We are probably all familiar with standard relief cut if we have done wrapping once or twice at least. But is standard relief cut always the same?

Today we will be looking at three types of standard relief cuts for full print and color change through case studies of gloss, and textured to multi-layered film.

For different kinds of films, you might have to apply with different types of standard relief cuts to get the best result. Otherwise, it might cost you as you use the wrong way to cut and tear the material.

One of the primary purposes to use relief cut is to relax the material while you are working around raised object or tricky angles during your wrapping. It is more often a better choice than using a heat gun – as it might overstretch the material. BUT, it does not mean the same relief cut would work for all materials.

We are going to show you what would happen when applying the same standard relief cut in all the three types of films. And we will introduce you with some adaptable ways to avoid problems.

Normal Standard Relief Cut

Gloss Film

First, we have a gloss film that is for the color change, which has a glossy layer – so it is safe to make a normal relief cut, and the material will not tear even if you pull it hard.

So we put the material around the front light where there is a raised object. It is essential to make your relief cut about half an inch (or one centimeter) away from the edge. In this case, we have our standard relief cut right in the middle of the raised object. By making this cut, I can relax the material for the corner. And I can pull from either side without splitting it.

For gloss material or matte material, which are strong, you can safely make standard relief cut. But in other cases, remember to do your calculation at all time before action, as different types of films might have different ways to cut.

Textured Film

Secondly, we have a textured film. And we put the material at the same spot on the vehicle, take it right in front of the light, and make the same relief cut. You can experiment with this if you want: As you pick up the material and try to pull it, you will find the material tear, as the textured film is very fragile. If you use a normal standard relief cut, in this case, the chance of film tearing becomes very high.

Chrome Film

What about chrome film? It looks like a gloss film. So can it take the same way to cut? Chrome is a multi-layered film with different types of layer points, and it looks like it is strong enough. However, if we make the same relief cut here, and pull it, the material splits.

Thus, for textured film and chrome, it can be a problem if we use the same standard relief cut around a raised object that is used for gloss film. So how can we make our relief cut without tearing the film then? Here we have two techniques for you:

The “J” Cut

Still using chrome film here, first we have to visualize and mark your “dead zone” around the raised object here and work around it. Instead of making a normal relief cut, we will make a “J” cut – which it looks like a letter “J.” Make a close curve having the line face the way into the raised object.

In this way, the cut is going out and close. So it becomes safe for you to pull on either side. You can pull the material tight and create glass. Even if the material gets split in this case, it splits into the raised object.

Using Air Release Tool

Another way is to use an air release tool to get around the raised object and make the relief cut. But instead of making a J now, we use an air release tool to help.

Mostly these tools are thin, particularly for popping bubbles. But they do have different styles. In this case, we are using a very thick one. We pick the material up, make a hole instead of cutting first.

And here we have a very big hole. This is essentially sort of the same concept as the J cut. We cut on the side of the hole that is facing the raised object. So if I pull hard in this way, the enclosed shape of the hole will keep the material from splitting.

So here are two ways to make safe relief cut for multi-layered or textured films – remember, not for floss or full print films though. Just remember to always think about the type of material you are using, adapt the right way to cut, and you will achieve promising quality.


How to Make Relief Cuts for Different Films