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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 11-11-2012, 10:10 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Posts: 220
My Ride: 01 330ci
Wrapping wood grain trim pieces with fabric

I'm pretty new to this forum, but I was really active on bimmerfest when I had my e36. Now that I'm back into the BMW world I'll start to contribute to my part in this forum now that I have an E46.

One of the first mods I did with the car was the interior. I really don't like, actually hate, the wood grain, so I thought I'd just jump in and give it a shot to redo it in fabric. I have seen many people do he 3m di-noc vinyl wrap, but I wanted to be a little different.

Disclaimer: If you mess up your interior or wreck your car from looking at your new fresh interior I am not responsible.

Now lets start with the DIY:

First you need to decide on what kind of material you want, I went with a red microsuede that matched sienna red really well. I bought a yard of it from Jo-Ann fabrics for 9 bucks! This was more than enough. If you choose to do a microsuede or a very thin fabric you will have to wrap your interior pieces twice, explained later. You will need some 3m 77 spray glue and if you got a thin fabric you will also need a glue called Tacky. It comes in a gold squeeze bottle that can be bought at any fabric store.

Now you need to pull your trim pieces out. Start out with the piece right infront of the passenger seat. Slowly pry it out. There will be quite a bit of tension holding it in place. Once that is out take the screw out that holds the radio trim piece in out. Now proceed to pull that one out as well. The last dash piece is the one around your headlight switch. This one prys out like the others as well. I also did the window switch surround. To pull this take the shift boot out. Then take the 2 screws on the side closest to the cup holders out. Pull it out gently and unhook your window switches.

Starting with the actual wrapping. Sorry in advance for not taking pictures while doing this. Take your first piece and cut a piece of material that leaves about an inch all the way around. The way contact adhesive works (3m 77) you have to spray both pieces (trim and fabric).

I would do a test on your fabric with the glue. Spray a small piece and see if the glue bleeds through. If it does don't worry I have a fix for it.

Spray the glue on both pieces and if you have a thin fabric I would take your finger and smear the glue on the trim to take out the "bumps" of glue. Do not try to smear the glue on the fabric because it doesn't work and you will waste that piece. If you don't smear the glue on the trim the "bumps" of glue showed through the fabric on my first piece. Now wait about 4-5 minutes for the glue to start to tack up.

Now apply the fabric. Try to lay it on as flat as you can by stretching the fabric as you lay it on. Don't worry if you don't get it perfect right now, you will have time to stretch the fabric and smooth it out. Now just work the fabric around the piece till you get it flat and wrinkle free. Just do the visible part of the trim and not the back side yet.

For the corners just stick the fabric to itself, but the not the back of the piece yet. Let your piece dry for about 15-20 minutes, so you have a good solid contact. Flip your piece over and spray more glue on the trim and on the fabric. Again let it tack up. Now lay your fabric down by pulling it tight around the edges to the back side. Once this glue dries (15-20min) You can take a razor blade and cut some of the excess off the back. I personally left a lot around the back, but I did cut the fabric that was doubled up in the corners out some. Make SURE you do not cut any closer than 1/4in to the edge.

Now onto if you got bleed through with the 3m 77 as I did. The bleed through looked terrible so I came up with a pretty good solution using the Tacky glue. This glue is only made to bond fabric to fabric. So therefore won't work or won't work well if you put it on the plastic of the trim to try to glue the fabric. Tacky resembles Elmer's glue almost exactly. What I did was spread the Tacky around on top of the fabric covered trim piece you just did. Yes we are going to put another layer on. I put glue all over the piece and smeared it around with my finger once again. You want enough to make the fabric look kind of a cloudy white to where you can tell the glue is there, but not overload it. Now repeat what you just did on the first layer of wrapping the piece.

Once you get it wrapped I used the 3m 77 to glue the backside down since bleed through back there is not seen obviously. Once you do this a couple times it becomes very easy and pretty self-explanitory. So now you can go wrap all the other pieces in you interior that you choose to do!

Here's a picture of how mine turned out.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
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