Vinyl wrapping a helmet


Now that I have access to a pretty decent vinyl printer, and saw this (A page of small vinyl pieces to lay on a helmet as a 'wrap') I'm pretty keen to give it a go.

But excluding the graphic, I'm interested in how they manage to capture the 'contour' of the helmet to print perfectly sized decals. Because I've seen wraps for different kinds of helmets so it's not a one size fits all. Some of the decals cover the entire helmet, it's hard to tell from the pictures but would they be 1 piece? If so that seem quite a difficult graphic to lay without any air bubbles, I know you can lay graphics in a small amount of water so it's easy to move the image around but since helmets aren't flat and gravity I don't think the water would last for very long.

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HrdWodFlor4 years ago
If I were to try it I would firs make a wrap of the helmet out of white paper, cutting and trimming to get it to fit the areas I wanted to place the sticker "wrap". I imagine It would be several pieces similar to what your link showed. Once I had what I wanted I would trace all the pieces on to a flat sheet of paper, scan it into the computer use an art program to set the color layout, then print it out.
Maybe, might work.
this is basically how you have to do the all around wraps of any 3d object. similar to how tattoo artists design large pieces. you have to make a template of the original surface with flat paper in such a way that you can subtract the curved parts from the paper.
Thatkiwiguy (author)  crapflinger4 years ago
That's probably what I'll end up doing, but with a cloth or something similar as paper can crumple.
One technique is to cover the object with masking tape. Make sure it is all formed to the contours and then start taking it apart in sections by cutting away. You can then just stick it flat to heavier pattern stock to use as your template.
Thatkiwiguy (author)  caitlinsdad4 years ago
I did that, and have this; But how do I clean up the images then turn them into shapes on illustrator that I can put graphics on to.
in illustrator you should be able to actually do a live trace on those images and get a vector directly that you can then clean up, either by hand with the pen tool or with the "simplify object" "tool" (it's not really a's an action in the object menu)

You would then have to digitize the shapes to get it into a vector outline drawing or mask to use with your graphic images. In GIMP you would select endpoints to draw paths to get an outline. I think people use the free Inkscape if it gets too complicated in illustrator.
caitlinsdad4 years ago
Besides using heat to "shrink wrap" the plastic on the helmet, it may be some careful cutting or shaping of the decal to drape over the shape of the helmet. Pepakura is a software that "unfolds" the surface of a 3D model so it can be printed flat.