Experimenting By Clear Coating DI-NOC

A couple weeks ago we made a post about how one of our customers clearcoated the vinyl.  We decided to do a little experimenting ourselves in order to try and get a great result.  What we found to work best was Valspar Clear Gloss Enamel, which you should be able to pick up at any local home improvement store:\r\n\r\nValspar clear coat used for 3M carbon fiber DI-NOC\r\n\r\nYou can see a few samples on the right-hand side of the above picture, here’s a closer shot followed by an explanation of the differences:\r\n\r\nDifferences in the number of layers of clear coat\r\n\r\nClear coat differences\r\n\r\nAs you can see, the piece on the left is DI-NOC as it comes with no clear coat.  The other two pieces were clear-coated, the middle has just one coat, while the right piece has three coats.  The pictures make it hard to show how it really looks in person because it’s highly dependent on the lighting.  You’ll need to take a look at the video below for a better idea.  We also tried doing another with five or six coats, but it starts to get a bit blotchy and fills into the texture.\r\n\r\nWe only tested on these sample pieces so we’re not sure how it will hold up over time or once installed.  Upon inspection it seems like it would be just fine.  With the three coats it starts to bend back a little (although it’s still bendable without issues), I would suggest clearcoating once the material is installed rather than before.  This may seem obvious, but I just want to make that apparent.  Make sure and mask off any areas prior to spraying that you don’t want cleared.\r\n\r\nFor spraying techniques take a look at the below video:\r\n\r\n

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  • I’m planning to put Di-Noc on my Jetta’s hood, and I love that I can use clear coat (Valspar) to get that shiny look. One question, though.\r\n\r\nHow would the clear coat hold up against weather, car washes, road grit, etc?

  • Carbon Fiber Film

    The clearcoat was simply an experimentation we did on our part to see how it would look. We haven’t installed it on anything outside of a sample piece of DI-NOC, so we’re unsure of how it would hold up over time. I would look to the Valspar product (or whatever else you use) to see how it would do, I would assume fairly well. As always, test on a small piece first if you’re ever unsure.

  • Dangeris

    I just bought a 24″x48″ piece and I am planing on clear coating the DiNoc once I install it on my application. Valspar clear is different from PPG 2 stage Clear which I will be using. You mentioned that more than 3 coats, the paint started to “fill in” the texture. But isn’t that what one would want? to make it look like real CF that was resined then clear coated?

  • Carbon Fiber Film

    You should simply test on a smaller piece to see if it comes out the way you personally want it. The different brands, number of coats, etc are all variables and we can’t say whether one way is more perfect than the other as everybody is looking for their own thing. That’s we always recommend to test first 🙂

  • Robert

    Do you know any store chains that sell the spray? All I can find are paint containers / cans of it.

  • Carbon Fiber Film

    Home Depot or Loews should definitely carry that.

  • Alex

    This touches Dangeris question…\r\n\r\nwould you be able to actually resin this DINOC or clear coat only? Id like for it to be as close to the real thing as possible. any tests with resin??

  • Carbon Fiber Film

    We’ve never tested with resin, so you would have to try on a sample piece and see how it works out.

  • Slavik

    Is there any distributors of the 3M CF Di Noc Vinyl in the Syracuse area? I really want to see what it looks/feels like in person before I purchase any. If not, is there any free sample pieces I can order? Thanks

  • Carbon Fiber Film

    We don’t have distributors setup, we ship worldwide, including Syracuse of course. We sell samples for $8 shipped, I highly recommend getting one if you have any concerns.

  • sam

    have you ever experimented with an epoxy resin clear coat to give it the wet look?

  • Carbon Fiber Film

    We have not tried that at this time. If you want to try we recommend just doing so on a small sample piece first.

  • Charles

    Can you put a urethane based clear coat (automotive grade) over this vinyl as if it were a base coat?

  • Carbon Fiber Film

    We have been told by customers they’ve done that successfully, but as with anything always test first.

  • Will

    What clear coats did you end up testing. Also you wouldn’t happen to have the end result with clear coat on a vehicle or at least a bigger piece with some angles would you?

  • Carbon Fiber Film

    We only tested with the samples and the clear enamel above. You would need to test clear coats on your own unless another customer wants to chime in with their experience.

  • I coated a small trim piece with epoxy (Poly Epoxy from Aircraft Spruce) using a paint brush. Then I covered it with plastic wrap and let it dry. It looks pretty much like real carbon fiber made the same way.

  • Luis

    Hello, I was wondering if it was ok to apply wax to the film? It is on the roof of my Mcoupe. It looks REALLY cool! Just wanted to preserve it as much as possible… Thanks! Luis

  • Carbon Fiber Film

    Hi Luis,\n\nIt may be ok, you’ll want to test on a small piece or area first to make sure it does not cause a problem.

  • Has anyone used the epoxy resin over it?\r\n\r\nI’ve painted over it and with more coats the more carbon fiberish it becomes in terms of looks. \r\n\r\nI’m going to try applying a resin over some pieces…

  • Jeff

    Ive had my hood done and it looks really good. but I think it will look even better encapsulated in a lot of automotive grade clear coat then buffed out. I have an appointment next weekend to do this. hopefully it comes out as good as I vision it.

  • Roger Miller

    Ive clearcoated the DiNoc w/a 2k urethane clear coat. My past experience in resins,epoxies,clearcoating vinyls over the past 20 years I’ve found that one main product used within most automotive clearcoat refinishing systems will have a negative reaction to what everyone’s main goal here is…Adhesion! I’ve found that a 2K clearcoat (2 part, clear plus a hardner) that DOES NOT NEED TO BE REDUCED (or thinned) has less chance of creating the bonding to de-laminate itself. FAST activating hardner w/NO reducer,just a 4-1 mix ratio! Solvents in most reducers today will have a opposite effect for adhesion ( softening the bond) therefore actually making the vinyl become soft.

  • Jeff

    I had my entire hood wraped and I thought it would look great if I clearcoated it, so I took it to my painted and it came out horrible. the color is all blend in and just looks black. the only explanation I could find if perhaps the film creates the different colors by the way it refracts light as a result of the texture of the film. once the film is cleared it loses that texture and is no longer able to refract light in different directions. my only advice is do not clear this stuff. it will be a major disappointment. trust me on this.

  • Dennis

    I sprayed an extra trunk lid I had to test how a black Di-Noc center stripe would look coated with urethane clear. I sprayed four coats of clear, then wet sanded the panel with 1000, 1500, 2000 and 2500 grit. I machine buffed the surface to a high gloss shine. Instead of making the Di-Noc look like resin coated carbon fiber, it made the Di-Noc look like a solid black stripe. Only in direct sunlight can you see any carbon fiber detail and that’s very slight. In my opinion, the urethane clearcoat filled in the Di-Noc detail making it essentually disappear. I’m really glad I did this on a test panel before painting my car!

  • Temeka Hawe

    Thanks for taking the time to share this technique. I will definitely give it a go.

  • Stephan Bennett

    I think i saw a 3m Over laminate. Has anyone tried using this instead of a clear coat? I know it would be basically adding 2 layers of vinal to my car but it would function the same as a clear coat, keep the texture and color of the carbon fiber( i think) and provide UV and sunlight protection. Or could a paint protection film work?

  • Stephan Bennett

    After Looking I was thinking of 3M™ Scotchcal™ Gloss Overlaminate 8518, \r\nI guess I will have to find some and try it.

  • mike

    I love the wet look that clear coat gives. I’ll be using it. Nice job. If you haven’t noticed and underlying theme in the responses… it’s TEST. 🙂

  • Michael Fulcher

    I am looking to do the same thing most of you are asking about. Somehow clear coat the CF DI-NOC. I want the hood of my mustang to look like the Pep Boys 2011 mustang hood, same colors but different hood and stripes. I love the way the light hit it. I don’t want to spend the money on a real CF hood because I also want hood pins and real CF will eventually crack. If anyone finds a good way to coat the DI-NOC please share.

  • Shaun

    How did that turn out?

  • Robert

    If your di-noc is external, and you want to extend it beyond three years, you need a clear coat which has UV protection in it (since UV is what dulls the color over time). an auto-grade clear coat will not come in a aerosol can. …my advice is either do a single coat and leave it, or 2-3 coats and *lightly* wet sand it with 1000, 1500, 2000, then 2500 grit (as dennis recommended here in the comments section).

  • Aran Ward

    How much texture can you feel after 3 plus coats? I’m looking to have no texture.\nThanks!

  • Just a little bit, but you’d probably have to experiment with sanding it afterwords to smooth out the material…though you may lose of the carbon fiber pattern. I recommend experimenting on your own with a small piece.

  • yoyo

    nice bike 😀

  • scott

    dupli color the one at auto parts stores for fixing scatches. makes a automotive grade clear coat.that is enamel based and has the u/v protection in it. and is in a aerosol can.

  • Michael Morocco

    Hello I want to wrap my guitar in carbon fiber wrap, I want it to look nice and have a smooth finish (as in I cant feel the carbon fibers) and be durable so it can handle a few dings without scraping off what should I use and how many coats? Ive been researching for a soild week between different finished such as polyurathane, polycrylic, wipe on poly. But there seems to be nothing that works.

  • Ricky Odin Matthews

    I put some clear vinyl over the di-noc vinyl.. here’s the result. Creases because was just a quick test and I didn’t use heat

  • Looks great, drastically different from our outcome. What kind of clear did you use and how many layers?

  • Ricky Odin Matthews

    Literally just 1 vinyl film DI-NOC, over top of that 1 vinyl film clear. no clearcoat applied here. I might spray some clear lacquer over it though and sand to see if gets the tiny ripples out of the clear vinyl

  • What brand of clear vinyl did you put on top?\n\n\nDI-NOC is not breathable, it avoids bubbles by those air channels on the underside which allow air to flow easily to the edges when applying the material.\n\n\nYou should be able to clearcoat normally with none of it soaking through.

  • Ricky Odin Matthews

    Unbranded – cheapest available on eBay

  • Ricky Odin Matthews

    I’ll add as well, looking closely there’s some tiny air bubbles. I don’t know if this could be avoided by applying a dish-soap solution to the sticky side of the clear then squeegee it out to the edges, much like the way you apply tints to windows?

  • You won’t want to do that as that will ruin the adhesive. DI-NOC is meant to go on as a dry application.\n\nDid you buy the DI-NOC through us or looking for the cheapest on eBay as well? If on eBay, you have to be very careful it wasn’t a fake knockoff material, they are all over marketplaces like that and Amazon.

  • Ricky Odin Matthews

    Yeah cheapest available. Maybe you can experiment how it goes with some clear vinyl and post then I can buy from you if better? :))

  • I’m just not 100% sure what you have is even 3M DI-NOC. Feel free to e-mail us directly and I’d be happy to help you figure out if it’s the real stuff or not.

  • Edgar

    I’m doing my hood as we speak! It’s drying out back from the first coat and wow it looks great! Cant wait for the second coat. But I used Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane spray interior/exterior. I was looking around on forums and when you spray with this clear its said to last about two years or more depending on area. But worst case scenario I’ll try this one but it looks like the Minwax one is putting in work

  • artworkz

    I’ve tried painting over it with House of Kolor UC35 clear coat and it fills the texture in and makes it look like black vinyl

  • Test a sample yourself

    You keep telling people to test test test over the last 4 years. If you really want people to buy this shit off your website, how bout you test it and show results. I mean that’s what I’d do if I wanted to sell a product. 4 years and you haven’t tested other applications/methods..wow…lazy

  • We do that because there is no set right or wrong way. There are an infinite number of products you can use and ways you can use them. This post is to show you how you can test on your own to get the look and finish you want.

  • Nick

    Look great!!! You did an awesome job!!! I have a question to ask you. I have carbon fiber rims for a road bike. It had the companies logo name on it and I sanded it down with sandpaper 320 grid. It has minor scratches from sanding. I want to give it a coat or two of clear lacquer. What kind of lacquer should I use? Do you have to use anything else before the lacquer?\n\n\nThanks