It’s a wrap!
(Click to enlarge)
in our Model 3
Mark D Larsen
The three sections of the center console in the Model 3 are piano black plastic. Their high gloss sheen is very attractive, and the black goes well with the first production dark interior. If only it could stay that way! Unfortunately, our LEAF also had that shiny black material on its console, and we know from experience that it is hardly scratch proof, and gathers fingerprints like a crime scene detective.
I have seen in the forums and blogs that many new Model 3 owners are consequently covering their consoles with vinyl wraps to protect them from gouges and smears. I decided to follow suit, but am embarrassed to admit that my first efforts did not go well. I accidently stuck the adhesive underside of one piece together, and prying it apart stretched and ruined it. I also tried to install a transparent wrap which goes on with a soapy liquid spray like a clear bra, but the formula in the instructions specified too much water and not enough soap. The result was that the wrap would quickly stick rather than slide and slip around to get it into proper position. Consequently it ended up with so many bubbles that I doubted they would ever dry out and shrink adequately. Moreover, I discovered that clear wrap also shows... fingerprints! Tsk. That’s one of the reasons to cover the plastic in the first place.
Third’s the charmer? I decided to try one more time, this time with a Brushed Titanium wrap from Abstract Ocean. Their faux metal wraps have two differences when compared to those from other sellers. First, the “grain” runs lengthwise instead of side-to-side, which I personally prefer much more: it “goes with the flow” of the console’s chrome edges. More importantly, the cupholder piece comes with an overlay guide on top, which makes it much easier to position into place over the holes without damaging the very thin side edges. You can then easily peel off the transfer sheet and finish pressing the vinyl around the holes.
Here are a few photos and comments about the project:
NOTE: You can click on any of the following photos to enlarge them.
Unlike the other wraps I tried, Abstract Ocean shipped theirs in a round tube.
Inside was a roll with the three pieces of wrap, in the same relative position as the console sections they would cover. If you open the enlarged photo and look closely, you can see the overlay guide on the cupholder piece.
I had watched an instructional YouTube video by Abstract Ocean several times since placing my order, but decided to also play it on my iPad, propped on the passenger seat, so that I could duplicate the recommended steps one at a time.
I also came up with an additional idea to avoid the risk of having vinyl pieces stick too firmly before I could position them correctly. Because they do not adhere as strongly to the paper sheets they came on, I laid those sheets over the console sections until I was ready to press and squeegy the film in those spots.
Like suggested in the video, I tackled the middle section first, and was pleased with the result.
Next, I applied the sheet for the cup holder and can attest that the transfer overlay made the challenge much easier.
And finally, I installed the third sheet on the door to the phone cabinet. This proved a little harder because it extends up under the touchscreen, which makes it more difficult to align the top edge. Still, it also turned out nicely, if I do say so myself.
And here you can see the whole enchilada, as well as in the photo at the top of the page.
I didn’t do a perfect job, and ended up with a few tiny flaws in spots, but to find them I purport that you’d need to scrutinize my handiwork as obsessively as... Tamara. Regardless, I really like the look of this Brushed Titanium wrap. It has a convincingly “metallic” look that is a fairly close match to the metal strip that runs along the top of the climate control vent on the dash. True, it might not be as eye-catching as the glossy black plastic... but neither will it be as smudge-catching.