I want to semi-permanently decorate my car's exterior.
November 18, 2007 11:57 AM   Subscribe

I've just bought a new car! It's a boring silver color- what can I do to jazz up the exterior without painting it?

Googling for "car decals" turns up mostly flames and peeing Calvins; I'm looking for something more original/unusual. I know about Blik Autographics - what else is out there?

The car is a 2006 Smart Fortwo, which presents a few unique challenges to its decoration- I'm not going to be able to find seat covers to fit its seats, for example. I'd love to decorate the inside, too, somehow, but decorating the outside of the car is probably going to be the easiest.

I'm in Portland, OR and would definitely buy something online.
posted by hyperfascinated to Shopping (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
An awful lot of the exterior detailing, flashing and otherwise colour changing on racing cars are done with a base coat colour, with vinyl graphics over the top.

This is relatively cheap and easy to do, and has the bonus that you can design it yourself. Blik Autographics just seem to do pre-cut and designed versions. Find your local graphics/signmaking/sticker guy and go and talk to him. Depending on how arty you are, you may be able to come up with something unusual.

Hint: Unless you already know how to put these kinds of sticker son well, get them to apply them. Nothing looks cheaper than badly put on stickers/vinyl.
posted by Brockles at 12:07 PM on November 18, 2007

Portland, OR? Doesn't that mathowie guy live near you?
I see blue, yellow, white, with a promotional logo and a vanity plate.
This could be a freebee.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:24 PM on November 18, 2007 [2 favorites]

Would vinyl graphics be able to go through a commercial car wash? Regular medium-pressure hose washing?
posted by amtho at 12:48 PM on November 18, 2007

Vinyl graphics are the obvious choice for something semi-permanent. If they have a template for your car, you could do a whole car-wrap. These are kind of fussy to put on (many people have them professionally applied), and not cheap, especially in larger sizes, but you could have a lot of fun with them.

The quick'n'easy alternative is magnetic car decals (just google "magnetic car decals", there's lots out there).
posted by adamrice at 12:57 PM on November 18, 2007

These car magnets are fun. I have one on my boring silver car.
posted by bassjump at 12:59 PM on November 18, 2007

Response by poster: adamrice & bassjump, I neglected to mention that the body panels of a Smart are all plastic, so magnets will not stick!
posted by hyperfascinated at 1:22 PM on November 18, 2007

Evilution - Smart Modding Site

Over here in the UK, there is a massive community for modding Smart cars, that link has a load of ideas, and be sure to check out the various forums in the links section :)
posted by chrispy108 at 1:44 PM on November 18, 2007

I have one of these owls in black on my silver car, placed next to the gas tank flap. I think it's cute. I haven't washed it since I put it on, but it seems like it would hold up to a handwashing just fine. And if it comes off, it was only $3 for the smallest one.

The owl might be just right for a Smart Car, but they have other designs in lots of colors and sizes that you may like.
posted by krix at 2:30 PM on November 18, 2007

We have the Blik stickers on our car (birds) and they have stayed on through multiple washes. We're happy with how they look. If they have a design that you like, I'd recommend them.
posted by gingerbeer at 5:16 PM on November 18, 2007

Vinyl graphics (if made from good quality stuff) are intended to be 'semi-permanent' - -they shouldn't come off in normal use/washing. I worked for a shop where we made these, the lifespan on good vinyl is supposed to be at least 5 years (color and adhesion).
posted by pupdog at 6:07 PM on November 18, 2007

IMHO, a Smart Car in the US is pretty un-boring to begin with!!!!
posted by radioamy at 7:33 PM on November 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

If you don't like silver you can replace the body panels with differently coloured ones. (Though I don't know how accessible these are in your market.)

How about an autobot logo on the roof? Or perhaps some judicious pinstriping in key positions?
posted by The Monkey at 4:08 AM on November 20, 2007

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