So my plans on putting my valance on got rained out for the afternoon and figured I would try a little experiment. 3M makes films that go over paint and the front end of cars to protect them from stone chips and road debris. It's a thin urethane film with an adhesive backing that basically goes on like a sticker. I had some scraps of it from a few small jobs I did at work (major stuff goes to a shop that is certified to do it). My fog lamps were still in pretty good shape and to keep them this way I figured i would put some 3M on them to keep them looking nice for a few more years.
You are going to need a few things first:
-3M Film (autobody supply shops should sell rolls but for scraps you may be able to hit up a local installer of it and see if he will sell (or give) you a few scraps.
-Bowl of hot soapy water (hot water makes the film softer and easier to wrap around the curve of the lens)
-squeegee (i use a soft body filler spreader)
-Heat gun helps sometimes to keep the tape warm and pliable and dry the water, but I didn't need one (luckily cause i dont have one at home)
For starters I cleaned the lens'. If they are in rough shape you may want to wetsand them first to get any chips or scratches out.
Then I cut out two pieces of film slightly smaller than the surface of the lens as it will stretch a little as you pull it around the curve of the lens.
Peel the backing off the film and soak it in the hot soapy water for ten seconds or so to let the film soften up.
As soon as you remove it from the water place it on the lens and center it. Hold the center and use your squeegee to pull the water out from under the film, as the water is pulled out the tape will start adhering to the lens. Start form the middle and make sure the tape stays where you want it as you squeegee the water from the center out towards the edges, it may not stick right away, you will need to pull and stretch the film around the convex lens. It took me between 5 and 10 minutes per light to get all the water from out under the film and the film wrapped nicely over the surface. You may need to do some trimming around the edges as the tape will move and stretch a little, and any loose edges will start to peel. You can be lazy and just stick it on there but this way ensures it goes on where you want it, and will not leave any wrinkles or bubbles, especially on a curved surface.
Then let sit and air dry for a little while for the film to adhere and take the shape of the lens. If you are left with any bubbles use a needle to puncture the film and work towards the pinhole with the squeegee to get any air/water out.
When they are done you should not even be able to notice the tape, just a fine edge.
Waxing 3M is also recommended, to keep it looking nice and from going dull.
Cant wait to have a valance and fog lamps again tomorrow!