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Gloss, Satin, Matte, Frozen. What’s the difference?

There are thousands of options when it comes to vinyl wrapping. Whether it’s a print design, a mixed media design, or a standard color-change, the “finish” is what gives the film its overall look. Here’s a list to break down some of the aspects of each type:


The majority of new production cars from the factory are shipped with a shiny new coat of paint. The gloss finish is designed to replicate a factory paint job and clear coat; no waxing required! As with paint, there are a few variations available that will completely change the finished look:

3M Sky Blue M3


This option is as basic as it gets. A solid color with a gloss finish. An example of this is DOCTOR 3VIL’s M3 wrapped in 3M Sky Blue by Impressive Wrap.

Bright Blue Metallic Porsche 5


Like paint, a metallic flake is present to give it extra depth and shine. This Porsche is a great example, wrapped in Avery Bright Blue Metallic by 360 Wraps.

Green McLaren 5


A glossy finish with a subtle, iridescent shine. For example, this McLaren is wrapped in Avery Light Green Pearlescent by Carbon Wraps Orlando.


Also known as semi-gloss or luster, satin films are halfway between matte and gloss. Some prefer this look over matte because it still gives off a subtle shine, unlike matte films.


Solid Satin

A solid color with a satin finish; without any metallic flake. This example Corvette is wrapped in Avery Satin Black by The Wrap Installers.

Pearl Jeep 4

Pearlescent Satin

A satin finish with a subtle, iridescent shine. In this example, @14stormtrooper‘s Jeep is wrapped in 3M Satin Pearl White.


Matte films are the most popular at the moment. The flat sheen really highlights body lines and contours which sometimes get lost with a glossy finish. Check out the various types of matte films below.

CLS63 6

Solid Matte

A solid color with a matte finish; no metallic flake. This is Avery Matte Dark Grey by West Coast Customs.


Matte Metallic

A subtle metallic flake gives visual texture and extra shine. Seen here is 3M Matte Brown Metallic.

Arlon Blue Aluminum

Matte Aluminum

Aluminum is a film line from Arlon which has unique shine unlike any other matte film. Seen here is Arlon Blue Aluminum wrapped by Funkeefish.

Brushed, Chrome, Variochrome

These specialty films are sure to turn heads. Typically, these are much more costly and difficult to install but the end results are simply stunning!

Brushed M4


Like real brushed metal, slightly metallic. Take caution, this material can scratch! This M4 is wrapped in 3M Brushed Titanium by ProWrap.

Chrome Camaro 4


A mirror like finish offered in a variety of colors. A top quality film is recommended for the perfect mirror-like shine.



An intense iridescent film line from Hexis.


Print wraps require an over-laminate to protect the ink. Over-laminates are normally available with the standard finishes: Gloss, Satin (Semi Gloss) and Matte. Some companies offer specialty laminates such as pearlescent which give the wrap a unique new look.

Most of the time, color-change films do not require any over-laminates but they can be added to create new and unique effects!


Gloss Over-laminate

Surf City Graphics printed Toyota Tacoma wrap with a gloss over-laminate.


Satin Over-laminate

An Audi A4 printed camo wrap with a satin over-laminate. Wrapped by NL Wraps.

Premier Truck 3

Matte Over-Laminate

A printed wrap with matte over-laminate on Premiere Storage’s Toyota Tundra by West Coast Customs.


Frozen wraps are some of the most eye-catching vehicles out there. This look is hard to capture in photos but looks phenomenal in the sunlight. A frozen look is achieved using a chrome wrap with a matte or satin over-laminate. The chrome film’s reflective characteristics are toned down by the matte over-laminate giving it that frosty look while still boasting an intense shine. Some manufacturers make film with frozen-like characteristics, but whether it’s truly considered “frozen” is up to you.


Matte Frozen

Justin Bieber’s Ferrari wrapped in Avery Red Chrome with a matte over-laminate by West Coast Customs.

GT500 3

Satin Frozen

Avery Conform Chrome with a satin over-laminate wrapped by DBX Wraps.


Satin Frozen

Avery Black Chrome with a satin over-laminate wrapped by DBX Wraps.

Printed Over-laminates

Printing graphics on over-laminates is a creative way to apply a graphic to chrome (and other) films. It’s also possible to print directly onto the chrome but a printed over-laminate allows extra leeway for alignment and positioning across body panels.

Stickercity Black Chrome P1

McLaren P1

A McLaren P1 with a printed over-laminate wrapped by Stickercity.

Arabventador 2


A Lamborghini Aventador with a printed over-laminate wrapped by Stickercity.