The Ultimate Guide To Dot Matrix Part 1

Following up on my previous post on the dot matrix , the ceramic dotted area that surrounds the edge of a lot of car windows and the battles you will have with this, I will post here for you now a few of the methods I have tried over the years to improve the appearance and Silvery look of Dot Matrix after window film is applied and and some of the factors that will affect the levels of success you will have in your in efforts to get the dot matrix looking good,and as close to the look of factory tinted glass as is possible.

1. Film Thickness!
This will have a major effect on the look of the dot matrix, if you are using a thin dyed 1 ply film it will lay down far better on the dot matrix than a high performance 2 ply film. Most 1 ply films are 1 micron ( 1mil) thick whereas a 2 ply film with be 1.5 microns, so the extra thickness means the film is not as pliable and won't form to the shape of the dots like a single ply film.
This leaves you in a dilemma, although there are colour stable single ply films they tend to be like tissue paper to work with and don't have the body that a two ply film has and you can easily crease these films just by looking at them... ok not quite that bad but they are much less forgiving especially to a inexperienced installer just finding his feet in the car window tinting business.

So your first thing to decide upon is will you sacrifice film quality for the look of the Dot Matrix??

2. Heat Shrinking Process!
Although you may not realise it but the way you shrink your back windows can have a big affect on the outcome and appearance of the Dot Matrix! If you are a powder shrinker, then you maybe don't realise that you are leaving lots of tiny un-shrunk areas of film, and as you shrink more towards the edge of the glass, into the matrix area, the film will become very distorted in that area and will not lead to the film sitting down nice and tight onto the dot matrix.

I would consider a switch at this point to either the soap shrink or the Ryk Shrink. The Ryk shrink is a little unknown and little used technique in the car window tinting industry and involves using 2 heatguns and shrinking very large area of film at one time, this means you are not focusing on the area of the film over the dot matrix but applying a more general shrink of the window film. The end result is that the film is less distorted and can result in an improved look on the dot matrix area.

Why not try this technique and see how your results can improve.

3. Cleaning Technique!!
People often neglect the dot matrix area in their cleaning preparation and this can have a major effect on the end results. One thing I do that does allow the film to adhere well to the matrix is spend a few extra minutes on the dot matrix, so what do we do to take our installations to the next level?
I use a 000 gauge wire wool to clean the back windows and heater lines and then will spend some time on the dot matrix and give it a a good scrub with wire wool and glass cleaner, I use foaming glass cleaner and spray the dot matrix with the cleaner and let it sit their for a few minutes, then I illuminate the rear window and cut out my film, the foam glass cleaner highlights the edge of the film making pattern cutting easier.
Ok, back to the matrix...after squeegeeing the glass clean in the normal manner, i will use some IPA (
Isopropyl alcohol) and wipe the matrix clean, and i mean "clean" and that means that no black dirt comes of onto your micro-fibre cloth. Then i will use compressed air in a can or my heat gun and dry the dot matrix completely. This super clean and dry matrix will be ready to take your film and stick like crazy!

Thats all for now in this first part of the The Ultimate Guide To Dot Matrix - next time i will tell you about sanding matrix, glueing, slip-mix,baking and quenching and a few other advanced techniques that can help you get the best finish ever.


  1. This is my preferred method...

  2. Yeh thx for your feedback, I like the glue but will normally use a syringe and put a bead on the last row of dots and use a mac tac to push it through the dots, we all have our own way. I will say that some of these glues seem to be affected bu UV, i used one once it went all brown and horrible on the inside but still looked good on the outside. #Ihatedots!