The paint film concept is a method of covering plastic and metal parts with a preformed, multilayer film that performs the functions of traditional coatings, that is, to protect and decorate the part. It offers significant advantages over spray applied coatings. These include reduced solvent emissions, fewer manufacturing steps, and potential lower overall coating cost.Development of this concept includes identifying the critical application requirements and merging them with the film properties. Inherent limitations to this approach arise from strain produced in the film during application. Application methods by hand, vacuum forming, in-mold, and laminating followed by post forming are discussed in terms of these requirements and compared to the spray operations they would replace.