Currently reading: Can you wrap a car in wrapping paper?
Christmas is all about the giving, but what if the gift is a hard-to-wrap car? We come to your rescue
John Evans
News
4 mins read
24 December 2020

If you’re given a present that looks like it has been wrapped by a gorilla in a force-10 gale, we’ll bet all your mince pies it was wrapped by a bloke. According to a recent survey, men spend less than a minute wrapping a present compared with the three women take getting the job just right.

Regardless of who has done it, we’ve all seen examples of bad wrapping: paper that barely covers the gift, crudely shaped ends taped roughly over the top, multiple tears where the wrap has been pulled too tightly… Examples abound, although it’s the gift that counts, of course, not how it’s presented.

But what if the gift in need of wrapping is larger and more challenging? A car, for example. Anybody who gives a motor as a gift rather than saving it for themselves needs their head examining, but if they’re going to do it, it would be nice if they wrapped it properly.

Which is where Autocar’s Christmas car wrapping guide comes in. We’ve put it together with the assistance of our friends at Creative FX of Bromley, Kent. Sean, the boss, and his team usually spend their days wrapping Lamborghinis and the like in stretchy vinyl. We showed you how they do it a couple of years ago. This time, however, they’re going to wrap a more modest Mazda MX-5 in Christmas gift paper, which, rather than stretching, will simply tear or crease with little warning. This should be fun…

Following a quick planning chat, the FX guys set to, laying down lengths of paper on the Mazda and trimming them expertly along the panel gaps in a well synchronised fashion. Being clueless about wrapping, we had brought no fewer than 16 rolls of paper and four rolls of Sellotape to the project. In the end, the FX team needed barely three rolls of paper and one of tape. They all agreed the paper’s design was very forgiving in the way any creased bits could be masked with fresh paper – a point worth remembering when you’re choosing your wrap. We agreed not to wrap the roof and, instead, lowered it. We left the windscreen alone too.

The whole job took around an hour. By the end, the car was still clearly a MX-5, but the point had been made: it had been wrapped with loving care. No crinkly triangles, no tears and no scrappy lengths of surplus tape.

And if anyone fancies trying this at home, we’ve got loads of unused wrapping paper going spare…

How to wrap a Mazda MX-5

You will need the help of at least one assistant. Make sure your modelling knives are super-sharp and always cut or trim between panel gaps. Any serious creases can be disguised with a covering of fresh paper trimmed to fit. The steps we describe should work for most cars.

Materials

Three 8m rolls of extra-wide Sainsbury’s Christmas wrap

One roll of Sellotape

Modelling knives

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Read our review

Car review
Here is the fourth-gen Mazda MX-5 - the definitive small sports car

Fourth-generation MX-5 heads back to Mazda's roadster's roots, surpassing its predecessor in every area

Back to top

One Mazda MX-5

Step 1

Lay a length of paper across the upper bonnet half. Trim around the windscreen scuttle and bonnet edges to fit, ensuring the knife blade passes between panels and not across them. Secure with tape. Partly overlay a second length across the lower bonnet to the leading edge, trim to fit and tape down to secure.

Step 2

Lay paper over the nearside front wing. Trim at the headlight and trailing edge, and around the wheelarch. Tape down. Repeat for offside. Mind the tyres with that knife.

Back to top

Step 3

Run paper across the door, trimming at leading and trailing edges and along the sills. Leave sufficient paper uncut to run below the door to the rear wing. Make slits in the paper large enough to work the paper over the door mirror. Repeat for door handle. Trim paper at the base of the window and tape down.

Step 4

Extend paper from part way over the door to the trailing edge of the rear wing and secure with tape. Trim to fit, following the rear wing panel gap above the bumper and around the top of the tail-light. Trim along the boot line and around the base of the hood. Tape down all round. Repeat for offside.

Back to top

Step 5

Lay paper across lower front of the car to the ground, extending slightly over bonnet paper. Carefully trim around the front bumper and bonnet gaps and headlights. Trim around the grille edge, exposing the numberplate and grille, and around the badge. Trim the leading edge to fit and tape down to secure.

Step 6

Trim away surplus paper below the grille and cut through at the halfway point to create two ‘wings’. Work each wing around the lower bumper assembly, being careful not to crease it too much in the process.

Step 7

Lay paper across the boot and upper panel at base of hood and trim around panel gaps and top of tail-lights. Secure with tape. Now lay more paper across the rear bumper. Ensure lower section is covered neatly without creasing before trimming around the panel gaps and securing with tape. And that’s a wrap!

READ MORE

How to wrap a car: the art of transforming cars with wrapping 

The secret world of Aston Martin's camouflage wrapping

Highland Rover: Celebrating Hogmanay in a Land Rover Defender

Join the debate

Comments
2
Add a comment…
Peter Cavellini 24 December 2020

 Need a big Stamp on that one!

Finlay Turnbull 24 December 2020

James May once wrapped a Fiesta XR2i in wrapping paper. 

Find an Autocar car review