How to wrap a car: creative gift wrapping hacks

5 min reading time
A car is a precious gift for those truly special moments in life. Such a token of affection deserves to be presented in an emotional and tasteful way. Let us show you our step-by-step guide on how to wrap your vehicle to be an unforgettable gift – hassle-free, but with tears of joy guaranteed.

9 December 2019

You can give a young person the amazing gift of freedom – in the form of their very own first car. You can fulfill your or your loved one’s life’s dream – in the shape of their long sought-after dream car. Anyone who has ever received a car as a present knows just how happy a gift like that can make you – more for its emotional value than for its material cost.

But how do you gift wrap a car? The classic way is to tie a bow on the hood or wrap it around the whole car. That looks very loving, but also a little amateurish. So maybe you should gift wrap the car in a way that does justice to the present itself? One that doesn’t give everything away immediately, but heightens the sense of anticipation, because the contents of the package aren’t obvious at first glance. One that conjures up an amazed expression on the face of the recipient – followed by unbridled joy.

Stylist Dagmar Murkudis has come up with a simple and ingenious way to gift wrap a car for BMW.com – cover the car, stick on fluorescent design elements and shine a black light lamp on it.

“What’s nice about this method of car gift wrapping is that it’s really fun because you can run riot creatively,” Dagmar says. “It’s also really easy to do and doesn’t take that long. After two or three hours you get a stunning visual result.”

Use our step-by-step help guide to find out how to wrap a car: What you need and how to do it.

This method of car wrapping is a piece of cake.
Dagmar Murkudis

stylist and packaging artist

Packaging as a promise: Fluorescent adhesive strips let you highlight design features of the car.

How to wrap a car: You’re one click away from the perfect step-by-step help guide

How to wrap a car – the idea

Dagmar Murkudis has put a lot of thought into how to wrap a car. She quickly ruled out wrapping paper – just imagine the effort! Not to mention the garbage that all that wrapping paper would create. “At some point I came up with the idea of creating a lighting effect – with a black car cover and some self-adhesive neon tape.”

Dagmar recommends making a sketch of the pattern you want to stick on before you start. That way, you don’t have to make corrections later on. Pro tip: Large decorative elements such as patterns (stars, hearts, etc.) or lettering (e.g. “Happy Birthday”) work best on the hood or the side doors.

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“No limits on your creativity”

She studied under German artist Joseph Beuys and world-famous make-up artist René Koch and worked for fashion magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire. Dagmar Murkudis is a renowned German stylist who loves wrapping presents. “With gift packing, there are no limits on your creativity,” she says. “And the best thing about it is seeing the joy of the person unwrapping the present. In which case it’s perfectly fine if they tear up the packaging.”

Munich stylist Dagmar Murkudis.

Fittingly for Christmastime, Dagmar is planning to put stars on the doors. As another decorative element, she has opted for a series of large triangles. She used these to trace the contours of the BMW X2. Like the decorative stripes on the car, the triangles along the striking lines of the bodywork look very dynamic. At the same time, they hint at the actual gift: You can make out the silhouette of the gift-wrapped car.

“When you’re sticking shapes on the car, you can let your imagination run wild,” Dagmar says. But she advises against covering a large area with neon: “Using a black light lamp gets its effect from the contrast between the dark car cover and the colored tape. A big neon surface wouldn’t give you that.”

How to wrap a car – what you’ll need

Under a black light lamp (or UV lamp) the colors of the neon tape look different than they do in daylight. Yellow, for example, appears greenish. That’s why the colors should be tried out under a UV lamp before use.

To implement the idea shown here, you will need the following:

  • An indoor car cover (textile, matte black) that fits the specific vehicle model (about USD 140).

  • Fluorescent neon sticky tape in two or three colors (approx. USD 9 per roll).

  • A black light lamp or 2 (at least 30 W) to illuminate a darkened room (e.g. a garage) from two directions (approx. USD 40 each).

  • A cutting mat (about USD 11) or other cut-resistant base and a boxcutter/utility knife. Scissors are less suitable because the tape sticks to them.

  • A ruler to help with long straight cuts (optional).

Dagmar’s pro tip on color selection for the neon tape: “I limit myself to two colors so that it doesn’t get too wild. If possible, you need to try out the colors under a black light lamp. For example, this test demonstrates that green and yellow are too similar and do not produce any contrast.” Dagmar ultimately went for yellow and pink for her DIY car wrap.

How to wrap a car – 3-step instructions

“What’s nice about this method of car gift wrapping is that it’s really fun because you can run riot creatively,” Dagmar says. “It’s also really easy to do and doesn’t take that long. After two or three hours you get a stunning visual result.”

  1. Pull the car cover over the bodywork – preferably right down to the wheels so that the car is completely covered. (Pro tip: It’s easier to pull the cover on with a friend) Pull the car cover tight and avoid creases so that all the tape sticks properly.
  2. Cut tape triangles with the boxcutter, stick them onto the car cover and press down firmly. Repeat until you have finished your decoration.
  3. Cut large decorative patterns like stars with the utility knife and stick them on. Dagmar’s pro tip: “In the chosen spots, the material should be in direct contact with the bodywork so that you can press the pattern down well.”

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How to cut out stars for car wrapping
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Put corner marks on the cutting mat for the 5 points of the star for your DIY car wrap. Then cut 5 neon tape pieces of the same length and stick them on to form a pentagram.
Put corner marks on the cutting mat for the 5 points of the star for your DIY car wrap. Then cut 5 neon tape pieces of the same length and stick them on to form a pentagram.
Make the ends of the tape pieces overlap to get good points on your star.
Once you’ve stuck down all five strips of tape, use the utility knife along a cutting aid (ruler) to cut away the central sections inside the star for your gift-wrapped car.
Missed the corner mark? No problem. A slightly uneven star makes the look even more dynamic.
Now carefully lift off the star and stick it on the car. The star decoration part of your car wrapping is complete.

And just like that, your gift-wrapped car is ready to provide a spectacular surprise. Now make the room dark and line up the black light lamp or lamps so that the neon tape shines brightly. Your recipient will be left speechless on seeing the colored decorations sparkle like stars under the black light lamp. “That moment when I switched on the lamp for the first time – it was truly amazing,” says Dagmar.

Then just remove the decorated car cover, and the car will take the spotlight. What an unforgettable gift!

How to wrap a car – the “making-of” video

Show everything

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Christmas presents: What’s hidden in this gift packing?

Dagmar Murkudis didn’t just gift wrap a BMW X2. She also packaged up a number of gift ideas from BMW Lifestyle. See if you can guess what’s in these packages. All the products can be found in the BMW Lifestyle store.

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Clue: What’s inside this gift packing will mean that even your youngest family members can drive a BMW.
Clue: What’s inside this gift packing will mean that even your youngest family members can drive a BMW.
Car wrap a BMW Baby Racer III and give your toddler the joy of driving!
Round-the-world trip: You’ll get more than a few things in here.
Dagmar has packed a BMW Modern Duffle Bag as a suitcase covered in world map wrapping paper.
OK, this one’s not hard to guess. But it makes you appreciate Dagmar’s wrapping art even more!
Covered up no more – the BMW Cruise Bike in all its naked elegance.

BECAUSE IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE PACKAGING.

Stylish Christmas gifts from BMW Lifestyle.

Find out more