Introduction: How to Pallet Wrap a Car for Your Friends (or Enemies)

About: I am a designer/artist for Nice Is Life. I have two children. I enjoy the creative process and participating in the process with others. Love is the word.

Step 1: Materials must be gathered

First you must find many items to decorate the wrap with as you wrap and when you finish to add depth and color.

These items can include and are not limited to:

Holiday decorations


Cardboard cutouts

Handmade signs (as the wrapping of a car usually occurs outdoors in public, language should be family friendly).



Water based washable markers (Posca paint pens are great for this)

Zip ties

Second thing you need is a couple of rolls of industrial pallet wrap

This can be found at most home centers (eg: Home Depot, Lowes)

Also available through office supply stores (eg: Staples, Office Depot)

On the web (eg: Amazon, Google search)

Third and most important is an imagination.

You are going to dig deep to create the most eye catching and amazing gift wrapping of a car ever.

You are only held back by some simple rules of etiquette for your intended loved ones vehicle.

Fourth is the rules of etiquette defined (from years of experiments and learning)

Never paint directly to a vehicle, the wrap should cover most of the car.

Never use food products (heat can actually cook foods to paint, some peel the paint, cleanup sucks)

Do not use abrasive materials or wire to close to the surface of the vehicles paint.

Nothing to heavy as it may dent or damage vehicle

Always respect that the person will need to drive the vehicle home from the wrapping site.

So no flattening or disabling of tires or motor, no gas tank filling.

That being said lets begin.

Step 2: Beginning the Wrapping Process

You will want to start low on the car around the front tire of your choosing and tie on the end of the wrap. As you begin to start the process of wrapping make sure of a couple of things as the roll is remaining flat and open, you will find as you turn corners or go across the vehicle the wrap will want to twist into a very thin cord like strap. This can be a useful tweak later, but for our base we want nice long flat covering of the vehicle.

Proceed around the bottom of the vehicle keeping the wrap taunt and flat in the process.

As you rotate around the vehicle, be sure to be vigilant about keeping the wrap on the car tight. Find areas of the vehicle to make nice tight holds, such as bumpers, mirrors, wheels and be cautious of antennas while going up and over the vehicle. You can find slipping wrap will cause the whole job to become loose and messy looking.

Continue as you wrap to rise higher up the vehicle creating a protective layer that should cover most of the vehicles paint and accessories, this will allow for you to be a little more wreck less in your decorating efforts soon.

When you have a good base of wrap around the car you can start the "up and over" method to covering the top of the vehicle. You are going to want to go from corner to corner of the vehicle first using the corner of the bumper to secure and move over the vehicle to the opposite bumper, caddy to the one you start with.

Next option now that your base is complete is to look at how much wrap you have left, and decide if you want to incorporate the surrounding environment to the car for good measure. (eg: Trees, parking meters, other cars, poles, etc...) If you do decide to use the area around the vehicle, be respectful of public and private properties, also living things like trees and bushes and flowers and such please.

Step 3: Decorating your Wrap

This is the really fun part of the whole thing.

At this point you are attracting a lot of attention to yourself as you are in what might seem to some as a vandalistic behavior. I have found that if people ask questions it is best to answer them with a simple, Its my friends birthday, or co-worker is leaving, baby shower, just married, etc... This will aid in the authorities not being called by a samaritan without the same sense of humor as ourselves.

So gather all of those old holiday decorations, flowers, boxes, signs, paintings, markers and really dig in.

I like to start on the hood and work from there. A hood ornament is essential.

I begin to add most things that are going to appear flat around the sides of the vehicle by placing them between the layers of wrap in the base. Always remembering not to have contact with the vehicle paint.

I then add some of my larger pieces in my pile. Boxes, signs, foils, spoilers, ground effects, and one of my favorite effects of all.... the blown up plastic trash bag. The trash bags are great for giving mass and bubble fun to the composition, as a canvas for writing or drawing onto. Plus they dance around in the wind and become very animated.

Blowing up the trash bags is easy:

Open the bag and begin to move it through the air and use the wind and air to fill the bag.

Quickly grab the bag closed and spin the neck of the bag tight and closed.

You will need to keep the bags air tight just as a balloon might need to.

So make sure that you have enough of the top of the bag to tie tightly or use zip ties to keep the air in nicely.

Use your markers and write messages to your client (victim)

Then add your smaller items for detail and special placements for final color.

All of it together is a piece of temporary art, an installation.

Step 4: Document your Wrap Job

I suggest posting of the subjects vehicle on as many social media sites as possible.

Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat, Vine, and even document the whole process in a Periscope stream for the world to enjoy. Hash tag it with #niceiswrap #carwrap #wrapncrap or if you come up with your own, leave it in my comments.

Have fun with your new skill. It is a gift that they will never ever forget.

Please recycle all the items used in your wrap, the plastic wrap is also able to be recycled.

If you so feel inclined, also subscribe to my instructables, and feel free to ask me questions in the comments. I will respond in as timely a manner as i can.

Thanks for your time.

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