In Auto Body Training? Here’s How to Gift Wrap a Car for the Holidays

auto body technician training

Wrapping a car is different for someone working in an auto body shop than it is for Santa Claus. While not many of us will find a full-sized car under the tree this year, the lucky few that do will have quite the unwrapping job ahead of them. While Santa has magic on his side, the average Joe doesn’t, and will have to use other techniques.

For anyone familiar with auto body work, wrapping a car doesn’t mean going through a dozen rolls of gift wrap. It means a vehicle wrap, a process by which a removable decorative layer is added over the paint. Read on for more about gift-wrapping your car versus vinyl wrapping, as we enjoy the holiday season in full swing!

How to Gift Wrap a Car with Serious Auto Body Training Knowledge

Cars are huge gifts, so the way they are presented should be impressive. Though a giant bow stuck to the hood looks great, there are some more exciting ways to gift wrap a car. The first thing to know is that trying to wrap a car in wrapping paper isn’t a good idea. Gift wrap isn’t durable, it’s difficult to control and won’t go on smoothly. If you’re in auto body technician training, you don’t want to be presenting a car in a messy way.

Some ways you can get around the use of actual gift wrap include:

  • Placing posters with messages in the windows, making giant cards out of poster board
  • Decorating the car with festive items like tinsel, balloons and ornaments
  • Placing holiday lights on the car and turning them on for the gift-giving
  • Using wrapping paper to cover accessories that are part of the gift and placing them on the hood

You can get creative and follow your own inspiration as well, like decorating the steering wheel or license plates.

Tinsel and garland are great decorations for holiday car gift wrapping
Tinsel and garland are great decorations for holiday car gift wrapping

Auto Body Repair Technicians Know That Vinyl Wrap Is Better Than Gift Wrap

The biggest advantage of vinyl wraps in achieving a smooth look is that it releases air. Cast vinyl features channels that allow bubbles to escape, which helps avoid an uneven finish. Supercast vinyl is incredibly flexible. It can stretch up to 40 percent. This helps when wrapping different types of cars and navigating individual contours, adapting to the shapes.

Historically, vinyl wraps were used to advertise businesses on cars, with logos, images and/or text. Today, vinyl wraps are a common alternative to painting cars, as a solid colour can be added without decreasing the value of the car with paint that isn’t removable. If you work as an auto body repair technician, you may encounter vinyl wraps in your work.

For vinyl wraps, the paint layer underneath must be smooth—scratches and dings need to be evened and dirt needs to be removed. Mirrors and any moldings should also be taken off of the car, so that the vinyl is easier to apply to the body of the car, without needing to maneuver around these tricky parts.

Wrapping a car takes precision and attention to detail
Wrapping a car takes precision and attention to detail

The prep will prove worthwhile when the wrap is stuck to the car, smoothed and stretched. Vinyl wraps can last around 10 years—but you can also just remove it after Christmas morning. It’s hard to imagine gift wrap lasting that long, unless it possessed an enormous amount of holiday magic.

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