Gather Materials to Start Making Homemade Truck Bed Cover
Make your truck unique and save money by constructing a Tonneau Truck Bed Cover from the ground up! Prior to beginning, make sure you have every material required. This involves canvas, fabric and tools such as a sewing machine and measuring tape. Once everything is gathered, you are ready to start constructing the Tonneau Truck Bed Cover!
Measure the size of the truck bed
Measuring the truck bed is essential for making your own tonneau cover. Start by measuring the bed width with a measuring tape. Place the tape on the top edge and note down the distance between the opposite sides. Then measure lengthwise along both side panels, to determine the length.
Make sure to measure all sides, front to back and left side to right side. It’s important that all parts of the cover fit together. Take the measurements twice, to account for any inconsistencies due to small imperfections or air gaps.
Purchase the necessary materials
Before you start, make sure you have everything you need. To make a tonneau truck bed cover, you’ll need:
- 1/2-inch Luan plywood sheets and ABS plastic pieces.
- Plus, 1-1/4 inch flat head truss screws, riveting tools and rivets for assembly.
Getting help with the lifting is good. The raw materials for a homemade tonneau cover can be heavy. Finally, don’t forget to have a power drill and different size bits to pre-drill holes in the plywood sheets.
Cut and Attach the Vinyl
Make your truck bed cover unique! Cut and attach vinyl to the frame. It’s easy! Just use a few tools and supplies. Follow these steps:
- Cut the vinyl.
- Then, attach it to the frame of your tonneau truck bed cover.
- Protect your cargo from the elements with your homemade cover!
Cut the vinyl to the size of the truck bed
Measure the truck bed size. Determine how much vinyl you need. Put the pattern on a flat surface. Use scissors or a sharp knife to cut along marked lines. Account for extra material for wrapping and stitching. Mark measurements with tailor’s chalk or use a chalk line. Masking tape can help with marking. Trim off all excess and ridged edges. That way, no seams appear when cover is on.
Attach the vinyl to the frame
Before you start cutting the vinyl, make sure your workspace is dust-free. Secure the vinyl to the frame with double-sided permanent tape. Add tape to all seams and edges. Adhesive spray can also be used. Spread the spray evenly. Seal all gaps with glue or tape.
Start at one edge when attaching large pieces of vinyl. Work across until all surfaces are attached. Then, cut the vinyl according to your desired shape and size.
Attach the Frame
Installing a Tonneau truck bed cover? Skill and patience required! Firstly, attach a frame – made of plywood – comprising four corner pieces and some connectors.
To kick off, locate the four corner pieces and mark drill holes in them. These holes are for connecting them with the connectors.
Measure and cut the frame pieces
Before you assemble your tonneau cover’s frame, measure and cut each of its pieces according to your vehicle’s bed measurements. Measure from one side of the truck bed to the other at both ends and the middle. Mark spots at 8-inch intervals across the length of each measurement. These marks will be used to cut the frame pieces.
Use a circular saw with a plywood blade, or a hand saw, to cut each piece. For the circular saw, make sure it’s wired properly and you’re wearing protective goggles and gloves during use. Sand off any rough edges on all sides with medium-grit sandpaper until they are smooth.
You will need two side rails, two end rails and four cross rails:
- Two side rails
- Two end rails
- Four cross rails
Attach the frame pieces together
Cut the frame pieces. Attach them in steps.
- Connect two sides forming the main part of the frame. Use a drill or screwdriver.
- Fasten each corner and edges with screws.
- Connect two end rails to each side of the frame. Attach one side of each rail to one side of the frame. Repeat step on other side. Secure with screws. No gaps for air tightness.
- Attach all four sides together with screws or rivets along edges and at each corner joint.
You will have a rectangular frame with metal rails along all four sides. Ready for material covering!
Attach the frame to the truck bed
Attaching the frame of the truck bed correctly and securely is important for optimal performance and safety. Identify the mounting points on both the frame and truck bed. Ensure all necessary mounting hardware is included before starting. Also, check if any additional accessories are needed.
Fasten the frame to the bed with bolts and clamps over desired mounting points. Use a wrench or ratchet to tightly secure each fastener. Follow manufacturer specifications for adequate strength of the setup. Securely apply any additional accessories that may have come with the frame or truck bed (if applicable). These could include straps and tie-downs for carrying heavier cargo, drain tubes for transporting liquids, etc.
Doing this will provide a secure connection point between the truck and its frame, improving performance and safety on the road.
Install the Hardware
Installing the hardware? That’s the first step! Get the correct fixings and fittings. What type of tonneau cover? And what truck? Acquire the right hardware. Your local hardware store has it. Let’s get going!
Purchase and install the necessary hardware
Once the boards are cut, the next step is to buy and install the hardware for the homemade tonneau truck bed cover. This includes two support rods per side, three hinges per side, four turnbuckles, one footman loop per side, screws/bolts of different sizes and straps.
First, install one end of each support rod onto one cab corner, so it rises above the cab. Then attach the other end of each rod to one side panel of the wood with both bolts and screws. Insert a hinge between them with the bolt pointing outwards. This will create an “L” shape when viewed from outside.
Attach similar hinges between the opposite panel sides. Space them two inches away from the previous attachment site for safety. Place the turnbuckles in the top corners to connect the panels. Use a strap to attach them to the feetman loop. This will form a secure closure when placed horizontally along the center area.
Finally, place some screws/bolts to hold down each corner. This will add extra stability. Make sure the hinges are safely latched in their grooves to avoid collapses when operated.
Attach the hardware to the frame
It’s time to attach the hardware to the frame. Start by mounting clasps to the bed rails. Measure their location carefully. This will help secure the cover with minimal interference. Make sure they are securely fastened with stainless steel screws, nuts, and bolts.
Next, attach straps and ratchets to the frame with nuts and bolts or metal S-hooks. Make sure they are connected snugly, not too loose or too tight. This will help handle potential heavy cargo in the future.
Lastly, attach any remaining components, like hinges or snow flaps. These may need rivets or bolts. Install them using standard household tools, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Once you have put together your DIY tonneau truck bed cover, it is time to give it the final touches. You can apply a waterproof coating to guard it from scratches and other wear and tear. You may also add trim pieces, Velcro, snaps, and other hardware. This will provide a professional look and secure it to the truck bed.
Add foam insulation to the frame
Your tonneau truck bed cover needs a frame to secure your cargo. Insulation material is also important – it should protect items from the elements. Measure the inner frame dimensions, then get foam insulation pieces to fit. Spray adhesive or contact cement will help affix it. Foam insulation with a high R-value rating and self-adhesive backing is recommended.
Trace around the edges of the foam and cut new pieces of plywood to fit snugly in the frame area. Screw these in place, so there won’t be any gaps for air or moisture leaks.
Sew the vinyl to the frame
Once the frame fits your tonneau bed cover, it’s time to sew the vinyl sections to the frame. Use a heavy-duty machine and waterproof thread with sturdy needles. Lay all pieces out in order, with little overlap. Stitch a few rows around the perimeter of each piece with a temporary stitch.
Sew the pieces together along their edges with a permanent stitch. Make sure your stitches are accurately placed for an even look and for the finished product to withstand bad weather. Start at one corner and sew around the edges of each piece until joined together. Turn over and stitch the other edges until the frame is complete.
Hem or finish off raw edges as needed to prevent fraying in the rain or snow. Fold over twice or topstitch before trimming any excess fabric with scissors. Neatness and accuracy are key for a professional job – take your time!
Add a locking mechanism to the cover
Once you’ve built the bed cover, it’s time to add a lock. This is an essential safety measure, as an open tonneau truck bed cover can be dangerous when driving.
Cut a strip of aluminum wider than the top edge of the bed cover. Drill two holes in each corner and four along the length. Place the holes on the mounting bolts and secure with four nuts and bolts. Now, attach a combination or cylinder lock with two more nuts and bolts. For extra protection, add seals or velcro.
When secured, your homemade Tonneau truck bed cover should be strong enough to keep your cargo safe from theft or bad weather, yet easy to access when needed!
Frequently Asked Questions
What materials do I need to make a tonneau truck bed cover?
You will need a few basic materials such as plywood, canvas, and vinyl. You will also need some basic tools such as a saw, drill, and a staple gun. If you are not familiar with working with these materials, it might be a good idea to consult with a professional before beginning the project.
Is it difficult to make a homemade tonneau truck bed cover?
It can be relatively easy to make a tonneau truck bed cover if you have the right materials and tools. With proper preparation and attention to detail, it should not be too difficult. However, if you are not experienced in working with these materials, it might be a good idea to consult with a professional before beginning the project.
How long does it take to make a tonneau truck bed cover?
It depends on the size and complexity of the cover, but it usually takes between 2-4 hours to complete the project. It might take longer if you are not familiar with working with the materials or tools.