How to Build a Custom Truck Bed Cover
A truck bed cover is used to cover and protect the bed of a pickup truck and anything you have in it. You can buy hard and soft covers, but it is easy to make your own soft cover just to keep out the rain or prying eyes. A plain cover that drapes over the bed is easy to make yourself.
Equipment to Hire:
- Industrial sewing machine with thread
A cheap poly tarp can be used for a temporary cover, but a good vinyl tarp will last for years with care. A well-made cover can protect your valuables from wind and storms as well as giving some protection from theft.
Step 1 – Measure the Size
Lay a heavy-duty vinyl tarp over the bed of your truck. Measure the size of the truck bed as well as the drape over the sides to the base of the sides, or to where there are attachment points on the truck. A tarp can be provided and measured by a canvas repairer.
Step 2 – Mark the Size
Mark the size measurements on the tarp with a pen or waterproof marker. Also mark where the attachment points are, so the elastic loops will be placed in the right place.
If you have an inner frame on your truck bed, you will need a bigger tarp to cover the whole unit down to the attachment points. Mark any window flaps, back door flaps and where you need a zipper to be sewn in, if required. Cut up the corners so it can be sewn neatly.
Step 3 – Make the Cover
Sew a 2 inch seam around the entire tarp. If you are using a poly tarp, it will already have eyelets to attach it to the truck tray.
If you have an inner frame, sew the corners to the edge, and cut the door and window flaps. Now sew a 2 inch seam around the bottom.
Step 4 – Thread the Elastic
At the spots where you marked the attachment points, cut a small triangle into the edge with the large side to the bottom. Be careful not to cut the seam. Thread the elastic rope through the seam and knot it but do not cut off any excess. The elastic should not be tight enough to pucker the tarp. Spread the cover over the back of your truck bed and grab the elastic through the holes in the edge of the tarp, bringing down to hook over the tracks attachments. If the elastic is too tight or loose, adjust it before retying the knot and cutting off the excess elastic. Place eyelets in the flaps to tie them down.
Your truck bed cover will last many years if it kept under cover as much as possible, when it is not on your truck. Make sure rats and other vermin have no access to it, and have it repaired if it develops any small tears. These basic care rules will help keep it in top condition. Even a small tear can run if put under stress when driving in the wind.