Hard Tonneau Cover




I recently bough a Pick up truck, so I was looking for a Hard Tonneau Cover for my car, but they all seem pretty expensive, as I like to do some woodwork I decided to make my own. Here how I did it in about 5 hours.

Step 1: Materials

2 sheets of 1/2 inch plywood. This could be different depending your bed size (Marine grade, will be better)

6 pieces of 1x2¨


Table saw


5 meters of vinyl fabric (Price and quality up to you)

1 piano hinge


Spray glue

Contact glue

Black paint

Step 2: Frame

Prepare two frames with the 1x2 wood, one will be fixed to the trunk and the second will be the lifting part. Both frames should fit in the bed borders with about 1cm of space to the duraliner.

These frames will be responsable of holding the cover to the car, they will also give estructural strength to the cover, so people could even walk on it.

Step 3: Cutting the Plywood

Cut two pieces of plywood one for each frame, remember that these pieces will be the cover, so they must overlap the bed sides, cut them following your car shape. There shoudl be no overlap where both frames join, cause there is where the hinge goes.

Step 4: Paint the Frame and the Plywood

I did not paint the plywood but it could be very useful to avoid moisture and make it last longer.

Step 5: Wrap the Plywood

Using lots of glue, wrap the plywood pieces with the vinyl fabric. Use the stapler to secure and tie up the vinyl in the back side.

Step 6: Fit It, Add a Rubber Seal Around and Enjoy

I use a rubber seal to avoid rain in the trunk, also I added a flood light.



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    14 Discussions


    Question 5 months ago on Introduction

    2 questions: (1) What light did you use and what is the power source? (2) How does the cover fasten to the bed, or does it simply rest on top of the bedrails?

    Thanks for sharing! Looks great!

    1 answer

    Answer 5 months ago

    The pickup has a 12v connector in the bed.
    I used some T nuts and screws with pieces of metal angulars to hold it to the sides


    3 years ago

    I love this so much I am already planning my version. I intend to use this as my first fiberglass project. I bought some fiberglass a while back when I was planning on building a skiff. I have plenty so this will be perfect. I am wondering though if I use fiberglass whether the vinyl will be necessary. My thought is to use 1/4 plywood and fiberglass the top and bottom. I assume the strength the fiberglass adds will permit the thinner plywood. The combination will make it lighter and easier to handle. I only wonder about painting it. I will have to research how to make fiberglass the color you want. I know you can use dyes but I am not familiar with that at all. If anyone here knows please let me hear back from you.

    I am curious how well the lighting worked out. Where did you mount it? what kind of light did you use? Would you change anything about it?

    Thanks for one of the best instructables I have ever seen and I've been a member here for many years.

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Fiberglass is a great way to seal wood but regular polyester resin will absorb water which is why fiberglass is gel coated. There are epoxy type fiberglass resins which don't adsorb water but are much more expensive. I have used "West System" with great results with boats and automotive work. Regular auto paint over regular fiberglass will not work long term without gel-coating first. The West System can be prepared and painted directly.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi. Fiberglass will do it great. You can use automotive primer and paint. Remember many cars are fiberglass made.
    For my cover I used the 1/2" plywood cause I can walk over the cover. I can even load some stuff on top of it. I am actually planning and upgrade adding some hooks or a side bar to secure more things on top of it. The only thing that you may need to think about using fiberglass is how to cover the piano hinge to make it water tight.
    The lamp I use is a 12v halogen, it was pretty easy to installed because this truck has a 12v plug in the trunk, so no need to add more cables. I am also thinking to change it for a led lamp that uses less space.


    3 years ago

    Bravo sir. This IS an inspirational project. I would offer some upgrades. You could easily go with thinner plywood and then use polyester resin and CSM (Chopped Strand Mat) to cover over the entire structure and that would offer a lot more stiffness and strength and water proof it at the same time. And round over all the outer edges with a 1/2" round over router bit to make it look more conformed before installing the polyester and CSM material. But there is nothing wrong with your offering either. Nice!

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    It is a good idea, I went for the vinyl fabric cause it was easier to work with, but maybe I try the fiberglass when a change it´s need


    3 years ago

    Some pictures to give you an idea.


    3 years ago

    Just curious as to how you secured it to the truck?

    Thanks, Pickles

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    I forgot that part. My first try I used pieces of the same 1x2" wood screwed to the frame but it became a pain when you need to remove it.
    So now I used some screws with Tnuts across the frame and some steel angulars with a piece of rubber on the top to avoid damage the trunk.
    Because I did it as an upgrade my screws are out the vinil fabric, but you can do it below it to keep it looking nice.