Reupholster your door panel quickly and easily with a little help from Harbor Freight!
It doesn’t always take a lot of work to increase the value of your vehicle, improve its look and make it more enjoyable to drive! Here’s a simple project that will do just that and save you a ton of money compared to getting it done professionally—reupholstering your car door panels.
First, you’ll have to remove the door panel. A lot of do-it-yourselfers try to use tools they have like screwdrivers to pop the clips and that’s a mistake because you can end up doing more damage!
Harbor Freight has a great set of tools designed specifically for this project—the Upholstery and Trim Tool Set 5 Pc. And the price? Hey, it’s Harbor Freight!
The set contains everything you need to remove door panels and more from your vehicle. Made with heat-treated, polished stainless steel blades, the tool set features wide blades to reduce marring or damage to your vehicle during panel removal. With rubber handles and knurled grips for control and leverage, this upholstery tool set is ideal for the car enthusiast and auto body specialist alike—and perfect to use for this project!
Here are the other materials you’ll need:
- Spray Adhesive
- Material (you can select anything from vinyl to duck canvas)
- Razor blades or craft/precision knife
- Screwdriver (if your door panel also has screws to secure certain parts)
- Sharpie or other marker pen
- needle nose pliers
Once the panel is off, remove the old skin, which may require cleaning off glue and/or staples as best you can using sandpaper and needle nose pliers respectively.
Trace your door panel onto the foam with the marker and cut it out with your scissors. Test fit it on your panel to make sure it lines up.
Lay your foam down on a flat area such as a workbench. Take the interior side of the door panel and lay it face down on the foam.
Spray the panel side of the foam with adhesive. Also spray the panel with adhesive. Let the two surfaces sit until the adhesive gets tacky. Once tacky, apply the foam to the panel and let dry.
After the foam has dried to the panel, cut out the openings.
Lay the vinyl or duck cotton down on the table face down. Note: take care not to get any adhesive on the material at this point.
Loosely trace around the panel leaving a 2–3 inch gap around the entire panel and cut out the material.
Apply adhesive to the back of the material and let it get tacky. Also apply adhesive to the foam on the panel and let it get tacky as well. Once both surfaces are tacky, apply the material to the panel. Pull the material taught and cut where needed to ensure a proper fit.
If you’re happy with the fit, slice your openings—always start small and increase your cuts.
Reapply any clips and/or weather-stripping to the panel.
Put the panel back on.
Reattach handle trim, window controls, etc.
Do a little victory dance and treat yourself to an ice-cold beverage for a job well done!
Note: you can get quite creative with the material you select. Your local fabric/upholstery store will have tons of options!