How to build a truck bed cover out of plywood

Written by r.l. cultrona
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How to build a truck bed cover out of plywood
(Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Pickup trucks are the workhorses of families everywhere. These trucks offer a lightweight way to carry cargo around town. Business owners use them as a way to get supplies from work site to work site. The only problem with a pickup truck is it has an open bed which means cargo has the potential to fall out when the truck is in motion. To solve this problem, consider building a cover for your pickup truck to keep all your items safe where they belong.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Piece of 3/4-inch plywood, 4-by-8 foot
  • 8-foot pieces of 2-by-4 (3)
  • Measuring tape
  • Circular saw
  • 1/4-inch bolts, 3 inches long (8)
  • 1/4-inch bumper washers (16)
  • 1/4-inch locking washers (8)
  • T-hinges (3)
  • 1-inch wood screws
  • Drill with 1/4-inch metal bit
  • Screwdriver bit

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the length and width of your truck bed on all four sides. Cut two pieces of 2-by-4 with the saw which equal the length of the bed. Cut one piece of 2-by-4 which equals the width of the bed at the cab.

  2. 2

    Cut one piece of 3/4-inch plywood to dimensions which equal the dimensions of the truck bed. Use the measurements you previously took and draw a pattern on the 4-by-8 foot plywood. Cut along your lines.

  3. 3

    Measure 3/4 inch down from the top of the side edges of the truck bed and make a line with the pencil. This is where the 2-by-4 length pieces will be placed. Measure 1 foot along the line you just made toward the centre from both the cab and the gate and make two marks 1 inch apart. These marks are the locations of the holes you will drill and should be approximately 1 inch below the line for the 2-by-4 side piece marks you drew. You should have eight marks (two per end on both ends of each side of the bed).

  4. 4

    Drill holes through the side of the bed using a 1/4-inch metal drill bit at the marks you made. Measure 1 foot along the 4-inch side of each of the side piece 2-by-4s and make marks which correspond to the holes you drilled in the truck bed. Drill holes through the 2-by-4 side pieces.

  5. 5

    Attach the side pieces to the side of the truck bed by placing the 2-by-4 over the area with the holes. Place a bumper washer over the holes between the 2-by-4 and the truck bed. Place another washer over the hole on the other side of the board. Place a locking washer over the bumper washer and place the 3-inch bolt in the 2-by-4 to attach it to the truck. Repeat this for all eight holes, completely fastening the side rails to the truck bed. The rails should sit 3/4 of an inch below the top of the bed sides.

  6. 6

    Cut a 2-by-1 inch notch in both ends of the piece of 2-by-4 the size of the bed width. When you are finished, the pieces should look like a "T," be able to fit on top of the side rails and be even with the top of the bed. This is the brace for the cover piece. Screw this piece to the side rails using a screw driven through each side of the brace piece and into the side rails.

  7. 7

    Space the top part of the three T-hinges and screw them into the cover brace. Attach the piece of plywood to the hinges so it creates a bed lid which swings up towards the cab. When closed, the lid should completely cover the bed, and the top of it should be even with the top of the bed.

Tips and warnings

  • Your truck may already have factory-drilled holes in the bed. If so, use these holes to attach the side rails instead of drilling your own.
  • Once the cover is installed, you can paint it to match the colour of the truck.
  • You must take measurements of all four sides of the truck bed. Some truck beds are not a uniform width; and if you only take a length and width measurement, your lid may not fit.

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