Truck owners install bed covers for many reasons. Some do it to improve fuel mileage, some for aesthetic reasons and others to cover items that are regularly stored in the bed. A commercial bed cover can be very expensive, costing hundreds of dollars. If the truck bed cover would see only infrequent use, it's far more cost-effective to make your own. While it might not appear as refined as a commercial cover, it will do the same job. To mask the homemade nature of the cover somewhat, use a black tarp as your main building material.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Tape measure
- Tarp (blue or black)
- Permanent marker
- Wooden block
- Hole cutter
- Grommet setting kit
- Bungee hooks
Measure the dimensions of your pickup bed. When installed, the tarp should completely cover the top of the bed from edge to edge without going over the sides.
Transfer the measurements to the tarp. Using a marker that's visible on the tarp (black on a blue tarp, silver on a black tarp), mark the outline of the bed cover. To limit the amount of cutting you'll have to do, use one of the corners on the tarp as a corner of your bed cover. Cut out the bed cover.
Mark the locations where you'll install the grommets around the edge of the tarp. In order for the bed cover to do its job, it needs to be held taut over the pickup bed. At minimum, there should be a grommet hole in each corner and two more along each side of the cover.
Place a wooden block under one of your marked hole locations. Place a hole cutter onto the mark and hammer the end of it until it punches through the tarp to the block below, creating a hole. Do this for every marked hole.
Insert a grommet into the hole. Push the grommet through the bottom of the hole so the post end extends through the hole upwards. Slide the washer over top of the post. Hammer the washer into place, locking it onto the grommet. Rotate the position of each strike so that the grommet becomes firmly attached.
Cut a one-foot long length of rope for each grommet hole. Slide one end of the rope through the opening of a bungee hook and knot it so that it won't slide back out. For added security, hammer the coiled end of the hook closed around the rope.
Lay the tarp in place over the truck bed. Starting at the corners, hook one of the ropes under the lip of the truck bed and insert the other end through the top of one of the grommet holes. Pull the tarp until it reaches the edge of the bed then knot the rope around itself, securing it. Repeat this process at each grommet hole, adjusting the ropes as necessary, until the tarp lies taut across the top of the truck bed. Slide the excess rope under the tarp.
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