How to upholster the dashboard in a car

Written by devin backman
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How to upholster the dashboard in a car
You can save money by doing your own dashboard upholstery. (dashboard with speed meter image by robert paul van beets from

One of the best ways to save money is by upholstering your car dashboard yourself. Finding the right material can make all the difference in fixing the upholstery canvas, vinyl or leather. Buy an upholstery kit that matches your car's interior for the best job covering the rip or tear in the dashboard.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Thick slightly curved needle
  • Industrial strength thread
  • Vinyl repair gel
  • Marker

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  1. 1

    Check the damage done to the upholstery to determine what action should be used. If the damage is not severe you can use the vinyl gel to repair and buff out the problem. If the tear is noticeable then upholstery repair is needed. Note what material your dashboard is made from and acquire the same material. Do not mix fabric with leather or vinyl with fabric, because the repair will not work well or look as nice.

  2. 2

    Measure the length of the rip in your dashboard and mark around the tear on the cloth or leather you're using, leave a two-inch expansion on the side for cutting allowance. Cut out the piece of cloth or leather you've marked. Tightly stretch the cloth over the tear and mark the corners of the shape lightly onto your dashboard.

  3. 3

    Thread the needle and tie a knot at the end. Stretch the cloth back to the place you've marked on the dashboard. Using one hand, hold the cloth stretched out and push the needle through the outer quarter-inch of the edge of the cloth. Pull the needle through the cloth and push the needle through behind the stitch you've just made. Repeat pushing the needle directly behind your first stitch until you run to two inches of thread left.

  4. 4

    Tie a knot in the thread and cut it, rethread your needle and start again behind the last stitch you've just made. The cloth should have a tight stitch and should not come loose when pulled. Cut the remaining fabric around the edges of the repaired spot on dashboard that are sticking up.

  5. 5

    Take a piece of leftover cloth and apply vinyl repair gel onto it. Gently rub the solution into the stitches and let the gel harden for an hour. Reapply the gel to the entire surface of the patch, making sure to get the edges of the sewn cloth. Let it dry overnight.

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