Don’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars for a tonneau cover? Then we got a DIY Tonneau Cover that you’ll love.
We know how expensive these things can be, and finding one that fits your needs can also take a lot of time.
As such, we have discovered an excellent tonneau cover, which you can build on your own.
We’ll cover how to build one as well as the tools you’ll need for the job.
We’ll also go over a section covering the most common types of tonneau covers available.
If there’s anything you’d like to change, feel free to do so.
- 1 Types of Tonneau Covers
- 2 DIY Guide: How to Build a Snap Tonneau Cover
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 4 Conclusion
Types of Tonneau Covers
There’s a world of choice in today’s market. But it can be challenging to choose from so many tonneau covers.
To keep it as simple as possible, we’ve gathered the most common types of bed covers available. That said, check them out:
1. The Fold Cover
Want a sexy and clean look in the back of your truck? Then you’ll love the folding cover.
This is one of the most popular and easy to use tonneau covers any truck owner can get.
To fold the cover, you simply need to release the clamps on the backside and then fold it all the way to the cab.
And if you want to drive around town with the cover open, attach the clips to the front side.
Furthermore, this type of tonneau cover is pretty easy to install. In fact, you don’t even need tools.
At most, it’ll take ten minutes to install one of these. Overall, this is a fantastic addition if you want to secure the back of your truck.
2. The Roll-up Cover
One of the most attractive types of tonneau cover among F-150 owners is the roll-up tonneau cover.
The roll-up cover is your best bet if you want a cover that keeps water out or any other element.
Gaining full access to the entire bed is pretty simple, as you can easily roll it back.
Simply press down on the dual latches, and you’re good to go.
Furthermore, if you roll it back to the front, you can secure the cover using the prop rods or safety straps, depending on the brand.
With the prop rods in place, you can safely go down the road with the cover fully open. Want to close the tonneau cover?
Put the prop rod where it belongs and then slam it closed to latch it. It barely takes any time, and anybody can do it.
The installation process is also relatively simple, although it takes more time than the folding cover.
In less than twenty minutes, you can get it done.
3. Snap Tonneau Cover
The options for tonneau covers are pretty much limitless. But some of them can be quite expensive. But that’s where the snap tonneau cover comes in handy.
This type of tonneau cover is one of the most affordable covers you can get and still have those premium features the expensive ones have.
The security in a snap cover is that it’s easy to forget about and go by with your day.
The operation of a snap cover is relatively simple. To access the bed, you have to unsnap every snap.
Once you’ve removed the snaps, roll the tonneau cover up to the cab of the truck.
The only downside to this model is that it’s pretty hard to close the snap cover during freezing weather, meaning you’ll have a hard time if you want to have it opened and closed in freezing weather.
Nonetheless, this cover is still an excellent choice for any truck owner who wants to save big bucks and even get a decent tonneau cover.
4. Hinged Tonneau Cover
Another option that should be at the top of your list is the hinged tonneau cover. This is an excellent and affordable bed cover.
Like the others we’ve covered so far, this is a fully locking bed cover, meaning you can hide any sensitive items you don’t want anybody to see other than yourself.
On top of that, the cover keeps the water and mud out.
The installation process is pretty straightforward. You only need a socket and a measuring tape to set it up.
And if you ever want to take it off, you can do so without any tools.
To open the tonneau cover, all you need to do is push it towards the cab.
That’ll lock it in place. Want to make any adjustments? Loosen the front brackets, and you’re good to go.
The only downside is that this model does not roll up, nor does it fold up, making it inconvenient for some drivers.
But if you don’t mind that, this bed cover is an excellent investment.
5. Retractable Tonneau Cover
Now moving onto a cool and unique bed cover, we have the retractable tonneau cover.
This is pretty similar to the rolling cover. But there’s a significant difference between these two.
You don’t need to roll it back to the cab. You can actually slide it to the truck’s cab.
Perhaps the biggest complaint we’ve seen consumers point out is that it takes up a little bit of space, which can be inconvenient for some drivers.
However, it makes it up for it by being one of the coolest bed covers in the market.
Furthermore, this tonneau cover has a very flush look once you’ve closed it. And finally, the entire assembly takes about thirty minutes if you’re by yourself.
6. Truck Cap/Topper
Now it’s time to talk about the truck cap. This type of bed cover is quite popular in the camping world. This is due to how much space the truck topper offers.
Compared to the average tonneau cover, you have a smaller cargo capacity, which is pretty inconvenient if you want to go camping or snowboarding.
Furthermore, some drivers don’t like to shovel the bed when it snows.
You could get a tonneau cover, but the snow still builds up on it, which can be pretty hard to scoop off.
Last but not least, with a truck cap, you could set up a small camper setup.
That is if you don’t mind sleeping on the back of the truck. For example, you can lay in a bed with a blanket, pillows with all your gear next to you.
DIY Guide: How to Build a Snap Tonneau Cover
Here, you’ll learn how to build a DIY tonneau cover. The easiest way to make your own bed cover is by using vinyl fabric, which is why we went with this material.
With that being said, let’s jump right into the building process.
1. What You Will Need
This is a very cheap tonneau cover. The estimated budget for this job is about $64. That said, here are all the tools for this job:
- Vinyl fabric— this is a fantastic fabric for a bed cover. It looks good and is waterproof.
- Measuring tape—you’ll have to measure the truck bed to find the dimensions, so use a measuring tape.
- A drill—to install the screw studs, you need a drill.
- 24 Stainless steel rust-proof snaps—keep in mind that we’ll build a snap tonneau cover. So, you need to buy rust-proof snaps for this project. Also, the number of snaps you might need might change depending on your application
- Clothing pins—since you’ll have to sew the bed cover, use pins to make it easier.
- Screw studs—to secure the snap tonneau cover, use screw studs.
2. Determine The Measurements
The first step to making a cheap DIY tonneau cover is measuring the truck bed. So, take your measuring tape and determine the dimensions you’ll need for the bed cover.
To do this, measure from the inside of the bulkhead to the inside of the tailgate. After that, determine the length across the truck bed.
3. Use Your Clothing Pins
Once you’ve determined the right dimensions for the vinyl fabric, fold the edges, and then pin them.
Make sure that the pins are closer to the fold. This way, they won’t get in the way when sewing.
Otherwise, you’ll have to take them out as you’re sewing.
Pin one side at a time. Vinyl fabric can be quite heavy, and with all the pins in the way, it can get pretty messy when sewing all the sides.
So, there’s no need to pin them all at the same time.
This process might take a while, as pushing pins through vinyl fabric can sometimes be challenging.
4. Sew The Sides
Once you’ve pinned the sides, carefully sew them. So, feed the vinyl fabric into your sewing machine and then begin sewing.
Keep it straight and make sure it does not move as it goes through the machine. Next up, sew the other sides.
Also, if you need to cut your vinyl, don’t use scissors. Instead, use a mat, a ruler, and a rotary cutter. This is a much better and cleaner way to cut vinyl fabric.
5. Install The Rust-proof Snaps
With that out the way, go ahead and poke six holes on the short side and then eight on the long side.
That’s where you will install the stainless-steel rust-proof snaps. Make sure to space them out evenly throughout the edges.
Your rust-proof snaps should come with a ball and a socket. So, separate them and then use your mallet to lock them in.
After that, hit the mallet with your hammer.
Also, make sure you’re hammering on a surface that can withstand that much pressure. You don’t want to damage your dining table.
6. Install The DIY Tonneau Cover With Toolbox
Now you have to drill in the screw studs. First, measure everything to make sure everything is straight.
After that, start with the corners. Next up, fit in all the screw studs using the drill.
Once you’ve installed the screw studs, snap the cover on.
And that’s it, you’ve made your very own tonneau cover without spending hundreds of dollars.
If you’re having a hard time going through the steps, give this video a shot:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
For more information about tonneau covers and how you can get the most out of them, check the section down below:
Is a tonneau cover worth it?
Yes, tonneau covers are worth the money if you want to protect your cargo from dust and water.
They’re also pretty convenient if you’re going to hide your load as you drive.
Do tonneau covers increase mpg?
There’s a lot of debate about whether a tonneau cover improves the MPG.
Some truck owners might argue that the improvement is negligible at best.
If there’s any significant difference, it is most likely canceled out by the extra weight.
Can you go through a carwash with a tonneau cover?
Yes, there’s nothing wrong with going through the carwash with the bed cover on.
The only thing you might notice is that the sprayers have a hard time cleaning all the dirt. But that’s about it.
Do tonneau covers keep water out?
There’s no 100% waterproof tonneau cover. In some way, water will always get inside.
If you want to weatherproof the truck bed, consider getting a tailgate seal to keep the water out.
A DIY tonneau cover is an excellent way to save a lot of money. Building one barely takes any time, and it’s a fun way to spend some time working on a project.
There are plenty of models you can draw inspiration from.
For example, some people prefer to use wood over vinyl fabric. Nonetheless, you can always tweak the original design if needed.
Also, when taking measurements, keep in mind that things wear out.
So, you might have to adjust the measurements and make the design go out to make up for that slight inconvenience.