Deluxe door panels Print E-mail
Topics - Interior

What do we need?

  • 3 mm thick plywood (hardboard will do fine too)
  • A jigsaw (to cut out the panels from the plywood)
  • Bison contact glue (one can is not enough)
  • Thinner (used to dilute the glue)
  • Empty thinner can (to carry and dilute the glue)
  • Dust mask (although, without might make things screamingly funny)
  • New vinyl (choose your colour!)
  • Old piece of vinyl (used as a non-adhere layer while gluing)
  • A fan (no special requirements)
  • Something of a broad brush +/- 10 cm (gluing)

It is important to use a brush with a wooden handle and a metal cover, which holds the hair (so no disposable brushes!!) I noticed that plastic covers seem to dissolve when brought in contact with contact glue :-| It is also advisable to cut off about half of the brushes hair; this makes the brush less slack, which makes spreading the glue considerably easier.

Cut the pieces of vinyl slightly bigger than the panel, approximately 4 cm on every side. We'll be folding them around the edges later on, which will make it look much more nicely and ensures that the panels won't rattle when they are installed in the doors. In advance, draw horizontal lines on the panels where you'd like the different colours to align.

To start gluing, spread out all pieces of vinyl and apply a profound layer of adhesive on both the vinyl and the panel. Do not worry about any glue on the outside of the vinyl. Contact glue can be rubbed off very easy; your thumb will do the job. Leave the glued pieces to dry for approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Apply another layer of adhesive. One layer is not sufficient; the new vinyl 'absorbs' a lot of glue when applying the first layer. After the second layer, leave it all to dry for another 5 minutes.

Place the old piece of vinyl on the 'sticky' panel, approximately 1 cm underneath the line you have drawn. Notice that your piece of vinyl doesn't really stick to the panel. This is because contact glue only sticks to... YES; contact glue...

Carefully place the first vinyl colour on your old piece of vinyl. Now cautiously align the first colour against the line on the door panel. Make sure you only glue 1 cm of the vinyl to the panel! Slowly pull back the old piece of vinyl, while continuously smoothing out the new vinyl. When the first piece is completely glued, continue with the middle and so on.

After all pieces have been glued to the door panel. We'll continue folding the remaining vinyl around the edges of the door panel. Again some adhesive will do the trick. Apply some glue on the panel, approximately 5 cm from the edges. Pay special attention at the edges; make sure you spread all the glue, don't leave any thick blobs of glue since these will cause a really nasty and ugly result when you fold the vinyl around the edges! Now slowly rub the vinyl around the edge using your thumb. Firmly pull the vinyl around the corners of the panel. You'll need to make some folds in the vinyl to pull it nicely around the corner. 

The finishing touch:

We're not quite ready yet; although we have folded all the vinyl nicely around the edges we still need to remove the excessive vinyl to ensure that the panels rest firmly in the doors. First cut away the redundant vinyl, so that approximately 2 to 3 cm remain on the back of the panel.

The folds need some extra attention. Cut them away just above the surface, about 1 mm. Now use a cigarette lighter to join both parts of the vinyl together. It’s done easiest in a vertical position. Be careful! Try not to heat the vinyl to long; Imitation leather melts rather fast and the contact glue catches fire real fast... Moderately heat the fold and squeeze both parts of the vinyl together with your thumb.

Gradually things are starting to take shape but something is missing? Exactly! Deluxe doors need chrome strips. By accident a happened to run into a set... These strips are easily made to measure with a steal saw after which they're installed with plastic clips.

The ends of the strips can be hammered into nice, round ends. It does take some practise but the result is fairly satisfying. The holes needed for the plastic clips to fit in, are bore 4 mm. After drilling all the holes, the chrome strips can be fitted using our old faithful rubber hammer.

The result is... staggeringly. Funny what a couple of shiny pieces of metal can do with your doors! One of the major advantages of homemade door panels is absolutely that you can match all the colours in the interior. These door panels will go nicely with my new seats! :-)

Some tips to keep your tools in good shape:

  • Keep the brush in a bucket with thinner. A wooden horsehair brush does not come for noting. This way you can keep your brush easily aside for a few weeks without ending up with an enormous brick of glue on a wooden stick... You might as well keep the bucket covered with a piece of aluminium foil to prevent the thinner from vaporizing; so you won't have to wonder why everyone in your surrounding seems to be having so much fun...
  • You probably already noticed we cut an old plastic jerry can in half. It's a perfect 'bucket' for you to mix the glue and thinner. Additional advantage of this cheap and recycled bucket is that when the glue is dry, the remaining glue can easily be pulled out of the can; contact glue doesn't seem to stick on plastic jerry can!
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 April 2012 )
 
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