Inlaid package tray
Man, there has got to be a better way to do this . . .
There was a car show that I was planning on hitting last Sat, so had spent the previous week cleaning up my car ('78 T/A) and getting it ready. As it usually happens, a last-minute idea struck me, so I went ahead and replaced the "replacement" plywood package tray with a new, upholstered tray (easy enough), and including an inlaid bird would really set it off (not easy enough).
I sourced the materials (black carpet, red marine-grade vinyl, new speakers and grills), designed the inlay, printed out the template and tried my best. I was originally going to staple the materials together (paper template on top, carpet in middle, vinyl on bottom), but unfortunately the stapler wouldn't reach far enough to be useful. So what I did was used an old tailor's trick and basted everything together (haphazardly sewed everything together around the perimeter of the inlay), which worked great with the carpet cause you wouldn't see the needle holes.
I then proceeded to spend the next couple hours sewing it together - following the paper template as best I could. I made a couple errors (tail and head), but those were mainly due to the problem of fitting a large piece of somewhat stiff carpet through the machine - kinda wished I had Dan's new long-arm machine at a couple points in the process. Once all the machine-work was done, I proceed to take a very new, very sharp X-acto knife and very carefully cut the unwanted carpet out from the graphic - doing my best to not cut the vinyl underneath. Once all the pieces were cut out, I trimmed the excess vinyl from the back, removed the remaining paper template from the front (tweezers are a good thing to get the small nubs from between the stitches), attached it to the new plywood tray with contact adhesive, and re-installed it.
It could be better - the inlay's a bit small (fits on a landscape 8.5" x 11" piece of paper), and it's off-centered, but it works for now. At any rate it's better than a plain old piece of plywood - even if it did take an ungodly amount of time to complete (probably close to 8 hours - including dissassembly, design, construction, and re-assembly).
So is there an easier way to do this kind of task? Or, I guess, how is this kind of task handled in the professional field?