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Old 07-13-2009, 10:42 AM
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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?
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Old 07-13-2009, 12:16 PM
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I would have cut the pattern out of the paper, traced the pattern on the back of the carpet, cut out the design from the carpet with a utility knife, glued one big piece of vinyl (around its perimeter) under the carpet, and then sewed around the perimeter of the pattern through the top of the carpet letting you see exactly where you need to sew. That would eliminate quite a few steps to the process. I see you learned very quickly that doing little tiny pieces is very hard to do. I also would have done this on a longer, wider piece of carpet and done the design first before cutting the package tray to the right size. That would eliminate the centering problem.
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:08 AM
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Yea, that was my initial idea, but having never done this I didn't know if the strips between the feathers would stay in alignment or not - looking back they probably would have since everything is connected and not flapping in the breeze (they're only about 1/4" in width).

The centering was totally my bad - I didn't do any real measurements, just eye-balled it to make sure it was centered between the speaker openings (which were taken from the mounts in the sheet metal). I also did cut the carpet an inch or so oversized - once it was glued to the plywood did I trim it to size and cut out the speaker holes.

So some good thoughts, some half-arsed, learning experience all-around. Oh well, I guess that's why you're the professional and I'm just the intrepid DIY'er
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:59 AM
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You actually did pretty well with this, you just wouldn't have made much money on it if you were doing it for somebody. So don't beat yourself up too much.
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:08 AM
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:50 AM
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Well, here's a better picture - straight on through the rear glass. Figured it's be better than messing with image adjustments .

The next one will be better.
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Old 07-25-2009, 01:21 AM
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That ROCKS! I think it looks great, and you did it yourself which makes it twice as cool. I'd rather have that than a plain shelf any day. Nice work.
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Old 07-25-2009, 02:28 PM
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How about this one. This is inlaid with ultraleather on closed cell foam.
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