Do it Yourself Camper Shell

Do it Yourself Camper Shell
Camper shells are a practical addition to the back of a pickup truck, creating both weather-resistant storage for items and traditionally a place to rest your head when camping. This truck accessory can be quite costly, however. With a few tools and materials, you can construct your own camper shell for less.

Instructions

Difficulty: Challenging

Do it Yourself Camper Shell

Things You’ll Need:
  • Tape measure 1-inch PVC pipe measuring 10 feet (nine pieces total) Jigsaw coarse sandpaper PVC three-way angle joints (eight total) Soft cloth PVC primer PVC glue Four fiberglass kits (with resin and cloth) Large C-clamps (4 total) Electric sander Spray paint (four cans total) Plexiglass measuring 6 feet by 2 feet Electric drill Outdoor hinge set (two total) Outdoor hasp set (two total) Small padlocks (two total)
  • Tape measure
  • 1-inch PVC pipe measuring 10 feet (nine pieces total)
  • Jigsaw coarse sandpaper
  • PVC three-way angle joints (eight total)
  • Soft cloth PVC primer
  • PVC glue
  • Four fiberglass kits (with resin and cloth)
  • Large C-clamps (4 total)
  • Electric sander
  • Spray paint (four cans total)
  • Plexiglass measuring 6 feet by 2 feet
  • Electric drill
  • Outdoor hinge set (two total)
  • Outdoor hasp set (two total)
  • Small padlocks (two total)
Step 1
Take measurements of the truck bed and put on your safety glasses. With the jigsaw, cut four of the 1-inch pieces of PVC pipe into pieces that measure the length of the truck and four that measure the width. Out of the last pipe, cut four pieces measuring 2 feet long. Use the coarse sandpaper to roughen the ends of all cut pieces as well as the PVC angle joints and wipe clean with your soft cloth.
Step 2
Take two PVC pipe pieces measuring the length of the truck and two pieces measuring the width and arrange in a rectangle. Add three-way angle joints to each of the four corners. Coat the inside of the joints and the ends of the pipe with PVC primer and repeat the process with PVC glue, sliding the pipe ends into the angle joints as you go. Let dry for about 15 minutes. Repeat the entire process to create a second rectangle with PVC pipe and angle joints.
Step 3
Prime and glue one end of each of the four 2-foot-long PVC pieces and connect them to the remaining open hole on the angle joints of one PVC rectangle. Let dry for about 15 minutes. Repeat the process to connect the other PVC rectangle to the opposite ends of the 2-foot-long pieces. Let dry. You should now have a box frame with the two PVC rectangles connected, one on top of the other, by the 2-foot-tall pieces.
Step 4
Open one fiberglass kit, stretch the cloth over one side of the length of box frame overlapping the top edge about 1 inch, and secure with the large C-clamps. Coat the cloth with resin and let dry for about 30 minutes. Repeat the same process for the other side, the front and the top of the box frame.
Step 5
Smooth the now dry fiberglass-coated box frame with the electric sander and coarse sandpaper. Add color to the frame using the cans of spray paint.
Step 6
Take the jigsaw and cut the piece of Plexiglas to the size of the one open end of the frame. Take the drill and attach the hinges to the top edge of the Plexiglas piece a third of the way from each side. Also attach one end of the hasps to the sides of the bottom of the piece and the other ends of the hasps to the top fiberglass frame lining up the two.
Step 7
Set the constructed frame on the bed of the pickup truck. From the inside of the frame, attach a large C-clamp to each corner to secure the PVC to the inside lip of the truck bed. From the outside of the enclosed frame, or rather completed camper shell, secure the hasps and add the padlocks.

Tips & Warnings

 
Be sure to let the glued PVC pipe dry for the recommended time before moving on to prevent breaking.
 
When dealing with harsh chemicals and heavy equipment, don't forget to wear thick gloves, safety gloves and a respirator for safety. It's also recommended to complete this project outdoors to reduce the amount of fumes.

Article Written By Kristie Lorette

Kristie Lorette started writing professionally in 1996. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and multinational business from Florida State University and a Master of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University. Her work has appeared online at Bill Savings, Money Smart Life and Mortgage Loan.

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