How To: Package Tray Re-Upholstery + Garage Update

Re-upholstery tutorial begins at 7:30 timestamp.

It’s crunch time here at the garage with Ethan’s 1957 Ford, working to get it finished for a long drive to Lone Star Round Up in Texas next month. While he’s been doing all of the work on this himself, he asked me for some help in the car upholstery arena and I was happy to pitch in. His rear package tray was an eye-sore, with faded black vinyl that was practically falling off. There’s also kick panels up by the front foot wells that needed attention as well. Re-upholstering the rear package tray and front kick panels is an easy job that a beginner can do at home:

Tools Needed

  • Fabric of choice (2/3 yard glitter vinyl was used for this job)
  • Staple Gun
  • Staples (I used 3/8″ as this package tray is made out of wood, but if you’re stapling into hard board you’ll need the shorter staples such as 3/16″
  • Good heavy scissors

While it doesn’t have to be vinyl, that is the most common fabric used and definitely the easiest to work with for a beginner. A woven fabric won’t have the stretch and pliability of a vinyl. I minimized the amount of fabric needed by adding an alternating-color stripe into the middle. Otherwise, I would’ve needed a longer length to get it in one piece. Love when function and design come together like that!


The cool thing about this design, is that it can be executed without a sewing machine. I simply stapled the folded under silver fabric where it met up with the red stripe. Follow-along the full process with me in the video above!

…or stick around in the beginning to hear Ethan and I talk about Lone Star Round Up and the Chevy Montage build! While I didn’t include the kick panel upholstery in this video, the process and directions are exactly the same.

Car Re-Upholstery Tips

  • Don’t pre-cut fabric to the size of the item you’re upholstering. Chances are it could end up too small and then you’ll have to use more fabric. Plus, you need some extra fabric to tug at as you staple it down.
  • After securing first side, move to the side directly opposite from it for your second side. Begin in middle and staple outward from there.
  • Keep it tight! Having taught vinyl is what’s gonna make this look good. If it isn’t tight enough, wrinkles will form.
  • Secure edges before cutting out bulk. When cutting bulk, don’t go all the way to the corner (unless you want a hole!)

Corners and curves are the trickiest parts. For more detailed pictures and directions in this arena, check out my previous post on Quick and Easy Car Re-upholstery.

Check-out pictures of the finished project. The Ford’s interior isn’t getting re-done in this phase of the build, but these few pieces will help to shine it up a bit!

Car-Re-Upholstery-Tutorial-Grease-Girl-8580 Car-Re-Upholstery-Tutorial-Grease-Girl-8567 Car-Re-Upholstery-Tutorial-Grease-Girl-8562

General Update: Regular readers may have noticed radio silence lately… how quickly time flies! I have been super busy at my day job as Editor of Driving Line as well as helping launch the Chevy Montage All-Female SEMA build. I’ve still had my hands dirty in the garage too, just haven’t had time to write about it! I’ve got some awesome stuff that I am dying to share with y’all… so keep an eye out & follow my Facebook and Instagram feeds for the latest.

Also, you may remember that we had tried to get Ethan’s ’57 out-the-door for Viva Las Vegas last year. Clearly, once that deadline wasn’t met the project ballooned once more. Aside from all the work from firewall on up, the car’s been re-wired (to Ethan’s perfectionist standards!) using a Painless wiring kit and the addition of a stereo. Disc brakes all around and replacement of the entire brake system, new lines and all. Fuel tank, rear axle, re-built leaf springs… aside from paint and interior, this baby will be fin.ish.ed. Can’t wait to get it on the road!

What car project is in your garage?

3 Responses

  1. JP Kalishek

    Howdy Stranger.
    Outside the new/old house, massive move last year (Texas to Michigan/Wisconsin), I got an alternator swap going out in the garage. The 28 amp alternator on my sport touring bike died, and is no longer available (Be happy this is harder to do on cars, folks, the only thing that alt fit was that bike), so I am changing it over to a 40 amp (later year, also Suzuki used it too), but Garage fixing (added storage and reinforced the rafters for snow load), temps (sorry, but when it is -25f, I think I’ll work on the electrical wires in the house!) and overload at work have stalled it. Working more hours, but only 5 days, and temps are climbing. I hope to have things sorted soon. House wiring is also close to done.

  2. Michelle Haynes

    Your upholstery article has me hopeful that I could do this makeover on Abigail’s (77 GMC truck) bench seat as a holdover until I have the money for a true restoration. Do you think this would work on a bench seat (a single unit rather than a back and a seat)?



    • Kristin Cline

      Yes definitely Michelle! This will be easiest to do on a bench seat! Good luck with the makeover 🙂


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