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How to Build Your Own Car Door Panels

by Michael Straessle

Car door panels can be expensive, depending on the vehicle make and model. Do-it-yourselfers can build their own panels with a few power tools and glue. Building new panels also gives you the option of using higher quality materials. When removing the old panels, be sure to remove all staples and hang on to the clips used to hold the panel to the door.

Place one 48-by-48-by-1/8-inch hardboard on a worktable. Set an old door panel on the hardboard and trace its shape. Be sure to mark all holes for the clips and door handles. If you want to construct a panel without using an old one, tape Kraft paper to the inside of the door and trace the pattern onto the paper. Cut the template with a utility knife.

Attach the smooth side of the traced piece of hardboard to the smooth side of the other piece with clamps. Drill holes with an appropriate drill bit and cut them out with a jigsaw.

Remove the clamps and separate the pieces so that the smooth sides face up. Spray adhesive on the smooth side and lay headliner foam on it with the cloth side facing up.

Lay fabric for the door panel on a worktable and spray adhesive to the back of it. Also spray adhesive to the cloth side of the foam. Lay the hardboard on the fabric and press firmly. Turn the panel over and smooth out any bubbles.

Turn the panel over. Pull the material over the edges, and staple it around the hardboard's perimeter. Do the same for holes cutout for the handles. Trim away excess fabric.


  • Keep the fabric free from the handles when installing them.


  • Do not press too hard on the fabric while smoothing out bubbles to prevent compressing the foam's fabric into the adhesive.

Items you will need

About the Author

Michael Straessle has written professionally about the construction industry since 1988. He authored “What a Strange Little Man,” among other books, and his work has appeared in various online publications. Straessle earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in professional/technical writing.

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Photo Credits

  • Custom auto door image by Digital Photique from