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making your own fiberglass headliner... anyone done it?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Gearhead Graphics, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,532

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    So, a new headliner for my 61 f100 is way too much, and its just another cardboard like stock...

    Been thinking a lot about building a fiberglass headliner for it. Of course the hard part is that I don't have a spare cab to flip upside down and lay it in the easy way.

    been thinking of attaching posterboard type cardboard to the celing and getting the shape set in. Then brushing it with a few coats of resin. After its got some strength, take it out and then lay a layer or 2 of matt and resin into it.

    Anyone done anything like this before? Am I nuts?
    Tips on a better way? (spare cab isnt an option)
  2. Al Von
    Joined: Nov 19, 2005
    Posts: 257

    Al Von

    Sounds like a good plan to me! I am curious to see how it will turn out.
  3. I think somebody makes those for retail sales but don't remember who it is.

    Sounds like a good plan.
    Hey, while you're at it how about whipping one out for my F1?
  4. 56premiere
    Joined: Mar 8, 2011
    Posts: 1,445

    from oregon

    its gonna run on your head!:Di usually use 1/8 luan to make a pattern,then bring it out and glass it.that stuff bends and sands can masking tape it together to make it fit in corners or?lots of people would use abs sheet,after 48 years doing this stuff may as well do what i know.Good luck jack
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  5. beyondhelp
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 131


    I don't think you're nuts, but it has the potential to be a miserable job. If you can use some duct tape and heavy card stock to duplicate the shape you want, you should be able to coat it with some thickened resin and chopped strand mat to get it stiff enough to work with.

    After that, remove it and continue to reinforce it until you can work with it enough to make a suitable positive mold.

    Then after a bunch more work sanding, painting, fiberglassing, sanding, more paint you'll have a headliner.

    Remember to address things like "how do i get it in and out if it wont bend" "how will I get it to stay put etc...

    There's a whole ton of info on the internet about fiberglass mold making.

    If you try and do it without the mold step, it's going to require a bunch of sanding and careful work to make sure it's not too heavy.
  6. CayoRV
    Joined: Dec 19, 2008
    Posts: 356


    Did one for my dad's 36 Chevy PU. We stretched about 3 layers of plastic kitchen wrap (seran wrap) over the entire outside of the roof of the cab and then laid down 2 layers of fiberglass cloth and resin. After id set up over night it was easy to pop off with no damage to the outside at all. You have to be careful of drips and runs and such but just take your time and it will work.
    After its off you will have to split it front to back and side to side giving you 4 pcs of headliner. Simply fit each piece to its respective spot inside the cab (the pcs will overlap) mark the seams and trim them to fit together. Remove them all and bond them together on the bench or floor them cover with your choice of headliner material.
    It does take some work this way but it makes for a nice headliner.
  7. RopeSeals???
    Joined: Jul 2, 2007
    Posts: 444


    I think it's a great idea!

    I might try this... Start with laminating resin mixed to go off slow and lay it over your cardboard with one layer of light weight cloth (squeegee out the excess resin) on a table, then screw it up into place before it sets up completely...

    Or you could use GillLiner fiberglass aircraft cargo liner... (if you have any friends in the airline industry you might get it for free!)

    Post some pics!
  8. 1320stang
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 166

    from Edmond, OK

    I have a non-HAMB friendly pony car that I was considering doing this to so as not to have to deal with the bows and such. However I have a rotisserie. The nice thing, with such a popular car, I might be able to recoupe some costs.

    I also considered it for my 1963 Fairlane NSS car simply because I didn't want to deal with the headliner over the roll cage.
  9. Salty
    Joined: Jul 24, 2006
    Posts: 2,259

    from Florida

    Did it....was a supreme pain in the ass.....and I flipped my cab upside down....

    Pics if what it looks like in my build thread.
  10. lostforawhile
    Joined: Mar 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,160


    I did some things like this myself, this is also how I did the interior rear panels in my off topic hatchback, do you have the original headliner still? thats your best pattern, you just have to repair the old cardboard with duct tape on the back etc, then you can lay a layer of glass and resin over it to make it much stronger, I always use spray adhesive to get the cloth smooth first, then soak it with resin using a brush. I was able to take the headliner out of a 26 year old japanese car and piece the cardboard back together and glass over it, it was impossible to find a good original so I understand where you are coming from. you don't need but a couple of layers of cloth and glass over the original board, then upholster as usual, you don't want it too stiff as it's hard to install, you want some flexibility, you also have to consider weight
  11. FunnyCar65
    Joined: Mar 11, 2007
    Posts: 2,069

    from Colorado

    This method sound pretty good to me,I might try it on my chopped 71 Dodge.
  12. 1320stang
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 166

    from Edmond, OK

    I don't plan on mine being painted/smooth. Planned on probably vinyl/leather stretched over it. Likely most people wouldn't even notice it other than there wouldn't be any seams.

    Your's does look awesome however.

    The method I was considering was stretching fleece and wetting it with the resin. I like the idea of laying it on the outside of the roof as well.
  13. Just for the sake of adding a twist to the conversation,,is the replacement headliner that expensive?

    Having worked with fiberglass making parts in the past I can't imagine trying to work with it overhead. HRP
  14. Blake84
    Joined: Feb 4, 2012
    Posts: 738


    Lmc truck just under $200 i believe
  15. Sphynx
    Joined: Jan 31, 2009
    Posts: 1,142

    from Central Fl

    I did one in an off topic truck. Luxury of it was that it had a foam style backing. I pit a thin layer of filler tjen laid matt and then resin. Last was some sanding then I itched like hell then trimmed and itched some more. Painted it to match exterior and installed. Lots of test fits and itching.
  16. jimbousman
    Joined: Jul 24, 2008
    Posts: 541


    This is great! No drips and the "inside" should be relatively smooth.
  17. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,532

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    LMC for a 61 is about 300 bones, I have more time than money....

    Id try the layup on the outside idea, but the back of my cab isnt the same as the interior so itd just help on the front.

    I wanted to do it with the fleece and resin, but that wont work unless upside down.

    Plan is to start in on it this week or next, either way good or bad, ill take pics along the way and report in.
  18. treb11
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,524


    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  19. terryr
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 287

    from earth

    I just put a headliner in a car. The old one was 2 pieces of cardboard with foam in between, which had broken down and was falling apart.

    I thought of getting one from a bigger car at the wreckers and cutting it down. But the color would be different.

    So I peeled off the old vinyl and washed the foam remains away. I thought of corrugated plastic [like political signs are made of] but I found pegboard material at the hardware that didn't have holes in it. The old one was used as a template and the vinyl was spray glued to it.
    Since the headliner was fairly flat it worked well.

    While it was off the roof was sprayed with an entire can of undercoat for sound deadening.
  20. I dont think many of you guys have priced the cost of fiberglass materials today......NOT CHEAP...
  21. 100% Matt
    Joined: Aug 7, 2006
    Posts: 2,547

    100% Matt

    Buy a sheet of ABS plastic. Cut your patterns....1/8 thick ABS will conform without issue. More durable than cardboard and a lot less labor intensive as fiberglass
  22. damagedduck
    Joined: Jun 16, 2011
    Posts: 2,342

    from Greeley Co

    Geeza Jeff you must love pain!:D
    but i have given this ALOT of thought too-i have a really large roll of F/glass.
  23. I bought a one size fits all (or none?) universal glass headliner from Wescott for my 38. I think it was on sale for maybe $125 or so. I split it front to back and side to side, trimmed the pieces and glassed them back together. It fits quite snugly. CayoRV's method sounds like it would be more work but should give you a similar result I'd think.
  24. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,532

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    Luan is an idea that I'd forgotten about.

    ABS might be an easier route, where does one find it at?

    The back of a 61 headliner has a pretty radical edge on it, all the replacement ones are 2 piece cardboard for that back area. want to get away from that part and maybe put some speakers up in the rear corners.. given it a lot of thought, but the idea isnt set in stone yet. It will go with what works I guess when the project starts
  25. graybearded
    Joined: Jul 6, 2007
    Posts: 68


    The cost of production isn't as bad as freight problems. There isn't anyway to ship a one piece pickup headliner that isn't cost prohibitive. I've been beat about the head & shoulders the last month over offering a well developed easy to install unit. The best freight I found was about $70.00 anywhere in CONUS. I built my headliner mold because I could see what I wanted for a truck we were working on at the time, it didn't exist, it was 20 years ago to be exact. We don't own that truck anymore. The truck is still around the headliner is still in it. That alone is some reward, but not my only reward, I'm building another '66 now, and after a little clean up the mold popped out another goodlooking headliner. Guess I'll just sell them at local swap meets. KNOWING WHAT I KNOW NOW I would not expect to recoup any of the development expense.

    Attached Files:

  26. kscarguy
    Joined: Aug 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,571


    I love fiberglass...I build all kinds of cool stuff from it. Wrap the roof in the plastic wrap as previously mentioned. (I assume it does not melt.) Stretch some t-shirt material over that and soak it with the resin. Forget the mat. Another way to build cool stuff is to use aluminum window screen, it will form to whatever shape you want, then glass and mat over that. Aluminum foil is another trick; fiberglass does not stick to it very well. Here are some pieces I built for my <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com[​IMG]</st1:stockticker>COE, the seat risers and the overhead console.

    Attached Files:

  27. mixedupamx
    Joined: Dec 2, 2006
    Posts: 513


    try some FRP (fiberglass reinforced panel) in place of cardboard. FRP is the pebbly panels you see on the walls in the kitchen areas of many restarants. they are avalible from drywall suppliers. the back side is smooth and they are less than 1/8" thick and very flexible, and cheep. cut them to size with aviation snips or a sheetmetal sheer. to make curves make a few relief cuts, work out the shape you want then glass the seams in place to lock in your shape.

  28. Friend of mine has done it, with 'glass.
    He covered the outside of the cab roof.
    let it cure, then popped it free.

    Narrow it up a little, both ways, and you have
    the right contour, with a smooth surface on the inside.
  29. damagedduck
    Joined: Jun 16, 2011
    Posts: 2,342

    from Greeley Co

    Some really great ideas being put out there!

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