DIY: Poor Man’s Fiberglass – Step-by-Step!



Fiberglass is a tough, durable, and weather-resistant product, but it can be expensive and messy to work with. A more affordable option is what’s called “poor man’s fiberglass” and in this video I take you step-by-step through the process of using it.

I’m making a tonneau cover for my pickup truck — a hard cover that covers the bed. It protects what you store under it from the elements and from thieves. While there are commercial tonneau covers on the market, they can run from the hundreds of dollars to the thousands. I’m building one from some materials I have around the homestead and using the “poor man’s fiberglass” to make it durable and waterproof.

To make poor man’s fiberglass you’ll need fabric, Titebond II glue, and exterior grade paint. That’s it!

Using a wood base (I’m using several folding tables I had laying around), you paint on a layer of glue and lay your fabric over the top, smoothing it out so it adheres to the glue and wood. You then coat the top of the fabric — I’m using a canvas drop cloth from Harbor Freight Tools — with another layer of glue.

Once that coat dries, you sand it lightly and then apply a second coat of glue over the top. When it dries, sand it again. Now you’re ready for the paint. Apply two coats of paint to the wood, sanding in between, and then finish with several coats of polyurethane.

You will have a waterproof surface that’s tough and impervious to the elements. Poor man’s fiberglass is as simple as that!

Mine is finished slightly differently because of the application I’m using it for. Instead of polyurethane I used truck bed liner “paint” to finish it off. But the concept is the same.

People use this technique for all types of projects, from building campers to boats. My tonneau cover ended up costing me about $75, but that’s because the bed truck liner paint alone runs $40. That’s a big savings to the $100s or $1000s of dollars a commercial grade one would cost. Maybe not as pretty as that, but it serves my needs perfectly!

Where can you use poor man’s fiberglass around your homestead?

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