How to make a custom center console for your car

August 1, 2005 Automotive

Here are some step by step instructions on how I made my custom center console out of fiberglass and other material. This was put in my 1997 Honda Civic.   
Blogged By:

Team Louish
(Keep in mind there are MANY ways to do this... this is just how I did it. I am not claiming to be a professional at all, I am simply letting people know how I did it since I get asked a lot.)





This picture is showing where the console will be in the car. The drawings below are showing the console from a side view, assuming you are looking at the console from the side of your car looking through the driver side door which would be open.






Step 1, 2 and 3. Making the outline of the floor.


You first need to get the shape of your floor so when your console is done, it lays flush on the floor and doesn't have any gaps under it. So remove the existing console, then get a piece of card board and hold the cardboard vertical/upright to the floor. With a pencil or razor blase, start trying to trace the shape of the floor towards the bottom of the cardboard, then cut it out with a razor blade. You'll have to keep tracking and cutting, until the cardboard lays flush on the floor of the car.




Step 4. Making the top.


Now take another piece of card board and start playing/cutting out a top design... This will be the top side view of the console. (side view as if your standing at the driver side door with the door open looking in the car at the console.) Keep in mind if you put TV's in the front and back, you want to make sure they're at the correct angle.. So when your cutting out the shape, it would be a good idea to have the TV's with you and turn them on and sit in the front and back seat and make sure the angle of the TV is good, some cheaper TV's invert the colors when you look at them at a tilted angle. This is when you'll need to take into consideration your shifter and your emergency brake, and an arm rest if you want one. I have friends who have made it so their center console also holds their AMPS, or Cell Phones, etc... This step is just to make the side view.





Step 5. Making the final cutout of the side view.

Now that you have your outline of the floor and the top, trace them on a piece of masonite. (Masonite is like a hard smooth cardboard, like wood. They use it on top of skateboard ramps to get a smooth finish. Any wood will do, masonite is just nice cause its flexible, smooth, and thin, like a nice quality piece of cardboard. You can get masonite at Home Depot) Then cut 2 copies of the side view out of the masonite... since you'll need the left side and the right side. These side pieces can either be wrapped in vinyl or you can fiberglass these pieces too at the end.




Step 6.

Once you have 2 of the pieces, left and right, put them in your car, with the seats in.. To find out how far apart they should be. Once you find out the distance between the left and the right, you can cut out little pieces of wood to start making the shape. (The front, center and back width might change.. you might need to make the center a shorter width to fit between the seats. This is why its good to use masonite to make the side panels cause you can gradually bend the shape so its closer together in the middle and wider towards the front and back. If you just used cardboard, it would fold instead of bend.) At first.. the little wood pieces you'll be putting in is just to give you the shape, so you can then remove it from the car and work on it. Don't permanently attach the wood pieces to the masonite sides, cause you might have to move the wood pieces later cause it might be in the way of a TV or the shifter or the brake handle. The wood is just to give it the structure and strength. Keep in mind when your putting in your pieces of wood, you need to leave an open square in the front and back for the TV to sit in and mount to.


Once you got the shape, you can now take another piece of masonite (long and
skinny) and lay it on top of the console, from front to back. This will be the top surface. To make it smooth when going over a curve.. You can use a ruler and a razor blade to cut thin lines horizontally in the masonite/cardboard top layer.. This will allow you to bend the masonite into a very smooth curve.. You can bend it too, but if you have a lot of crazy curves on the top surface, you'll definitely need to use a razor blade to help you with curving the top layer. Don't forget to make holes in this top piece so your shifter go go in it and the emergency brake.


Then when you have the top layer, and side pieces on.. You can either fiberglass the whole thing, or if you decided to use vinyl before, the side pieces would already be vinyl'd, then just tape off the edges of the side panels and start fiber-glassing that top layer. Once you get the shape of the top and, you might actually want to remove the top piece so you can work with the top piece easier and not screw up the side pieces.. Once the top layer is all fiber-glassed, you can glue the top piece back on the side pieces..


Good luck, if you get stuck or have questions let me know. ( clint at teamlouish dot com ) I do know that it was hard to get the vinyl shift boot cover attached to the console...


Oh yeah.. Cause you have the nail the shift boot cover to the underside of the console.. Our fiberglass kept cracking.. So we had to repaint mine a few times. Then when its all done, you can SLOWLY drill holes to put switches and buttons in the top The actually console isn't even attached to the floor, I can lift it right up.. So mine is a nice tight fit between the 2 seats...
So it doesn't move around unless I physically move it.
Good luck.



Tags: Cars, Civic, HowTo


 
How to make a custom center console for your car Here are some step by step instructions on how I made my custom center console out of fiberglass and other material. This was put in my 1997 Honda Civic.  

COMMENTS

22 April 2008 - 7:26:08 - Steve

how does the cardboard hold up. how many pieces of cardboard do i need for a job close like yours? also the top frame is wooden stakes. yes

2 April 2009 - 20:25:32 - Team Louish

Steve, Sorry for the late reply, I didn't see this question until now.

You'll see in Step 5 I trace the shape of the cardboard onto Masonite. So the cardboard is never used in the final product. Cardboard would be too flimzy. I only used cardboard so I could easily cut the shape of the floor. Masonite is like a flexible stronger wood, they use it for the top layer of a skateboard ramp to give it a nice smooth surface... you can find it at Lowes or Home Depot.

2 April 2009 - 20:26:52 - Team Louish

Oh yeah.. yes wood slabs.. or stakes.. Then another layer of masonite on top of the stakes.

25 August 2009 - 1:27:39 - Fernie

hey bro just wondering how do fiberglass Masonite or mdf & how do u bend the Masonite into a specific shape???

6 September 2009 - 12:15:21 - Team Louish

Masonite is very flexible. You can slice it with razor blades a little if you need it to be bend more than it allows.

12 January 2010 - 15:51:50 - ranger126

thanks this is helpful i have a 1985 ford ranger it dont have a console and i decided i would make a custom one

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