DIY Car Accessories


Most people customize their cars with accessories that work for their lifestyles and the ways they use the car. Create a few practical basic car accessories yourself, and save money while providing your ride with a look no one else has. You can even reduce the use of chemicals in your car's interior. Pick your own colors, type of materials and make items that fit your car and your life.


  • Seat covers add to comfort and cover stained, ripped or otherwise damaged upholstery. Change the look of the car by choosing colors to suit your style. Make no-sew car seat covers out of extra-large beach towels. Safety pin the towel to itself behind the seat, underneath the towel where the pins won't show. These absorb heat and don't stick to or scrape the skin: a big improvement over vinyl or cracked leather seats. Large bath towels called bath sheets may also work (and come in more sedate and solid colors). Measure around the widest part of the seat. Get a towel at least an inch wider so there will be room to pin it. For truck bench seats use two towels, one over the back rest, the other tucked in the crease and covering the seat. Use large coveralls (cut off the legs above the crotch and pull down over the seat, with the zipper or buttons in the back) or big T-shirts and tuck the ends in the seat's crease. Cotton Indian bedspreads make great seat covers for a fun retro-look. Make seat covers out of your old wet suits. Neoprene stays comfortable to sit on year round. Seat cushions designed for outdoor furniture come in fade-resistant durable fabrics. These make a good solution when it's only the seat and backrest that need to be covered.


  • Reduce clutter in the car and make car trips more enjoyable by using organizers to keep your music and sunglasses in easy reach. Get a box, such as a gift box, the right width for your CDs or iPod. Cover it with self-adhesive shelf paper in any color, solid or print. For an iPod holder, get a bag of decorative rocks from a discount or craft store (leave them in the net bag) and put them in the bottom of the box. The weight will help to keep it in place on the seat. Hang sunglasses over the edge of the box. Keep your cell phone or PDA handy in the box, too. Add compartments by cutting stiff cardboard to fit the interior of the box and reinforcing them with tape. Cover the dividers with shelf paper before inserting them, for a custom look. Use the same idea to make a larger box for other gear you often carry: field glasses, kid's toys, tools, utensils, sunscreen, hats, beach gear, etc. Keep a towel wadded on top to camouflage valuables.


  • Add a small wastebasket to the car to keep it clean. Take a large can at least eight inches in diameter and cover it with self-adhesive vinyl shelf paper, for example in black. Add stickers for a custom look. Put it in the floor well on the passenger side of the backseat so it's easy to get to. Live green and economize. Create your own natural air fresheners: cut a piece of lightweight cardboard (such as from a file folder) into any shape you want. Soak it in a mix of peppermint oil and water (or other scent). Make a hole in it with a hole punch or ice pick and put a cord through it to loop over the rear-view mirror. Make your own cleaning products: vinegar and water for window cleaner. Apply it with newspaper for streak-free clean and save money on paper towels. Use diluted liquid castile soap to remove stains on floor mats, clean vinyl and soak off tree sap.

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