View Full Version : Starting DIY side skirts and deck cover

05-17-2013, 06:21 AM
Ok gang, starting my first DIY project. Ordered 25 yards of Weather Max 80 (Sunbrella clone) to create side skirts for my x45. The boat came with bow and cockpit snap covers which come down to several inches above the rub rail.

I prefer this type of cover setup but it leaves sections of the boat uncovered for spider and insect crap, dirt/pollen and more importantly leaves the starboard side and rear deck exposed for the summer sun. My previous black boat had some serious fade on that side/rear, so I want to protect it when docked.

Since these skirts will essentially be just straight panels probably tied down or bungeed off to the lift beams their ability to be trailer tough is not important. Also, they aren't going to enter any boat shows so while I would like them neat and well done, perfection is not my goal either.

My thought process right now is to measure and template using a thick poly or felt paper I already have to get close. I will then double the edge or use a binding around the edges for the new canvas. The top side will use snaps and simply use the exisiting snaps at every other or every third snap. So instead of snapping the MC cover, "steal" the snap and use it for the skirt. This way the factory cover has no changes/additions and since it won't be trailered only having a few snaps to hold it on the high side will be plenty. (it also cuts down on the labor).

The bottom side will have grommets at the corners or necessary places to grommet off to the lift cables/beams.

Same process across the rear. I love the tight swim platform covers done by many, but I want something that simply drapes across the entire transom and platform so I don't get sun fade on the transom face. I have attached a few images to show you want I am thinking. I don't have PS or other software so excuse the MS Paint rendering. I also apologize in advance for butchering someones MC with my artwork ;-)

So far the best part has been typing side "skirt" into google images....hmmmm, excellent tangent images I must say. :love:

Any opinions, tips or previous experiences welcome. I will snap plenty of pics along the way. It may not work out so who knows. I am in it $150 for materials (binding, grommets, snaps, 25 yd canvas, etc.).

Table Rocker
05-17-2013, 06:34 AM
One thing you could do on the snaps is use what they call gypsy studs which allow you to piggyback snaps. You would have the female on the bottom of your skirt and a male on the top of the same snap.
http://www.fasnap.com/product_info.php/cPath/45_26_9051_32/products_id/1719?osCsid=0d90f952d889fa84e16331db15cd707a (http://www.fasnap.com/product_info.php/cPath/45_26_9051_32/products_id/1719?osCsid=0d90f952d889fa84e16331db15cd707a)

05-17-2013, 08:28 AM
I have a cover like this... Vision's old cover. Ill snap a photo at the boat club when I'm off work

05-17-2013, 08:57 AM
Where did you purchase the material and why this over sunbrella? I am assuming cost. I have a DYI thread in mind myself.

05-17-2013, 10:08 AM
Where did you purchase the material and why this over sunbrella? I am assuming cost. I have a DYI thread in mind myself.

I purchased through Ebay at about $4.25/yd with free shipping compared to Sunbrella at $20+/yd. The decision was 100% cost driven but the material will just be a skirt for sun shade and bug crap vs. true interior protector/cover that has to hold back water, etc.

The WM 80 had good reviews and looks like a very decent material and Sunbrella clone, so it should more than serve this purpose. Heck at 1/4 of the price I could replace this a few times over and still be ahead.

05-17-2013, 10:10 AM
I have a cover like this... Vision's old cover. Ill snap a photo at the boat club when I'm off work

Nice, thanks!

05-19-2013, 07:23 AM
Ok, all the materials are in so the project test phase has begun. The first thing was to test the snaps (work great), grommets (work great but need 3 or 4x thickness to feel solid IMO). The biggest thing for me was not to have to sew this in excess, so I got several adhesive options and tested them. Not a lot of stuff sticks to acrylic/sunbrella type materials.

They include:

Super 77 (already had this)
Gorilla Glue (already had this)
Fabric Sticks for Hot Glue gun

Fabri-tac did pretty well, I was able to pull it apart with some effort after 5 minutes of drying but it wasn't easy. Super 77 and Gorilla Glue did squat, they barely held. Far and away the best results were from the hot glue gun fabric sticks. I had to put everything I had into getting the pieces apart, especially the one where the glue was applied to both sides of the surface. So that is the direction I am going, possible using the Fabri-tac in some tight areas or exposed areas (since it is clear vs. white for the sticks).

The plan for the edge (hem) is to simply fold it over 1 inch, use an iron to press this "crease" then glue it. I tested this as well, and it worked well without damage on this iron setting (silk/acrylic). The snaps or velcro will be applied in this doubled area, and I may triple under the snaps with scrap pieces on the back side.

The grommets will go on folded corners with a 3rd scrap piece as reinforcement. For the corners I will use the simply stitcher and waxed thread to make it extra secure.

The WM80 material seems great. Not quite as thick as Sunbrella for sure, but it beads water right up and is very tough (did the stomp, pull, cut, bite test). It will certainly work for this scenario. The deal was great, $4.25 per/yd and it came with a 100 yd. roll of very heavy WM80 thread which I did not even know, so if you were planning on having it stitched it would be an even better deal.

Now on to template phase.....which will include either felt paper or poly to get the large sections cut. Then I will use the actual rough cut material to check, secure the hem/corners then re-mark for snaps, etc. (I got a little sidetracked - see next post) :D

I put some pics and such below so you can see the materials, products, etc. I will keep the pictures coming as I progress. Sorry they are blurry, I still had my phone on night mode (again see next post).

05-19-2013, 07:27 AM
Alight, well I did get sidetracked when I delivery came in....:friday:and I got a beer in my hand.

I wanted some additional lights at the dock but the problem is when you cut on floods or regular lights it is like instant insect attack. Crazy. So, I completed this setup which will allow me to change to 14 colors (red and green aren't bad for bugs), put them on strobe/flash to annoy my neighbors or for holidays. I think it turned out pretty well.

It is brighter in the pics because of the night mode, it isn't quite that Vegas....:D

05-28-2013, 10:03 AM
Alright made some more progress this weekend on the skirts. Went pretty well and was simple process thus far.

To create the "template" I used 15 lb roofing paper and painters tape and white driveway chalk I stole from my kids.

After template was completed, I rough cut all the Sunbrella typically staying about 3 to 6 inches bigger than the template. I will then re-hang on the boat, re-chalk and fine cut on round two. To create straight cuts on the fabric quickly I used the house as the "square" and the concrete control joint as the chalk line guide. Worked well.

About an hour to 1.5 hours thus far, would have been nice to have another set of hands. The roofing paper is only about half as wide as the Sunbrella, so the template was more for the top and to determine panel length. Width will be adjusted during round 2.

Eventually I took a break and just went out on the water! :D

05-29-2013, 09:13 PM
Sorry for all the play by play pictures. If you guys think it too much just tell me to STFU. ;)

Got the first panel done this afternoon in about an hour. Pretty simple. Glue gun and then hot iron hem. Few snaps and test fit. It is dirty from the working surface, nothing a good wash won't fix.

05-29-2013, 09:15 PM
One more, little better view. Keep in mind it isn't attached to the next panel, only has 2 snaps and the bottom grommet isn't installed. So not really "done". :D

05-29-2013, 09:45 PM
Seems like a pretty cost effective way to keep your boat looking nice and not fading. Good work so far....

05-29-2013, 10:07 PM
What size is the support beam on your lift looks like a 2x 4.

05-29-2013, 10:30 PM
LoL no its five inch aluminium cross beams with 2x10 stringers

05-30-2013, 11:00 AM
I can see it now.

06-05-2013, 07:28 AM
Alright got the "sunny side" just about done. Few more snaps up top and along the "joints" just to lock it in, but it is fully functional. Takes less than 30 seconds to put on. Needs to be washed, but I think it turned out pretty decent thus far. Bow and Stern sections next.

Afterwards, I couldn't resist a cruise. In 45 minutes passed 2 pontoons, 2 bass boats a nice looking Supra surfing and a SWEET blue and black x35. Seeing more MC here on Wylie, Lee much be doing a good bit of business. In the last week seen 2 Stars, x35, x30 and 2 x45. Of course, now you pay attention to every MC that rolls by. Call it MCdar or something...

06-05-2013, 08:43 AM
Coffeyman, that is looking great. I will be in need of a new cover before long, so now I must decide on a new cover with the sides or just a regular cover and DIY sides....