Armrest in the car with his hands

How to retighten the armrest of the car with your own hands (on the example of Priora)?

Unfortunately, not all modern cars are equipped with such an important detail, as an armrest for the driver. Car owners try to eliminate this shortcoming in different ways: someone buys ready-made devices, someone tries to make them with their own hands. With the latter option, we will try to understand in more detail.

Universal armrest for cars

This form of armrest is not universal, it does not have shelves for small parts, a stand for a glass, a bottle, keys, business cards, etc., but its main function it performs well.

This option is easy to make, if you have a welder, steel or iron sheet of 3 mm and the materials for cladding. If there is no welding machine or no metal welding skills, there is a good option of making your own hands from plywood, wood, chipboard, OSB, thick fiberboard.

Materials and tools for a universal armrest:
  • plywood;
  • wood screws;
  • hinges (furniture hinges);
  • screwdriver or drill;
  • jigsaw or hacksaw.
Sequence of preparatory work:
    1. Measure the distance between the seats. In terms of length, choose arbitrarily. By the way, about the seats – find out how you can do recessed seat heating.
    2. Consider whether there will be shelves, cup holders, etc.
    3. Find materials for upholstery:
      • corduroy;
      • leather;
      • leatherette;
      • velour;
      • carbon;
      • alcantra, etc.
    4. Prepare tools, buy plywood or chipboard, self-tapping screws, hinges.
    Sequence of work on the manufacture:
    1. Cut plywood to size.
    2. Grind the edges of the plywood to become smooth.
    3. Mark the spots for the self-tapping screws with a pencil.
    4. Assemble the structure.
    5. Sand the plywood.
    6. Stitch.
    7. Install.

    It is not so easy to trim leather. There are salons for upholstery steering wheels, armrests, etc. for a reason. It is better for beginners to take fabric material and upholster it. Stitch the upholstery with the strongest threads, as this material will constantly pull in different directions. You can not cover the inner surfaces and fasten the staples of the furniture stapler, and you can cover completely, and staple the joints.

    Choice of material for reupholstering

    It often happens that the material of the armrest over time comes into disrepair. Fortunately, it is not difficult to fix it yourself.

    Before you start reupholstering, you should decide on the material you are going to “dress” your armrest in.

    There are not so many variants on the market. The leather is certainly considered to be the best. The armrest will look good. And it is much more durable than other types of material. However, you will have to tinker a lot more to get leather upholstery. In addition, it is not cheap.

    You can also take a good substitute leather. Externally it will not differ much from the leather, but it has a few drawbacks, among them susceptibility to damage and wear, unpleasant smell. In addition, leatherette is more elastic. The process of retouching makes it a little easier, but in the process of operation this factor has a negative effect.

    There is also alcantara – a fiber material, quite thin. It is durable, soft and silky. It has dirt-repellent properties.

    Choosing a material, before buying it is worth checking its homogeneity and at least externally look at its quality. Also pay attention to the fact that it is in harmony with the interior color.

    Do you need an armrest in your car?

    Some models of budget segment cars are available for sale without a special armrest. Drivers quickly get used to it, and do not even notice that there is something missing in their car. Therefore a logical question arises: is there any benefit from an armrest?

    Actually there is, and it is quite noticeable. Armrest significantly reduces the load on arm and back muscles, when you frequently use a gear stick. It is especially relevant in cars with manual gearshift transmission. In long distance journeys and even in usual traffic jams the arm tenses and gets tired, in some cases the muscles get cramped, which can lead to an accident.

    Armrest in the car significantly reduces the strain on the arm and back muscles

    Another nice moment is the possibility to use the armrest as a place to store useful little things. A bottle with water, a purse, car documents, a case with sunglasses and many other things can be placed inside, and they will always be at your hand (literally and figuratively). The expensive models often have armrests, equipped with control buttons of some car devices.

    In addition, an ordinary armrest can create an atmosphere of home comfort and make your stay in the car more comfortable.


    To begin with it is necessary to make the construction softer. To do this, you need to cut pieces of foam rubber, which will correspond to the upper parts of the armrest. Areas that are attached to the seat cover foam is not necessary, in the lower part of the armrest in contact with the elements to adjust the seats. If there is foam in this place, it will quickly tear.

    For upholstery you need to:

    • Dab some glue on the places where the foam will be and glue it on.
    • When the material sticks firmly, you can cover it with felt (this is optional).
    • Make the structure upholstered in velour or leather. The best way to do this is to use a construction stapler. If you use glue, in the future you may have to ask how to retighten the material.
    • Perform the same manipulation with the cover.
    • Cover the inside of the armrest with fur or any other material.
    • Install a furniture magnet. This is to prevent the armrest from accidentally opening when driving over bumps. To do this, the magnet is placed on the cover of the product and the metal element in the armrest itself.
    • Install the hinges, thus connecting the cover and the main structure. Fastening is also done using small self-tapping screws.

    How to make an armrest out of metal:

    1. Choose the place of attachment. In this case it is the bolts fixing the seatbelt buckle.

    Weld the hinge and stiffening rib.

    How to retighten

    Retightening the armrest of the Priora begins with its dismantling.

    Next, it is necessary to remove the old trim. The easiest way to do this is to use a hair dryer. Warm up the armrest with a hair dryer, then the hot melt glue softens and the old trim can be easily removed. It is enough just to pry it with something. Use a hair dryer to remove the rest of the glue from the armrest. It is important not to overheat the cover with a hair dryer, because the plastic can lose its shape under the influence of hot air. When everything is removed, you should additionally clean the armrest surface from possible dirt and degrease it.

    After that, we move on to cutting the material. In order to guess with the size, you can take the old trim, and by the example to make a pattern, leaving a little extra room for the bends.

    If you decide to reupholster with leatherette or alcantara, fixing the new trim is simple. The material is stretched, fastened and glued around the perimeter. It is important to apply glue a little in advance, as it takes a long time to dry on plastic. To ensure that there are no creases, you can use a hair dryer. Under the influence of temperature, the fabric, leather substitute softens and is easier to glue.

    Re-tighten the armrest with leather with your own hands is a little more difficult. Since this material is less elastic. There will be more creases and it is more difficult to remove them. There are two options for solving the problem. The first – you can try to warm the leather a little more and pull a little harder.

    The second, if there is a desire to tinker, and also have skills in sewing, you can make a skin of several parts, which are then sewn on the machine.

    Here the sequence of operations is slightly different. Before removing the old trim, we make a marking on it along the ribs of the armrest. After that, carefully dismantle the old material. It is cut according to the markings. Only after that we make a pattern. Plain edges on the side where the old trim has just been cut are simply traced, making a reserve of about 7 millimeters so that the parts can be sewn. The second edge is free. It will be bent and attached to the inside of the armrest. Important! When you start cutting out the central part, make sure that your cut out piece is symmetrical. After all, the top of the armrest has a symmetrical shape. Once everything is cut, you can sew. Sewed with a normal machine stitch. If you have the desire and imagination on the edges of the main seam can be made decorative, so to speak, to decorate your armrest. The decorative stitch is made at a distance of about 0.5 cm from the main stitch with a thicker thread of a slightly different shade.

    After everything is sewn, you can slightly baste the stitches, so they will be softer and the leather will lie more evenly on the armrest.

    This is where the sewing ends, the trim is ready, it just needs to be stretched and secured. Stretching the new trim, make sure the symmetry, the correct location of the main and decorative seams. If the stitching is somewhere not perfectly straight, this can be corrected with a hair dryer and tension. Once everything is correctly positioned and tensioned, the new trim is fixed with glue on the inside. Wait until the glue dries and the armrest is ready, you can install it back.

    Process of making

    Making an armrest with your own hands is easy enough if you have at least some experience with an electric jigsaw. If you have measured all the distances correctly and made a correct drawing, all you need to do is follow the diagram and our instructions exactly.

    1. Cut out the parts from millimeter paper. Don’t stash them away after using them because they will still be needed when you wrap the hull in material.
    2. Place them on the plywood and transfer the outlines.
    3. Use an electric jigsaw to saw out the necessary parts.
    4. Soften the plywood over steam or in hot water to create roundings, for example on the armrest cover.
    5. Fasten all the parts with self-tapping screws, according to the design. You can use glue if necessary, but it alone will not be able to hold the structural elements firmly together.
    6. If you want space inside the armrest, you can install dividers: you will have compartments of different sizes to store useful little things.
    7. Glue foam on the armrest cover, otherwise your hand will feel the stiffness of the wood even through the upholstery material.

    Making the armrest

    Saw parts from plywood, according to the scheme think over principles of connection of parts and fixing the cover after all the parts are connected, you need to glue the foam on top and cover the body with leather

    Your armrest is almost ready: now its body needs to be lined with material and then installed between the seats in your preferred way.

    Finishing stage

    At this stage, you need to install the prepared product directly into the car itself. To do this, it is best to use a polypropylene pipe with a steel rod and a stud M8, designed to attach plastic elements in the car.

    After that, it is necessary to:

    • Insert the studs into the holes.
    • On the reverse side install the metal plate and fix it with a wrench.
    • Saw a rectangle out of plywood, trim it with sod and make a couple of holes in it.
    • Fit the piece and put the tubes on.
    • Mark the holes on the armrest and make them.
    • Install the finished product between the seats and secure it with nuts.

    Fasteners can be designed to your liking. Some car owners simply fix the armrest between the seats. If it is held tightly, no additional manipulation may be necessary. However, it is worth pushing the product several times to make sure it will not fall out.

    If the car owner feels discomfort while using the armrest made, it is better to remove it or redo it.

    Making an armrest in the car with their own hands: step by step instructions and tips

    Unfortunately, not all modern cars are equipped with such an important detail, as an armrest for the driver. Car owners try to eliminate this shortcoming in different ways: someone buys ready-made devices, someone tries to make them with their own hands. With the latter option, we will try to understand in more detail.

    What armrest is necessary for

    In brief – armrest is needed for convenience. Experienced motorists know how exhausting can be long trips. The position of hands while driving plays not the least role in it. They can’t be on the steering wheel all the time. Sooner or later there will be a moment when you want to put your hand down and relax. This is where an armrest comes in handy.

    Making an armrest in the car with your own hands: step by step instructions and tips

    Armrest in the car, made by your own hands

    The muscles of the forearm and shoulder will be able to relax. The load on the spine and neck will also decrease, because the person will have the opportunity to give the body a more comfortable position and rest, reclining on the back of the chair. As a result, the driver is less tired, which is especially important on a long trip.

    In addition, the armrest can have a number of other functions:

    • it can be equipped with a built-in drawer, where you can put all kinds of things, from a lighter to sunglasses;
    • It may have a recess in which it is convenient to put a water bottle;
    • additional buttons for controlling various electrical devices of the car can be placed here;
    • A good armrest, if necessary, can be retracted by sliding it back to the space between the seats.

    How to make an armrest in the car with your own hands

    If it is not possible to buy a ready-made element for some reason, there is only one way out: to make it yourself.

    Preparation for the process

    First of all, using a tape measure in the cabin, you should measure the place where the device will be installed. And the measurements should be made in the interior of your own car. Even two cars that look identical may have different dimensions of the interior layout elements. The difference may be only a few millimeters, but it is it that will eventually prevent a normal installation.

    The following parameters are measured:

    • The distance between the driver’s and passenger’s seats;
    • the level at which the elbow of the sitting driver is located;
    • the distance from the handbrake lever engaged to the back of the driver’s seat. This is to prevent rear passengers from touching the armrest with their feet;
    • the maximum height to which the handbrake lever rises when it is activated (this dimension is taken only when the armrest design partially covers the brake lever);
    • you also need to know how far apart the seat belt latches are.

    Choosing the material

    As a rule, homemade armrests are made of either plywood or chipboard. Sometimes a solid board with a thickness of 7-9 mm is used. If it is assumed that there will be curved parts, you can only use plywood, as only this material can give the necessary curvature by holding it over steam. As for the upholstery materials, they can be very different: leatherette, genuine leather, dermantin, etc. The choice here is limited only by the imagination and financial capabilities of the car owner.

    Designing the main elements

    All of the above dimensions should be written down. On their basis, the simplest sketch in three projections is created. You can even do it by hand, on an ordinary piece of notebook paper.

    Making an armrest in the car with your own hands: step by step instructions and tips

    The simplest sketch of a self-made armrest, made on a piece of notebook paper

    It is necessary to have a clear idea of what the future armrest will look like.

    The sketch must necessarily indicate the following points:

    • all dimensions;
    • If the armrest contains parts with shaped curves, the sketch must indicate the radii of these curves;
    • location of fixing holes with obligatory indication of their diameter;
    • type and parameters of fasteners to be used (for example, if it is self-tapping screws, you must specify their diameter and thread pitch);
    • depth to which the fasteners penetrate into the body parts or intermediate structures (often the armrests are screwed to wooden substrates, so knowing the penetration depth of the fasteners will allow you to calculate the thickness of the substrates more accurately);
    • If you plan to assemble an element with a hinged lid, then you should specify where and on what will be mounted furniture hinges that hold the lid. Also do not forget about their size.

    At the design stage you should definitely think about how exactly the armrest will be fixed in the cabin. It can be a set of self-tapping screws or the part can be held in place simply by a tight fit between the seats.

    Process of making

    Having a ready sketch with all the necessary dimensions at hand, you can begin assembling the armrest.

    Video: homemade armrest on the Volkswagen Polo

    Lining with leatherette

    In a novice car enthusiast, the process of retouching the ready-made armrest can cause difficulties, so let’s talk about it separately. But first let’s define the toolkit.

    Consumables and tools

    To make an armrest with your own hands will need the following materials and tools:

    • material for retouching (previously selected leather or leatherette, which color coincides with the color of the interior trim);
    • scissors;
    • masking tape;
    • black marker;
    • silk thread;
    • sewing machine.

    Sequence of operations

    So, to make an armrest in a car is not as difficult as it may seem at first glance. Certain difficulties may cause only work with a sewing machine during the re-stitching, especially if the car owner is a man, vaguely imagining what the cutting and sewing is. But with the proper patience you can deal with this problem too.

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