DIY Small Van Camper Conversions

Written by dakota wright
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DIY Small Van Camper Conversions
Convert your van to a camper van for permanent or weekend van dwelling. (hurricand dammage to family van image by nTripp from Fotolia.com)

Van to camper conversions are becoming popular with people who wish to travel or downsize to save finances. These conversions are an ideal way to use a van both as weekend or permanent living quarters. The most important aspect of a camper van conversion is planning the space wisely to fit your needs.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Socket wrench
  • Silicone
  • Power tools
  • 2-by-6 lumber
  • 3/4-inch plywood
  • Fabric
  • Mattress pads
  • Stainless steel bowl
  • Garden Hose
  • Washing powder bottle

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Remove the back seats from the van. To remove the seats use a socket wrench and socket size that matches the bolt heads. Plug the holes with silicone, expansion foam, or fibreglass resin filler.

  2. 2

    Cut two lengths of 2-by-6 lumber, 48 inches long. Use a stud finder to find the studs in the wall of the van and attach the boards to each wall using a nail gun. Cut four, 2-by-6 boards to serve as braces for the bed. Install the braces every 24-inches.

  3. 3

    Cut a 4-by-8 length of 3/4-inch plywood on the longest side using the interior measurements of your van. Place this wood on top of the bed frame. Purchase mattress pads in varying thickness. Layer the mattress pads and cover the assembly with a sheet. Use the area under the bed for storage.

  4. 4

    Make blackout curtains for the camper van. Blackout curtains do not allow anyone to see inside the van. Blackout curtains can be made by sandwiching pieces of solar blinds between two pieces of material. Cut the solar blinds to perfectly fit in each window. Glue fabric on each side of the solar blind. Fit these pieces into the window when they dry. Heavy drapes can be made for each window for added privacy.

  5. 5

    Make a cabinet that runs the length of the van from the bed to the driver seat. Include storage space underneath the cabinet to hold food and other items. Secure a butane camping stove to the top of your cabinet. These "camping" stoves come with hardware that screws to the top of the cabinet.

  6. 6

    Cut a hole in the cabinet top to fit a stainless steel bowl. Salvage a garden hose and a liquid washing powder bottle. Drill a 3/4-inch hole in the bottom of the bowl and in the top of the washing powder lid. Cut the garden hose to use as plumbing lines from the sink to the bottle. Silicone one end of the garden hose in the sink and the other in the bottle lid. The sink is now operational.

Tips and warnings

  • Purchase 12-volt appliances that will run on automotive cigarette lighter ports.
  • Pack light to reduce clutter in the camper van conversion.
  • Buy rechargeable batteries for stick up lights, radios, and other battery operated equipment.
  • Purchase a standard 12-volt inverter to charge a laptop while you drive around for entertainment.
  • Purchase a portable solar shower for use when shower facilities aren't available.
  • Van dwelling can be extremely dangerous. Take precautions and know the area where you will be staying.
  • Do not park in restricted areas.
  • Purchase insurance and a road side assistance packages in case of emergency.

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