It's the last long weekend of summer, and it's so bittersweet! I'm happy the kids are going back to school next week, but I'm sad too. We've had such a fun summer, and what's made it the most memorable summer ever has definitely been Our DIY Camper. I'm SO glad that we bought what looked like a piece of junk, and put lots of elbow grease into it to turn it into a comfy and cute camper for our little family. All of the blood, sweat and tears were worth it! Today, I want to give you a full photo & video tour of Our DIY Camper including a list of what we did and links to our materials sources. I hope you find this fun and helpful in case you want to do a camper renovation of your own!
Here's what Our DIY Camper looked like when we bought it in May of this year:
You can read more about the state of it when we purchased it in this blog post. There's also a "before" video tour! It's a 1993 Vanguard 5th wheel that had some water damage and a really dated interior that we purchased off Kijiji for $1000 CDN.
Here's what Our DIY Camper looks like now:
It looks a lot different, doesn't it?! I'm so happy with how it's turned out!
I had a lot of fun styling it and staging it for this tour, but if you want to see how it fairs during a real life camping trip, you can catch glimpses of it in this video of our camping trip to Whitecourt a couple of weeks ago.
Here's a quick list of what we did to this camper over the past 4 months:
(Find a source list of the products we used & a video tour at the bottom of this blog post.)
First off, my husband Sean ripped off the entire back (kitchen) wall of the camper along with the floor in the back. There was extensive water damage in that area, so he replaced the entire thing with new wood and resealed the exterior. We managed to keep the kitchen cabinets intact, which was a miracle!
Next was all the painting. For me, this was the most labour intensive and frustrating job. The camper is small, but there are so many cupboard doors and nooks and crannies... it took a really long time! I think this step made the biggest difference in the look of the camper, though.
I painted the ceiling first, and then I painted the walls. I used leftover white latex paint I had in storage for everything. Finally, I removed all of the cabinet doors and painted the doors and the cabinets. I primed those first with an oil based primer, then I painted them with a latex paint, then I sealed them with Varathane. You can read more details on my camper cabinet paint job right here in the kitchen makeover blog post. The cabinets all got new, modern looking pulls which updated the look of the camper instantly!
I filled any holes in the cabinets (that were previously filled with fabric) with some decorative aluminum I spray painted.
Spray paint also came in handy to give all of the hooks, door knobs, table legs, and cabinet hinges in the camper a low budget makeover. Everything was originally a bright brass, and I spray painted them an oil rubbed bronze.
Next, I created a couple of faux barn wood feature walls with some inexpensive wallpaper. I made the mistake of putting one up without priming the wall behind it first, and soon learned that you need to prime a camper wall before you paper it! Another helpful tool is a dehumidifier when you're renovating an RV - it can get so humid that things like wallpaper and paint can take forever to dry.
We put a new, comfy mattress in the "master bedroom", and I sewed a little curtain for it.
To update the floors, I laid some wood-look vinyl plank right over the old linoleum. It was difficult to cut around lots of the angles, but I think the overall look is nice!
Some peel-and-stick tile on the walls in the kitchen give it a bright, modern look and I've been really happy with how this tile has held up this summer! I used a couple of hanging rods here and by the dinette for extra storage.
I covered the kitchen counter tops with some marble contact paper to add instant glam. They're also holding up fairly well, though I don't think I'd suggest using this method for a counter or table that gets more use than a camper.
Next, we replaced most of the lighting in our camper with new LED lighting found online, and I ordered this light fixture as a feature over the table. It's a regular fixture that we hacked a little to make it shorter, and we added a special 12V bulb that was suitable for the camper.
The foam in the jackknife sofa and dinette cushions was still in great shape, so I sewed a slipcover for the sofa and I recovered the dinette cushions in indoor / outdoor fabric. You can find a tutorial for the dinette cushion reupholstery here, and a video for the jackknife sofa slipcover here.
We replaced the dinette table with an Ikea butcher block desktop cut to size, and this tabletop also serves as a base for another bed when we want to fold the dinette down at night.
The final touches?
Melamine dinnerware in boho blues with copper cutlery and cups...
... a whole herd of throw pillows that can double as sleeping pillows in indigos and whites...
... some cute artwork...
... and some string lights, blackout blinds, hats and jackets.
We are so in love with this camper, and the girls are already asking when we're going to go again next! (We might just sleep in it in our yard this weekend!)
I wasn't able to renovate the little bathroom in the camper this year, but that's on the to-do list for next Spring as-is replacing some of the windows and the rest of the lights!
Our DIY Camper Source List:
- Paint: Valspar Ultra White, Benjamin Moore Simply White, Valspar Noir (lower cupboards)
- Wood Wallpaper: Home Depot (found in store; I can't find a link online)
- Peel & Stick Tile: Smart Tiles Metro Blanco
- Marble Contact Paper for Counter
- Fabric: Shibori Design, Indigo Velvet, Indoor / Outdoor Griege Linen Look from Fabric.com
- Flooring: Allure Stayplace from Home Depot
- Cupboard Pulls
- Dinette Light Fixture (we hacked it to make it flush)
- Dinette 12V Edison Bulb
- TVs: 32" Samsung Smart TVs from The Brick
- Mattress: Springwall Endeavour 3 Euro-Top Firm Queen Mattress from The Brick
- Melamine Dinnerware: Costco, in-store
- Copper Flatware: Walmart, in-store
- Copper Mugs: vintage
- Blue Enamel Mugs
- Spray Paint: Rustoleum Copper Rose & Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic
- Aluminum Sheet (for cupboard inserts)
- Butcher Block Table Top: Gerton Desk top
- Black Out Blinds
- Hanging Rods
- LED Ceiling Lights
- Navy Bed Sheets
Take a video tour of Our DIY Camper:
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase a product via these links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.