How to build a Camper Van / Studio – DIY conversion  (Step by step)

How to build a Camper Van / Studio – DIY conversion (Step by step)

hey everyone welcome back to emerging
alternatives this is the second video and as promised
it is the van build video alright first let’s roll the intro and then straight onto the video enjoy guys! and this is my new Renault Master,
it’s from 2007, it has 200,000 kilometers and it’s bright red. Let’s see what we
can do with it. and first order of the day we’ll start with the windows so there we go, first window in. Next
we’re gonna go on the other side and do
the second window all right and that’s done also don’t forget to give you a little
swipe on the inside because there are some particles from the cuts and those rust
very quickly alright so now that the windows are in place I’ll start on the
inside. I’m going to take that out Well, that’s much brighter now! Alright the floor is in. We have, at the
very bottom the strips of a foam (Polystyrene) and then two centimeters of insulation – foam insulation. then we have, the… let’s call it bubble wrap And then we have the one
centimeter plywood And that will be the floor of the van. And we’re back now, the
floor is finished and we’re getting onto the electrical. The solar panels are
going to end up about here. The cables will arrive from the roof and I’ll get them
directly to the floor, where I’ll put my battery And we’re on the roof of the van. we’re putting the air extraction in which will be… right about here. This is just above what will be the kitchen area I always double, triple measure
everything. And that’s the 95 mil Alright that’s good The problem is that I can’t actually turn so this is going to have to be plan B Plan B is from the inside, but…. all right so it doesn’t work much better from the inside oops that was my only blade. alright and
we’re on to plan and “C”; my blade broke so I’m gonna do it by hand this is the inside of the ventilation – the extraction yeah it’s perfect. That was pretty tough, I’m tired! and we’re back on the roof and we are
passing the cables through the roof for the solar panels, using those those
little metal thingies. we’re all done. The cables are through
now just a little bit of cleanup and we’re good. Shall we insulate the van today? getting onto the walls so this is the wool that I have This is mineral and
I think the other one that I have is is glass wool all right, so I finished most of the sides
here. as you can see with mineral wool and I will be covering that later on
with our multi-layer; reflecting multi-layer which will start at
the bottom and go in one piece all around. As you can see the
multi layer is on at the back of the van I have put the side panels that came
with the van when I bought it. It’s a process. It takes some time, but i’m happy to do it and it’s it’s taking shape
slowly so yeah it’s quite good. then
we’re moving on to the side windows and before putting the insulation in I will
put a frame, a wooden frame to go around the window not to reinforce it but to
create a nice finish for the inside and let’s test this. see how it fits… That’s pretty good That’s a perfect cut. pretty happy right now
that’s pretty cool. it took me a while to do all this Now I can take it apart and
and put the insulation in. I’ve glued the wooden frame to the side of the van. and
it’s now drying and I’ll be able to put the insulation in, all around and then
put the multi layer and then I’ll put the side panel and finally we’re all
done with the insulation on that side and the ceiling now let’s move on to the
ceiling. this is my line to to get the the center right and we’re getting close to finishing on
the ceiling and as you can see those little cables coming outside are
going to be for the lights. They’re the LEDs from Ikea that i’ll try to hook up.
and they’re pretty flat. And you just screw them onto the ceiling. What are
we on to today? basically the installation is almost finished except
on doors I decided to add some pallet wood because it’s much easier to do the
finish and i just screwed on the pallets wood onto the wall. and cut out the opening for the window and i will do the same on this side as well. it doesn’t need to go that low it just needs to go till the height of the
bed and we also have the wires coming out of the wood so I can get a switch
here for the lights and otherwise that’s it a nice finish hey guys I’m in the
process of building the bed frame What I’m trying to do is figure out one spot
on that side and find out the exact same spot on the other side to make sure the
bed is in the middle the car isn’t leveled on the ground the
ground isn’t leveled and the van isn’t square at all so it’s like building
something in a boat you know it’s it’s pretty tricky this is the bar that
will be the main structural part for the bed it comes from my student
bed and this was the bar that was in the middle and it’s adjustable so I just
put it to the right size so there’s some wood all around so I can screw in
directly the boards that will come on top directly in there and on the inside
at the back I have two pieces of wood and one piece of metal on the inside
that prevents it from bending so that’s solid as well this is the top part of the bed, the top
half and there’s going to be a board sliding on top here and making it a
full-sized bed and when it’s like this this will be a couch so we’ll see how it goes I had it like mostly I have a something in my mind
about what I wanted the van to look like but I kind of make it up as I go
I face some problems and I basically try to find solutions to whatever I have
to make and sometimes there’s an easy way and sometimes it’s a hard way and
and most often I go for the easy way because, you know, I’m not
a carpenter and I try to make things as solid as I can in the easiest way that
I can as well. this isn’t some Japanese way of attaching would I put a screws everywhere so there is screw there is glue there is everything I can find; so yeah it’s not perfect it’s not always beautiful but it is what
it is and it’s holding so that’s that’s the main part when you’re building a van,
just don’t be surprised everything like each piece of wood has to be made
individually you use your eye more than you use your logic and meter so you just
if it looks good then then it is good the structure for the kitchen cabinets
is done. And we ill have a drawer on each side. A big drawer here and here we’ll have some
doors I hope everything works it should be alright I’ve added this little bit in
the middle just so everything stays into place when they’re sliding in and out. and those as well I move down to the kitchen cabinets
which I’ve made. I haven’t really filmed that because it’s quite
straightforward you know it’s a couple of boards together. I’m gonna show you
but… there’s no handles yet so i have to grab on the sides to pull them
out. So yeah, they’re uh they’re made out of of what is it like like IKEA kind of
material like, you know like wood and glue I don’t know the name in English.
This one which is like massive come on there you go it’s nice it’s bulky it’s
heavy it’s gonna be here for the next thousand years Nice sound as well. I’ve made some boxes to
go underneath the seating area. those are the boxes that will support the weight
of the bed when you’re making boxes and they’re exactly the right size they only
go one way they get in and they never get out yeah
I always forget to get those one or two mils so they’re actually they can
actually slide and I did the mistake on the first box and I had to take
everything apart and I almost didn’t do it on the second one everywhere there’s
like two mil except on the width and yeah still doesn’t fit so I need to take
it apart again and and get those two mils out and today the van is in a bit
of a mess as you can see full of little off cuts of wood and the thing is
I’m trying to fit a box here so I can finally put some insulation into this
so-called oven that is just above the driving seat. When the Sun reflects
here is just horrible this is just horrible the whole van just becomes a sauna. So the goal is to put as much insulation and some reflecting insulation to be
able to reflect some of that heat outside and make a box so I can put some
stuff in there and yep that’s it What i’ve done here
I’m not finished everywhere I still have to work it out on this side but it was a
bit of a mess here and I took a piece of wood that I put
underneath and stuck some of this blanket from Ikea into it so this is
jammed underneath using one of these and and on the other side it’s um it’s
jammed underneath the piece of wood so the piece of wood comes here and holds it
on the ceiling which makes it pretty nice finish So I’m going to try to do
a lot of the van like that, the non accessible parts like where I can’t really put any
pieces of wood. so I try to do it like maybe with double sided tape for now it has
worked pretty well. I will start painting I’ll start with the walls so everything
will be white for now and I will put some lasure so it’s not too too thick and
we can still see the wood through it then I move on to some white paint and
I’ll do the frame the frames here the frames here and the side of the boxes
as well so i’m on to the bed now I have screwed
those boards to this parts over here the goal is to put that metal bar and nail
it so it stays on perfectly and holds the boards together and it’s going to be
easier for the boards to slide it in and out So the Box become the support and slides all the way until the the
angles get into one another and everything becomes flat and does it
slides back in that is the question. Shall we try? And pushing. And it should lift – perfect And now. I need handles it’s was kind of hard getting a gripp on the
bed when I pulled it out to test it so what I’m going to do is put some handles
and for that i’ll be drilling some holes and I’ll be using some good old rope so
I have two nice handles that I can use to pull the bed and hopefully it works How cool i that? Yep adopted There we go, the doors are fully insulated this is wool, this is foam board, this is wool Everything is jammed on the side as well as far as can so yeah, good enough an now i can put some wood on it and plug the drill alright and now i’ll drill the other side so i might want to check from time to time that I’m not going through the doors. which is what i’m going to do now and we’re good. And the doors are done looking good and I’m doing a bit of the finishing so
it looks good on the back of the van putting some carpet on and it’s pretty
easy so I’m not gonna show it in details but I’m using double-sided tape and cut
the piece to size and just tape it and just jam everything that I can in
between the wood and the metal and that’s about it alright so I went in
bougth some colors for the doors and basically all the openings so the doors
here the window frame over there and the door
over here will be blue I’ll give it a go see how it looks it’s the first first
layer anyway if it looks good I’ll leave it like that if it doesn’t I can always
paint another color over it but yeah it’s taking shape a little bit
the van is starting to look pretty good I’m happy about it I’ve always been
pretty bad putting paint only on the top of the brush and I always end up putting
paints everywhere up to my hand which isn’t the best so i’ll try to stay clean here
alright let’s go oh that is very blue
all right I’ve done like two boards with blue and it’s very very blue it would
probably be a good idea to put a bit of white in there. I’m gonna try to do a
bit of a color mix. see if I can get those blues a little lighter so I put
a little bit of white in an old paint box and I’ll add some blue. see how it looks like what do you think? I think I’m gonna put a little bit of
white in it not not like this this is too too light this might be a little too
light as well but that’s that’s too dark that’s too dark for me all right let’s
mix some white this is my blue, this is my white you ready? feeling like Tom Cruise in
cocktail let’s check it out Well, it is still
blue that’s for sure it is a little better I think I can work with that
let’s paint and we’re done with the doors everything
has been sanded down so the color isn’t too bright anymore which is good and it
looks a little more rustic nice it’s the same on the other side also I’ve put
those in so I need to paint those white as well. there we go
I need one of these here as well and oh here I have added some bars with a little
bit of an angle here so you can see the cut and so I can have a nice grab and I
can now slide those in and out easily same this needs to be painted white
those holes are for my electrical stuff so that’s gonna be like the charge
controller USB charging 12 volt charging and this will go right here so there
will be a lock here lock here that will prevent the bed from moving anywhere
while I’m driving it shouldn’t anyway but if I break really hard it might just fly
out I just need to drill a hole now let’s do it so I just put those in drilled some holes put a little bit of pain so it
doesn’t show too much and so I’m not gonna close it right now because
obviously the paint it’s wet but yeah it does fit and so all good next obviously it would have been easier to do it before I put the ceiling on but I thought I was
going to put some linen oil and just be done with it and when I put the linen
oil the ceiling turned yellow so I decided to paint it so here we go It’s going to be brown blue and white and moving on to the door the side door which i’ve been
neglecting for the past few weeks and I wanted to do something else than just
insulating so I’ve been doing some painting yesterday I’ve done the frame
yesterday afternoon which actually takes a fair bit of time
and I painted it before I put it in which is a lot easier and yesterday I’ve done
as well some insulating here I put in some wool fitting in some wool and slide
these closing those insulation, insulation and then cladding everywhere
until the bottom and then we’ll paint it white yep that’s it let’s do it and we’re three boards in I put this one first because I want it to be
aligned with the window and so far so good it works well see there’s a I mean there’s a fair bit
of space here the tight space is here but I will have enough as well so I
should be fine putting some lasure on the side door It pretty much takes the yellow out of the wood and I’ll be sending this and changing
the color to gray instead of brown because I’m gonna do those gray and you
can’t really have like ten colors in the same like tiny space What do you like better ? brown or gray ? yeah I like gray better not the same light but it
worked i shave my beard as well Today i moved on to the floor so that’s how it looks right now it’s actually not too bad but I will put this floor in. star over here strip the paper press it in i’m happy this morning it’s freezing cold
but work gets done and now I can finally put the LEDs on you know those IKEA
thingy that I installed the cables for and now I just have to plug them screw
them and connect them to the battery and it should work ok I think I got it and the van is
almost done and most of the things are in as you can see the lights everything
is painted those are in as well I just need to put the LEDs that I haven’t
received yet I’ve decided to reinforce the bed so when the bed is open it’s it
was a little soft I didn’t want it to break Bonsoir I’m also working on reinforcing
the inside just to make sure everything is nice and strong so I’m adding this
vertical here and over here as well I have space for the bicycle and then the
space for my storage which is good and this is my battery mess I’m still
working out the cables finally receive my LEDs and they will go right here
and on the other side so I’ve gotten some monochrome LEDs 60 LED/m I’ve just cut the LEDs to size and I’m
going to glue them on to the wood over here and around awesome and I can dim little eyes as
well 50% 25% or 100% I can make them blink and all but you know I’m never
gonna use that what I have here for the back cause I want to put some lights in
here so when it’s dark I can access my stuff a little bit of tape you have the
connection to the battery cable and we have the connection to the switch and
the connection to the LED now we just have to set it up okay so I’ve finished hooking up the
LEDs in the back of the car they are hooked up as well to the main line and
they’re connected together with the LEDs on the ceiling that’s a switch and the
LEDs here we can just turn it on and then I can adjust
I think the brightness that’s the one until it turns off or not now I need to put
all those cables nice and tight because like everything here is a bit of a mess
so I’ll be hooking them up with those little things this on the floor is going to be the
deck on top of the van on the roof and this is old pallet wood and that’s what I’ve used on
the inside so I will burn it as the Japanese do and it’s called shou Sugi Ban it’s basically like burnt lightly burn the wood on top and surface and it
just prevents it from molding or getting damaged with the weather so that’s what
I will try to do and then I’ll put it on the roof of the van all right let’s do
it the boards are ready I’ve waited about
a week, two weeks actually a little more so it’s rained on it
to make sure everything is clean and doesn’t get any black anywhere and I’m
pretty happy with the finish and now is the time to put them on and they’ll go
on there so that’s going to be the time for the
first solar panel I’ve connected both of the solar panels together and connect those to
their cables running down to my van so the plan is here these i’ll put a bolt a
spacer and put it through put a bit of old tubes to prevent
anything from moving with the vibrations the roof is done look at that nice deck so the van is about ten years old and
the plastics are becoming gray so what I’m doing is I’m using some product for
bringing the plastic bag as they were afterwards I’ll be able to put some
polish on the car and make the red come back as well as you can see the
difference here and here I’ve been going at it for a couple of hours now and i’m polishing the car. it’s shiny nice and shiny now. and see the red is coming back nicely if you compare like this is done and this this isn’t done so you can see the difference over
here over here over here oh yeah done not done done not done done i mean it’s the final touch so i’m quite happy cause you know it all means that I’m getting towards the end my job is nearly done for the van so
quite happy where I finished putting the polish on and the car is kinda shiny hey nice and red that was a long
video I hope you guys enjoyed it hope it was useful give it a thumbs up if you
liked it it’s probably going to be some more vanlife videos coming up so do
subscribe to the channel do comments do ask questions if you have some I’ll try
to answer them whether it’s on the comments or on the Facebook group or
email me directly on the website once again I hope it was useful guys thanks a
lot for watching and I’ll see you soon on emerging alternatives see you guys bye and if you haven’t had a chance yet go check out the intro video for the
channel and there’s a whole video as well about the building of the roof it
was quite a long process so I decided to make a whole separate video about that
so go check it out if you’re interested subscribe

100 thoughts on “How to build a Camper Van / Studio – DIY conversion (Step by step)

  1. To see the finished van check out the Van Tour video:
    I hope you guys enjoyed the build. If you have any questions do leave a comment!
    Time Stamps are available below in case you're looking for something in particular.
    0:43 Windows
    2:27 Bulkhead
    2:57 / 28:26 Floor
    3:27 Wires
    3:58 Roof ventilation
    6:17 Insulation
    8:43 Ceiling
    9:45 / 29:20 Ikea LEDs
    10:06 Pallet wood walls
    10:47 Bed Frame / 18:36 & 29:57 Sliding bed
    13:38 Kitchen
    17:04 / 21:12 Carpeting
    17:57 / 21:33 / 28:00 Painting
    20:06 Back doors / 26:32 Side door
    25:05 Charging station
    30:29 LED strips
    32:44 Wooden deck
    34:23 Solar panels
    35:19 Plastics and van polish.

  2. um I know its too late but they make a hole saw that fits on your drill (usually cuts circle holes from 1 inch to 8 inches)

  3. Amazing work!
    How long did it take from beginning to end?
    What was the total cost?
    The final touch at the end on the paint really made it look new.

  4. Thank you for the nice video…please show and explain with details for battery and charging and wiring and serket bracket.

  5. Enjoyed the video for the most part. However, had you done a tour of the finished product at the end, it would have been more complete. After all, most of us watch videos only to anticipate a showing the finished product.

  6. Bonjour 🙂 merci pour ce beau partage. Peux tu m’aider sur le fait du passage au contrôle technique avec toutes ces installations stp ? Car je vais avoir mon masser dans le courant du mois mais j’ai très peur du contrôle après mon aménagement ..

  7. Thanks for the great video. I like the fact you seemed to build it without too many high performance tools. Proper DIY. Can you tell me what the budget / cost was?

  8. Hi, very interesting video. Just a little question : what did you screw the wooden panels into? And also what sort of budget does it take? Thanks a lot.

  9. After installing the insulation, 9:45. What are you anchoring the screws into when mounting the panels to create the ceiling?

  10. Looks amazing ! I am new in this field and considering to learn more. Maybe I can do some DIY projects in the future. Just one little question, what is the tool you use on 1:03. Thank you for this video, really did a wonderful job.

  11. I love to watch these type of videos, but I’d like to find a video where they explain the skills you need in order to do embark in such a big project like this

    I’m assuming I’d need to know some electric , carpentry, soldering , etc…

    If I just bought a van and something broke down and I can’t fix it , it would be a pain in the butt

  12. A metal nibbler will make cutting sheet metal easier but will give a better edge than a jig saw.
    How much additional weight does that wood add?
    I have found that red is the paint color that fades the worst; keep it parked in the shade.

  13. You should rust proof all of the cuts in the metal. use expanding foam in the sliding door to insulate, be careful of lock but the other areas you can shoot about 1/3 full and it will expand and fill depending on the brand you get.

  14. Good jobs. Too late for you. but for other you can use your bed spring frame. By cutting both side midsection out to get your length. Then pound in a 3 ' metal piece. It's as strong as original. But custom size and most important it has springs. On the side of the van you can screw in angle iron to hold up the frame and 2 hinges in the back to lift up.very light weight. saving 50 lb + of lumber weight

  15. Hi,
    Thanks for taking the time to share this.
    I am now completely rethinking my build away from a rock-n-roll bed & towards your design.
    Thanks again.

  16. I love it, wish I could live it. I live a Minimalist Lifestyle, been living that way all my life, I been living in my Studio Apt. for 18 years now, I love it, I live a very happy & peaceful life. All I ever need is my passion of Music & Art in my life, I am a entertainer. Much Love. KEEP LIVING YOUR DREAMS.

  17. Your Video has to be ONE of the BEST I have seen…You took your time explained and talked very clearly and your work is amazing…I wish you had shown it finished at the end..but I will look for that video…I am impressed and I have watched way to many of these trying to get ideas…Great Job Enjoy

  18. So cool that you build this cool van. I’m thinking about building my own but I don’t have the skills to do it. I would love to build one with a bathroom and solar panels. If there’s something different that you would do what would it be?

  19. When I was your age my Popa says to me “Son. All you care about is beer pot and pussy” and with a van like that with them skills you may be able to follow my creed. Good day chap. Brilliant really I do say me self

  20. I love the wood finish, you were right to change to grey. The whole van looks ready for the beach and more adventures.

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