DIY Van Conversion | Dreams & Dives
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DIY Van Conversion

DIY Van Conversion

We started our Australia trip in Darwin, Northern Territory. Here we bought a cheap van that still needed a lot of work. We looked online for some inspiration on how to turn it into a comfortable space. We both never had done something like this before, so we had no idea how to start. We are still backpackers, and don’t have a major budget, so we tried to look for affordable materials in stead of expensive gear. What we did is quite basic and very DIY, but we are very proud of our home-made “House On Wheels”. We have no idea how long we will be using the van, we might sell it in a year, we might still be driving it around in three years. We can always make some more adjustments if we feel that’s necessary, but this way we can safe money in the long run by not having to pay for accommodation. We did our best to document the conversion, so you can see how we changed the van from a car to a home. If you have any questions or tips, you can write them down in the comments below.

We bought a van!
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We bought a van and a lot of crappy stuff. We really hoped we could reuse most of it, but it was al dirty and clutter.
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There was even some left-over pizza under the matress…
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We took everything out, and checked for stuff that we could use. We stripped it to the bare metal, and threw all the garbage away. All the stuff we didn’t need, we put back in the van to take it to the waste deposit the next day!
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Ofcourse, then we had to clean (and desinfect!) our new ride. It smelled so bad! It was in a big need of a wash. But with my little sponge, this was gonna take forever.
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So we took the hose and washed it out properly! Away with the dirt!
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Then followed the first of many visits to Bunnings, the IKEA of DIY Australia.
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Let the conversion begin! Measuring insulation to fit the floor of the van.
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And our template is born! The insulation will help us measure the size of the boards we need to form the base of our floor.
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And off to Bunnings again, to buy a floor. We used 12mm MDF board. The first floor we bought was not good, we choose Plywood, but it was too thin and too bendy. So this morning we went back to Bunnings again to change our thin Plywood for sturdy MDF.
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Very welcome help. Thank you Jelle!
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Before putting anything in the van, we need a frame, so our floor will stay in place. We glued the wood to the van with Liquid Nails, which I think is a great name for Strong Glue. That’s what our frame looks like. Already a different van!
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First the frame, then the insulation, then the MDF board. It is starting to look good.
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Placing vinyl, because now we are going to make our floor pretty. It’s like a big puzzle!
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And our floor is ready. We didn’t use vinyl to cover the whole floor area because this would be too expensive. And the back area will be covered by the bed anyways. So we used a cheaper rubber flooring for this.
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We bought Particle Board to make our bedframe. You buy pieces of 2400mm x 1200mm, so we had some more cutting and measuring to do.
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We connected some extra wood for support.
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Look at all this storage space!
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Time to make some cabinets.
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Working accident! My toenail got stuck under one of the boards.
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We cut the bed board in half and used hinges so we can open it up to make more space. The latter part of the board will rest on the cabinets so it doesn’t break.
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All done! Take a look at the inside of our van, so ready to hit the road!
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