Update on Kevan’s campervan conversion

I am very very excited.  My sister is coming to stay in late September, and I have said she can sleep in Kevan while she is here.  (If you are wondering why she would want to sleep in a van that is only 1% a campervan at this stage, it is because I have said Clifford can sleep in there with her.  Who could say no to sleeping in a confined space with an excitable wiggling 28kg bundle of yellow fur and wet tongue who takes up practically the whole van?)


I’m also very excited because I have booked two weeks leave to do a mad block of work on Kevan, so that he is ready (ready enough, there’s no way I can get him FULLY ready with furniture built etc.) both for my sister’s stay, and for a spring/summer camping season.

It has given me a little push to start getting some things done.  When I last blogged about my progress with Kevan, I was part way through sanding back Kevan’s scratched-up interior paintwork (I’m still part-way through), part-way through covering the new ceiling cards in Ikea fabric (still part-way through, I got disheartened when the fabric just pulled off because I didn’t use enough adhesive), and part-way through a bunch of other jobs that I haven’t told you about.  So I think it’s time to look back at my original blog post detailing my plans for Kevan, and see whether there is anything else I can tick off yet.  I will also need to look at what tasks I think I can achieve before my sister arrives, so I have a plan to use my two weeks of leave effectively.

OK, here is the ‘to do’ list from my earlier blog post, updated with stuff I have done since then, and annotated with things I hope to achieve in my two week block of leave:

  • Buy a van. Tick!

3903 lf econovancensored

  • Research thoroughly. Tick!


  • Strip van, assess condition. Tick!


  • INTERIOR RUST PREVENTION: Sanding 90% done! Priming 90% done! Painting- not done yet. Finish this in first few days of leave.

Scratches sanded back and primed, next step is a final light sand over all the unsanded paint ready for repainting.

  • INSULATION/SOUND DEADENING: Clearly not done yet, but supplies procured and ready to install (3mm closed cell EVA foam for the ceiling, 1 huge roll of secondhand but unused foam carpet underlay, numerous rolls of recycled camping mat, a roll of second hand but unused flashing tape (aluminium sheet coated with bitumen).  Install on 2 weeks leave before putting floor and panels in.
Just some of the insulation supplies procured for not very much money at all

Just some of the insulation supplies procured for not very much money at all

  • FLOORING:  Wooden floor cut to fit with jigsaw (recycled lacquered 10mm MDF, free)- Tick!  Drill holes in wooden floor for bolting down: Not done, but drill bits bought. Do on leave.  Install floor over insulation, bolt to van using bolts with domed heads that won’t be too obtrusive;  Cut sheet vinyl to fit (Faux parquetry vinyl flooring on a roll, 2m wide, Bunnings, still to buy, do on leave.


Picture 2

  • CEILING AND WALL PANELS:  Cut new  ceiling panels- tick!  Cover ceiling panels in Ikea fabric: half tick!  Install Ceiling panels- Do on leave.  Cut new wall panels: not done. Do on leave.  Cover wall panels in thin upholstery foam (clark rubber) and hessian (spotlight), probably won’t get done during leave block.  Aim to install uncovered panels on two week leave and cover later.



  • DOG CRATE: Drill holes in floor of crate corresponding to holes in flooring, so that crate can be bolted in whilst travelling and removed while camping. Not done.  Not necessary to do before my sister comes, but do before travelling again.
  • FURNITURE:  Plan different layout possibilities- tick.  Build cardboard models inside Kevan- Tick!  Build scale models with balsa wood- Tick!  Procure supplies- tick!  Timber procured free from a friend, foam mattresses procured secondhand and very cheap. Build furniture: not yet done.   Won’t aim to build this in my two weeks leave.  Instead I will just cut wheel-arch-cutouts out of one of the queen-sized foam mattresses so it fits properly on the floor as a temporary measure.






Free wood from a friend's bed

Free wood from a friend’s bed

  • CURTAINS: Plastic-coated curtain wire  bought, Ikea fabric half bought (need more), blockout lining bought half price ($2.99/m $1.49/m) at Lincraft,  curtain measurements and design complete, 1 prototype curtain sewn with rod-pocket-style header, fabric too thick to bunch up well on the curtain wire, design revised as hidden-tab-style curtains, tough grosgrain ribbon bought for tabs for the wire to run through; I would love to get the curtains made and installed before my sister comes to stay, but I don’t think that will be possible.  I will continue working on them at night and it will probably take months to get them all done 😦
Curtain plans

Curtain plans

Curtain measurements and cutting layouts

Curtain measurements and cutting layouts

Curtain-making supplies

Curtain-making supplies

  • SEAT/BED CUSIONS: Cover foam with brightly coloured vinyl (Spotlight) with piped edges; Won’t start this yet.
  • REMOVEABLE TABLE:  As for bed platform, not building yet.
  • ROOF RACKS: Make own retro-style roof rack baskets using decking timber and modular towel rails, bolted to existing roof racks. Roof racks can carry two outdoor camping tables, two folding chairs, RV shade (tent that attaches to side or back of Kevan), etc.  Won’t start building this yet.
  • REVAMPING CAB AREA AND MOULDED ENGINE SHELF CARPET: Use existing ugly grey moulded cab and engine shelf carpets as templates to make new ones (and a matching dash mat) out of rubber-backed Jute rugs (bought already from Big W); Make a jute steering wheel cover; Make a gaitor for the gearstick out of the Ikea fabric; cover front door panels in foam and hessian;  Not a priority yet, but I have already unpicked the engine shelf carpet and cut out the new segments from the jute rug, still need to stitch back together and line with camping mat for insulation.
Old carpet from engine shelf

Old carpet from engine shelf

Newly cut jute carpet for engine shelf

Newly cut jute carpet for engine shelf

  • Lots of other things that I’m nowhere near ready to do, like installing a leisure battery and wiring up lights etc.

If you’re wondering what all my colour coding is about, green is what I have done, orange is what I am ready to do and intend on doing on 2 week break, red is what I am not quite up to yet but still intend to do on 2 week break, and black is everything else that I don’t intend to get done yet.  I have no idea if I can get all that done in two weeks, but at least having the leave and the deadline will mean I will most likely get SOMETHING done. 

Wish me luck!