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Building Cabinets in our Sprinter Van
First and foremost, this isn’t going to be a “how to build camper cabinets” blog post or video. While the cabinets turned out beautiful (in our opinion), we do not feel qualified to give a full tutorial on cabinetry. So, this is more for inspiration and FYI…
Designing our Camper Van Cabinets
Making to most of the small amount of space that we had was the biggest challenge while building our cabinets. We wanted to have a place for everything, so we attempted to build things to particular specs for our things, such as the coffee maker cabinet (built to be exactly the size of our coffee maker). But that wasn’t always possible, of course!
Total Project Cost: $1,143.99
Our Process to Building Cabinets in our Campervan
Since we are not woodworkers and this was a lot of trial and error on our part, I’m going to just outline some of the highlights of the cabinet installation. We did not keep a log of our exact steps
Measuring Technique: What ended up working really well for us was to have each of us take measurements independently of each other, then compare. We found out that this drastically minimized our mistakes; and if we were wrong, it was both of our
Layout: To get our layout right(ish), or at least to get both of us on the same page, we used painter’s tape to decide where each piece of the cabinetry would go. That gave us a visual to work from as we built the pieces.
Modular Design: Since we wanted to make these cabinets in the shop and move them into the van individually, we actually made them in four separate pieces, which were attached to each other once they were in the van. The only piece that was made in place was the
The remaining pieces were built in this order: Kitchen Module, Upper Kitchen (coffee maker) Module, Gear Storage Module, and Closet Module. The bedroom has an upper shelf and a lower chest. We essentially built from the bottom up on each side, squaring the top pieces to the bottom pieces.
Major Mistakes: Really the only major mistake that we made was on the initial Upper Kitchen Module. We ended up having to scrap the first one we made because it was nowhere near square. Trying to “shape” a 1/2 inch piece of plywood is not a good idea… We ended up using a piece of the wall material for the back of that piece, and all of the other cabinets are “open” in the back, which just butts up to the wall.
Aside from that, our mistakes were fixable. We made one set of drawers a full inch too wide, but we were able to salvage them and correct our mistake.
Painting: My biggest tip on
Finishing Touches: To finish off our cabinets, we added a funky green Smart Tile backsplash behind the sink. This
Also, for those wondering or who have already asked, the big open space beneath our “closet module” is our Doberman Pyros’ bed area. She will have a bed in that little cubby so that she will always have a place to hang out. Sparta, our little pup, will sleep in the passenger seat and will have a bed on the floor of the passenger side so that he has a place also.
When we finally finished and took a step back, we are very proud of our work! It looks great in there and is finally coming together as a campervan. Below is a sneak
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