Here is how we built the bedroom storage for our Ford Transit DIY camper van conversion!

A long time ago, we brainstormed about our Living Requirements. From that moment it was obvious that, to prevent a mess, we would need a lot of storage compartments so each thing has it’s own designated place. We then built the bed storage and lived happily ever after.

 

 

TIME SPENT ON THE JOB: ~30 hours (This is approximate. We lost track of time…)

 

TOTAL COST : 150$ USD approx.

 

 

DISCLOSURE:

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Alternatively, you can visit our Say Thanks! page.

 

 

MATERIAL:

 

TOOLS:

 

PRE-REQUISITE:

 

Disclaimer

This is not a “How-To”;  this is a “How-We-Did”. It is the answer of our own requirements and using our own (limited) skills.

 

First of all, we designed the bed storage using our 3D CAD model:

Some fine-tuning is still required, but we get the picture. See our interactive 3D model here.

 

Here we go!

First of all, we added a layer of Low-E EZ-Cool on top of the Thinsulate (check our Thinsulate Installation Post or Buy on Ebay). This is to ensure there is no thermal bridge between the storage wood & the van metal. We did not glue the EZ-Cool to the van, since the storage back panel will hold it in place uniformly.

Adding some EZ-Cool.

 

Bed Storage Van Conversion (13)

Some cutouts were added in the EZ-Cool to let the Thinsulate breathe.

 

Then, the 1/4″ thick baltic birch plywood back panels were fitted and secured using Plusnut that we previously installed in existing holes in the van.

Bed Storage Van Conversion (14)

Bed Storage Van Conversion (15)

 

Not familiar with Plusnut? That’s O.K.! Make yourself comfortable and read our Plusnut post:

 

 

Next, we trimmed and fitted the dividers. They are made from 1/2″ thick baltic birch.

(3/8″ thick would have been strong enough, but then screws don’t grip well in 3/8″ thick plywood)

Bed Storage Van Conversion (5)

Bed Storage Van Conversion (8)

Bed Storage Van Conversion (12)

 

Before installing the dividers “permanently”, we added the pocket holes that will be used to attached the face frame:

Bed Storage Van Conversion (16)

 

To make the pocket holes, we used the Kreg Pocket Hole Jig Mini as it makes the job easy and provide strong joints without fancy tools!
kreg-pocket-hole-jig-mini

Buy it on Amazon

kreg-screw-chart-large

Choose the correct screw length. Click on image to enlarge.

 

 

 

The forward divider contains the Bogart battery Monitor and the Webasto MultiControl:

Bed-Storage-Van-Conversion-(annotated)

 

So before assembling all the dividers, we fitted and added some protection for the monitor and the controller:

Bed Storage Van Conversion (17) Bed Storage Van Conversion (18)

 

We installed the dividers in place and fabricated the shelves from 3/8″ thick baltic birch plywood. Then, the shelves were installed with the corner braces. Tadam!

Now, we’ve been advocating to glue everything to eliminate the squeaks. For this project, we chose not to use glue. Why? Because, who knows, we might want to remove the storage one day. As a whole, we doubt it will be possible to remove it since it is quite large. So, we assembled all the dividers and shelves using corner braces. The assembled unit is very strong, but we wonder if the screws will hold in time with the vibration? Will it squeaks? Time will tell!

 

Next step, the face frame.

It is built from 1″x 2″ select pine (no knots). We used pocket holes & Titebond III wood glue to hold everything together.

Because we’re fancy people with fancy taste, we plugged the pocket holes with Kreg’s Plugs:

Bed Storage Van Conversion (19)

Glue, insert, sand.  But Buy from Amazon first.

 

Cabinet Frame with dimensions

The finished face frame (along with some dimensions), ready to be stained.

 

We will probably install doors at some point, but we have other priorities for now.

Voilà!

Bed Storage Van Conversion Final

 

 

 

 

 

ON SECOND THOUGHT…

As mentioned in the post, we did not use glue. Time will tell if we get squeaks and if some screws come loose. We will keep you updated!

 

 

 

NEXT STEPS:

  • Have a beer
  • Fabricate and install the Sink & Stove Cabinet (wait for it!)

 

 

WANT MORE?

Check out our Build Journal, learn everything about The Van, join us for The Ride, or if you’re new to this start by reading The Prologue.

 

 

STAY IN TOUCH!

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ABOUT US

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine, a couple dreaming of being on the move and we’re seeking for the ride of our life. We bought a Ford Transit van, converted it to a campervan, sold our house and hit the road full-time to make our dream a reality. We are sharing this in hope of inspiring and helping others to follow their dreams too!

 

 

CHEERS!

 

 

6 comments

  1. Comment by Van Williams

    Van Williams Reply January 29, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Nicely Done!

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply January 29, 2017 at 11:34 am

      Thanks! 🙂

  2. Comment by Andrew

    Andrew Reply April 14, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Hey Atoine,
    Perhaps this is in an upcoming blog post :). But I was curious how you affixed your ceiling and wood panel walls to the van? I noticed in several of your pictures you have what appears to be very thin wood furring. Would you mind sharing what material, and how it’s fixed to the van walls? I’m starting to frame out my walls and ceilings for future attachments still figuring out the best way. I have plus nuts installed all over the walls so far!
    Thanks for our thoughts!

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply April 14, 2017 at 11:27 am

      Hi Andrew, we’re working on the blog post but here is the draft if that can help you:
      Frames

      The wood paneling is not attached directly to the van; it’s attached to frames that we first installed. We put frames every 2 feet or so, depending on what was possible. As usual, we did not use metal screws; we used Plusnut to attach the frames to the van walls. Not familiar with Plusnut? That’s fine, we made an article about them here!

      *pic and link to plusnut

       

      The frames are made from Baltic Birch Plywood; it is a high-quality plywood. For the same thickness as regular plywood, there are more layers and the material characteristics are more uniform.

      It was super important for us to maximize the living area, therefore we did not want to “overdesign” the frames. It made the fabrication of the frames & the installation of the paneling much more time consuming, but we’re very glad we did it.

      The frames are generally 4” wide.  We used ½” thickness plywood for the ceiling, 3/8” thickness plywood for almost-flat surfaces of the walls and ¼” thickness* plywood where we wanted the paneling to conform to the van curvatures.

      *Time for a disclaimer! ¼” Baltic birch plywood is THIN! Will it withstand the test of time? We think so, but if you choose the do the same, do it at your own risks! ¼” “regular” plywood is probably not strong enough (it will probably crack at screw locations). If you’re using the van as a cargo or if you plan on attaching heavy stuff to the wall, ¼” is probably not strong enough.

       

       

      • Comment by Antoine

        Antoine Reply April 14, 2017 at 11:29 am

        Hope that helps! Sorry no pic for now; we’re on the road with limited data access for the Easter long weekend 🙂

  3. Comment by Andrew

    Andrew Reply April 14, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Thanks!! Look fwd to the blog post! Enjoy your weekend!

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