DIY TRUCK CAMPER REMODEL - Tula's Endless Summer (2024)

Step by Step Guide and Price Breakdown Of Our DIY Truck Camper Remodel

If you are wondering how we turned this…

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…then keep reading! In this blog, we give you a step-by-step of our DIY truck camper remodel including things we wished we knew before we started. We remodeled this truck camper ourselves on a budget. Learn how we did it and even how much it cost to renovate a RV yourself!

DIY Truck Camper Remodel

Step 1:Purchase the Truck Camper You Want to Renovate

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We searched for months on Craigslist, Facebook market place, and even auctions to find what we were looking for. We couldn’t find it so we decided to buy the cheapest one we could find that appeared to be in the best shape and turn it into exactly what we wanted.

This was our first camper of any sort so we didn’t know all the best questions to ask but we have learned a lot since! Stay tuned for an article all about the things we wish we would have known before purchasing a truck camper.

We ended up finding our truck camper (a 2006 KZ Sportsman) on Facebook marketplace. It was listed for $6,500 and we negotiated down to $4,000 because the A.C. did not work (we later found out neither did the refrigerator and there was a crack in the gray water tank but that is a different story😂).

Step 2:Gather RV Renovation Inspiration & Make a Plan

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Browse Pinterest, Instagram, and Youtube of other truck camper remodels to get an idea of what you like. I created a board on our Pinterest page and pinned anything that stood out to me. I then narrowed down which materials and colors could potentially work in the space that we had. Pinterest was also a big help on what kind of paint and preparation would be needed on the odd laminate material that was throughout our truck camper.

Step 3:Talk to the RV Renovation Experts

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Because I am by NO means an expert.

After researching on Pinterest I had an idea of the color scheme I wanted and a vague idea of the paints and primers. It is always a good idea to talk to the experts to see what they suggest because you never know the experience level of the blogger that you may be basing your ideas off of. From my Pinterest research, many bloggers were suggesting Glidden Gripper and Kiltz primer.

I talked to the guys atBenjamin Moore and they said those primers would work but Stix primer was better (they sold all three types so no bias there). We had used Stix primer on the boat before so I was familiar with the product and went with their suggestion. For the topcoat on the walls, we went with Ultra Spec 500 (not the most expensive but not the cheapest either) in brilliant white with an eggshell finish. They suggested eggshell because it was easier to clean. For the topcoat on the cabinets, they suggested Cabinet Coat. We tinted it with #842 at 200%. It was expensive but they said it was worth it. If you paint cabinets with normal wall paint, let’s say Ultra Spec 500, when you open and close them you get a “sticky feeling” Cabinet Coat is a harder paint and it prevents that. I took their word for it.

I ended up painting our bunk cabinet with the Ultra Spec 500. The goal was to give the truck camper a little bit of contrast but I didn’t want to pay for another gallon of the Cabinet Coat in a different color. Now I totally get what they mean about the “sticky” feeling when opening and shutting. It still works but I would definitely suggest paying the extra money for the better quality paint.

Almost as important as a good quality paint is quality brushes and rollers. If you go the cheap route you will end up with bristles and fuzz coming off while you paint! Literally the most frustrating thing ever!

Step 4: Prep &Get Ready to Flip Your RV

Knowing the surface you are working with and the paint you are using will help you understand exactly how you need to prep. Our truck camper was “remodeled” by the previous owner and had wallpaper to cover the old school camper “wallpaper-like” walls.

First, I had to remove the wallpaper and any glue residue. Most came off super easy, for the more difficult areas I used a plastic razor blade and a little bit of Goo Gone. Next, I removed all the cabinet doors and all hardware. Labeling where everything goes will save you A LOT of time when you go to put them back on! I then used TSP cleaner to remove anything that could have built up on the walls and cabinets over the past 20 years (some paints do NOT suggest using this so read the label and ask the experts!). After everything was clean it was time to sand.

If you are like me and are wondering why on earth would you clean BEFORE you sand it is because if there is any grime on the walls and you sand it into the surface it will become almost impossible to remove and the paint will not adhere properly.

Anyhoo back to sanding. The goal is to rough up the surface and remove the shine so the primer and paint can stick to it. If this is not done properly your paint will peel off and it will be a major waste of time and money! (I learned this the hard way on one of our boat projects…) The guys at Benjamin Moore suggested around 180 Grit. I sanded the interior of our truck camper completely by hand because there were lots of cramped areas that were difficult to get an electric sander into. Black and Decker makes an electric compact detail sander but I did not want to purchase one just for this project.

To give you an idea of timing, removing the wallpaper took me two days. Removing the cabinet doors/hardware and cleaning took me another day. Sanding, my least favorite job, took me another two days.

After I was done sanding (make sure every surface has been hit!) it was time to clean again. This time I vacuumed all the dust and then wiped everything down with denatured alcohol.

We already had the sandpaper and denatured alcohol from other projects.

Step 5:Painting the RV

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Yay, my favorite part (well the first coat and the last coat anyways 🤣) I did two coats of the Stix primer on EVERYTHING and then did the Ultra Spec 500 on the walls and the upper bunks. I finished with two coats of colored Cabinet Coat. Tip: Make sure you read the labels on your paint and adhere to the proper redcoat/drying times.

While I was in the painting groove, I also spray painted all the hardware for the doors as well as the bathroom sink and faucet. Yes, this stuff was all sanded and cleaned prior to painting as well!

Step 6:Reassemble the RV

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After everything was completely dry I put all the hardware back on and reinstalled everything. This is where the labeling will save you time. Somehow I accidentally switched two of the cabinet doors and the hardware didn’t line up where it was supposed to on the wall so we had to drill new holes. LABEL EVERYTHING AS DETAILED AS POSSIBLE as soon as you remove it.

Step 7: Fixing RVCountertops on a Budget

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Next, I used marble contact paper that I bought on Amazon to spice up the countertops. I watched a couple of Youtube videos on how to install it and it was not as easy as it looked! Around the sinks and the oven was the hardest part. It is not a permanent solution but it was a cheap fix that made the space look 100X better right away.

Step 8: Replacing the RVFloors

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Our vinyl plank floors and a vinyl floor installation kit were purchased from Home Depot. I calculated the square footage of our floor and it came out to be just the right amount for one box. My dad then reminded me that I needed to take into account waste because you cut the floors to stagger them and I had Billy pick up another box. Unfortunately, we only ended up using a single plank from the second box 😬 If we knew that was going to be the case we probably could have figured out a way to stagger them better to use one less plank but oh well! They came out GREAT so I really cannot complain!

Step 9: Redo RV Tile Backsplash

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I wanted to add some tile behind the sink to give the space some more color. However, just like on our catamaran weight is an issue in a truck camper. I ended up finding Sticker Tile (thanks again Pinterest). It looks just like real tile, but it is way lighter and much easier to install. My dad helped me level them to make sure they were straight. We ensured we were cutting out the correct space for the outlet and the window – overall it was SUPER easy. It only took us about two hours. The sticker tile was more expensive than I hoped, but it really did transform the space! I even had enough left over to do a small strip in the bathroom.

Home Depot sold the same brand/color tile and they had a calculator to figure out how many packages I would need. They were sold out so I bought them on Amazon but the calculator was a big help!

Step 10: Reupholstering RVCushions

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The truck camper cushions were in okay shape but they were red and smelled a little like smoke so I decided to give it a go at making my own. I purchased a bunch of fabric samples at

For me, it was easier to see what color would go with our project with a physical sample rather than just an image online. You also get 10% off your order if you buy samples so that discount came in handy!

Salrite discount code = sample2020

Sailrite has amazing videos on YouTube explaining exactly how to make whatever kind of cushion you want. I decided to try the 30-minute box cushion because it looked the easiest. The video description tells you all the materials you need . Sailrite’s website has a fabric calculator. I was able to salvage the foam from the old cushions, so that saved us some money. The “30” minute cushion took me more like 3 hours the first time. Each one came out better and faster and I am actually pretty impressed on how they came out!

  • Fabric Samples: $14
  • 8 yards of Fabric: $70
  • Sailrite materials (marking pencils, needles, thread, basting tape zipper, zipper chain):$38

Step 11: Replacing the CamperMattress

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Sleeping on other people’s mattresses has always given me the eeeby jeebys so a new mattress was a priority.

I found a 6″ mattressand pillows on Amazon. They both arrived the next day and are extremely comfortable.

I found a nautical quilt set at Bealls that matched our cabinet color perfectly🤗

Step 12: DIYBarn Door

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The original bathroom door was on standard hinges and when opened it took up the entire hallway. We figured switching it out with a homemade barn door could be a great option to save some space and add a little farmhouse flair to our coastal look. To make it happen, we used two half sheets of interior birchwood plywood and some trim to make the door (we got the idea how to make it here). I found the perfect sized barn door hardware on Amazon. I think it turned out AMAZING and is so much more functional than the previous door.

Step 13:Organize Tiny Spaces

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We have always lived in small spaces but this truck camper is the smallest yet. Figuring out where to put all our clothes, cooking supplies, food, and everything else was a real challenge but baskets and cabinet stands came in handy to optimize space.

  • Cabinet Shelves: $12
  • Storage Baskets: $15
  • Kitchen Baskets: $38
  • Clothes Baskets: $50

I found most of our organizing shelves and baskets at Marshall’s but here are a few similar products

VOILA! Our Budget-Friendly Camper Remodel

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I love how it came out and I am super impressed we did it all on our own.

The total cost of our truck camper remodel came to under $1,200.

If you are thinking about remodeling your own camper I hope this can help you:)

You can watch the entire process of this remodel here ↓

DIY TRUCK CAMPER REMODEL - Tula's Endless Summer (2024)


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