Framing camper van walls is like a very big, frustrating puzzle. One of the things that took the longest and was the hardest for us to figure out was framing the van. Just like a house has framing, making a frame in a van conversion is so important. This helps to make the structure strong and hold up over time.
Dylan and I built our entire van ourselves, so we had to figure out each step as we went. We have a Ram Promaster, which is great because there are straight lines to work with, but it’s still very complicated. After conducting a lot of research on Google and YouTube, we still couldn’t find a great answer. Because we didn’t want to drill holes in our van, we decided to use rivet nuts. Our frame utilizes the straight lines and is as simple as possible. Below you can read the step by step on how to frame the van or watch more of our van build here.
*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may get commission from links you click at no additional cost to you.
You Might Also Like these Posts: 69c695
Table of Contents
How to Frame Your Van
Materials We Used
- 1x3x8 Furring Strips (12)
- 2x4x2 Pre Cut Wood
- M8 Rivet Nuts
- ½ inch Birch Plywood
- M8 Bolts
- M10 Rivet Nuts
- M10 Bolts
- Rivet Tool
- Wood Glue
Steps to Frame Your Camper Van Walls
1. Measure the Area
The first thing you’ll want to do is measure all the areas that you think you will want to add framing. This way you’ll know what dimensions you are working with and how much wood you’ll need. We measured the ceiling width, the heights of the ceiling to floors, and the horizontal lengths across the sides of the van.
2. Make a Plan or Sketch it Out
Once we had made all of our measurements and written them down we started to plan how we were framing the van. We decided to make it as simple as possible and to use the lines that already existed in the van. Then, we put horizontal strips on the top and middle, with vertical ones that connected to them. Dylan and I decided to use plywood to do the ceiling strips, because it bent more easily.
3. Cut the Wood
After you have made all your measurements and plans, you can begin to cut the wood. We used the furring strips for the sides, the 2x4s for the top part of the van sides, small wood pieces for the front, and plywood for the ceiling.
4. Plan Rivet Nut Holes
Now that you have your wood cut, you can plan where you’ll need to put rivet nuts. There were a lot of areas that already had good holes to use, but there were a couple places we had to drill extra holes. When we did this, we were very careful to vacuum the area around it and to paint the holes with rustoleum.
5. Install Rivet Nuts
In order to install the rivet nuts, you will need to use a rivet tool. This tool is around $40, but it is so useful. You can install the rivet nuts with the rivet tools around the van, which can take a bit of time.
6. Drill Holes for Bolts
After you have all the rivet nuts in, you will need to measure the wood to make holes for the bolts. To do this, you simply measure the distance from the end to the middle of each rivet nut and then mark it on your wood. You should be very exact with your measurements, because otherwise the bolts will go crooked and may get stuck in the rivets. Then you’ll want to use the correct drill bit size for the bolts that you have.
7. Place Wood & Install Bolts
Finally, you can start placing your wood throughout the van. We started with the furring strips and bolted them in, then we did the ceiling, and finally we did the top side pieces.
8. Glue Miscellaneous Pieces
There are a few places that are hard to frame, like the area in the front. We cut out the part of the fabric in the front and then we wood glued little wood pieces up there. These helped us install our ceiling later.
Our Build Time & Budget
Total Time: 12 Hours
Total Cost: $223.54
Overall, framing the van was a difficult step, but we felt very accomplished once we had completed it. If we could do it again, we would go a little farther in on the back sides so that there was more width in the van, but this process would still be the same!
Was this guide on framing camper van walls helpful? Let me know in the comments and send pictures of your build!