Part 3 – Van Furniture 🔨

Let me just begin by saying, we are in no shape or form cabinet makers or woodworkers. This was my first major attempt at making furniture and after a few failing attempts, I am proud enough of the final result. Some cabinet doors are crooked, and it’s okay.

When we got the van, we already had a pretty good idea of what our needs was. We are not planning on living in it full time so that saved us from needing to built extra storage, bathroom  & sink etc…

What we need: A bed, basic storage and a counter where we could do some work on.

Making the plans

As previously mentioned in an earlier blog post, we made plans and created a cardboard version of everything we wanted. It helped us visualized the space with the furniture in it. If you’re unsure as to what to do for a layout, this is the way to start!


Cardboard layout



  • 2x3s used for the main frame so it can withstand both of our weight.
    • I could of gone lighter, but this way it gives me a peace of mind.
  • 1/4″ plywood to cover most of the sides and top lid.
  • Simple Hinges to easily access the storage compartment underneath.

Kitchen Counter:

  • 1×3 boards for the cabinet front face & part of the frame.
  • 1/2″ plywood used for the overall frame
  • Hinges for the bottom compartment
  • 2 x 16″ drawer slides for the upper drawer

Desk Counter:

  • 1×3 boards used to make the cabinet front face & part of the frame.
  • 1/2″ plywood used for the overall frame
  • Hinges for the cabinet doors.


  • Cordless 18v Drill
  • Cabinet screws
  • Wood glue
  • Jigsaw
  • Kreg Pocket Hole Jig
  • T-Square ruler
  • Tape measurer

Now, you’re probably thinking what kind of mad skills did I have to figure out all of this?
None, nada, zero skills. Thanks to YouTube and its endless supply of tutorials, I was able to figure out to create the initial frames for these and got creative with the rest.

I have to thank Lowe’s wood cutting for letting me cut A TON of plywood and boards to the size I needed without charging me. I always had my plans in hand with diagrams of each cuts I needed. After a few trips and wood cutting request, I started tipping the employee who helped me with my crazy requests.



Cutting Center at Lowe’s: A life saver…

By having it cut there, it saved me HOURS of cutting at home with a jigsaw and attempt straight and consistent lines. I still had to do many of the final cuts at home, hence why some of the cabinet doors are slightly crooked. Oops! Oh well!


Cutting station at home…


Once I had all the pieces cut to the right size, I used a Kreg Jig to make pocket screw holes on the boards and then assembled them. Sounds easy, right? In theory, it was. I had to redo the kitchen cabinet due to my poor math skills as I made it too wide and tall. I’m not going to lie, I got really frustrated over some boards not lining up right or splitting as I drilled into them or the million trips to the store because I forgot something. This whole experience, so far, has taught me a lot.


Mostly assembled.

Next steps

In the upcoming days, we’ll stain & coat the countertops. We’ll anchor and paint the cabinets. We’ll add some handles, sew cushions together and start ‘moving in’ our backpacking gear in there.


Staining process

We’re hoping to get this done in the upcoming week. We haven’t gone backpacking in MONTHS 😱 😱😱 and we’re slightly going C-R-A-Z-Y out here (and out of trail shape… yikes!).

Happy building!! 🔨


2 thoughts on “Part 3 – Van Furniture 🔨

Leave a Reply to Melanie Levesque Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s