DIY Van Conversion Pictures and Tutorials

The ultimate DIY project for any adventure seeker is, by far, a DIY Van Conversion.  But, adventure seekers BEWARE!

Converting a van yourself, is highly addictive.  

Especially if you are an idea maker, a dreamer, or a perfectionist.  You may find there is always room for a design tweak, and new ideas for functionality keep coming.  But don’t let that detour you, because a DIY van conversion project can be quite a fun creative outlet.  If you like to live your life by the day, and not by a set of plans, living in a van may be just what you didn’t know you were searching for.

A couple years ago I had no idea that living in a van was possible.  I also had no idea that converting a van was something you could do by yourself, with minimal tools, and little building knowledge.  And here we are.  

17 months ago we purchased an empty 2005 158WB high top Mercedes Sprinter Van.  It came complete with linoleum flooring, a non working air condition system, and a lack of power steering.  The mileage on the body was nearing 600k, but we could see the potential.  We could taste the adventure it would bring.  We used the money we had from selling our travel trailer, and bought the van.

After 4 months into the conversion, we decided to start the adventure, and headed for a beach front Christmas in California with our 4 1/2 month old baby girl.  (See 4 month progress pictures) 

We traveled, and built the van on the road for 9 months.  We took a break from traveling to redesign some of the build, and make it more functional for our now 18 month old baby.  As of February, we are officially back on the road, seeking the scenic route!

Below is a list of some completed parts of our DIY Van Conversion project.  Keep checking back for new build out tutorials and design ideas.  I always add the links here.  

You can expect many more diy van conversion ideas coming soon, as we ARE idea makers, dreamers, and perfectionists.  We also have a growing baby, a pup, and a love for too many activities that keeps our van in need of constant new designs.

DIY Van Conversion projects currently being tweaked

DIY Van Conversion Dickinson Marine fireplace for tiny spaces

  1. Off Grid Heat : Dickinson Marine wood burning stove
  2. Raising the bed for surf and snowboard storage
  3. Baby’s new bed and playroom
  4. Painting the entry step, interior doors, and seat boxes
  5. Painting the entire Van with spray paint

DIY Van Conversion projects completed

DIY Van Conversion food storage shelf
Demolition and Clean up

Repair: Belt Tensioner

Triple Layer Insulation: Reflectix, Thinsulate, Vapor Barrier 

Window Insulation: DIY Blackout Shades

4 months progress pictures

Under Bed Storage Design (and redesign)

Headboard & Nightstand Shelf

Dry Goods Storage: Floating Pantry Shelf

Installing Extra Seats: Aka The Couch

$35 diy Off Grid Air Conditioner

If any post is missing images you’d like to see, please comment on it, and I’d be happy to add a few more!

DIY Van Conversion projects coming soon to the blog

DIY Van Conversion sunroof
Solar Power

ARB Fridge/Freezer

Ventilation: Fantastic Fan and floor vent

Sun/ Moon Roof

Vinyl Flooring

Bus seats and Storage

Baby Bunk Bed Shelf

Travel Kitchen

Travel Pottie

Outside Shower 

If you see any ideas that interest you, it would be super awesome of you to pin it to your Pinterest. 🙂

Thanks for following our scenic route!


  1. Megan golden

    April 14, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    I would love to see a post on the seats behind the driver. Installation and product etc. we would like to incorporate more and safe seating for future car seats and kiddos in our conversion! Thank you! Love the blog!

    1. Julie Ann

      April 17, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      Hi Megan, I’d be happy to do a post on our extra seats! We bought them off a bus that was being converted to a mobile soda truck for events. Since adding seats takes up so much real estate in the van, we installed them sideways, facing the sliding door, so they can double as a couch with a view. If you check out our instagram, there are a few pictures for you to view right now!

    2. Sarah

      April 24, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      I second that! How to install safely?

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