Fully transformed Camper Van for only £1000-Budget Breakdown

We hadn't planned to refit Florence when we started, it was something we wanted to do, one day when we could afford it. But Florence needed welding, it couldn't wait, she was rotting away and wouldn't last another season. Due to fire risk we had to remove the interior fittings, if you've ever tried to disassemble old Melamine furniture, you will know once it comes apart it is never going back together again. So we resigned ourselves to the fact, if we wanted Florence on the road for the Summer, we had no choice but to rebuild everything from scratch ourselves, the only problem, we really didn't have any spare money! We had to do this as cheap as possible, use all of our skills to source everything at the lowest possible price. What we did have was the original electrics and water tank, this obviously saved a lot of money and labour costs. Our daughter was due to go away on a school trip for a week on June 11th, that would be a rare opportunity to have a whole week away, by the time she came home from the welder, we had just 6 weeks left to get her completely finished in time for this deadline!

Before and after the interior was removed, it was hard to believe we would ever get her finished at this point!

Tools

The following breakdown of our expenditures do not take into account the cost of tools used. We had some of ours already, others we sourced as cheap as possible, you may be able to borrow the tools or have friend/family member who can get you access to a workshop? These are the tools we used for our van conversion>>

  • Chop Saw (cutting mitre joints for frames) 
  • Jig Saw (cutting corners and the sink hole) 
  • Cordless Screwdriver 
  • Hammer hand Drill (drilling metal pilot holes) 
  • Palm Sander Orbital Sander 
  • Basic hand tools 
  • Sewing Machine
  • Paint Brushes

Timber

The theme for our wood started with the worktop, a solid oak worktop we found for a bargain price on eBay. The first piece of furniture made was the overbed lockers, Scott commissioned the local wood recycling centre to copy the existing locker, paying £100, which seemed a good price, what we received was poor workmanship, Scott realised he could have made these himself after all and so he improved these and set to making the rest of the furniture himself. Without the labour you can see he only had to spend £50 on wood for the rest of the rustic furniture from the wood recycling centre, a massive saving! The bed frame used new pine wood, bought from a DIY shop, as he needed wood of matching length and strength for this job. Our favourite wood is the old carpenters box, we bought this from a flea market in Aberystwyth and repurposed it cutting it in to sections to create a kilner jar storage box, a cutlery drawer, a box shelf we use as a herb garden and a map shelf, nothing was wasted even keeping the original handle. We bought super cheap tongue and groove from Wickes, which was lightweight and very thin, easy to fit, perfect for our needs. With only a small floor area, we were able to pick a laminate flooring we loved, only needing one pack, it was our last thing that we fitted and transformed the space.

Category

Item

Price

Timber

Oak Kitchen worktop – Reclaimed offcut

£40

 

Cherry Kitchen worktop extension – Reclaimed offcut

£10

 

Lockers above bed – Reclaimed timber and Labour by local wood recycling centre

£100

 

Reclaimed timber from recycling centre used in: over cab locker, under bed cupboard doors, kitchen cupboard door, dining table

£50

 

New pine timber for bed frame

£60

 

Timber strips for blinds

£20

 

Tongue and groove

£40

 

Old carpenters box, bought from a flea market, used for box shelves

£23

 

Small wooden crates, bought from a reclamation yard

£5

 

Laminate flooring

£30

 

Timber Total

£378

Textiles

So one thing we learned during our refit - Fabric is expensive! We had to do some work arounds to bring the cost down. We started with an ex fabric sample book that we bought in a designer fabric store, this contained sheets of gorgeous A3 upholstery fabric, we could never have afforded off the roll, we used this in the headboard and the cab seats upholstery. Whilst it looked great, a word of warning on this project idea, it's a lot of work! There are sticky plastic borders stitched onto the back, which I had to iron to remove, it was a sticky mess and didn't always work, it took ages! Then all the fabric had to be stitched together patchwork style, it added hours of labour time, I love it now it's finished, I wouldn't like to do it again lol We bought some end of roll fabric at a third of the original price from Dun-Elm, it wasn't exactly what we wanted but a compromise due to the price. I wanted to use Linen, but who knew it was so expensive, my solution, Dunelm had a sale on linen tablecloths, I bought those and stitched them together!

Category

Item

Price

Textiles

Sample book of upholstery fabric, used in cab chairs

£20

 

Stripy fabric used in curtains and blinds 6.5metres (end of roll £2.99 a metre)

£19

 

Linen fabric used in curtains and blinds, made from 3 tablecloths, which were on sale

£24.50

 

Stripe upholstery fabric

£30

 

Linen for cushions

£20

 

Cord for blinds

£5

 

Velcro – used to attach blinds

£10

 

2x Large pillow blanks

£18

 

Foam for bench seat

£8

 

Textiles Total

154.50

Decorating

We discovered after buying our first pots of silk wood paint and varnish, there are paint recycling centres with these materials at a fraction of the shop price, so we started expensive and then got the rest cheap. Tiles are also more expensive than we realised, due to the windows being curved, we went with mosaic as we could work around the frame easier. There were end of line cheaper tiles available if curves are not an issue, which would save a few pounds. Carpet on the walls is something I wanted to avoid, but Scott made me realise in certain places its very difficult to find any other solution, I couldn't find one! It was inexpensive on Ebay.

Category

Item

Price

Decorating

Silk White wood paint

£18

 

Medium oak wood varnish

£32

 

Border Tiles behind kitchen x 6

£22

 

Tile adhesive

£4.50

 

Carpet for walls

£30

 

Decorating Total

£106.50

Everything Else

The Tap was really simple to make using push fit plumbing supplies, normally used under the sink. Scott bought one of those huge tubs of screws, thinking he would have loads left, he used all of these and way more! We found that shops like B&Q are very expensive for screws, we had a smaller local shop called Nuts and Bolts where we were able to save a good few quid, so look out for that kind of shop in your area. We used the silver bubble insulation to save space, bought on eBay, easy to put up. The LED lights were using the Ikea 12v LED light hack we bought these on eBay for cheaper than Ikea itself. I was able to blag a free mattress after working on a mattress advert film shoot, always ask when you need something, the answer might just be yes! The Flavel B600 cooker was an eBay purchase, it was so cute we just had to have it, it's performed really well and has opened up a whole world of cooking options, Scott found the original instructions too, which is useful as there's no temperature gauge. The sink was our ultimate bargain carboot sale find, we were going to carboot sales every weekend during our renovation, on the lookout for useful van things.

Category

Item

Price

Other

Parts for Tap

£12

 

Water Plumbing

£25

 

Gas plumbing

£25

 

Sanding discs for woodwork

£16

 

Screws/Nails

£40

 

Iron Mongery

£55

 

No More nails and wood glue

£9

 

Insulation and Glue

£50

 

LED Lights and wiring

£30

 

Plug socket with USB ports

£6

 

Memory foam Mattress – Donated to us

£0

 

Cooker

£85

 

Sink

£8

 

Other Total

£361

Total Expenditure £1000

And we made our 6 week deadline of June 11th, early starts, late nights, hard work. Tired and weary, we set off at 10pm towards our destination. We had a wonderful week in the Lake District, proud of what we had achieved. Here's to many, many more adventures!

See more pictures of our van build 



15 thoughts on “Fully transformed Camper Van for only £1000-Budget Breakdown”

  • She’s lovely! I’m especially in admiration of the cooker. Hope you have lots of wonderful adventures.

  • Hi there, we’ve just subscribed and are enjoying your YouTube adventures, one query although a bit personal is, do you have a toilet on board as you seem to wild camp a lot.
    We have been caravaners for years and in our late 60’s now, plus we do tent camping also.
    All the best, John and Val

  • Hi, I just bought myself a talbot express Camelot. So seeing what you’ve done is very inspiring! One thing I’m wondering: did you do the ceiling as well? Also, can you tell me what the existing insulation was like? Thank you :))) Katie

    • Hi Katie, congratulations on your new adventure van 🤗 We left our ceiling as it was. The original insulation had completely deteriorated, we used silver bubble insulation, which only offers a very limited level of insulation. Heating has been essential in our van and we now have a propex heater.

      • Thanks for your reply :))
        I’m thinking of using the van as it is now for the summer, so I can get an idea of what works for me in the space. Then next autumn I might rip it all out and start again. I wish you lots and lots more happy adventures. Katie

  • Hi to you both. Loving what you have done to your camper. I have just purchased a Camelot and am new to all this. My question relates to the cupboards and if taking them out affects the structure of the van? Good luck in your future ventures.

  • Hi it’s me again. I’ve started taking out all the cupboards and wanted to ask if you had to rewire. Also did you board the floor over the top or take the floor out and start with a level floor. Finally do you now keep your gas bottle in the cupboard by the cooker. Thankyou for your previous response. I am so inspired by you both x

    • Hey, we did not need to rewire bit Scott did add some new lights use the Ikea LED hack, worth looking up. We put laminate flooring on top of the floor that was originally there. Our gas is LPG and we have an under slung tank 😊

What do you think? Any Questions?