Camper Update: This Ceiling Is Bananas

Guys I can't wait to show you how the ceiling in my camper has turned out!!!

I partnered with Milton & King on this project which was awesome because from the start I knew I wanted to wallpaper the ceiling of this camper. They have so many great options and I wanted this place to be a bit wild. The biggest surface area to do it on is the ceiling. Liz Kamarul's RV was an initial source of inspiration. 

It wasn't my intention to do tropical like she did. At first I was thinking about something a little more geometric and subtle like the one on the left. Then one day on the way to school, my 4 year old daughter says, "Mommy, I think we should do palm trees on the ceiling in the camper." I don't even know if she knew I was doing something on the ceiling. I'm don't know where that came from, but I did have the Jungle Palm wallpaper on the right in the back of my mind and asked, "How about banana trees?" She screamed, "BANANAS!" which I took to mean "Hell yes." and so the decision was made. The wild factor in this camper multiplied by 100 thanks to my design assistant.

Then the doubt set in. I'm about to install banana wallpaper on a ceiling. In a camper. I've never installed real wallpaper, only peel and stick. And did I mention in a CAMPER. Also did I mention that I am alone in this renovation? I've been determined to do most of this camper reno myself bc honestly I need a long LONG break from contractors. But, anyway, I realized that I cannot in fact install wallpaper on a ceiling by myself. So, I enlisted the help of my husband. My husband geeks out as a system's engineer and programmer wallpapering is not in his list of repertoires. This should be interesting. At the time I wanted the wallpaper go up, he was preparing for a very important upcoming conference. I had to wait. I wanted the wallpaper to go up first thing after painting in case any goop dropped down from the ceiling or something of that nature. Why go and put new floors, cushions and kitchen stuff in if the ceiling was going to rain goop? You see how this is becoming dramatic?

Let me paint a picture for you about how this was to go down. The camper is parked at a storage lot. No water. No electricity. No one to install wallpaper for you. My daughter and her friend were also with us. Let me remind you they are 4. So, when the day came I was at anxiety threat level: MIDNIGHT.

Luckily, inside the camper we had two very long benches to prep everything on and I didn't quite care if I scored right through the paper to the bench. It would be covered with paint and a cushion eventually. Here are the materials we used including this glue from Home Depot. Believe it or not it is not that easy to find wallpaper materials these days even though wallpaper is all the rage.

So, we finally got started after weeks and weeks of self imposed stress. Would it be falling down everywhere? Would we be able to match up the seems? Would we kill each other? So many questions. And guess what....

IT WAS EASY.

The most difficult part about this process was thinking about it.

I mean why WHY did I let this get so built up in my head? All we did was paint the glue on the ceiling with a paint brush. Then we lifted up a sheet together and got it lined up. We didn't fight! I mean we aren't really fighters but you know when frustration is high, barking ensues. But, no need for that because this was EASY.

We worked in small sections so we didn't have to hold up a really long piece and try to work around too many obstacles at once. In the camper there are a ton of obstacles like curved walls, cabinetry, more cabinetry, appliances and doors all within a foot or inches of each other. So, small pieces it was.

We were even able to match up the pattern pretty well considering the non-straightness of....um everything. We layered up the paper in spots so that it matched and honestly you can see the layered areas but you can't. I mean who will be inspecting the ceiling except us at this very moment?

It easily could've taken us 3-4 hours to complete but we instead stopped after 2 hours because 4 year olds. We came back the next day and finished up within an hour or so. I think Dusty was probably getting sick of me saying "OMG OMG OMG I FREAKING LOVE THIS!" and "DUSTY, I'M SO HAPPY WE DID THIS AND WE DIDN'T WANT TO KILL EACH OTHER."

It really was so easy. I encourage anyone to give it a try. If you know how to work a paint brush and a have a buddy to help out, you'll golden. Check out Milton & King's full inventory of wallpaper! They have so many options!

 

 

 

 

 

Camper Update: DIY Geo Dinette Table

Geometric Basswood Camper Table

One of the very first projects, besides painting the interior, was making this dinette table! I originally had the idea that I would have If You Give A Girl A Saw make one for me. But, if you follow her you know, she is very busy. At the time I wanted to order her shop was down with no reopen date reported so, I decided I'd make one. This would be a chance to put that chop saw I have to work for the second or maybe third time ever. 

Here was the inspiration for the table.

Obviously the pattern she did here is amazing. But, look at that coffee. Delicious. And a green mug. My camper color scheme has green in it. Staging works my friend. I was sold.

In order to make this as easy as possible, I thought I'd take the old table and just glue the pieces of wood on top. I saw an episode of The Weekender (around 16:20) where she uses balsa wood on a cart and thought this will be perfect. Cheap craft wood is the way to go. Thin, easy to cut, beginner friendly.... but, after seeing balsa wood in person at Michael's, I could tell that would be way too soft. It's so soft that you can dent it with just your fingernail. That's no good for a table top. What I did see at Michael's was a harder wood called basswood. Unfortunately, they had only 1- 2 pieces of each width. Hobby Lobby same problem. So, I went to good ole Amazon and bought a batch of it.

A full list of the materials will be at the bottom of this post. This post contains affiliate links.

The basswood arrived and I got to work. First thing, I learned which I probably should've checked in the first place is that the old table was crap. It was particle board with a thin laminate on top. It was crumbling and no bueno as a base. I had to buy a new base so I headed to Home Depot and bought a good piece of cabinet grade plywood. I didn't want it to have a bunch of knots in it and make my table all bumpy. I also didn't want it to warp. I bought a 4' x 8' piece and had them cut it to the size of my table and had ample leftovers I could save for other projects.

Finally after all of this running around I was able to start actually working on the damn table. I started by configuring the pattern. I split down the middle both directions and marked it off on the plywood. Honestly, this plywood is so pretty it could've been the table on it's own.

Next I figured out the angles. I had been taking an architectural drafting class which came in handy. I had some triangles (not pictured) to help with determining the necessary angles. 

Making the first cuts for my geometric table
Making cuts

First I cut every piece to cover the board. I wasn't sure if I was just going to paint on the actual pattern at this point or cut the pieces into a pattern and then just paint those actual pieces.

Look, I'm a newb. I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm winging it. So long as you get that. This post is as much of a what not to do as what TO DO. But, in the end you know I made a table so the lesson here is just try and maybe you'll end up with something you can use. LOL. 

Next thing was cutting the ends off so it was close to the size of the actual table. I left a little overhang so I had some to cut off if necessary instead being too short.

If I look back now I think I wish the pattern chosen a narrower basswood but honestly figuring out the angles and cutting all of these pieces was enough for me. Design-wise I'd prefer the narrower pieces but DIY-project-wise I'm glad I had the wider pieces and less cuts, angles and pieces to deal with.

Next, I decided to go ahead and cut the pattern into the pieces instead of just painting it. I wanted this to be "legit". During the first cuts I learned that if I moved the saw super fast that the wood would splinter, so this time I was sure to go slow and smooth. Why call it a chop saw if you can't karate chop it down!? Makes no sense to me.

After cutting the pieces I painted the appropriate parts. Next up was gluing it all down. This part just about ruined everything. The thing is that this basswood is super thin and probably the downfall of the entire project (except it worked so maybe I'm exaggerating). Once I glued it down with construction adhesive it started to curl. I checked in with my guy Joe Wood at All Around Joe in Cincinnati. He was my long time contractor when I lived there and gives me pro-tips when I've gotten myself into a situation like this. He recommended I clamp down some wood over top to help secure it. Probably would've worked except I didn't have clamps. I used paint cans and heavy tools and everything under the sun that would fit. I wish I had a photo of this because it was a shit show. Anyway, the next day I come to see the results and it was good.... not great. A spot where I used an unopened tool still in its box to hold it down didn't stay down like I wanted it to. It curled and buckled in areas as seen in the crappy photo below.

You can also see where the adhesive squeezed through in some spots. That I wasn't too worried about, I could sand it out. I re-adhered any areas that popped up and then got to work sanding away the adhesive and any lumpy areas. This is not that legit of a project. I'm aware. I also sanded the edges away. You can see below that they were rough where I cut them close but not exact. I was afraid using a saw would really tear this wood up so sanding it nice and slow was the best option. The photo below is before I re-glued the edges.

Then the corners I rounded off with the sander so no body stabbings will take place while maneuvering around the table in the camper.

So at this point the table is just about done, just cleaning up and putting a finish on it. Some of the paint was sanded away when I was sanding off the adhesive and trying to flatten some bumpy areas. So, I taped off the pattern and touched up the paint.

FINALLY, it was time to put a finish coat on it. In order to make this thing as flat as possible and fill in any gabs and unwanted "character" I decided to use an extra thick poly. I was hoping it would act as a kind of epoxy. It did a pretty good job but couldn't fix all of my mistakes. :)

Here's the table all done!

And then I left it outside for a few days and it rained. I live in the desert. It doesn't rain. Anyway, I cried internally and then brought it inside. After a day of drying the warping of the basswood subsided and it settled back into place. I put another poly coat on it to seal it all together a little more. 

Next, I stole the old hardware off the old table including the cross supports underneath. This table is meant to convert to a bed and hold someone sleeping so the supports were necessary. 

AND TADAAAAAA.....ALL DONE!

There are some obvious flaws, such as some warping in the one corner but since I've never made a table before, and used a chop saw for only like the 3rd time ever, I'm pretty happy with the outcome!

Stay tuned for a bunch of camper updates! A bunch of projects are being completed and in the pipeline for new posts. There are a bunch of wild DIY projects here I can't wait to share with you!

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