DIY Camper Renovation on a Budget: Part 1

This summer we took on the ultimate crafting project: renovating our 1960’s camper into a kit & sis crafting mobile! We figured with a little bit of research, time and patience we’d create our dream crafting mobile and keep the project with our budget too!

While scouring the web for the ultimate how-to guide, we struggled to find resources on renovating campers and a guide for painting outdoor vehicles. After our own research, experience, and working with the expert at our local hardware store - we’ve got the step by step process for you! You can watch the video guide here: 


Repainting the exterior of the trailer took us a total of 2 days from start to finish and including drying time. We painted the trailer in June in California, so the weather was between 79-85 degrees. It’s important to be conscious of the temperature, especially for the surfaces that are facing direct sunlight. 


  1. Powerwasher
  2. Windex
  3. Exacto Knife
  4. Caulking
  5. Primer: Interior/Exterior Primer
  6. Paint: Behr Premium Urethan Alykd Semi-Gloss Enamel
  7. 8 plastic tarps
  8. 2 rolls of .75 inch painters tape
  9. Bristle Paint Brushes
  10. Detail Paint Brush
  11. 9 x .⅜ inch Paint Roller
  12. ½ inch Paint Roller
  13. Paint Roller Extension Pole
  14. 8ft Ladder


1. Cleaning the exterior

Before we began painting the trailer we powerwashed the interior and scrubbed it with soap. Once rinsed, we let the exterior dry while we dried off the windows and cleaned them with Windex.

2. Cleaning the interior

While the exterior continued drying, we vacuumed the inside of the trailer and cleaned off all surfaces. 

3. Removing old Sealant

This step is 100% optional and depends on the condition of your camper.

We noticed the sealant around the windows was peeling off and turning brown. Using an exacto knife, we removed the sealant and filled it in with quick drying caulking.

It is important to read the dry-time for your caulking - ours took 90 minutes to dry. 

4. Laying down tarps

Once the pavement beneath the trailer is dry, lay out your tarps. Make sure to secure the tarps under the trailer to catch any paint drippings.

5. Tape off trailer

Once the trailer was 100% dry,we used painters tape to tape off any surfaces that we did not want painted. We taped off the window frames, the hitch, electric outlets, door knob, and any other hardware.

6. Begin Priming

Using the 9 inch roller, we started with our first layer of primer. Since we started during the peak heat, we saved priming the roof until sunset. 

  • We used the bristle brush to cover any tricky corners and small spots.
  • The roller extension pole was a MUST for painting the roof.

The first coat of primer dried in 2 hours and then we started with our second coat. Since our trailer was black and we were painting it white, we chose to do 2 coats of Primer.

7. Time to Paint!

Using clean brushes and rollers we started painting the trailer, making sure to move the brush in the same direction.

  • We used the detail brush to cover any tricky corners and small spots.

The first coat dried in 3 hours. We chose to do a second coat of paint in order to achieve a solid white color. 

8. Removing the tape

After finishing the second coat of paint, we let the trailer dry overnight before removing the tape. As we removed the tape, we made sure to hold the tape at a 45* angle to limit as little paint from coming up as possible.

9. Touch-Ups

After ripping off the tape, we noticed some areas of the paint peeled off with the tape and some areas were covered in paint (that weren’t supposed to be). 

  • Using the detail brush, we fixed up any spots that had missing paint,
  • Using accentone (AND wearing gloves), we removed any spots that had unwanted paint.

Stay tuned for Part 2! The inside of the trailer, the decals and the CUSTOM built awning!

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