retro design camper interior takes shape


With the Westfalia inspired overhead locker and table made, time to sort out the finish for the interior plywood panels. I’m continuing with the distressed typography and vintage map inspired look from the overhead locker as the basis for the overall interior theme. So again, time to get a little creative (and destructive) with some more original letterpress posters by graphic artist, printmaker and designer Anthony Burrill – sometimes you have to break things to make new things!

front and shelf of the overhead locker complete ready for final fittings

front and shelf of the overhead locker complete ready for final fittings

Before starting on the layout and cutting up of the posters, I thought I would take the opportunity to protect and seal the back of the ply boards by giving them all a coat of undercoat/primer before a final top coat of eggshell white paint. This should help prevent the ingress of moisture into the wood. Now I’m working on much bigger areas I swapped using my 38mm/1 ½" paint brush to a mini paint roller as this really helped speed up the process.

protecting the panel backs with coats of primer, undercoat and top coat paint

protecting the panel backs with coats of primer, undercoat and top coat paint

Doing the interior panels is turning into a bit of an industrial process! There are a total of twelve panels to work on which pretty much takes up all of where I live when you’re trying to find places for the panels to stand to let the paint dry! It’s a good job that Lorna is away at college at the moment, as not sure my work takeover of all available floor spaces would be too popular at the moment! I’ve become a practitioner of what Le Corbusier claimed when he said ‘A house is a machine for living in’ 🙂

old skool graphic poster layout fun on the floor

old skool graphic poster layout fun on the floor

To make things simpler (in my mind at least), I decided to do everything stage by stage, rather than try to complete one panel at a time. This way I can do all the layout/cutting in one go, before moving onto the stages of mass glueing and varnishing etc. This made things slightly easier, but still chaotic in the tiny domestic confines of taking over floor space for layout, cutting and paint drying space. Fortunately the weather has mostly been good, so the batch processing of the work is working pretty well. I can get the artwork cut up and glued in place outside in the yard in the sun. You would think this would also be an idea place to let things dry as well. Unfortunately not, too many seagulls to risk leave the work outside for toilet target practice… the downside of life by the sea! 🙁

cutting the letterpress posters down to size and fixing in place

cutting the letterpress posters down to size and fixing in place

Once done, the panels get brought inside to dry. It’s at this point I rapidly run out of floor space! I soon realised with the large number of panels to do that I needed to order some more PVA glue to make up sufficient quantities of my alternative homemade Mod podge PVA mix to do all of the decoupage work. The same applied to the matt varnish. As you need to build up the finish with multiple coats of Ronseal Diamond Hard Interior quick drying Matt Varnish, my initial 750ml tin soon ran out, so I ordered a bigger 2.5litre tin for the rest of the panels.

retro Ordnance Survey and vintage geological maps for the rear of the bus

retro Ordnance Survey and vintage geological maps for the rear of the bus

Keeping on with the map theme in the rear cargo shelf area of the bus, I had kept an old retro Ordnance Survey map of where I grew up as a kid which I would have used when I was in the Boy Scouts. There was also a funky coloured vintage Geological map of the UK we had come across years ago. These should work well under the Westfalia inspired overhead locker.  The whole thing is quite a time-consuming process start to finish, so if you wanted a quick interior set of panels, this probably isn’t the way to go! However, I wanted something distinctive to us, so hopefully the investment of time will be worth it in the end…

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