time to break something to make something new


The decoupage process of gluing the original vintage world map to the underside of the locker shelf took a bit of work to complete. Stepping up from small test pieces to a large map was quite a challenge! After it was initially glued in place, it got another couple of coats of my special PVA glue mix to seal it. Then the finishing processes began… to give it some long-term, hard-wearing protection, it got lots of coats of Ronseal Diamond Hard Interior quick drying Matt Varnish with a light sanding of the surface between coats to help produce a smoother final finish.

vintage world map for the base of the overhead locker

vintage world map for the base of the overhead locker

Once the shelf was complete, time to move onto the front of the locker. I wanted to create a punk/grunge typography style finish to the front of the unit. Being a designer that loves typography, this seemed a fun way to do the interior of the bus, especially as technically it is classified as a VW Type 2 – see what I did there? 😉  To do this, three letterpress posters by graphic artist, printmaker and designer Anthony Burrill got cut up for the design! Sometimes you have to break things to make things! The feature poster being ‘It is ok for me to have everything I want’ on a green background. This is my loose take on called KintsugiThe Japanese Art of recognizing beauty in broken things. Although things may look rough and random, to take care and precision to achieve the look I was after! Being fussy about things, I wanted to ensure that the posters/letters lined through across the opening and the crops were just so. It was all initially set up and glued in place with the door taped in position from behind. It took a bit of planning and was tricky to execute, but I think the little extra effort was worth it! Once all the original posters were cut and glued in place, I used a scalpel to cut the door free to continue the work, knowing that now, everything would line up perfectly when finished! 🙂

three Anthony Burrill letterpress posters cut up for the locker front

three Anthony Burrill letterpress posters cut up for the locker front

Like the shelf, the letterpress posters then received a few more coats of my special PVA glue mix. In between coats, it was fine sanded to help create a smoother finish, and to also slightly distress the posters. I wanted them to look the part… aged, ragged and a bit rough around the edges, as if they had been around for a few years like the bus! This was to add to (and hopefully enhance) the imperfections associated with the traditional age worn woodblock type used to produce the original prints in the first place.

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

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

I was fairly pleased with how the final finish has turned out, especially as this was my first attempt at it all! It had a nice sense of aged authenticity about it which should make it fit with the bus well (if you like this sort of thing obvs.). To get to this stage had taken a few days of work, but the end was now in sight. Time to bring everything together and fit the lock, original steel dog bone hinges and the custom Triumph spanner for real this time…

sprung ball door catch and custom Triumph spanner handle

sprung ball door catch and custom Triumph spanner handle

I had opted for a simple unobtrusive sprung ball catch (Bales catch) to keep the door in a closed position. Fitting this along with the custom Triumph spanner handle and original steel dog bone hinges, really brought everything together and to life. Finally the locker is looking like a finished item at last!

However, to be really finished (and properly tested), it needed to be fitted in the camper, so on a run to the supermarket I decided to take the two components with me and get it fitted…

the punk/grunge style typography overhead locker finally in the bus

the punk/grunge style typography overhead locker finally in the bus

The subtle chamfering and rounding of some of the rear edges made it a doddle to fit. All the time I spent measuring, double checking, creating templates and drawing up measured scale plans has all finally paid off, as it fitted first time like a glove, happy days! 🙂 Easy to fit, and easy to remove if I decide to change the current ‘headlining’ in the bus.

overhead locker fitted in place and ready for storage…

overhead locker fitted in place and ready for storage…

As you can see, I’m still rocking the Triso-Super 10 plus roof insulation at the moment 😉 I kind of like the funky space age/conspiracy theorist, silver foil look, although I am thinking that I could possibly finish it with a standard perforated headliner, or maybe a 3mm hardboard/ply (primed and painted) headlining, but that’s something to consider in the future, right now, I’ve still got more interior to make at the moment…

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