Introduction: DIY Camper Van Kitchen With Sink and Propane Stove #VANLIFE

About: Weekly how-to project videos about #woodworking, metalworking, and more. #Maker. Created by Johnny Brooke.

I built a DIY slide-out camper van kitchen, complete with sink, utensil storage, and propane stove, with Dylan and Molly from Woodbrew! This simple build could easily be replicated with a circular saw, jigsaw and drill.

Go watch Woodbrew's video here.

Step 1: Tools and Materials



Step 2: Trays and Boxes

The first thing we worked on was building this slide-out tray that the kitchen boxes ride on, and that build is covered in a video on the Woodbrew channel.

Once the tray was done, we could get to work on the boxes. We used ½” Baltic Birch plywood on this project, which comes in 5 foot by 5 foot sheets, meaning it’s a heck of a lot easier to work with than standard 4x8 sheets.

After ripping a few strips, I crosscut the pieces to size using my crosscut sled. Some of the pieces needed to be cut to final length, which I did over at the miter saw.

We kept repeating these steps until we had all of our parts, and then we could move onto assembly. Before assembling the parts, we hit the inside faces of the pieces with 180 grit sandpaper, to avoid having to sand inside the boxes after assembly.

To assemble the boxes, we first tacked the pieces in place with 1” brad nails and glue, then reinforced the joints with these trim head screws. These small heads are super clean looking and are easy to fill with wood filler if that’s the look you’re going for.

Step 3: Cutting Handles

The first box we assembled was the utensil drawer, but before assembling the main boxes, I wanted to make them a little extra fancy with some CNC-cut handles. I modeled up the cutout in Easel, Inventables free software that goes along with their CNC machines, and based the design on Frank Howarth’s handle design that he’s used in the past.

After modeling, we moved out to the X-Carve and got to cutting, which went quickly. To make sure the handles matched perfectly on each end of the boxes, we stacked both ends of each box during each carving session, but this meant we couldn’t use tabs to hold the cutout pieces since the top piece of plywood wouldn’t have had tabs. Instead, we just cleared the entire pocket instead of doing a cutout, and this only took about 20 minutes per set of handles.

To clean up the fuzzy edges and make the handles a little more comfortable, I chamfered the edges at the router table, and then hand sanded all of the surfaces before assembly.

Step 4: Assembly

Assembly was the same as before, tacking the pieces in the place with glue and brad nails then reinforcing with screws. This box with the drawer only had three sides, so that the front would be open for using the propane stove. It also has a divider in the middle, to box in the drawer.

To add this divider, we marked lines on the outside of the box where we should drive the screws, then added the drawer plus some ⅛” spacers then placed the divider on top. We tacked the divider in place, removed the drawer, then reinforced the divider with screws on all three sides.

The box for the sink was just another standard box, so we can kind of skim over that, but while we’re assembling, let’s talk about the sponsor for this week’s video, Rockler Woodworking & Hardware. I used a ton of Rockler products during this build, including their crosscut sled, glue brush kit, bench cookies, and self-centering drill bit.

Rockler has got tons of great tools and accessories for your next build, and they’re always coming up with new and innovative ideas to help make your woodworking more efficient and more enjoyable. Thanks again to Rockler for sponsoring this build.

Step 5: Making the Sink

Once the sink box was assembled, we could cut the lid to size based on the final size of the box. We made the lid about 1/16” smaller lengthwise and widthwise, to allow for easy removal of the lid but to minimize any rattling when driving the van.

We tacked in some plywood strips to serve as lid supports. These hold the lid in place, flush with the top edge of the box walls, but also allow the lid to easily be removed to get at anything stored inside the box.

The sink we used is actually a stainless steel mixing bowl, but it ended up being the perfect size for this application. If Dylan and Molly want to add a drain later, they can easily drill a hole in the bottom of the bowl for a drain and then run some tubing out the back of the box, but it’s just as easy to dump the sink contents when you’re done using it.

We cut out the hole for the sink using the jigsaw, as it really doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to hold the sink. Dylan and Molly are going to add some foam gasket strips to the inside of the cutout to hold the bowl in place a little more snugly, again to avoid any rattling while driving.

Step 6: Finishing and Drawer Pulls

Next, we prepped for finish by filling some of the screw holes with wood filler, sanding the boxes and breaking any of the sharp edges.

For the finish, we applied a few coats of spray lacquer, sanding between coats.

Once the finish dried, we worked on a simple pull for the utensil drawer and decided to use some leather scraps I had to make a quick pull. I cut the piece to size using a rotary cutter, nipped off the corners, then punched a hole at each end where the screw would thread through.

We attached the pull to the front of the drawer with small screws and finish washers, which really gives the handle a clean, finished look. I’m definitely planning on using this style of drawer pull again in the future, I really like the style, especially against a material like plywood.

Step 7: Fabricating an End Cap

The last piece to add was a little Aluminum strip to the front of the pullout tray, to keep the boxes in place when pulling out the tray. I cut the Aluminum with my portaband, but you can cut Aluminum with any wood-cutting saw, rounded the edges, then drilled and countersunk a few holes at the drill press.

To install the strip, I pre-drilled the holes using a self-centering drill bit then added a few screws. You can see, by adding the strip, you can use the handle cutout in the box to pull out the tray, no extra pull required.

Finally, we added some grippy pads to the bottom of the two boxes, to keep them in place while driving, and then this project was done!

Step 8: Enjoy Your Van Kitchen!

Hopefully y'all enjoyed this build! I'm definitely enjoying working on these van projects, they make you think outside of the box.

If you liked this build, make sure to check out my YouTube channel and website for tons of more builds like this one, and I'll see you guys soon!

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