After seeing how Sportsmobile (the company that inspired my campervan project) utilizes the doors of vans to increase storage and create some inside / outside use furniture, I had always been planning on creating my own version for my van. If you want to build one for your vehicle, make sure to read the detailed instructions below.
- Circular Saw
- Power Drill
- Power Sander
Materials (~$83 Total)
- 3x Birch Plywood Sheets (~$20 each)
- 1 1/2 inch deck screws ($4)
- 2 Hinges ($4)
- Steel Cabeling & Looping Hardware ($5)
- Cabinet Locking Mechanism ($5)
- Bottle Opener ($5 optional)
Step #1: Remove Existing Interior Trim & Create Cabinet Mounting Points
The first step is getting rid of the old interior trim and exposing the raw insterior sheet metal. There is a lot of inside the doors you may be able to utilize alongside gaining the additional space of the cabinet you are about to build. To mount the cabinet, I attached some 2×4 across the door where I wanted the cabinets to sit and attached them with two simple nuts and bolts. This allows you to build the cabinet on a work bench and make work exponentially easier. To attach the cabinet once its done, you will simply be able to sink two deck screws through the cabinets into the 2×4. You could even consider making multiple cabinets to swap in and out depending on your needs for the trip.
Step #2: Measure / Cut the Top & Sides of the Cabinet
Cutting the top and sides first and attaching them with simple deck screws allows you so see the size and ensure that the door will close without getting to committed to the dimenstions. I was considering making the cabinet 10″ or 12″ inches deep. I opted for the latter to ensure I could store plates & cooking gear without any additional work. Make sure to leave a lip over the sides so that the folding door / table creates a flush look when closed.
Step #3: Measure / Cut Additional Shelves & Cabinet Bottom
Now that you have your cabinet dimensions figured out, add any additional shelves and finally the bottom. Once you have the ridgid frame for the cabinet done, you can move on to adding the door.
Step #4: Create the Door
To create the door, measure and cut a font facing plate for the cabinet and attach it with the hinges at the bottom of the cabinet. Next, you should attach the hardware that will allow the cabinet to stay closed. To allow the cabinet to stay open and serve as a table, loop the steel cable at both ends extremely tightly (only a screw not its head should fit trough the loop). Then attach the cable ends in a way that allows the table to swing open to exactly 90 degrees.
Step #5: Attach Additional Hardware
Make the cabinet yours by adding on anything else you may need. In my case, a bottle opener fit on the interior side without hitting the interior cabinets when the door is closed.
And there you go, you now have a versatile cabinet that allows you to put down a glass of bourbon (or wine) when looking out over the spot where you decided to camp for the night. This is an easy project that can be done in an afternoon (it took me about 6 hours while trying to figure out these instructions).