How to Build a Caravan

Necklaces, brooches and earrings of this caravan are now available in my shop. Please take a look.

For a new project I’m working on, I just created a small caravan. It took me a while to work out the details, but in case you ever want to build one yourself, here I summarised how to make one in 7 easy steps.

1) Sketch out the basic shape on foamboard.
2) Put all parts together. You can either use glue or I prefer small pins which will create a good solid structure.
3) Cover the window openings with paper, using PVA to glue them in place.

4) Cover the foamboard with paper.

5) Create the window frames and tires, saving time by using a circle cutter for the tyres.

Just a bit more decorating fun and you are done:

6) Make a bumper bar out of paper and glue it onto a thin strip of mountboard. Now glue the mountboard onto your caravan which will give you a lovely little shadow and adds some extra three-dimensionality to your work.
A 4mm hole punch helps to create perfectly round lights in no time, which will make a great addition to your bumper bar.
Using strips of paper, create a simple tow-bar and glue it onto the opposite site of the van.

7) This leaves just the door. I took inspiration from the traditional Airstream models, where part of the door opens separately revealing a flyscreen behind it. Again I used mountboard covered with paper to get this extra bit of three-dimensionality. My flyscreen is drawn straight onto paper. The flyscreen door is stuck in place with a fine strip of double sided tape (see first two pictures). Add some darker paper to black out the windows and Voila! – your caravan is finished.

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8 Comments

  1. pam tinkham pugh
    Posted 5 December 2011 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Hi Jacqueline
    Wanted to tell you that I spent today making a Shasta style mini caravan since you inspired me so with your darling version. I have a BFA, so this project made me feel like I was back at school and I loved every minute! Seems like some of my skills were a little wobbly; spending all day as a graphic designer doesn’t leave me as much time as I’d like for hands-on art, but that’s fine. Thank you for giving me such a fun Sunday!
    Cheers! pam

    • Posted 6 December 2011 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Hi Pam,
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I’m glad you had a great Sunday. Isn’t it splendid to make stuff? But you made me all curious now. Are you on flickr or twitter? I’d love to see a picture of yours! Please.

  2. Avril
    Posted 1 February 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Is formboard different to foamboard? How did you manage to get the curved roof on the model?

    • Posted 3 February 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Hi Avril, ops, seems like I got my spelling wrong. It’s foamboard after all. Regarding the curved roof: I just cheated and used the foamboard only on the straight bits. The curved roof is just covered with cardboard/paper. Hope this helps. Jacqueline

  3. Posted 29 February 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Wow!
    We are in love with this tutorial :D thanks for sharing, will defo be giving it a stab!

  4. Posted 17 March 2012 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Oh. thanks for this!

  5. LixieLouse
    Posted 17 August 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    This is perfect for my Dad for Fathers Day! he would LOVE LOVE LOVE this. He is currently rebuilding a Kombi with the dream of taking us to the coast, and I want to build a Teardrop to go on little trips. PERFECT. Im going to the shops tomorrow. I have never worked with foam board- i might buy a bit extra just incase!!

  6. Joy
    Posted 27 December 2012 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    I saw this on Pinterest, I think someday I’ll make a cake like this!!!!! Great job!

6 Trackbacks

  1. By Retro Paper Camper | CMYBacon on 9 May 2011 at 5:06 pm

    [...] that caught my eye was this retro camper made out of paper and foam board. Jacqueline wrote a post on her blog that details her process and has more photos of this charming little [...]

  2. [...] Jaqueline Wagner, diseñadora gráfica e ilustradora alemana instalada en Londres, crea sus obras a partir de objetos y siluetas que ella misma recorta y pega con tanta gracia y gusto cromático que dan ganas de entrar en ellas y ponerse bailar. Además, en su blog nos explica el proceso de creación de algunas de sus creaciones ^–*_i love this caravan! [...]

  3. [...] Instructions here {via wagner.de.com} [...]

  4. By Vintage Trailer Craft Projects on 8 March 2012 at 3:38 pm

    [...] How about making a super cute foam board and paper vintage caravan? Full instructions can be found on Jaqueline Wagner’s website. [...]

  5. By Tutorial Tuesday – Caravans! on 15 May 2012 at 5:56 pm

    [...] Foamboard caravan.  SO cute.  It doesn’t look super easy to make, but it’s cute! [...]

  6. By DIY Camper Model on 17 October 2012 at 6:34 am

    [...] designer, Jacqueline Wagner. She uses foam board to create this cute little camper. Check out the DIY on her [...]

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