My little vintage caravan – On the road again!

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Remember my little vintage caravan? It tends to be more of a focus of my blog posts during the summer, because I seem to spend most of my time out there when the weather is good. When it’s chilly and windy, like it has been this week, I’ve been rather more reluctant to work outside in my little tin can. Without a lot of heating it can be rather unbearable during the winter. BUT the good news is that I have been giving my neglected caravan a little bit of unseasonal attention this month and here’s why…vintage caravan spring cleaning_-5It’s been on the road! Yes, the caravan that I thought would never move again is actually road-worthy! Okay, I probably wouldn’t want to take it all the way from Land’s End to John O’Groats but those wheels do still turn, the tow-hitch is secure and the body is solid. I actually imagined that the walls would just fall down if I ever moved it, quickly turning it into a ‘flat-packed’ caravan. But it didn’t; the walls stayed where they should be and the windows didn’t pop out (quite amazing because one window sometimes slips out when you try to open it!). After holding my breath for about 2 hours while we attempted to move the caravan up the garden, I finally breathed a sign of relief as it smoothly rolled onto the driveway.vintage caravan interior with biscuit cushions and cat-11So, now I know that I actually could go on holiday in my little vintage caravan, I’ve started thinking about the things I’d need to make a trip easy and comfortable. Quite a lot of the usual caravan ‘home comforts’ were removed when I turned it into my home office: all the cupboards were damp and rotten so they were taken out – and this included the kitchen. In fact, everything apart from the bed and table was taken out and we basically started again from scratch. Instead of building in new cupboards I simply found some small cupboards at carboot sales and secondhand shops and upcycled them with a lick of paint.little-vintage-caravan-project-diy-makeoverAside from possibly building a small kitchen unit and getting out the camp-stove, I thought that I would probably need more of the kind of accessories you’d need for camping. It would be just the worst thing to pitch up at a campsite and open the caravan door to find that everything has smashed on the journey. I don’t think that taking my best china tea-set on the road would be a good idea! So I’ve gathered together my melamine plates, bowls and cups (from The Caravan Trail) to see what I’m missing from this set and what I would need for a ‘proper’ holiday. As I was looking at everything I have that’s breakable in the caravan I realised that my ‘princess’ mirror hanging on the wall would probably have to go too.Melamine 'Festival' plates for afternoon tea from The Caravan TrailBut I don’t have to go without my bathroom essentials altogether because I found out that it IS possible to get mirrored acrylic. This is a great alternative to a conventional mirror (and probably is a good idea for the home too if you have children) because it’s 17 x stronger than glass, more flexible, shatter-proof and safer. And, even better, I can get an acrylic sheet cut to size to be just the right dimensions for my caravan mirror, or even pick a specific shape. It bet it would cost a fortune to have a mirror cut to size like this, if it’s even possible.moving caravan to new home-4Finally, I know that I would need to sort out some ‘bathroom arrangements’ in the caravan. I’m not sure that the caravan actually had a bathroom in the past. I remember that there was a full-length cupboard in the middle of the caravan when I got it (again it was falling apart and rotten) but I’m pretty sure it was a wardrobe space, not a bathroom, because there was no sink and definitely no toilet! Either way, there are no ‘facilities’ in the caravan now so maybe I’ll investigate the options for adding a portaloo or some kind of washing area. I know lots of campsites have all the facilities you would need on-site, but it’s probably a good idea to have an ’emergency’ option on-board too!Vintage Caravan Style book by Lisa Mora - review on this blog

My favourite book – Vintage Caravan Style by Lisa Mora

So those are my plans for getting my caravan moving this summer and I’ll be taking a look at the electrics, lights and everything I need to make it totally roadworthy before heading away on a road trip. Let me know if you’re a seasoned camper and have any suggestions of the things I’ll need in my caravan before I can enjoy a relaxing holiday – please leave me a comment below or tweet me a photo of your own caravan to @Cassiefairy.

Author: Cassiefairy

Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

13 Comments

  1. Pingback: My little vintage caravan – Making the bed | Cassiefairy - My Thrifty Life

  2. Hello there, I know this is a little older post, but I just found it/you. There is a two-way tape that can hold up to X? pounds so as far as your mirror, you might not need to replace it. Also, I tie my cupboard handles together when traveling so they don’t swing open over bumps, and have skid stop in between each plate & bowl. I actually have fine bone china in our trailer, and we go very off road when camping. You might keep a master list in the camper of things to take *camp chair, *water, *shovel (always, just in case,) *chocolate, *coffee, *Italian chef, *you get the idea.
    Ours is so close to being back on the road, I needed a vintage trailer fix and found your site:) She was road-worthy, but we decided to do a full restoration. Not sure what I was thinking, but will be nice when finished.
    Happy Trails

    • Wow good luck with your restoration project, it sounds amazing! Love the idea of tying cupboard handles together when travelling, that’s a great tip! And a master list sounds very organised – need to do this myself. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. We bought a caravan last month and it’s fab. I plan to do some bunting for the caravan, it looks so cute!

  4. I’ve just combined A4 patchwork samples with Poundland photo frames and cork to make lovely
    memo boards.
    I’ve put one by the side door of Toluny as a reminder before I go out.
    2 in my hall by the door, one of these I used a plain background with tiny rosebuds on it. Then ric rac braid
    across and pretty map pins.
    1 in my bedroom this has thin lace instead of braid, and kitchen one has thin ribbon and ladybird pins.
    The glass from the photo frames I’ve turned into stained glass for the garden 🙂
    I drilled (ok, had a friend do it as my disability means I can’t use power tools) a small hole in each
    corner of the glass.
    I painted two plain/decorative staircase spindles with a cuprinol garden paint. Drilled holes to match holes in my
    glass frame.
    I thoroughly washed the glass and then using the finest sandpaper I could get I lightly went over one
    side of the glass keying it.
    Thoroughly clean so no glass dust is left.
    Draw or find a picture you like and place behind the glass. Using a waterproof marker pen, black or
    silver look like leading draw the picture onto your glass.
    Using acrylic paint or garden stains/shades and a paint brush colour in your picture. Keep layers thin.
    You don’t want a heavy concentration of colour as the sun needs to shine through.
    When totally dry, make a 50/50 solution of pva glue and water stir until glue dissolved.
    Lightly paint over your picture and allow to thoroughly dry. It will dry clear and acts as a varnish.
    Now using screws and washers either side attach glass to spindles and plant in the garden so sun shines
    through.
    Variation 1. Instead of painting a picture use sea glass/glass nuggets and secure with superglue
    Variation 2. Your Niece & Nephew might enjoy this one. Need 2 sheets of glass with holes in each corner of
    both pieces.
    Draw a picture on one piece of glass, then cut/tear tissue paper to cover each area of picture can overlap colours
    but no more than two pieces. Secure to glass with small amount of pva glue and allow to dry.
    When dry run thin band of super glue all around blank glass and very carefully place over the tissue papered glass.
    Before you do this you could sign/date with a waterproof felt tip, marker.
    Let this dry. For extra protection run clear glass glue (as used in fish tanks) all around the joined frames.
    Secure to painted spindles and plant where sun can shine through.
    Alternatively wire corners and hang safely so sun shines through.
    Sorry this is so long a post Cassie, I’m so excited by how these projects turned out and so cheaply that I just wanted to share with you and your crafty readers.
    Lucy

  5. Hi Cassie,
    I’ve just found a new way to make gorgeous cushions/patchwork blanket for my van~ A4 fabric samples!
    They cost 99p-£1.99 and mixed plain & patterned you can do lots of little A4 size, great for tucking in to spaces or bigger ones joining 2/4 squares and a different backing.
    Why stop with the van though :~) great for garden chairs, indoors and my cat fur babies love the fleece ones.

    • Wow that’s a great thrifty tip! Thank you so much for sharing this idea – I’ll definitely give it a try, I LOVE patchwork! 🙂

  6. I’ve just stumbled across your post checking on cooking for Easter when I saw that you’d written about your little vintage caravan.
    I am the proud owner of a campervan. A Golden Eagle apparently there were only a very limited edition made and I have #2 in its original state.
    I’ve been loath to change anything because it is an original, but I’ve decided now to recover the seats in loose covers and store the curtains and make new ones.
    I have a small heater that I use in the winter, I use an outdoor power cable and connect it inside my flat, this means I can still retreat even when I’m not driving :~)
    My recommendations:~ I would absolutely recommend some kind of privacy curtain, you’d be amazed how inquisitive people can be :~)
    Buy or make a windbreak or two, if you are going to “go away” a couple of windbreaks allow you to a) mark out your space on site b) give you a little extra privacy and weather protection.
    2 duvets, 1 low/middle tog and use this on top of mattress, 2nd highest tog rating and use this as duvet. Unless it’s a really scorching Summer you’ll find the nights are cold! The two duvets make a cocoon and you’ll stay warm. I find with this I can use Toluny Feb-Nov without needing to use extra heating at night.
    Join Caravan & Camping Club as there are def perks, that said I’d also recommend some of the smaller ones and the forums which are full of helpful tips and hints.
    As far as losing precious crockery, it really doesn’t have to be like that. I have proper china on board “Toluny” my camper van. I chose to use a floor cupboard for storage and put bubble wrap on the floor. I then stacked my dishes, plates with sheets of the white material you get in packing (sorry don’t know what it’s called or made off.). Result is no breaks and I’ve been using Toluny for 3 years now.
    I’ll def be following your blog about your vintage caravan, do hope your going to give her/him a name :~)
    Mine is made up of the first 2 letters of my late partner’s name Tony, then mine Lucy and finally the 2 letters of his family pet name “Ny”
    Please feel free to drop me a line should you want any more tips :~)

    • Hi Lucy, thanks so much for your tips – the bubble wrap cupboard is a great idea and I’ll definitely make some windbreaks, top tip! Wow your campervan sounds amazing and I’m so pleased to hear that you’ve got it on the road in its original condition – that must be a very rare sight! Keep in touch and let me know if you come up with any other ideas for camping/caravanning – advice from experienced campers is invaluable to us all 😀

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