Now that I’m fairly happy with the interior of our pop up camper, I decided this would be the year to work on the exterior. Yes, that is the sound of Mr. TypeTwoFun groaning and rolling his eyes–and yes, I know that eye-rolling technically doesn’t make a sound. 😉
Last year, we fixed the ABS roof (you can read about that here) and coated it with Grizzly Grip. It made such a big difference that we decided to do the same thing to the front and rear ABS panels. Mr. TypeTwoFun removed the panels, and you can find a post on that whole process here.
While the panels were off, I decided it would be a perfect time to paint the exterior. Can you hear the groaning again? Our first order of business was to prep the sides for paint, and that involved removing the old decals from the camper. I scoured the Internet to find the easiest way to remove decals from an RV. Most of the tutorials out there suggest using an eraser wheel attachment for a drill. I’d heard a lot of feedback, though, that it wasn’t the most effective way to remove the adhesive backing, and you are often left with sticky residue. A couple of people on the Pop Up Portal forums (gotta love that place!) recommended using a heat gun and plastic razor blades. That seemed like the best method to us… so we headed off to Harbor Freight to find a cheap heat gun.
This is the gun we ended up buying. It was $15 at Harbor Freight, but if you don’t have a store locally, you can buy it on Amazon here. It was super easy to use and worked great!
We started off by running the gun across the whole decal on the high setting to help warm up the adhesive and make it pliable. Don’t hold the gun too close, as it will melt the paint. A couple of inches from the decal is good. Mr. TypeTwoFun says to be very careful with the heat gun because it gets really hot. If you have gloves, you might consider wearing them.
Then use your plastic razor blade to peel up a corner of the decal–we couldn’t find plastic razor blades locally, so we used a plastic putty knife, and it worked just fine. Be very careful not to dig too hard into the paint, as it will leave scratches. We didn’t mind too much because we knew we’d be repainting the exterior, but if you have no plans to repaint, be very careful with your plastic tools.
Once you’ve got a corner peeled up, you can gently pull the decal off. Make sure you run the heat gun on a lower setting a few inches ahead of where you are peeling to keep the adhesive warm and pliable. Our decals just peeled right up and left no residue behind. We made a little video clip so you can see just how we did it and how easy it actually was.
Easy-peasy! I’m so pleased with how it turned out. You can see how much of a difference getting rid of those faded graphics makes.
The plan is to give her a fresh coat of white paint and some pretty new decals very soon. Has anyone else given their PUP an exterior makeover? We’d love to hear how you did it–sound off in the comments section below!
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