Ever since we brought home our Rockwood pop up camper, I’ve been acutely aware of how hard it can be to make an older camper look clean and modern. I’m talking your late 80’s model campers, where the canvas is usually ugly brown. The cushions are usually pretty old and nasty. The cabinets are often in rough shape, so it’s not as easy to paint them. There’s often some water damage somewhere in there. I’m just gonna lay it all out there. Our Rockwood has taught us that older campers are a lot of work. 😆 But if you are persistent and dedicated, you can make them look every bit as pretty as those newer models. Manda’s latest Starcraft camper project is a perfect example of that.
You may remember Manda’s first project, which we featured a few months ago. It turned out beautifully. She sold that camper, and was itching for a new pop up camper project. Then she found Blaze. Blaze is an ’88 Starcraft Starblazer. She had a great canvas and the window screens were all intact–no rips or holes anywhere. She looked to be in great condition for her age… or so Manda thought. (If this were an HGTV show, here’s where we’d key the dramatic music and cut to commercial. LOL.)
Once Manda brought her home and opened her up again, she noticed the floor looked like it was separating. Upon closer inspection, she found that there had been a leak near the icebox, and the previous owners had installed MDF around it. The MDF had continued to absorb water from the leaking icebox and had swelled into a huge mess. Manda began peeling up the floor, and the more floor she peeled up, the bigger the problem was. The whole section in front of the kitchen cabinetry was wet–really wet. So Manda called in the big guns for this one.
Her brother is very handy, and Manda knew he could help her fix Blaze’s floor. She did all the demo herself, because she finds that stuff fun. Her brother measured and cut a new piece of plywood to fit the floor. Then he installed it. Manda decided against putting the icebox back, since it was leaking anyway. A big bonus was that it gave her more space in the camper. Win-win!
Then she took all the fabrics out of the camper. The hideous, outdated curtains had to go. Manda brought the cushions into the house for reupholstering. She gave Blaze a good cleaning, using a shop vac under the benches and all around the floor of the camper. She scrubbed the cabinets and counter down with Dawn dish soap and Lysol.
Then Manda prepped the cabinets for paint. Prep work is key to a good paint job. We always recommend cleaning your cabinets well with TSP and giving them a light sanding. Then you can apply one to two coats of a good primer. We love Zinsser Cover Stain or Zinsser 1-2-3. If you need more information on how to paint the cabinets in your camper, be sure to check out our post here. Once Manda was done prepping and priming her cabinets, she painted them in a color called Midnight from Canadian Tire. To give the hardware a sleek, new look, she spray painted it with Krylon Color Master in Metallic Gold.
With the cabinetry all painted, Manda was excited to install the new flooring. She used an inexpensive peel and stick plank vinyl from Lowes. This particular floor is her absolute favorite. Its called Somerset Hickory, and it is so stunning. Manda says the contrast with the black cabinetry is just gorgeous.
To keep her budget in check, Manda used wood grain adhesive paper for the table and countertop. You can find it on Amazon here, but Manda actually found hers at DollarTree. If you have a DollarTree in your area, it is definitely worth a trip to see if they have it in stock. Manda loves it, as it kinda resembles much more expensive butcher block.
At Goodwill, she found curtain panels that were perfect to serve as cushion covers. She wrapped each cushion in a section of curtain panel and secured it with Velcro. The rest of the curtains are made from $9 king sized sheets she found at a discount store. She cut them into panels and hung the bunkend curtains with a tension rod and twine. The side panels are not adjustable and are simply stapled directly to the ceiling along the windows.
After all the big remodel projects were done, Manda got to move on to her favorite part of the process–decorating! This is the part that just ties the whole thing together in her mind. She used white bedding to brighten up the drab brown canvas and make it look fresh. Manda says she always needs a plant of some sort in her campers to bring life to the space, so she placed a stool in the now empty corner where the icebox used to be. Voila! Instant plant stand! (When she is camping, she can use this space for storage.) Then she just used some of her favorite throw pillows and decor items from her home to stage Blaze for her glamour shots.
Project complete! Once the floor was repaired, it took Manda a total of five days to update her little camper. Blaze is a tiny little trailer, but she really looks quite spacious after her remodel. Manda is in love with her and says she’s definitely an oldie, but a goodie now that she looks refreshed. I absolutely agree! I love it when people take these older pop up campers on as projects and give them new life. It’s so fun to see them transformed, and I’m a little more inspired to finish our own oldie but goodie. 😉 Great job, Manda!
Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. The Pop Up Princess is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means that if you choose to purchase an item from a link in this post, The Pop Up Princess earns a small advertising fee to help pay for future projects and posts… so thank you!