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This is how to Build Van Bulkhead Storage

I toiled for weeks trying to figure out what the heck to do with the bulkhead in my van! After considering all my options, I decided that some van bulkhead storage would be the most effective use of space. However, even after making this decision, things didn't get easier - it's an awkward space in which to build! But eventually I had built some beautiful cupboards. In this illustrated guide I will show you how to build van bulkhead storage!

I'm Shane, I've been teaching people to convert campervans for many years, I'm the author of The Van Conversion Newsletter, the van conversion instructor at Udemy, and the proud owner of a beautiful self-build campervan called Beans. So let's jump in and learn about van bulkhead storage.

This is how to build van bulkhead storage

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How to Build Van Bulkhead Storage

In a van the bulkhead is the awkwardly-shaped cavity above where the driver sits. It is a large area and the best use is certainly van bulkhead storage! So let's look at how to do that!

1. Make sure the bulkhead is insulated!

Don't forget to insulate the van bulkhead before starting work! You can learn all about campervan insulation here. I stuck mineral wool to the roof using spray adhesive.

If I were to do it again: If I were to go back, I would have glued some wooden furring beams to the roof of the bulkhead using an adhesive glue (Sikaflex or similar). I would have then insulated between the furring. This would have allowed me to ply-line the roof.

Insulating the bulkhead

Instead, I installed a vapour barrier (reflectix) on top of the insulation and stuck autocarpet directly onto the vapour barrier.

Autocarpet bulkhead

2. Install the base

Next, cut some lengths of 1X1 timber and glue it to the base of the van bulkhead storage using Sikaflex. This will form the base furring. Let this dry for a few hours with a weight pressed on them.

Add some insulation (Board / Wool) in between the furrings and then cover the insulation and furrings with a layer of reflectix which will act as a vapour barrier.

Finally, cut a piece of a plywood to fit the shape of the base of the van bulkhead storage. Screw it down into the wooden furring.

Installing base of van bulkhead storage

3. Install side, centre and base support furring

The next step is to install side and base support. I screwed the side support on each side directly into the metal of the van with self-drilling screws. The base support was screwed into the plywood/base furring.

Furring for bulkhead

Then install a centre support furring (important for the door we will be building). This is screwed in using pocket hole screws (kreg screws). The bottom screws into the base support, the top screws into a roof furring (which was installed when we cladded the roof). If you don't have a piece of roof furring handy like I did, you will need to install one!

4. Install a door

I built two swinging doors using lengths of tongue and groove cladding.

First slot the lengths of tongue and groove together. Then screw two horizontal lengths of tongue and groove into the back to hold them together. You will need to use very small screws here (Less than 20mm).

Building a door for the van bulkhead storage

Attach each the door to the side furring using two strap hinges. Add a latch to the middle, and install a door knob on each door.

The final step of your van bulkhead storage is to install some stripwood (narrow decorative timber) around the edges of each door. This is purely decorative, but makes them look great!

Painting the bulkhead storage


And there you have it folks, the complete build guide on how to build van bulkhead storage!

I hope you found this guide helpful. If you did, consider subscribing to The Van Conversion Newsletter for everything you need to get started with your own van conversion (I'll send you a free wiring diagram when you sign up).

Be sure to check out the rest of the Woodwork Guides. Related articles include: Overhead cupboards, campervan cladding, Campervan carpentry.

If you're converting a van but unsure of how to do it, you could also check out the Van Conversion Course on Udemy. In the course, you'll learn directly from me how to convert a van into your dream home - no prior experience needed!

Until next time,

Shane ✌️