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Building a Beautiful Van Conversion for Under $6,000!

Reversed retirement is what us #nomads call it. Living life every day for our own happiness. Seeing and experiencing everything we're always dreaming of doing. Manifesting your childhood fantasies and being in the exact moment you watched over and over of your favorite #Disney movie. You're life suddenly feels like your in a movie. Everything just clicks about your life up until that moment. The beautiful mountain ranges and ocean cliff views we've been staring at on our computer screens are suddenly in front of your eyes. You wake up to the sun creating a beautiful array of colors throughout the sky. You watch the sun set and form another master piece before you spend the night star gazing and watching the moon rise. Life is so simple, so minimal, so rich, so happy, and so beautiful. This is #vanlife !

Photo Creds to @Roam4Wild on Instagram

Flash forward back to November 2018 when I bought a 2000 class C Shashta Sprite RV. I traveled 10,000 miles across the country in a 26 foot RV hoping that just because I re-built it like a van, that #RVlife could be like #vanlife. WRONG! RVs and vans are very different, and I learned that driving across the country. So I sold my RV, and got a van! I now have a 2018 Ford Transit High Roof 250 wheel base that I turned into my ultimate #adventure rig and #tiny home on wheels. A friend gave me some advice, in which I followed, and I highly recommend you follow too. Live in your van during your van #conversion. Trust me, it was one of the best things that I have done.

Crystal my ArtV #tinyhouseonwheels hand painted with art.

I made the decision to work on the van slowly while also living in it...and traveling too. I first met up with a friend up in Burlington, Washington named Wess from @TranscendExistence from YouTube and Instagram. He helped me start to build my dream home, or as I like to call it my tree house/rocket ship I always wanted and never got to have until now. I had a $5,000 #budget for the #DIYbuild, but I knew that if I found work on the road, I could work and eventually add more things to my van conversion as I travel and/or need things. I went with most of the appliances and products I had in my RV, so my Amazon wish list filled up pretty quick with minimal effort. After living in the RV, I knew what things worked and didn't work for me and my living space. That became my main goal in my van conversion. I wanted my van conversion to be simple, yet functional.

Crystal 2.0 my second #DIY #vanconversion

Here are the appliances and products that I used in my 2018 Ford Transit van conversion that helped me keep my total cost of conversion under $6,000.

I used spray foam on my ceiling, floors, walls, back doors, and the cab of the van. Spray foam acts as an insulator, a sound deadener, and prevents moisture. It's a one step process and I only used 2 boxes of Froth-Pak 200 Sealant.

All the lumber I got at either Home Depot or Lowe's.

I knew I wanted a roof top deck on my van conversion, so I had a base welded on and built a roof top deck for 360 degrees of sunset views.

Me on my #rooftopdeck in #Sedona Arizona. This spot was beautiful, free, and you can spot UFOs here.

I wanted a sunroof over my bed to star gaze at night and wake up to the sun. I also wanted this to be how I access my deck. I went with a C.L Lawrence sunroof.

MaxAir fan & C.L. Lawrence sunroof

While were talking about the roof, here's the two 170 watt Boat Solar Panels I have up there which powers my entire house using the sun. To finish up the rest of my #solar setup, I also have a KRIËGER 3000 Watt 12V Dual 110V inverter. This inverter is made to run vacuums, refrigerators, power tools, and even a blender. I knew that I would have more than enough power to run whatever I needed on the road. With a 3000 Watt inverter I will have no problem charging my laptop or camera gear while also keeping my fridge constantly running. Attached to my amazing inverter are two Vmax 12v AGM Deep Cycle batteries. I am able to monitor all of my solar on my EPEVER MPPT Charge Controller. Which comes with an additional LED screen for displaying system information and working conditions. I love it because it has a smiley when your solar is doing great and a meh face when it is not. It also tells you how many watts of solar your bringing in from the panels in real time. You'll obviously need the rest of wiring and attachments to hook up your solar, but those are minor details. I am just here to share some awesome fairly inexpensive products for your van conversions to keep them under $6,000.

Also on my roof is my Maxx Air Delux Fan, which comes with 7 different speeds and a remote. I always forget to close the vent, and now I never need to worry with it's rain sensor.

Now on to the items in the van that are really important for me. I love to eat and I cook all my own meals, so I knew I didn't just want a fridge or cooler. That's why I went with a fridge/freezer combo. I love my Costway Compact Refrigerator and Freezer. I am able to store enough food in here to be off the grid for over 2 weeks. The best part is it barely draws any energy, and it's only 1 AMP to turn on. You also cannot beat the price tag on it.

Since were talking about food, my favorite topic if I am being honest, let's talk about the rest of my kitchen appliances. I really loved that I had both a stove and oven in my RV. I love to bake veggies and fish, so I wasn't sure if I wanted to give that up when I am trying to have everything I always wanted in my van conversion. When I found the Camp Chef Oven I knew that it was a must have. I not only now bake delicious meals in my oven in the van, but I also hand paint Toke & Tea mugs AKA Wake & Bake mugs and sell them to make money while #traveling. After I hand paint them they have to bake before sealing. I am able to bake over 20 mugs a month at 375 degrees, and endless dinners in my oven, and I only have to fill my propane tank every 2 months.

I am a #travelingartist and #bartender . I #handpaint Toke & Tea Mugs. They are available for sale on

After I am done cooking an amazing meal and my stove cools down I slide it back under my bed so I have a better use of the space. I have my Camp Chef Oven on Firgelli Automations Full Extension Drawer Slides that can hold 400 pounds. The drawer for my clothes as well as my toilet also have these slides to hold the weight.

After dinner is done, I wash my dishes in my Lordear 15 x 16 10 inch deep sink which I absolutely love. I love the square finish and how I am able to wash pots & pans with my pull down sprayer kitchen faucet with two spray options, I had a small sink and a standard faucet in the RV and I strongly disliked how annoying it was to wash dishes. This sink and faucet was a must have for me and I am so grateful I love these products.

You are probably wondering now if I have hot water to wash all these dishes...the answer is yes! I have an Excel Vent Free Tankless water heater that I absolutely love. I had the same one in my RV and I used to have some of the best showers. I also recommended it to several friends converting #skoolies and #vans and they all seem to equally love it. Within 30 seconds the water is boiling hot. You can also adjust your max temperature and set it so it only goes so hot.

Now my floors were on the pricey side, but that's because I didn't want to have any issues with moisture. I decided to go with Life Proof Vinyl floors from Home Depot. I used two boxes and just made it!

Last on the list of big ticket items is my Olee Sleep 10 Inch Cool Memory Foam Mattress. This mattress is amazing and provides me with the best sleep of my life. I was so happy I decided to go with a 10 inch because for me a comfy bed was a must have. It's also great because you can cut the foam easily to make odd-shaped beds in your van conversion if you need to. I cut inches off of it to fit it in my desired space.

What your bedroom views look like when you live this incredible #vanlife .

So there you have it! There's all the big items I have in my 2018 Ford Transit van conversion that I feel helped in keeping my cost down. I love all of the products and appliances that I have chosen for my conversion and most important, I love that I was able to keep my total conversion cost below $6,000.

Here's a video of my van conversion to see how everything turned out:

Looking back on this video, I have added so much more to the van. That's the best part about living in your van while you build it. I add stuff as I need it and as I want it. I travel and work on it whenever I want. If you are considering van life or bus life or just any kind of life on the road, but your afraid that you can't afford it, you can! You can do conversions even cheaper than this if you want. It all comes down to your wants and needs and personal preferences for what works best for you. Feel free to email me at if you have further questions on my build or wanting an conversion done for yourself. For me, this is a dream come true and I am so grateful I sold everything to my name just to live this beautiful life. I have my ultimate adventure rig and the home I always wanted with the views I thought I would never afford for under $6,000!

Follow me as I travel around the United States in my 2018 #fordtransit #vanconversion on Instagram: @ArtVanGrow

Stay Sexy & Keep Wandering!

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