Unlike most people, I decided not to clad the full interior of my van before building my internal structures. I figured it was a waste of wood (and money) cladding behind kitchen units or under the bed, so I decided to build all of that first and then clad around it towards the end of the build.
Cladding the ceiling
One area that I did clad fairly early on was the ceiling, mainly so I could house my LED lights and also so I knew what size to build my overhead cupboards.
We bought some beams of 4.2m long tongue and groove softwood so that each beam would fit the entire length of the van. We loosely tacked one beam in place where the first row of lights would be situated, using the wooden battens I’d previously screwed to the metal frame of the van. As I have six LED lights, I decided to place them in two columns of three lights.
With the beam tacked in place, I marked with a pencil where I wanted the three LEDs to be placed, removed the beam and then using a hole-saw, cut three holes for each light. I popped each light through each hole and fastened the beam back in place.
Using that beam as a guide, we then screwed a couple more beams into place across the width of the ceiling. When we got to the two roof vents, we scribed around the edge of both vents and cut a section out of the beam with a jigsaw, then screwed the beam into place, snuggly around both vents.
When we got to the other beam that would house the three other LEDs, we placed it next to the original beam and marked the light holes in the exact same place to make sure each column was symmetrical.
We mounted a total of nine lengths of softwood, leaving space either side to mount some overhead cupboards.
In some of the exposed areas where cladding wouldn’t be suitable, I bought some stretchy autocarpet, along with a few cans of spray adhesive. Such areas included the inside of my sliding door, the metal framing running around the rear of the van and the exposed side of my bulkhead.
The carpet was really easy to stretch into place and then I just sprayed adhesive onto the area in order to stick it into place.
In some areas like my sliding door, I stuck large sections of carpet down and then trimmed it into place using a stanley knife.
Cladding the walls and bulkhead
After all the internal structures were built, like my kitchen and bed frame, it was time to clad the rest of the van. We got hold of the same timber we used for the ceiling and we started by cladding the rest of the ceiling that was still exposed, again fastening each beam to the wooden battens screwed to the metal frame of the van.
The rest of the ceiling needed much shorter beams because my overhead cupboards spanned about half the length of the van.
As we started to clad the wall, we ran one long beam between the bottom of the cupboard and the top of my side window. We held it up to the bottom of the cupboard and scribed along the length of timber and shaped it with a jigsaw, just to make sure it fitted flush against the edge of the cupboard.
Cladding the rest of the walls, working downwards, we also had to jigsaw out small sections for two plug sockets and my light switch.
We also clad all the way up the bulkhead but left a small section open so I can use above the cab as storage. We used some sections of the same cladding timber, fastened to a couple of wooden battens to make a small door for the overhead storage.
For the rear doors, as we were working late into the day and running out of light, we ended up fixing all the timber in place and then used a multi-tool to trim all of the beams in situ.
After I've painted and varnished my cladding, I'm going to finish off the edges of the windows with some corner moulding.