I renovated an old pickup truck using recycled bottles and Frenchic paint

One woman has revealed how she transformed an old pickup truck during the lockout process with the help of Frenchic paint – and now it looks like a palace inside.

Annabelle Tripp, 28, from Hampshire, took on the epic project – and had success with flying colors.

Annabelle Tripp took the time to lock the doors to turn this minivan into a livable space


Annabelle Tripp took the time to lock the doors to turn this minivan into a livable spaceCredit: Latest transaction
The inside now looks like a palace with a fully equipped kitchen and bedroom


The inside now looks like a palace with a fully equipped kitchen and bedroomCredit: Latest transaction
Furniture needed a lot of work when she first started the project


Furniture needed a lot of work when she first started the projectCredit: Latest transaction

The beautician turned an old minibus into a beautiful, sustainable, sunflower-themed camping van that runs during lockdown at a cost of £20k.

Annabelle tells the community to save money “I’ve always loved camping and always hoped to one day get a camper van but just thought it would become what I always say ‘someday’ but probably never will. now achieved.”

“However, in the summer of 2020, my circumstances changed in my personal life, and after seeing a couple who had done the van conversion on social media, I decided to take advantage my situation and life is too short and had to take the chance when i had it.

“It’s easy to think that you should always save for your home deposit and mortgage, which of course is important but you also have to live and make the most of it!

“I thought this would be a great project to keep me busy, give me something to focus on and something to be proud of.

“So after a bit of research and seeing many people on social media doing similar things, I decided that this was something I could do and started looking for the truck.

“I knew from the start that I wanted to make it as casual and livable as possible so I looked for a long wheelbase truck so I had the space to hold everything I wanted including a bed. fixed double, sitting area, kitchen and bathroom.

“I finally found the truck was actually a minibus when I bought it.

“This has pros and cons – it’s already windowsed, meaning I don’t have to install anything (for me it’s quite a daunting task).

“However, it also means removing all the seats and rails that are fastened to the floor, during the entire transition is probably the worst job.”

Annabelle has been following her progress on Instagram, devoting her account to truck refurbishment.

She continued: “I decided to set up an Instagram account at @creating_sunflowervan so my friends and family could follow the journey because they were all interested in what I was doing.

Honestly, I took a pretty laid-back approach and ‘adjusted it’ to the whole build.

“I didn’t sit properly and plan it all out because I had never done anything like this before.

“I felt like I wouldn’t be able to think about every detail so I decided to face each stage as it came.

“My father helped a lot in the construction.

“Although he has no professional experience with these things, he is always good at DIY and would love to be involved and help.

It was more of a challenge than I expected and I need more help than I expected but I’m so proud of it.

Annabelle Tripp

“My boyfriend also helped a lot during my time especially in the electrical field, and more importantly, always supported and encouraged me especially on days when I felt a bit overwhelmed with the project and worried. worry that I’ve taken on too many tasks and I can’t!”

Annabelle admits that things didn’t go well at the start of the renovation.

She added: “It took me over a year to get it done, but it’s always worth it when another phase has been completed and my vision is coming together.

“As a beautician, my job certainly doesn’t involve any of the skills required for construction and I have no prior experience other than your normal home decor but I have learned a lot and I am very proud of what I have achieved.

“Thinking back, I could have done some of the work in a different sequence because I ended up having to undo and redo some parts to fit the others, but overall the process makes sense. to me!”

Overall, she’s managed to stay within her budget while still caring about the environment.

“I was hoping to spend around £20k on the project including the truck itself. I ended up spending just over that total,” she said.

“I try to be environmentally conscious so I use reclaimed wood where possible. The ceiling is made of reclaimed board and the kitchen, table and chair tops are made from scaffolding boards reclaimed from a reclaimed site. local wilderness.

“I used three types of insulation but the main one is made from recycled plastic bottles. The pillow is also made from recycled plastic bottles! And I have refillable bottles in the truck for all the products. themselves to reduce the amount of single-use plastic.

“The other wood including baton and ply is from Wickes only. This wood costs £650 and all insulation is £480.

“The biggest cost is electricity up to £4,300 but a big part of making it livable is using Victron Energy products.

“Domestic mini-compressor for £489, Thetford two-ring gas hob for £199 and Maxxair Fan for £299.

“I also used Frenchic paint that I bought from a local seller.

“The other expenses are a lot of little things that add up.

“For anyone planning to do the same, I recommend deciding what you definitely want to include before buying a van so you know what size van to buy.

“It depends on how you like to work, some people like to plan everything in the end but some people, like me, like to just go with the flow. So work with it. whatever works for you and just remember no matter how long it takes it will be worth it in the end!

“It took longer than I expected, it was a lot more challenging than I expected and I need more help than I expected but I’m so proud of it.”

Tom Church, co-founder of, commented: “Wow! Looking at the before and after pictures, it’s hard to believe this is the same van.

“Annabelle has really put her heart and soul into turning this old pickup truck into a simple, gorgeous, and warm camper van.

“I especially love all the effort she has put into making sure campers are as environmentally conscious as possible.

“I am sure she will enjoy this amazing project for many years to come!”

Annabelle even fitted a luxury shower to her truck


Annabelle even fitted a luxury shower to her truckCredit: Latest transaction
Annabelle continues the yellow theme throughout


Annabelle continues the yellow theme throughoutCredit: Latest transaction
We retired at 28 with £15,000 a month to live on, now we travel the world in our camper van while the money pours in. I renovated an old pickup truck using recycled bottles and Frenchic paint

Emma Bowman

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