It’s time to build out your campervan kitchen. Once you have your kitchen built the next step is picking out a campervan countertop. Instead of a pricey butcher block countertop, we chose to build DIY wooden countertops for under $100 for our camper van. This can be a great option for DIY builders and another great way to get creative with your build.
In our Sprinter van, we chose to spend $200 on a countertop from Home Depot which served us well but we wanted a more rustic look for our counter in our Ford Transit. Building DIY wooden countertops gave us more control and allowed for a refurbished look that in the end we absolutely loved and it saved us tons of money.
If you are looking to build your own DIY wooden campervan countertops, check out these easy instructions which walk you through the entire process.
Originally writing 3/2021 and Updated 5/2022
The Best Wood For DIY Campervan Countertop
When it comes to making your own countertop, all wood is not equal. If you are creating DIY wooden campervan countertops, you want to use natural hardwood. This way over time, your wood doesn’t get dinged and cut. Softer wood will not last as long and you will end up frustrated when it needs to be replaced.
Saying all of this, Shawn and I did not take our own advice and we used douglas fir, Kihn, and framing studs (2×6). They were fairly cheap, about $13 apiece and we purchased 4 but we bought more than we needed as our kitchen is space is fairly small.
For your campervan countertops, you can purchase planks, as we did, or you can purchase the wood whole or already formed. It’s up to you, your budget, and the overall look you are going for in your space. Below are some hardwood suggestions for your campervan countertop!
- Red Oak
Measure Space and Cut Planks
Now that you have purchased your wood, it’s time to get it ready for your space. When measuring decide if you want to have a lip on your DIY campervan countertops, meaning your countertop will go further out than your cabinets. We personally did an inch lip around the entire kitchen space, allowing for any kitchen cabinets errors.
When measuring your kitchen space, make sure that you have considered everything, including your sink, stove, faucet, and countertop space. You don’t want to build it all out only to discover you don’t have enough space for everything.
To cut your planks or piece of wood, we used a table saw with a fine-tooth blade. A table saw is going to give you the finest, cleanest cut and if at all possible this is what recommend. If a table saw is not available you could use a circular saw with a cutting guide on it.
Next, if you have a wood planer, you could plane the tops of the wood to square and the counter is level. You do not need to do this and you could fill the rounded spaces with wood filler instead.
Biscuit Planks Together
Ok now that your wood is cut to fit your countertop if you are using planks, you need to join them together to make a full piece. This will require an extra tool. You need a biscuit joiner, biscuits, wood glue, and clamps to hold the wood together.
Set the wood out, how you would like it to be on your countertop, considering the rings in the wood and the look you are wanting. Next, you simply use the biscuit joiner to cut slots into the middle of the wood. Put a hole every 4-6 inches down the length of each plank. Once the holes have been made and cleaned out, cover the end of each biscuit and put it into the side of the wood where you created the holes.
You will want to work quickly and join each piece of wood together tightly. Once all the wood has been connected, use wood clamps to put pressure on the countertop. Let sit for about 24 hours.
Alternative option: I’ve also seen where you simply use wood glue to adhere the planks together. This is an option but I recommend renting a biscuit joiner to make sure your wood doesn’t warp and pull apart!
Cut Out Stovetop and Sink
The countertop should be all set up now, and it is time to cut out your stovetop and sink areas. For your sink, refer to the instructions so you know exactly the measurements to cut. Depending on the sink you purchased it can either sit on top of the countertop, be inset, or under-mount. We opted to have our sink be inset, which means it is level with the countertop. The reason we chose this was that we wanted to make sure there was enough strength to hold the sink.
Sand and Stain Wood
All the difficult stuff has been done. Now it’s time to get creative and make your van life countertops really shine! Using a hand sander, gently sand your countertop so that it is completely even and smooth.
Completely clean the entire surface with a slightly damp cloth to make sure none of the wood shavings are left on it. Then using your stain of choice simply use a t-shirt and rub the stain on in the direction of the grain of the wood.
We personally used a coffee stain which consisted of vinegar and used coffee grounds. We let the coffee grounds sit in the vinegar overnight and then put on around 5-6 coats until we got the desired look.
Resin or Poly
If you want a natural DIY campervan countertop, you can simply add a nice oil and then install it! If you are rough on your countertops which can happen easily in a van, then we recommend adding resin or polyurethane on top to harden the wood. If you do this then you shouldn’t cut on top of the wood.
After that, it’s up to you to install your countertop and bask in your DIY campervan countertops’ beauty!