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Glitter Glamper Progress: Tin Ceiling Tiles!

It’s time to show you some more progress on the Glitter Glamper!

As I mentioned in my previous Glamper renovation posts, my goal with the Glamper is to make it what I need it to be, yet still preserve the original birch paneling inside. The birch inside the Glamper is in amazing vintage condition, however, it just makes for too dark of an environment for me to work in, which is the purpose of the glamper!

I special ordered some tin ceiling tiles from Menards, which took a few weeks to get. I didn’t want the cheaper glue-up tile, because I don’t want to damage the wood with a bunch of glue or foam tape. So, I went with real tin. I also couldn’t use your standard tin ceiling tile nails, because they would be too long, and likely could poke through the roof of the camper, which would be disastrous!! I also felt that shorter nails still probably wouldn’t cut it, being that this is a MOBILE ceiling that will be riding down the freeway, bumping as it goes, and I didn’t want the nails to work their way out. So, I decided on some small screws, just 1/4″ long, enough to catch the wood. If I ever want to go back to the original birch, I’ll have some small holes to putty, but that’s a lot better than paint!

The first thing you have to do with a ceiling like this is find the center of the trailer, and start from there. I measured the ceiling and marked the center with a piece of tape. My son helped me hold the first tile against the ceiling while I drilled tiny pilot holes through the tin and attached. From there I was able to complete the rest by myself.

Definitely the trickiest part!!
Hey! It looks like it did in my head!

I used my ruler, sharpie and tin snips to cut around cabinetry where needed. I highly recommend wearing gloves…I did not take my own advice and got quite a few cuts on my hands, but hey, no pain no gain, right? This spot shown above left with the exhaust fan/window and sink light fixture was the toughest for sure! I had to take apart the fan and the light partially, and cut around two cabinets, all in one piece. But, it turned out great!

To keep the feel of the canned ham shape, I wanted the ceiling tiles to continue down the front and rear curves to the floor.

I need to replace the birch below this window, then I’ll add tiles to the floor here too.
This part was too much of a bend for the tin tiles to handle. Kicking myself here because I forgot to align those bottom tiles with the center of the camper, so the line is off from the window…maybe I’ll swap those out…

In the rear of the camper, however, there is a curve that is just too tight for these tin tiles to bend. Even if I could get them to flex that much, the paint would chip off really bad. I found some plastic material that would make the curve to fill in that space, and while the pattern isn’t an exact match, I think it looks much better to continue the white field down to the floor. I might eventually do the same thing to line the tiny bathroom!

I still had a couple trim pieces cutting across the white above, so I covered that up with some adhesive backed silver glitter vinyl.

Cleaning up the edges of this in a curvy camper is tricky, because you can’t just bend crown moulding around the curves. I really just needed something decorative that was wide enough to cover the corners, so I ended up finding some 1/2″ diameter silver twisted cord online. It turned out great! The trailer originally has some vinyl piping all around the corners, so that’s what made me think of something fabric in nature.

One section of straight crown moulding worked here!

The back wall is the one place where I used a piece of actual trim, since it was a straight section. The rest was rope..glittery silver rope, of course!!

I first measured the entire length I would need, so I’d know to order 17 yards of trim. When it arrived I used a hot glue gun to attach it around the camper, taking care to keep the glue mostly on the tile and not on the wood, again, to preserve the original finish. (though hot glue peels right off the wood too if needed)

Aaah….that’s better. No more wood strips interrupting the flow of white from front to back!

The last little bit of tile that needed to go up was on the front wall, which I had held off on because there was no wall. I removed the original birch panel because it had some rot in the corners, and I had to access the dented corner to make some repairs. So, last week I picked up a sheet of 1/4″ birch plywood at Menards, measured and cut it to fit, installed it and stained it! Yes, I was going to cover it up with tin tiles anyway, but I still wanted to preserve that complete look of the original birch walls underneath. So, I did it right as if I were going to finish it with wood, and then added a few tiles. If I ever want to go back to original, I just have a few small holes to putty! Overall I think it turned out great! I achieved my goals of brightening up the space while preserving the original wood, and achieved the cohesive look of a continuous arch of white paneling from front to ceiling to back, keeping all the sides wood.

This was a big project and the tin tiles were crazy expensive. But, I am really happy with how it turned out in the end!! So many more projects to show you and more to start on, but I’ll leave it at this for now! Stay tuned for more!

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Glitter Glamper Progress: Epoxy Resin Glitter Backsplash

Yesterday I finally started blogging about my process of turning my 1963 Shasta into THE Glitter Glamper! I shared some of the uglier work yesterday: removing a little rot, fixing a dent and sealing up holes. Today I thought I’d share one of the “prettier” projects: the glitter backsplash!

As I mentioned last time, the interior of this camper is so beautifully original that, while I need and want to transform it to scream “Glitter Glamper,” I still want to achieve this while preserving the original state underneath. I need to brighten it up overall so that I can get great lighting to work in, and also create an environment that feels unmistakably and unforgettably “Glitter Glamper” to my guests. Yes, this has created significantly more time and expense versus just painting over everything with white and coating it with glitter, however, I am enjoying the process so far and loving the results!

I knew that the area between the countertops and cabinets presented a great opportunity to inject some glitter, by way of a backsplash. I explored a few options, from glitter wallpaper to a gem mosaic and everything in between, but in my mind they all started with cut panels that could be put up and removed if I wanted to later. In order to achieve the ultimate in glittery-ness (yup, that’s a word I have full authority to create as a glitterologist, haha!), I decided to go with a poured resin and super chunky glitter. This would enable me to use big, sparkly glitter but still seal it up in a durable, wipe-able surface that can easily be kept clean without glitter constantly shedding!

I started by purchasing some pressed hardboard from Home Depot, and cut panels to fit above the counter, carefully measuring to make sure it fit around outlets, the window, etc. When going for a solid, uniform color coverage with glitter, just as I would paint the skin under one of my glitter “wannabeards” before applying the same color glitter, I want to lay down some paint as a background. This gives the illusion of full, opaque coverage of glitter, even if you may have spots here and there where glitter has fallen off or isn’t as thick. I went with a white base coat here, because I’m using silver glitter. A gray would work too, but my goal is brightness and silver reflects white as well, so it was perfect! Not only did the white paint give me a more even look, but it helps seal up the wood, so it took less glue and less resin in the end. I painted the back, front and edges of each piece and allowed them to dry. Then on to the fun part…

I bought a couple 1 lb jars of chunky glitter from the craft store. (Note: we do not EVER use metallic craft glitter on skin…only cosmetic grade glitter!) I laid each piece of wood on a large piece of tagboard that had been folded in the middle (or newspaper for the longer ones), and then coated the wood with Mod Podge. School glue would work too…but Mod Podge is already watered down glue, so it spreads farther and quicker, which was my goal. After a coating of Mod Podge, I then dumped plenty of glitter over the wet glue and allowed it to dry. Then I carefully lifted the panel and shook off the loose glitter, set it aside, folded the paper and funneled the extra back into the jar.

Pouring the Resin

Before pouring the resin, there is a bit of prep work to do. You have to prepare a very level surface to work on, as gravity will spread your resin out, and you want it to be an even thickness. I used my kitchen counter, and covered it with many layers of newspaper, to protect it if any resin spilled over. (For the next round I laid out painters’ plastic, which is better as it won’t soak up resin like newspaper!) Also, make sure that you have the ability to leave your pieces there for 24 hours to set, where it will remain stable, level, and free of floating particles of dust or whatever! Making dinner was tricky around this and made me a little nervous, but it worked out just fine.

Then, you have to create some sort of “fence” around whatever you are pouring resin onto, of course, to keep it from just pouring off the edge. I used painters tape and went around all edges, making sure to fold it under and rub it tightly against the underside of the wood to contain the resin while it was still liquid.

Here is what I used for my resin:

Whatever resin you use, make sure to carefully read and follow the directions! I got out some paper cups to pour each part into, and then a cool whip bowl to mix them together in. I also got out a couple plastic knives and a foam brush to help spread the resin. Different brands will have different amounts of time that the resin is work-abe, before it hardens. Pay attention to that, as you only have so much time to spread it before it sets up.

Pour out equal parts of resin into the paper cups to ensure you have an equal amount of both resin and hardener. Then, pour the two cups together in your larger container, and mix. Make sure to mix it well…epoxy resin is a chemical process that requires equal parts and thorough mixing! Once I had it well mixed, I slowly drizzled it over the glitter, trying to distribute it as evenly as I could. Then, I used the foam brush (and plastic knives for the tighter corners) to make sure that it was spread out and covering all of the glitter.

Get down low so you can catch a reflection in your resin. This will show you where you may need to add more, spread it out, etc. The act of mixing resin will undoubtedly fill it with lots of bubbles. When doing a smaller project, all you need to do is get down close and exhale over the surface, and you’ll see the bubbles rise and pop! For this I took a heat gun and ran it over all the surfaces. A hair dryer would probably also work, though a heat gun blows less and will disturb the surface less. The heat causes the bubbles to rise and pop. Be careful not to burn your project! With this particular project, air bubbles were virtually unnoticeable anyway because of all the light bouncing around inside from the glitter. However, removing them helps it to be smooth and strong.

There is one little ledge area above the fridge where I had a lip on the panels, to hold things in during transit. Since a couple inches of the back of my panels was visible here, I glued some fun fabric on that edge. When installing each panel, I first drilled pilot holes so as not to crack the resin when I screwed it in. Everything went up beautifully with minimal screws!

There were just a few edges that showed in the end, including this little ledge where I had the fabric backer, so I covered those with some bling-y trim and a glue gun.

Overall I LOVE how it turned out. Photos truly do NOT capture the amount of depth and sparkle in this! I love it so much, that I’m toying with the idea of an epoxy resin flooring as well. We shall see…that may be a project for spring! In the meantime, this turned out exactly as I had imagined, and consider it a big win in achieving my intense glittery-ness and remove-ability!

Thanks for stopping by…Stay tuned for more updates on the progress! 🙂

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Glitter Glamper Becomes a Reality!

The ONLY thing photoshopped here is the logo decal…I’ll likely order a decal like this for now (I already have them on my storage trailer), but hope to have a real neon sign made down the road that can be hung on the outside while “open,” and then stowed away when driving!

If you’re a fan and follower of our Glitter Glamper on social media, you’ll know that on September 25th I took a huge leap of faith and purchased the REAL, live Glitter Glamper! Why was this such a huge leap of faith, you ask? After all, the Glitter Glamper was a raging success it’s first year at the Minnesota State Fair, and my concept had been proven beyond my wildest dreams without even having a physical Glamper yet! Well, as we all know, we are in the midst of a global pandemic, which has put a screeching halt to the event industry, and in turn, nearly all of my income, making it a big financial risk to take on the hope that “someday soon” we’d be back to “somewhat normal” life! Here are some of the factors that nudged me just far enough to put what’s left of my money where my now slightly shaky confidence was:

  1. With virtually all of my events cancelled since March, I had a little more TIME on my hands to work on a big project.
  2. With no income stream in sight for most of 2020, this may be a good year to create tax deductions!
  3. We WILL eventually get past Covid. Events WILL eventually come back. But in the meantime, even if they don’t come back with the volume they once were for a long time, having the ability to go mobile and set up “shop” outdoors at an event, where I can easily control the number of people within that 6′ radius at a time and sanitize as needed, is a huge plus! People may not be able to book a large indoor gathering for a while, but being able to spread out outdoors opens up unique covid-friendly opportunities.
  4. My current space at the state fair is inside a “cage” type booth, but even if they don’t have an outdoor space for this trailer in the near future, it can still be utilized at events around the Twin Cities. And, it MIGHT actually fit INSIDE my current “cage” space…hmm…I’m exploring possibilities. 😉
  5. I can’t leave out the fact that my husband has a much more stable job than I, which sustains us and our cost of living even during a pandemic…so I fully realize that I am incredibly fortunate and privileged in that respect. If my business fails, we won’t be on the streets (or crammed in the Glamper), and that is the one thing that gives me the ability to do these crazy things!

Essentially, I had decided even while working in an awesome and successful state fair booth last year, that I didn’t come this far only to come this far.

While I moved very fast on this purchase as soon as I saw it on Facebook marketplace, it was not an impulse decision. I have been researching and searching steadily for probably over 2 years. I knew from the beginning that I wanted a Shasta Airflyte. This is evident by the business cards I created, and Photoshopped rendering of what I wanted my booth to look like for the State Fair’s application. I knew I wanted one that was manufactured between 1961 (the year that Shasta started their iconic “wings”) and 1964 (when they moved their body design from the classic “canned ham” shape to a more boxy design). At least 12′ long would be ideal, and under 20′ for ease of pulling and squeezing into festivals. A bathroom would probably be impossible, but would be a major plus if I ever were to sleep over in it at a weekend event. I had seen plenty of vintage trailers that “would have worked,” but held out for that elusive dream. I spent countless hours killing time, scrolling through Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. I knew what was out there, what they were going for, and how much work I’d be getting into.

I got a little more serious when Covid hit, but still was starting to get to the point where I didn’t think what I had in my mind’s eye would ever become available, at least in my state or budget. But, just as things always work out the way they should, the wrong deals fell through and along the way made it so that I knew this was THE one when it turned up. Just when I was ready to settle for something other than a Shasta which also fell through (no title), and then let the whole idea go entirely and move on, I found it! The day before I went to pick it up I even got a call from a prospective client who was wondering if I really had a real camper that I could park at their curb for a covid friendly party. Um…please hold for just one day, haha!

Yes, I’m wearing tiny earrings with tiny red & white campers. Hehe!

I have a LOT of catching up to do on the progress of this thing on my blog, so I’m starting with some of the bigger things I’ve worked on so far, and will be sharing a lot more in upcoming posts!

So, back in September I purchased this 1963 Shasta! It really had everything I was hoping for, even an elusive bathroom! The bathroom is suuuper teeny, but it was a wish list item in the event that I ever take this trailer to a weekend festival or fair somewhere and spend the night in it, enabling me to work at an event out of town and save money on lodging. The goal here is to have a camper that embodies my “Glitter Glamper” brand, that functions for the work I want to do in it, and still remains camp-able. Another huge plus with this one was that it wan’t totally falling apart, the floor wasn’t rotting and in need of total replacement (we already went through that with our family camper and I did NOT want to tackle a floor again), it was clean and cute and mostly original! The exterior does not match my imagined turquoise on my business graphics, however, I have decided to stick with red and white. Red is my favorite color, I love how much bolder and eye catching this combination is (which is important for a business), and it gives me future potential to rent it out as a photographer’s backdrop for holiday photos! Later on I’ll show you the history of layered paint jobs on this thing, but for now, here’s where I started…

Interior the day I bought it! The tiny bathroom is in the back right corner closet.
This is the front dinette, which will become my main work space.

After some research in my vintage Shasta Facebook groups I learned that what I have here is not actually an Airflyte, but a Shasta 16-SC. (Ariflytes apparently didn’t come with the bathroom!) The 16 I believe refers to the length, as it is 16 feet bumper to hitch. No worries though…I wasn’t married to the Airflyte model as much as I was married to those WINGS! (Which I don’t believe are original on mine…I’ll tackle that later!)

We had a family camping trip planned for the same day that I bought this, so it was tough to bring it home, park it, and then scramble to head out of town and leave it behind! Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get back home and get to work! The first thing I did was curtains! I know, probably the least important thing…but this is something I knew I could do quickly and make a big visual impact for very little money! I found the shiniest fancy fabric at a local fabric warehouse, and crocheted overly dramatic tiebacks using glittery yarn and hanging crystals! Do you expect anything less for the Glamper? I think not!

Crocheted tiebacks, as blingy as possible, haha!
New, shiny curtains that scream “Glitter Glamper!”
Of course I have my “Friends of the Fair” decal on the window!

Since September I’ve been working on it a little almost every day, racing against the clock and Minnesota’s impending winter to do as much as I can before it has to be put away for winter! The most immediate things that had to be done were really just sealing up cracks and crevices to keep mice out over winter, however, I really wanted to get it looking like the GLAMPER and not your average camper, as much as possible, so that it would be as ready as possible for events come spring. In order to actually physically WORK out of this camper though, I really needed to make space for a work station and chair space for customers.

We got a freak October snowfall this year…it’s gone now, but this shot was enough for me to agree that she must remain red & white…this is just SCREAMING to be set up for Christmas photo shoots!!

Time to start some of the dreaded DEMO!

I decided to remove the dinette to make my work area. While I originally figured I’d have to buy a camper in much worse shape and gut it, this one is really beautiful inside and original. SO, my goal has now become to make this camper be what I need it to be for my work and deliver the full Glitter Glamper experience, but still preserve as much of it’s original design as possible. For this reason I very carefully removed the dinette and have saved all of the original pieces, should I want to ever convert it back to a camper just for camping. (I currently have my state fair booth components tucked away in a storage trailer, so I was able to squeak these parts into the trailer for now)

Pulling out the dinette served another purpose though, to remove the front wood panel which had some rot to take care of, and access the front left corner where pervious owners had hit a deer. This corner was pretty beaten up…not too bad looking from outside but once I removed the booth I could see daylight through the floor, could crumble pieces of the framing with my fingers, and could actually reach my hand down to the ground if I wanted to. Not a hole I would want to leave open for winter! It also greatly compromised the structure itself.

These old Shastas were constructed surprisingly poorly back then. The framing is not one nice, solid, curved piece of wood, but rather, these are made with a bunch of little pieces of wood stapled together to form the curves. If you were to pull the siding off of the outside of a Shasta, what you’d see would look much like something pieced together from the scrap bin. I learned this, among many other things, from the vintage Shasta owner Facebook groups I’m in! So, between the rot and the deer damage, there was really nothing attaching the front left corner of the trailer to the walls or floor. The front panel of aluminum was actually flopping loose as well, once I took the booth out!

Removing the booth, piece by piece! I saved all the original wood facing, cushions, platform and tabletops in my Glamper storage trailer if I ever want to put it back.
After removing the whole booth and the front wood panel which had rot in the corners. Luckily the rot had not spread to anywhere else!
Removing the damaged and rotted wood. I didn’t even have to cut anything here…that is how long the original piece was.

Gah! This part is ugly! Time for a “pretty” break!!!

Okay, so far this is probably the ugliest piece of the whole project…and was a little daunting. I admit that to keep motivated and keep my eyes on the prize, I had to occasionally turn my gaze back to the other side of the camper, look at the parts that didn’t need replacing, and sprinkle in a few more creative mini-projects. I do this a lot in work and life in general…I often bounce from one thing to the next. It helps me get through the boring parts of business ownership like accounting and paperwork while still keeping motivated with the creative, artistic side! 😉

I painted and blinged out several small mirrors to hang in the Glamper!
Hanging mini LED lights, and setting up some fun accessories from my state fair booth! The afghan my grandma made and happens to match perfectly, and I found the mermaid sequin pillow at a thrift store!
I bought this wood sign at a thrift store years ago. It fit perfectly above the door (after removing a little spice rack that was not original to the camper), so I coated it in glitter and stuck it up there!

Okay, let’s go back to the dirty work….

So, I set to work pushing out the dent as much as I could, cutting new wood to replace the rotted and crumbling pieces that had broken in the collision, re-attaching the aluminum siding from the outside, re-attaching the framing to the floor itself, filling up any remaining cracks with rodent-resistent spray foam & caulk.

Removing old wood
Replacing with fresh wood
Closing up the wall after filling gaps and insulation

Removing the booth, of course, left me with a patch of unfinished floor. I’m still thinking about what I want to do with the final floor surface, but in the meantime I needed to at least bring the newly exposed floor up so it sits flush with the rest of the newer sub floor that the previous owner had put in. This involved scraping off the original tile to expose the original subfloor, and putting in a new piece.

Removing old, loose, curling tile with a chisel
After I cleaned the subfloor and cut a new piece, I laid down some construction adhesive.
New floor laid down and ready for screws! Now the floor matches up with the rest of the floor, so I can decide what to do with tile.
Now to find a fresh piece of birch paneling to close up the front wall!

Now that the deer hole/dent is fixed and everything is secure and stable, and the floor is all level, I just need to find some 1/8″ birch paneling or plywood (tougher to find than you’d think!) to close up that front wall, and can get to work finishing the floor and building a work station that will sit over the water tank! So this left corner is where my customer will sit in a tall chair, and the right corner is where my paint/glitter kit will sit!

Honestly I’m thankful that this was all I had to pull out…so many of these trailers seem to have a little rot, then when you pull off a panel it reveals a major problem requiring a complete frame-up rebuild! My husband is going to help re-attach the water pump and re-route the water, and we’ll do a bunch of electrical work. Now I just need to land on a flooring solution…fill in this space with the existing tile, or replace the whole camper with something…GLITTERY?

Okay, this was a long post with a bunch of things I’ve been working on earlier on in the process…next time I’ll share some more of the fun cosmetic things I’ve done! Stay tuned!!