The Frito Lay delivery truck turned Fashion Truck
Here she is in all her glory! A 1995 P30 Chevrolet step van, retired from working as a Frito Lay Delivery truck and put out to pasture. I had been on the hunt for the perfect truck for transformation and after only a short while of craigslist ads we found her! The truck sure wasn’t much to look at but I could already see exactly what her new life was about to become.
This old truck checked all my boxes for a blank slate to do my build out so the next test was to see how she runs! Not gonna lie, I was pretty nervous to take her out for a test drive, but if you know me well you know I rarely turn down an opportunity for adventure and driving this baby down the highway for the first time was quite the ride!
I was hooked! Shaken, figuratively and literally, the truck rattled and rumbled as if every bolt, screw, and.. you know other truck thingys were all about to fall out, I drove the truck up and down the highway and parked her in a big lot and made the decision. I was ready to start the journey. Buckle up buttercup, this build was about to roll out.
First step was cleaning all of her old life out of the bed of the truck. We pulled out all the metal shelving and bits and pieces, power washed out the years of dirt and debris from sitting unmaintained for so many years and took her to a mechanic to do some basic tune ups. Plus a few driving lessons for good measure.
I had some time to wait for the weather to become more accommodating so I started dreaming and sketching out how I wanted to build out the boutique. I watched a million YouTube videos on van conversions and got to work. I can’t wait to share every step of this DIY mobile boutique build with everyone so I hope you follow along with me and the Truck’s journey!
My first of many speed bumps hit me. COVID 19. And just like the rest of the world I was thrown into a million unknowns. With a lot of sitting and waiting, and cautious planning I decided to put my other business, The Makery KC, on hold for the time being and get to work on the truck. If you don't already know about The Makery KC, it is a DIY workshop event space hosted in Kansas City’s West Bottoms district inside Bella Patina. Obviously, with social distancing events and gatherings aren’t ideal so green light go for Truck build and remote school. Not sure I will ever get this truck built without my crew in school but it’s fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine.
I knew that comfort was going to be very important if I wanted to create a full shopping experience so I decided to insulate the truck with 1 1/2” insulation foam boards that we picked up from Menard's. It took about 8 sheets to cover all the wall space. I nestled them in between the metal stud beams of the truck’s interior walls. The boards are very easy to cut down to size. I measured and marked them then scored the board with a utility knife. The foam boards easily broke when I applied pressure to the break line created by the utility knife. They will be secured into place after I panel over them with plywood. I am not gluing them into place but you could use some liquid nails on the insulation boards and adhere to metal sides if you wanted some extra hold.
Plywood, plywood and more plywood
For the walls, I knew I wanted a white ship lap look but I didn’t want the weight of true ship lap so I decided to do a faux treatment that I have done before for simple backdrop walls. I started with framing out the walls with ¼” plywood sheets measured and cut to meet in the middle of each metal stud. The large thin plywood sheets were not ideal for working with as they didn’t offer much stability while cutting such large panels. A large table saw with plenty of surface space would have been very helpful here but I did not have access to that so a couple table horses and and extra foam board and circular saw did the trick. If you are interested in how to cut down large boards without a table saw follow this link for my +TUTORIAL.
Walls are knocked out and I’m starting to see my boutique take shape! Getting super excited, and hopeful for an October launch! I love fall fashion so much so I could not wait to start shopping my favorite looks and items! Unfortunately, market was not open this season due to COVID but that’s ok I’m happy to start small and expand my collection as I grow. My dream was to bring my love for fashion and decor into a convenient setting for women with busy lives working or being a mom or the double whammy working moms to shop at home with their friends. When I started The Makery KC it was my mission to create an atmosphere where women could gather and enjoy each other's company and create something beautiful in a simple and fun setup. With DIY projects being my wheelhouse the two things fit together perfect! I have loved having our workshop space in the shopping district of the West Bottoms in KC and being among wonderful Kansas City makers and shop owners. So of course when I decided I wanted to open up a fashion boutique I wanted to have my DIY background on the forefront of my business plan. What better way to incorporate DIY projects and my boutique by converting an old delivery truck into a modern and feminine shop!? So as it goes with any small business owner one new idea takes movement and you just follow where your heart leads you. How many projects can one single mom boss take on at a time?? All of them of course, and let’s just throw another semester of remote school into the mix 😜 Luckily, I have quite the crew to help me out. They will just have to forgive me as I lose my sanity.
After fitting in all of the plywood wall panels, I was ready to get some electrical outlets installed so I would have power for lights, heating and ac, and plug ins.
Luckily my amazing boyfriend is super handy. He wired up all the electrical for me! My work was put on pause until he had some free time to plan and wire the truck. He installed some recessed dome led lights that we picked up from Home Depot and a few outlets and an electrical box. He also cut a spot out of the truck side so that I could connect the truck to a power source and vent out my AC unit. Yep, he’s the best and he has a pretty cute lil helper.
Then there was light!
All the praise hands and hallelujahs! You guys my electrical works!! And it runs so well, the lights are gorgeous and now most importantly I can plug in my Alexa and listen to music while I finish out this build! I can plug the truck in directly to an outlet in my garage or I can plug in to a generator. I did a lot of research to find what my best option for a high powered but quiet generator would be and I landed on this one, the Honda EU2000i portable generator. I of course ordered it from amazon because aside form prime being the best thing ever there was also a pandemic going on and nothing was open. It worked beautifully and the noise level is very low which is impressive if you have spent any time around generators you know how loud they can be. It was pricey but definitely worth the extra bucks for an enjoyable atmosphere. Now I sound like a real electrician when I start asking about how many amps she pulls. My knowledge is very limited but I sound legit right?
Walls in and sub flooring down, now to put in my faux ship lap treatment. I started by painting the plywood on walls black so that the gaps of my faux ship lap treatment will look shadowed like the authentic ship lap. For a quick hack I measured where each gap would be and I just painted black rows to save some time and paint. Next I bought sheets of sanded ¼” birch plywood and cut them down to 6” strips. After cutting about 5 boards into 1 million 6” strips I headed back to Home Depot to grab some more boards but this time the crew at Home Depot offered to cut them into strips for me! This was a huge time saver on my end so all the praise hands and shout out to my local Home Depot crew! Once the boards were cut I started laying out the pattern and cut them down to length. I applied some gorilla glue to the backs and used my favorite DIY tool, my battery powered RYOBi nail gun to attach them to the plywood panel walls. Chances are if you have been to one of my Makery workshops you have used one of these for a project and left feeling like a badass, amiright!? ☺️ After each row I used nickels as spacers to create the gap I wanted before securing with the nail gun.
My sweet little helper is sooo over the ship lap. Girl, same!
Speed bump 254: The ceiling.
I’ll be the first to admit I am not a carpenter nor an expert DIYer. I just love to build and figure things out as I go along (thank you YouTube🙌) I call myself a DIY enthusiast not expert lol! So of course sometimes my projects end up on the pinterest fail board every now and then. Anyone who came to my letter board sweatshop *I mean workshop* has a very real understanding this. You all that attended and still continued to come back are the best lol! I had this plan that I was going to shim the side wall panels down and leave a generous gap to slide my ceiling panel boards into place. Secure at the seams with some screws for extra support and boom easy peasy! Yeah, that worked out about as well as 2020 *insert dumpster fire gif here 🤣 One major problem. I could not lift these very large boards and slide them into place all by myself and even when I did get them up there, (1 black eye and a 3 inch scratch across my cheek later)… I couldn’t get them to slide past some of the metal grommets that were exposed and so old and rusted that I couldn’t get them out. So I called in some help and got a local referral and he got the ceiling in and it looked perfect! This one of many set-backs, (oh yeah the brakes went out, that was fun and a story for another day) led me to move the launch back to February. Slightly disheartening but a good reminder to be flexible and let go of perfection. Beyond grateful for the group of amazing women around me that I am so fortunate to call my tribe, reminding me of this and that perfectionism is the thief of joy! Yes, Brene Brown is in my close circle… of books 😉
Saying buh-bye to frito lays the delivery truck and Hello to Frida the Fashion Truck.
You guys, my Truck is looking more and more like the cute boutique and I’m just elated! This crazy little dream is really taking shape! Now she is headed off to get an official makeover!! After going back and forth between a simple modern paint job or a vinyl wrap I decided to let her make a statement with a vinyl wrap. This was no simple decision. I was hung up in perfection paralysis for a good month and a half but after working with the amazing KC local designer Dana Rudolph we got to a design that I could not wait to see on her! Here is a sneak peak of Frida in her new vinyl, but stay tuned for her new grill and bumper coming soon!!
Baby it’s cold outside!
...cold weather sigh, set back 581. Cold weather, great for hot cocoa, snow for Christmas and remote school (please for the love of WAHM everywhere send these kiddos back to school already!!) not so great for installing glue down flooring outdoors. Gonna give it a go this weekend with heaters and a warmer weekend. Fingers crossed and update soon! Meanwhile, I'll be painting the ship lap a crisp white. I use a roller brush and toothpicks to clear any paint that gets in the gap between the rows. These guys helped me out. Relatively cheap labor, they worked for hot dogs and chocolate chip cookies. The had so much fun "helping" and I go to listen to their business plan for BRO'S BROWNIES TRUCK coming 2041.
Hooray for 60 degree temps and a sunshine filled day! I got the flooring installed with some help in 1 afternoon! I decided to do a herringbone pattern which definitely took a little more time and a lot more cutting, but the luxury vinyl planks were pretty easy to cut and luckily I'm working in a small space. I could not be more thrilled with how the floor turned out. I'm 100% certain it took me 3x as long to select the flooring versus the installation... way too many options out there and a very determined designer looking for my exact preference.
up next: trim, doors, bumpers, hardware and all the pretty things. Stay tuned and fingers crossed for a February First Friday Weekend Launch in the West Bottoms!