Camper Makeover: How to Repaint the Exterior

Mallory & Savannah

Article Posted By: Mallory & Savannah

of Classy Clutter

Camper Makeover: How to Repaint the Exterior

This cool travel trailer had some miles on it, but it was still in good shape. It was looking its age, though. So it was time for a camper makeover.

This trailer remodel was done by Mallory and Savannah, who blog at Classy Clutter. They redid the inside of the camper, including tearing out old carpet and laying a new vinyl floor. But the exterior needed painting and general sprucing up, too.

Savanah shows us how they repainted the exterior of the camper.

How To Repaint a Camper

Camper Makeover: How to Repaint the Exterior

My husband and I purchased this travel trailer with a plan to give it a full makeover! We planned to create a space for our family to travel and a space that my husband could take with him on his hunting trips. Our trailer is a 1992 Terry Fleetwood (24 ft.). Everything on the trailer was in working order when we got it but everything needed to be updated since everything was worn, faded and outdated.

The outside of the trailer was in decent cosmetic shape but the paint had lost it’s luster, dingy and we wanted to give it a new, fun look with crisp new paint. I’m going to take you through the steps and supplies we used to take the outside of our travel trailer from drab to fab!

Camper Makeover: How to Repaint the Exterior


Step 1: The Prep Work

Just like any paint project the prep work is very important and also can be quite time consuming. It’s usually the least fun step but the most important for sure.

We used this Removal Project Set to get all of the peeling paint, debris and residue off the trailer.

Camper Makeover: How to Repaint the Exterior

We removed all the cover plates and removable hardware and buffed around the edges to make a smooth surface.

Camper Makeover: How to Repaint the Exterior

There were a few spots that had sticker residue that we needed to remove by buffing them out. Stickers that have been in the sun and weather for years can be tough to remove. Buffing them off was the best option, and it gave us an optimal surface for the new paint.

Camper Makeover: How to Repaint the Exterior

Camper Makeover: How to Repaint the Exterior

On the original paint job you can see that there were stripes, we had to buff out were the stripes where so that when we repainted you don’t see the ridge for the old paint job. We lightly buffed the whole trailer to make sure we did not miss anything and to roughen it up a bit so that the paint to stay on better.

Just like you would sand wood before painting, the outside needed a good sanding to get it ready for it’s new look.

Camper Makeover: How to Repaint the Exterior

Step 2: Masking and Taping

Before we even started to paint, we taped off all the windows and other trim pieces that we did not want to get paint on. Be sure to use good and strong tape.

We also used brown craft paper to help cover the windows.

Step 3: Prep your Workspace

Be sure that the space where you’ll be painting is not near a lot of of dirt or dust.

You also want to make sure not to paint during a windy day because the wind can stir up nearby dust and dirt and you definitely don’t want it sticking to your new paint job. Wind also causes your overspray to spread further.

Step 4: Prime the Surface

On the corners of the camper there are plastic pieces of trim, so we sprayed them with Kilz spray primer to make sure they were going to be ready and prepped for the automotive paint.

After the corners are painted we used Rust-Oleum auto body primer to spray over the entire trailer with a HVLP paint sprayer and a compressor to apply the primer onto the trailer. We did two coats of primer and used just about 1½ gallons of primer to cover the entire 24-ft. trailer. You may need more or less depending on the size of your project.

Camper Makeover: How to Repaint the Exterior

Camper Makeover: How to Repaint the Exterior

Step 5: Painting

When we started we were not sure on what pattern we wanted to do, so we sprayed the whole thing white and let it dry overnight. We used about two gallons of the white paint for good coverage. After we painted everything white we decided to paint a navy blue stripe across the top and one across the bottom. It was very convenient because the ridges on the trailer made to easier to tape off a perfectly straight line.

We wanted the navy to be very rich and dark, so we did about 3-4 coats of paint to deepen the color. Our coats were sprayed on very lightly and we let each coat dry for a few hours before we applied the next coat. We used about a gallon and half of the navy paint.

Camper Makeover: How to Repaint the Exterior

Step 6: Seal

After we finished the paint we sealed it all with two coats of clear coat. I love the clear coat because it make the everything look very shiny and polished. It also protects it from the harsh Arizona sun.

Camper Makeover: How to Repaint the Exterior

For added protection on the front, we installed metal diamond tread sheets.

Camper Makeover: How to Repaint the Exterior

This was a big project but made a huge impact in the overall look of our new travel trailer. I love the navy and white color combo. The colors we chose really make it look 20+ years newer than it actually is! No one would guess this trailer was from the early 90s!

Camper Makeover: How to Repaint the Exterior

Savannah has the full trailer reveal on her blog Classy Clutter. Go take a look!

Mallory and Savannah are the brains behind Classy Clutter. Classy Clutter began in July, 2010 when two moms were itching to share their creative projects and ideas with the world. They both grew up in Mesa, Arizona and come from big families. They have known each other since high school and their husbands are really good friends, too. Mallory and Savannah now have seven kids between the two of them. They love all things DIY and creating beautiful things.

Check out how Savannah transformed the interior of this travel trailer just by replacing the flooring.