Honestly, I struggled with how to cover Gypsy’s walls and ceiling for a good long time. I wanted a solution that was modular, lightweight, and insulating. I wanted to be able to remove the panels easily, and put them back up easily. And I wanted the solution to be affordable.
What I ended up with: pink rigid foam covered in burlap, mounted with magnets.
But I like it.
I think I’m the only person in the world who has used this solution. In fact, hey, I think I invented it! Quick! Get me a patent lawyer! (Kidding.)
So here’s what I did:
First, I cut all of my foam on a table saw. Although foam is much lighter and less cumbersome than wood, you still have to be careful cutting it on a table saw. If it binds, the saw will kick it back at you, just like it does wood. Foam will also melt and burn if the side of the blade rubs against it. Use caution, as always. You could also score the foam with a knife and simply break the foam apart, but a table saw produces cleaner edges.
After cutting the burlap, I adhered the burlap to the foam with Glidden Gripper Primer and Sealer. It’s actually a paint primer, and it’s not made for foam, but it works pretty well as a foam glue. 3M spray adhesive ate away at the foam, as did Shoe Goo, so don’t use those. Glidden Gripper really isn’t ideal for use as glue, but it’s one of the few things that will not eat through foam. If you lay it on too thin, it’ll dry too quickly, and if you lay it on too thick, it’ll seep through the fabric. Glidden Gripper comes in grey and white.
After the Glidden Gripper dried, I flipped the boards over and glued the edges down with Loctite PL300 Foamboard Adhesive. This stuff is made for foam, and it works very well. However, it’s not easy to spread in thin layers. It goes on thick, like caulk. I pinned the edges down while the PL300 dried.
The lights are recessed into the foam panels. I did some creative cutting with the burlap to get the mounting ring to fit nicely, and used a scrap piece of wood to keep the mounting ring from becoming dislodged.
Here’s what the mounting ring looks like from the front. The wire for the light easily fits through the hole. The lights I used are Torchstar Set of 3 RGB+White LED Under Cabinet Lighting Kit.
Before I put up the wall panels, I had some prep work to do. I screwed metal washers in to the wood-reinforced areas of my high top (they line up with the magnets on the back of the foam panels). Don’t be distracted by the black rectangular washers—those are part of the roof rack.
Because I wanted to preserve as much interior space as possible, some parts of the high top are not covered in rigid foam. I decided to cover those areas with burlap only. I used 3m 90 spray adhesive to adhere the burlap to the EZ Cool insulation layer.
After all that work, it literally only took 30 seconds to put the foam panels up. The magnets on the back of the foam panels stick to the washers that are screwed in to the high top (in the wood-reinforced areas).
Oh, are you wondering why I used so many different colors of burlap? Because I didn’t buy it all at once. I picked one color, went back for more, and Joann’s had run out of that color. So I picked a different color. And that happened three times.