How to Build A Teardrop Trailer: Designing the Plans for a Camper

teardrop trailer plans

my custom teardrop trailer

I built this teardrop trailer because I love creative spaces for compact living – which is quite a claim, considering I am 6’6″ tall. I owned my first camping trailer back in 2003, and I even lived in it for a month when I was airbrushing down in the little tourist beach side town of Seaside, Oregon.

At some point, I became aware of the teardrop trailer, which is a tiny little camper that is meant only for sleeping, and offers some accommodation for fairly comfortable food prep and outdoor cooking.

My intent, in this series of posts, is to offer free ideas for you in your plans for building a teardrop trailer.

Gathering Ideas

I figured building a teardrop trailer was a project I felt I could pull off from design to finish by myself, so I started by searching the internet for more info.  Some of the best came in the form of an online forum at Mike and Chell’s Teardrop and Tiny Travel Trailer Website. The folks on that forum are some of the most knowledgeable and helpful folks out there, and they gave me the courage to try my hand at building Teardrop Camper designmy own teardrop camping trailer.

I decided to make a traditional style of teardrop – one with a removable galley for easy loading, and two doors.  Here is a photo of my initial design idea, done in Google Sketchup – a free program offered by Google. The truck is my GMC Sonoma – a V6 capable of towing a tiny trailer, but not much else. (UPDATE:  I recently sold my little truck and bought a Honda CR-V.  This trailer is small and light enough to be pulled by the Honda or even by a car!)

The Teardrop Design

First, I drew a quick sketch of what I wanted it to be.  I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel (my first time around), so I went with a traditional route.  In Sketchup, I downloaded a trailer base (because I knew I wanted a roughly 4X8 bed on the trailer).

trailer design

4×8 Utility Trailer

I also knew I wanted to just put a couple sheets of 3/4″ plywood as a floor and building base for the rest of the trailer.

When I build another one (a larger, “canned ham” type), I will be building it with a 2X4 framed floor and use the plywood as a subfloor, but that isn’t really diminishing the stability of this one, because it is attached to solid steel.

Beginning the Build

Next thing I did was sandwich two sheets of 1/2″ thick plywood and two sheets of 1/4″ plywood (or luan) all together and cut out the teardrop profile outline with a quality jigsaw (mine is a Bosch Jigsaw).  Take your time with this, and keep your cuts nice, clean, and vertical, and it will save you a ton of time cutting the outline.

how to build a teardrop trailerTeardrop Trailer Planscutting out the teardrop sides

Next thing I did was add a 2×2 wooden rail down the length of the plywood bed of the trailer.  This was the “tack strip” for holding up the plywood exterior outline.

Constructing The Teardrop Trailer, Continued =>

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Jason Sipe Jason Sipe (68 Posts)

Jason Sipe is an artist, craftsman and writer. He has spent the last 20 years working in the art and media fields. He now turns to this blog and helping others learn about creating art as his main focus.


4 thoughts on “How to Build A Teardrop Trailer: Designing the Plans for a Camper

  1. This is so cute! How long did it take to paint the murals on this teardrop? What’s on the other side of the trailer?

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    • Each mural took around 1- 2 hours per painting. The other side of the teardrop is an Oregon lighthouse scene.

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  2. Wow, I was checking out your youtube video and I never would’ve guessed the teardrop had murals on it at one time! Those are so neat, why did you cover them?

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    • I felt as if they were too specific to my own personality. Wanted it to have a broader appeal when I sold it.

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