How Do You Make a Van Design in Sketchup?

Do you have a passion for van life and want to create a custom design for your very own van? Sketchup is a powerful tool that can help you bring your ideas to life. In this tutorial, we will guide you step by step on how to make a van design in Sketchup, from creating the basic structure to adding intricate details.

Getting Started

If you haven’t already, download and install Sketchup on your computer. Once installed, open the program and follow along with the steps below.

Create a New Project

To start, click on ‘File’ in the menu bar and select ‘New’. This will create a new project for your van design.

Import Van Template

If you have a specific van model in mind, it’s always helpful to import a template as a reference. Look for van templates online or create your own by finding accurate measurements. Save the template image file on your computer.

To import the template into Sketchup, go to ‘File’ > ‘Import’ > ‘Import Image’. Browse for the template file and click ‘Open’. Adjust the size of the template by dragging its corners until it matches the dimensions of your real-life van.

Creating the Van Structure

Now that you have your template set up, it’s time to start building the structure of your van design.

Draw Basic Shapes

In Sketchup, select the ‘Rectangle’ tool from the toolbar. Click on one corner of your template and drag it out to create a rectangle that represents one side of your van. Repeat this process for each side of your van until you have an outline of its shape.

Note: Make sure to enable ‘Inference’ while drawing shapes to ensure accurate measurements. Inference automatically snaps your lines to the existing geometry in your project.

Extrude the Shape

Select the ‘Push/Pull’ tool from the toolbar. Click on one of the rectangular shapes you created and drag it up or down to create the height of your van. Repeat this process for each side of the van.

At this point, you should have a 3D representation of your van’s structure.

Adding Details

Now that you have the basic structure of your van, it’s time to add some details to make it truly unique.

Add Windows and Doors

Select the ‘Rectangle’ tool again and draw rectangles where you want your windows and doors to be. Use the ‘Push/Pull’ tool to extrude these shapes inward or outward based on whether you want them as openings or solid structures.

Create Interior Space

To create an interior space, select the ‘Line’ tool from the toolbar and draw lines inside your van’s structure. Use these lines to separate different areas such as a bed, kitchenette, or seating area.

Finalizing Your Design

You’re almost there! Now it’s time to add some finishing touches and polish your design.

Add Colors and Textures

Select the ‘Paint Bucket’ tool from the toolbar. Choose a color or texture from Sketchup’s library or import custom textures if desired. Click on any face of your van and apply colors or textures accordingly.

Fine-tune with Components

If you want to add pre-made components like furniture, appliances, or accessories, go to ‘Window’ > ‘Components’. Search for the desired component and click on it to add it to your design. Resize and position it as needed.

Save and Share

Once you are satisfied with your van design, save your project by clicking on ‘File’ > ‘Save’. You can also export your design as an image or share it directly with others using Sketchup’s sharing features.


Congratulations! You have successfully created a van design in Sketchup.

By following the steps outlined in this tutorial, you now have a basic understanding of how to use Sketchup to bring your van design ideas to life. Remember, practice makes perfect, so feel free to experiment and explore more advanced features of Sketchup to enhance your designs even further.