How to Make a School Bus a Home Part 3

Part 3 of How to Make a School Bus a Home took longer than Part 1 and Part 2 because Jeff took his time looking for used parts and lumber at a discounted price. He was able to find a water pump, furnace, water heater and a considerable about of lumber by just being patient and searching Craigslist. He also checked our local home improvement store for cull or damaged lumber and luan that he could still use on the school bus.


Tip #1

When converting a school bus be patient and look for used supplies and discounted lumber.Click To Tweet

This tip saved us several hundreds of dollars. While searching for materials, Jeff worked on whatever part of the bus he could. This meant that one day he would be in the back of the bus and a few days later he would be working closer to the front. In some ways, this slowed Jeff down because he likes to finish one area completely before moving onto another area. Saving money trumps pre-planning in this case!


Tip #2

During a school bus conversion make sure to complete the outside during warm dry weather.Click To Tweet


The weather slowed Jeff down a bit. Even though, he got the outside painted before the “raining season”, several other things didn’t get finished before winter weather hit. You can ask him but I think he would agree, crawling around under the bus to install black and grey tanks in the cold is not his idea of fun.

He also had to cut a hole in the side of the bus for the propane furnace, install the hot water heater, and work on some wiring outside the bus. On the next bus build, he will make sure to complete these things before winter.


During the last 4 months, Jeff completed:

Shower installed


He got the shower installed. In this bus, we decided to put the shower on the left side of the bus and the toilet and sink on the right side. There will be a door on the toilet area and a shower curtain on the shower. He has the toilet in but needs to finish the sink area.  The bathroom is located in the master bedroom area and will have a door that closes it off from the bunk area.


3 part walls


Jeff made a template for the curve of the ceiling. This way it makes cutting each board for the wall easier. Joshua was his helper for the day. Once the walls are cut, he staples them in place and fills in all the staples indention’s with putty. After he finishes sanding the putty and wiping it down, I will paint.  (Jeff does NOT like to paint!)


Katie's Hospital Bed


This is Katie’s bunk area. Don’t you just love the little shelf at the head of her bed? I will be able to put some of her everyday supplies in cute containers that will be easily accessible.

A Hospital Bed in a Converted Bus?!

A gentleman that Jeff knows took Katie’s old hospital bed , cut it down and welded it back, so that, it would fit in the space allowed.  Jeff also installed several outlets for Katie’s medical equipment in this area. Katie’s feeding pump, suction machine, pulse ox, and O2 will have a place under, over, or near her bed.

Jeff you are such a good daddy!! Thanks for making this area special for our Katie – girl.




Jeff built cabinets above Katie’s bed and the master bed. Check out this YouTube video on the cabinets.


Bunk Beds


The bunks across from Katie are for Hannah (bottom) and Melissa (top). Each of these bunks have outlets, so the girls can play their electronics. Under Hannah’s bed is a small storage area but most of it is taken up by the wheel well.

The next section toward the front of the bus, is Andrew’s bunk (bottom) and Jacob’s (top). Across from these bunks, will be a storage/closet area for the kid’s clothes. Joshua’s bunk will be above the closet.

Jeff is still working on getting the trim around the walls and floor. There will also be a door leading into the boy’s bunk area and a curtain separating the boy’s area from the girl’s.




We have one rooftop unit that has a heat strip in it. However, once the temps starting dropping below freezing it was not enough to keep the bus warm. Jeff and Dan, a family-friend, installed a propane furnace under Andrew’s bed. It is controlled by a thermostat on the kitchen wall. This heater keeps the bus nice and warm!

Even though we were patient and shopped around for supplies and the weather turn colder quicker than we expected, Jeff still accomplished an amazing amount of work.


Sometimes converting a school bus takes longer than you originally plan. Click To Tweet


Here is a list of things that still need completing.

  1. Bathroom cabinet and sink
  2. Joshua’s bunk and closet area
  3. Refrigerator
  4. Complete the kitchen
  5. Cabinets above the couch
  6. Mattress/foam for bed and couch
  7. Put up the doors
  8. Put up the lights
  9. Paint
  10. Install outside lights and outlet
  11. Connect propane to stove
  12. Put hardware on all cabinets

Jeff hopes to finish the bus by the middle of March.

Update: Instead of finishing this bus, we had someone who wanted to purchase it and have us remodel it for him. Check back to see Bus #3 and follow it’s conversion.

We appreciate you taking the time to read our blog. Let us know in the comments below if you are converting a bus and link your blog so we can check it out.

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  1. Dim January 15, 2017 at 11:25 am - Reply

    it is cool. very

    • discoveringus January 15, 2017 at 12:48 pm - Reply

      Thanks! Dim, let me know if you are looking for something specific related to Skoolies and I will see if I can help you.

  2. Samara Gaines February 8, 2017 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    Hello! I’m wanting to buy my first school bus to buy so me and my fiance can convert it into our home on wheels to travel around the Unites States. I’m not sure what questions to ask or what to look for when buying. Also is there a program that you used to do the layout of the bus or did you just sketch? Thank you so much for your time!!

    • discoveringus February 9, 2017 at 12:32 am - Reply

      Hi Samara, Yay, that is exciting!! Buying a bus and converting can be overwhelming at times. You are in the right place. You see my goal for the blog is to help people enjoy converting and living in a bus and not have the overwhelm. Settle in with your favorite beverage and just start reading. I answer comments and emails so just let me know when you have a question. Here is a blog post I wrote on Skoolie floor plans. I like to use graph paper but did include some floor plan programs for those who want to use the computer. I only wish I could learn one of these programs. To me, it is harder than converting a bus! One thing you might find helpful is my Facebook group for women who live, convert, or travel in a school bus conversion. I would love for you to join us. Here is the link if you are interested. Thanks for stopping by the blog and let me know if I can help you in the future.

  3. Kathy nix February 19, 2017 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Awesome venture one day I would love to live the Skoolie life it sounds absolutely amazing and intriguing. God bless you and your family for sharing your knowledge

  4. Kathy nix February 19, 2017 at 9:32 am - Reply

    A skoolie life ? Exciting and intriguing I would love it! Thank you and god bless you and your family for sharing your tips and advice signed up my email looking forward to reading more about making this dream a reality

    • discoveringus February 19, 2017 at 10:47 am - Reply

      Hi Kathy, Thanks for stopping by the blog and leaving a comment. It is great to have you join us. I look forward to getting to know you better via email and social media. Hopefully, one day you will be living the life.

  5. Kurt February 20, 2017 at 8:14 am - Reply

    Just like that you sold it? What was wrong with it?

  6. Anne February 27, 2017 at 11:08 am - Reply

    OH what a shame… I so wanted to see it finished.

    • discoveringus March 2, 2017 at 10:36 am - Reply

      Anne, I have some pictures of it finished. Thanks for reminding me that I need to get them on the blog.

  7. Joy March 19, 2017 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    Reading your blog re-inspires me. I have a 1972 International school bus which has been partially converted. Its located in the mountains and I haven’t seen it for years. I’ve inherited it and the property its on from my parents. I want to revive it and Im a bit daunted by the thought.
    The part that comes to mind first is the cleaning out from whatever critters have certainly made it their home. So I’ve been researching how to do that type of cleanout and the necessary equipment. Its a very basic set up. 2 twin beds in back, closet area. No toilet or shower, mini fridge, stove, sink and bench seating and table.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated on how to proceed. The bus will remain stationary.

    • discoveringus March 23, 2017 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      Hi Joy, It is great that you have caught inspiration again. Your bus sounds lovely. I would start by clearing our from around it before Spring. Mowing and clearing up any undergrowth would be the first thing. Then slowly open the doors and throw in some insect bombs. I am sure there are bees and spiders!. Once it is cleared out, you will be able to see if there have been any water damage. This is how I would start. – Jeff

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