Collaborative Vardo

If you are thinking of building your own vardo as a tiny house or for camping, Instructables recently featured a collaborative wagon built by Paleotool (author of Building a Gypsy Wagon), PaleoPunk and a friend of theirs, AmericanPikey. The instructions for this tiny, wooden wagon are available as a free download. AmericanPikey recently retired and wanted a mobile retirement home, but not an RV. He also wanted the utility and towing cost to be small. The total cost to build the wagon (including the trailer) was $2,400.




The wagon is built on a 10×5 foot flatbed utility trailer. PaleoPunk mentions that flatbed trailers, while expensive ($1,000 for this one) are much easier to work with than a re-purposed trailer which sometimes have to be dismantled and prepared for building. This particular trailer had metal side rails to support the wagon’s walls. The overall length of the wagon is approximately 10 feet long and is 7 feet wide. The floor on the inside is about 5 feet across with one-foot ledges extending over the wheels.
The wagon has a Dutch door,  the 20 inch porthole windows are made from actual ship portholes, and a Lexan window was placed in the front of the wagon. The bed is about four feet off the floor and has storage space underneath. There is a trap door under the storage area that opens to an enclosed space underneath. Several benches by the bed also serve as steps up into the bed. The wagon also contains a small wood stove made by Marine Stove and a portable propane stove for cooking. The wagon does not have electricity or plumbing.
Photos by PaleoPunk



Building A Tiny House DVD Series

Dear tiny house enthusiasts,

Are you wondering if you have what it takes to build your own tiny house? Are you feeling ready to get out of the rat race? Are you tired of paying too much money towards a house that is bigger than what you need? Are you willing to put in time and effort to create your own tiny house? If you answered yes to any of these questions, we highly recommend our brand new 4 DVD set “The How To Guide To Building A Tiny House”. With 6 hours and 18 minutes of footage, the instruction presented is a culmination of 20 years of professional building experience coupled with the 4 month process of building our own tiny house: hOMe.

DSC_0131By building our own tiny house we saved $30,000 in builder fees and we want to empower you to do the same by giving you the best tiny house construction information we possibly can. All along the way, we put special attention to explaining the construction process so that the novice builder can grasp the concepts and apply them to their own job site. By going into each step in detail, including often avoided topics such as electrical, plumbing and gas line installation, you will have the information you need to do it yourself with confidence.

In the 4 DVD production we cover the following topics: trailer overview and prep, sub flooring installation, wall framing, rake wall framing, wall sheathing installation, straightening walls, rafter layout and installation, roof sheathing, fire blocking, utilities layout, rough plumbing, rough electrical, wall insulation, service entry details, house wrap installation, ceiling insulation application, ceiling sheathing, wall panelling, loft installation, interior walls, window & door installation, gas line, waste lines, finish electrical, cabinetry, stair layout and installation, fireplace application, countertops, finish flooring, interior window trim, exterior siding, finish roofing, and venting considerations.

Until June 9th, you can buy the whole DVD series at a 25% discount. Simply type in the following code on the last page of the checkout process where it has a Discount Field :)

Friend of Kent’s

Our goal is to empower others to build their own homes using their own hands. With over 10 years of teaching people how to build their own homes in hands on workshops as well as through our DVD series in straw bale construction, we have seen again, and again, and again that someone with organization, passion, and determination can build their own house.

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To visit our site and to find out more about our “How To Guide To Building A Tiny House”, please click HERE.

To sign up for our Free 7 Day Ecourse on Tiny House Living and Construction, please click HERE.

The Tiny Houses of Black Rock City: Cargo Cult

Another Burning Man event has come to a close and Black Rock City this year was jam packed full of interesting camps and structures. The city is the area where the nearly 60,000 people who come to the event live. Their “homes” are a selection of unique structures, trailers, buildings, tents, yurts and other forms of shelter that keep out the harsh sun, sometimes heavy winds and the dust that permeates the air.


Last year, we camped by Tin Man and his fantastic metal pods. This year, we camped by him again and noticed the pods have been improved and they multiplied. Tin Man, a metal worker from Sacramento has been featured in Popular Science magazine with his walking pod, and his pod cabin is his home on the Playa. The bottom pod is a kitchen, the middle pod is a shower area and the top pod with the view is his bedroom. He even had a few guests staying in his camp and created a self-contained micro pod and some guest pods made of curtains.




There were a lot of shipping container shelters out on the playa this year including this one with a constructed inner building that is air conditioned and accessed by a real door. This container was used by one of the Black Rock Rangers. Rangers are the city’s peacekeeping and helpful guides. They help people who are lost, work perimeters during various burns and stay in the city sometimes for several weeks.



There were some very interesting domes this year including this structure that looked like an igloo.


This dome was made entirely out of loaves of bread.


These domes were kept full by constantly pumping air into them via a generator.


This dome was built to look like a large bird of prey.


If you come to Black Rock City in a tent, there are various structures you can place over your tent to keep it cooler and dust free. Our neighbor Kristal Light built a Monkey Hut around her Coleman Bayside tent (which even had a swinging door and a small closet) and our other neighbors built a custom sized post structure around their tent.





Some very colorful structures were in the city this year including yurts, circus tents, Moroccan tents and even a tipi covered in silk scarves.





Of course, there were some beautiful little trailers in the city as well.




Some unusual structures included a teardrop trailer sans trailer built onto the bed of a truck.


A castle called the Coo Coo Camelot.


A yellow, or lello, structure built on top of a shipping container. This structure was used by members of the Department of Public Works, the group who builds Black Rock City.


The Open Mind Zendo near Fractal Planet was built out of cardboard boxes.


This treehouse structure was built and used by the camp Dustfish.


Hands down, my favorite camp in all of Black Rock City is Ashram Galactica. Their extremely well run camp contains the Grand Hotel, a colorful yurt and a set of beautifully decorated canvas bunk houses that serve as the Ashram Suites. Each of the suites are gifted by raffle to denizens of Black Rock City in a nightly drawing. They each have a theme including the Shanghai Suite, the Cambridge Suite and the French Boudoir.







Photos by Christina Nellemann

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]