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Ford Transit Headliner Shelf by Vancillary: A 2-Year Review

Ford Transit Headliner Shelf by Vancillary: A 2-Year Review

Ever wonder if the products you see in van tours actually last in the long run? Like a DIY Headliner Shelf for a Ford Transit?

Is something just a fad or if it’s legit?

I’ve found that one product that was totally legit.

The Vancillary Headliner Shelf! It has held up fantastically over the 2 years since we made and installed it.

In this post, I’ll provide an overview of the product, what materials we used, how we have used it, as well as how we’ve protected it.

This post contains affiliate links.  I have used every product mentioned and if you purchase one of these products I can make a small commission at no cost to you.

Why Do We Need a Headliner Shelf?

We converted a 2020 Ford Transit, AWD, mid length, high roof van into a home on wheels.  It took us 8 months and we did everything ourselves. 

We learned quickly to watch as much YouTube as possible as well as scan blogs for detailed instructions of how to make things. 

There are hundreds of ways to build everything in a van.  Some of them are correct and helpful, others are not.  Almost every time, you will have to modify something in a project to fit your specific van build. 

When we looked closely at the front cab, we saw a huge space that we were not utilizing.  In a van where using every inch of space is a necessity, we had an untapped gold mine in the front.

However, how the heck are we gonna figure this one out?  Neither Karma nor I knew where to start.  So, we sat and looked at it for hours like we did before starting most projects. 

Next, we googled around and landed on the Vancillary Headliner Shelf.  We watched some YouTube videos and read a few blogs about it.  We felt confident that this kit would solve our problem and open up that unused space potential.

The kit that we bought was specific to a Ford Transit (they have options for a headliner shelf for a Sprinter van as well). It solved our problem WITHOUT any of the typical headaches that come with van projects.

What’s in the Vancillary Headliner Shelf Kit?

The kit that solved our problem included:

            -Custom brackets for the Ford Transit Van

            -Bolts, Washers, and Nuts

            -A template for the shelf and shelf edge to scale

            -Complete step-by-step directions including detail down to the ratchet size needed to tighten the bolts!

Hardly ever do products come with literally everything you need including directions that make sense.

I wrote a whole blog post here about how we built the Vancillary Headliner Shelf from this kit.

Use Code REDPATH10 and you can get 10% off your own Vancillary Shelf.

Materials We Used to build the Headliner Shelf

We used a ½” birch plywood and birch-by-the-foot for the shelf itself.  We found an incredibly pretty piece of birch wood with two color tones that we felt would add to our build.  The birch-by-the-foot that we found at Lowe’s made up the front edge lip. 

We protected the all the wood with Vermont Natural Coatings for a penetrating water proofer.  Afterward, we added Total Boat Halcyon Clear Varnish to give it a smooth, glossy exterior.

These materials worked for us and the shelf has endured two years of dirt road bliss.

If I were to make it again, I would use ½” Baltic birch plywood instead. However, we did not have a good supplier of Baltic birch at that point in the build and we are really happy with the aesthetics of the two-tone birch that we used.

April 2021 adding the shelf to the van

What have we put on the Headliner Shelf in 2 Years

Like many van projects, we originally intended for it to hold one thing and that has morphed over time. 

The Vancillary headliner shelf has held many different items as our activities in the van have shifted.  Lucky for us, it can hold a wide variety of items as we have reorganized our space time and time again.

While we built it, we figured it would hold the abnormal amount of Melanzanas and sweatshirts that we like to have with us.  We lived in ski towns for years…we have a lot of them!

When we moved into the van, we did originally place them there and it worked great.  Then, we found a video that showed sweatshirts being placed in throw pillow covers and that was a game changer.  Now, we have 8 throw pillows that hold all our sweatshirts.

The headliner shelf has held our snacks, maps, and outdoor rug and various assorted things over its 2 year life.

At the moment, it holds our insulated window covers for the front side windows, our slider window, and the insulated divider curtain.  It also holds our lightweight vacuum, a notepad, two headlamps, and some binoculars. 

For a long time, the window covers floated around on the bed or the bench.  But, finally we decided to try them on the headliner shelf and voila!  Overall, the headliner shelf is incredibly versatile, and we love that it changes with our current needs. 

Headliner Shelf holding Window Coverings

How We Protect It

First, we protected the shelf with a penetrating water proofer as well as a varnish.  This protects the wood from the heat from the front cab.  Moreover, it prevents me from spilling things as I’m not always the most graceful human.

Second, we consciously do not overload it.  While the shelf, the technical brackets, and bolts hold the shelf up wonderfully, we do not push the weight boundary.  We do shift items on it frequently, but we never store heavy items up there. 

Varnish protecting the wood

The 2-Year Review Verdict

The Vancillary DIY Kit for a Ford Transit Headliner Shelf is 100% worth it.

It’s worth it for the customized brackets.  These are different if you have a Ford Transit vs a Sprinter. 

It’s worth it for the exact pattern to cut the shelf.  I cannot even begin to think about all the headaches this saved. 

It’s worth it for the amazing directions.  For real, when was the last time you bought a product and the directions were actually helpful?

It’s worth it for the storage space the shelf opens up.  For two people living in a mid-length van, storage is vital.  This allows us to keep those easy to grab items like window covers super handy. 

I definitely recommend buying the Vancillary DIY Headliner Shelf Kit. Use code REDPATH10 for 10% off your Vancillary Headliner Shelf.