Tag Archives: painting a school bus

Drumroll Please….


Of all the decisions that had to made during our school bus conversion none created more debate than the question of what colors to paint the bus.

Everyone had a different vision of what they thought our home on wheels should look like. Some wanted to keep it subtle (namely Toby) while others wanted to embrace the uniqueness of living in a school bus with a unique paint job.

For a year we have talked, sketched, weighed and debated everyone’s suggestions. We made a list of twenty possible names, knowing that until we decided on a name we couldn’t decide on the paint job… since they go hand in hand.

The name of our bus was inspired by our dashboard figurines.


Once we decided on the name of our bus then we need to make decisions about paint colors and design. On one Sunday evening we made the decision once and for all with a design contest. Knowing the theme for the bus, we gave every family member an outline of a school bus and a pile of colored pencils and instructed everyone create their vision on paper. Once everyone’s drawings were completed we voted on our favorite.

The winner was…


with his “Rolling Gnomes” design.


Once we had decided on the design, the bus was prepped and the paint was purchased, and  it was time to paint!

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We chose a day last week when everyone’s schedules were wide open because this was an “all hands on deck” project. Matt came over and helped as well.

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The first task was to tape off the bus. The little boys helped Toby and I with this job…

which can be interpreted as: Toby and I followed the little boys around the bus re-taping over their tape. 😉

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While we did that the big kids and Matt scrubbed down the roof and prepared it for the blue paint that would cover the top half of the bus.

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Rusty designed the paint job around three primary colors: blue for the sky, green for the grass, and brown for the ground.

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It took us 8 hours to get the bus painted.


We painted from top to bottom using brushes and rollers.

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It was a hot day but everyone pushed through and worked so hard. At the end of the day our big, yellow school bus was transformed into this:


We let the paint set up for a few days and then Grace and I had the job of adding the details…those touches of whimsy that would transform the bus into “The Rolling Gnomes.”

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Grace took on task of hand painting gnome silhouettes on the panels where Toby had covered the windows with metal, while I hand painted blades of grass. Then we worked together to add mushrooms to finish the design.

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We are proud to present our converted school bus:

“The Rolling Gnomes”

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