How to Design Teardrop Trailers

Teardrop trailers can have customized interiors.
Teardrop trailers can have customized interiors. (Image: Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Teardrop trailers are compact, aerodynamically designed travel trailers that resemble a lopsided tear or raindrop. The trailer rear usually has a pop-up hatch that opens up to a cooking counter. Teardrop trailers came about after World War II and were often made from surplus war materials. The chassis comprised steel U channels, and the wheels were salvaged from army jeeps. World War II bomber metals provided exterior coverage. Teardrop trailers remain much as originally designed, but the modern version offers the possibility of many design feature options — especially in the interior. Designing plans to construct a teardrop trailer requires careful attention to safety details.

Things You'll Need

  • Graphed tracing paper
  • Typical teardrop trailer dimensions
  • List of specifications for constructing a teardrop trailer
  • Straight edge
  • Ruler
  • Reference images

Design the exterior shape of the teardrop trailer. A basic teardrop trailer has a bed dimension of 4 by 8 feet, an exterior maximum height of 56 inches and a small door opening on one side.

Assign a scale for drawing up the exterior teardrop trailer plans; for instance, 1 foot equals 1-inch is a standard scale for drawing plans. At a 1/12 scale, plans will fit on an 18-by-24-inch piece of tracing paper. However, if you choose to work with 8-1/2-by-11-inch tracing paper, a smaller scale — such as 1/15 — may fit better.

Draw up exterior plans to scale on tracing paper for the teardrop trailer. Include front, sides, and back elevations (illustrations) of how the completed trailer will look.

Design the interior of the teardrop trailer. Generally, a teardrop trailer interior provides room for a 68-by-44-inch mattress, and a small table or storage cabinets. However, interiors vary greatly, only limited by the dimensions of the trailer and needs of the designer.

Create detailed drawings of the interior, including finished measurements for a bed, any cabinets, a table, a closet or any other desired feature.

Draw in window(s) placement to the exterior elevations when the interior design is completed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Teardrop trailer plans can be purchased at websites such as Westhoff Design. These plans provide detailed drawings for a number of modified teardrop trailer designs. Rather than starting from scratch designing and drawing up specification lists for constructing a teardrop, purchase a set of plans and then customize.
  • Regardless of the finished design plan for building a teardrop trailer, always plan on setting the bed on a purchased, non-folding two-wheeled welded trailer. Safety requires a sturdy, strong foundation for the trailer.

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