Hello friends!  I thought it would be fitting for my first post to give y’all all the details about our DIY Shiplap Wall; it is after all the single biggest project we have taken on here at Casa del Ochoa.  Plus, any excuse for me to introduce you to Miss Napa, our furbaby!

Now, this project certainly took a bit more time than we expected (and as you can see from the photos below, the design is still evolving), but it was SO worth it in the end! Also, full disclosure, this is not ACTUAL shiplap – it is actually plywood underlayment!  But who can tell?!  PLUS it is insanely AFFORDABLE, and if you have baseboards, like we do, probably won’t require you stripping your baseboards down – score!  TOTAL COST: About $200!

Materials needed:

  • Plywood underlayment (we used 4 sheets, each .25″ thick) – cut down to 6″ strips (I think we paid $7.25 to have Lowe’s cut these down for us, and they cost about $15 for each full sheet)
  • 1.5″ wide furring strips, or any kind of molding planks you might like (these will create a lovely edging around the perimeter of your wall, but is totally optional)!
  • Hammer (or a nail gun if you’re fancy)
  • Hand Saw (or miter/table saw if your fancy – but really, you can do this whole project with the basics!)
  • Finishing Nails – we used 1.25″ ones
  • Studfinder
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Popsicle sticks for spacing out your boards (coins work for this as well)
  • Wood filler
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint (we used Sherwin Williams Alabaster)
  • 3″-4″ Paintbrush
  • 1″ Paintbrush
  • Ladder/Step Stool
  • Painting supplies (tarp, blue tape, etc)
  • Vaccuum

I highly recommend buying all your materials a week in advance – it can take some time to go through the hardware store and get everything you need, and its best to wake up early one morning and get straight to work, without having to worry about spending a few hours shopping!  It’s also never a bad idea to allow the wood strips to sit in your house for a week to adjust to the temperature and the humidity that is your home’s “normal.”

Step 1: Prep your space.  We moved the bed away from the wall and covered it with a tarp.  We also taped a tarp down on the floor to catch as much dust as possible.  We also removed the outlet covers from both outlets. (If you have a very dark colored wall, you may want to consider priming and/or painting before you put up your shiplap, especially if you are painting the shiplap white or another light color.)

This is pre tarp on floor – and hubs is taking off our window valence – also something you might need to do.

Step 2: Sanding.  The cut down 6″ strips really needed minimal sanding prior to starting, but we lightly sanded the edges of each strip prior to starting. We did this step outside.

Step 3.  Mark your studs.  Using your stud finder, mark all the studs along your wall.  Use your level to draw vertical lines with pencil all the way down for each stud.  This will help you know where to nail later!

You can see the pencil lines going vertically down the wall here.

Step 4.  Start putting up your boards!  We worked ceiling to floor, and right to left.  A couple tips:

  • Your ceiling is probably NOT level – ours wasnt.  So be sure to use your level on the very top board. If there is a small gap somewhere at the top, it likely wont be noticeable once the whole wall is done!
  • Use two nails vertically on EACH stud, for EACH board.  This will ensure your boards are super secure.
  • Be sure you really hammer the nails INTO the wood – this way they wont stick out and you can use the wood filler to smoothen out your boards.  OR you can go for a more rustic look and skip the wood filler all together and just prime and paint once your boards are up!

First place a full 8 foot piece of the underlayment up.  If your walls are super long, continue putting up full size pieces until you have a chunk of wall less than 8 feet left.

Now measure the the length left on the wall, minus half an inch or so.  This is where those furring strips will come in handy – you dont need an exact measurement to the left side of the wall, because the furring strips will cover up any unevenness in your left side boards! It’s kind of awesome!

Take your measurement and cut a new board to this size with your hand saw (we also did this outside).  Place this newly cut board to the left of the board you have up on the wall already, using a popsicle stick to separate them

Here is the first row up on the wall!

Step 5.  Use the leftover piece of board from the piece you JUST cut and put on the wall.  Use this piece as the start of your second row, again working right to left.  Working this way, you’ll create a natural staggered pattern.  Be sure you remember to use the popsicle sticks between the boards in all directions – vertically and horizontally!

We used popsicle sticks between the boards – you can see them here.

Step 6.  Now here is where we ran into some issues – the ever dreaded WINDOW.  Let me tell ya folks – it wasn’t easy, and it’s not easy to explain.  I highly suggest that if you have a window, you take extra time here.  You’ll have to notch out some boards, and if you don’t have a window valence, or curtains of some sort, you will need to be EXACT in all your measurements.  Luckily, our valence covers the top of the window, so we said screw it and approximated everything.

We also stopped doing the natural stagger pattern technique I mentioned above, and started measuring the boards to be the same length every fourth row (so row 1, 5, 9, etc all started with an 8″ board; board 2, 6, 10, etc started with that short little board you see above, etc).  Again, all our boards we cut with a good ole hand saw!

Our window has a tiny bit of wall to the left, so we cut several 3″ or so strips and put all those up to the left of the window, using the popsicle sticks to space between them.

You can see the small pieces to the left of our window here – sorry for the lousy lighting!

If you DON’T have a window – LUCKY you! Seriously, this project probably would have only taken a day or two if not for that damned window!

Step 7.  Continue all the way down the wall.  You’ll also have to create notches for any outlets you might have (here is where a table or miter saw would have come in handy – but still, we did it with a hand saw, and you can too!)  Note that for outlets, if you want to be sure your outlet cover goes back on EXACTLY as it was before and doesn’t stick out, that you may want to keep those covers on instead of taking them off.  Our covers stick out just a bit now, but I preferred that look over the wood butting up to the cover itself.

You may need to cut you final bottom boards lengthwise.  If this is the case, you MAY need a table saw.  We got SUPER lucky, and the bottom section of wall was just a hare over the 6″ width we had, and with the furring strip going up to cover the very bottom, that was just fine!

Step 8.  Use wood filler to fill in all the wood holes (IF YOU CHOOSE! – I actually skipped this step on a different wall I did and it didn’t bother me one bit; I actually probably would skip this step entirely in all my future shiplap walls, but figured I would show it here as an option!)  Once it is dry, use sandpaper to sand them WELL – I wish we would have sanded ours more because in certain lighting you can see the little patches.  It doesn’t bother me much, but I highly suggest you spend time on this step to be sure your planks are really smooth as buttah (or, SKIP entirely)!  Tip: Use a vacuum ON the wall! It REALLY helps not only control dust, but to make sure you don’t have little dust specs in your primer and paint!


Step 9. Prime your wall – we used a 1″ brush to get into the cracks between the boards, and a 3″ brush for the face of the boards.  We used one coat of Valspar all purpose primer.

Step 10.  Paint!  We used 3 coats of paint.  Here, I only used a 3″ brush, and did my best NOT to get into the cracks.  If I did get globs of paint into the cracks, I used the tip of a flat head screwdriver in the cracks to keep them open.  Just stick it into the crack and the paint will usually come out or get stuck so far in there you can’t see it!

You also don’t need to cut in, so long as you are using the furring boards.  Don’t worry about your edges because they will all be covered up!

This was after one coat of paint – we used two, which I highly suggest!

Step 11. Prime and paint your furring boards, and cut them (yes we again used a hand saw) to 45 degree angles at the corners so they fit together at each corner nicely.

Step 12.  Nail up your furring boards on the edges of your wall.  Do your best to get these nails in studs, but it may not always happen, and that’s okay. You may also need to piece together two pieces on the top and bottom edge – as it’s likely your room is longer than 8′ – we used our top and bottom boards as guides as far as the cut lengths (so the seams of the furring boards matched up with the seams of the top and bottom row).

Step 13.  Use the wood filler to patch the nail holes in your furring boards. Once dry, sand, spot prime and paint the patches.   And VOILA!

The last and final step is to clean up/vacuum and put your room back together, including screwing your outlet covers back on and putting back up any window coverings you might have. Note that your outlet covers may stick out a bit – ours do, but its not a huge deal.  Really getting everything back together took me forever because I changed up what we had over our headboard wall.  You can see the couple different iterations of that (monogram with and without greenery below)!

And that’s it!  It seems like a lot of work (and truthfully, it is), but it is an INEXPENSIVE and fairly easy project, especially once you get a flow going.

So what do you think friends?  Are you inspired to do a wall of your own?  Was this tutorial helpful? Do you have any questions? Sound off in the comments below!