An Easy Shiplap Wall Tutorial

farmhouse shiplap wall

Our prior home was a 100 year old farmhouse. I actually miss it a lot more than I thought I would when we moved. Mostly I miss the property, a half acre lot with a good mix of trees and grass, a nice big drive way, and of course, a pool! The jury is still out on if I miss the pool yet, but I think the answer is yes.

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Here are few pictures of our old house

The prior owners renovated it and in my opinion, they really stripped some of that farmhouse charm. So when we purchased it, I was determined to breath a little more farmhouse chic back into it. I decided to start with none other than a SHIPLAP WALL! Can you even have a farmhouse these days without it? Joanna Gaines would say no.

Here is a look at the old brown wall (from the MLS listing).

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As you can see they really loved tan and brown. I was craving light and airy, so for my birthday, my mom helped me install a shiplap wall.

This project was actually really easy compared to other projects I have done and we completed it within a day. We also had two cut little helpers, my 2 year old twins.

I reviewed a lot of tutorials that recommend ripping MDF boards in place of actual boards and even more that would use rustic wood and involved a lot of sanding and patching. I ultimately decided I wanted to use real pine shiplap to make it easier on myself. Most importantly I wanted an authentic look that showed some of the wood grain. Bonus that my mom worked for lumber company and got a sweet discount, so it made the decision pretty easy.

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Building the Shiplap Wall

Materials

Tools

  • Miter Saw (Depending on the width of your boards, you might need a 12 in)
  • Drill (I own both corded and non corded, but for project I always use the corded)
  • Level
  • Stud finder (we use a basic magnetic on that sticks to the nail heads)
  • Prybar

Steps

Step 1: Decide your board spacing preference.

I decided that I wanted a cleaner look for my shiplap wall so I used one board that ran wall to wall. I did this instead of cutting them at various lengths and staggering them on the wall. It made for a more simplistic look and also made all of my cuts so simple (everything was cut to the same exact size). I created a template board that I used to know how much to cut off each time. For the most part, they came out around the same size every time. It’s ok if they aren’t perfectly measured every time as long as you’re with using quarter round in the corners (I’ll talk about this this later on). If you want to only use the boards, then I suggested cutting with a table saw that has a set measurement or using a tool such as this.

Step 2: Remove the Baseboard

I decided to do this step because my pine boards were thicker than my base board (story of my life with these wood feature walls!). You don’t have to, obviously and I likely could’ve left it on without noticing because the couch always covered the wall.

Step 3: Hang the Boards

Because I was hanging actual pine boards it was important to place them in the studs. I saw a few tutorials that recommended placing vertical boards on your wall first and then attaching directly to those, but that seemed redundant given every wall already had studs!

We started at the bottom and measured precisely to ensure it was 100% level. This is really important to get right because every board there after will stack on top of it and you don’t want a gradual slope. That first board we put a screw into ever stud, since it served as the foundation. For each board after, we would use the nickels to space between the boards and they left a perfect gap in between rows. Some people rack and stack the boards with a gap, but I think it adds extra dimension and character. I also decided to screw into every other stud to reduce the number of screw holes I made.

My spacing was ever so small but made a lot of difference when I painted it white.

Here’s a few progress shots of the first few boards my mom and son put in.

farmhouse shiplap wall

Can you spot the extra designs added by my daughter 🙄

farmhouse shiplap wall

He’s was a little confused on how to use the level but dang was he cute 🥰

As you can see we had two outlets to work around and that was the only board I had to cut multiple times.

Once you’re above outlet height, it moves so quickly! I precut all the boards so it made for a quick install.

farmhouse shiplap wall

Step 4: Finish your top board (or fake it, whatever)

If your wall is anything like mine, it likely won’t line up exactly right, meaning you’ll likely need a half a board. Some people started at top of the wall for this reason and I likely would do that on my second try

Below you can see how I had just the smallest gap open. I actually left this little gap there for sometime because I didn’t have a table saw to cut one of my long boards in half. I ultimately applied a DIYhack to it and just painted it white and no one ever knew (sssshhhh don’t tell anyone).

farmhouse shiplap wall

Also highlighted in this picture is a real life progress shot of DIY with kids. At the time of this project, my husband was deployed, so I had small periods of time to work on this project, and well sometimes laundry came first!

Step 5: Paint it!

This step actually came months after we hung the wall (we hung the boards within days of my husband leaving and things were still easy). Shortly after that, life got complex as I worked full time and tried kept the twins and pets alive (try being the key word!). It took me a few months, but with the help of family and friends (and a cleaning lady) I finally found a groove.

When the time came to paint I couldn’t decide if I wanted to paint paint it, or white wash it. I did but a white stain that I tried but I didn’t give me enough of that white look I wanted. I also tried a nice gloss but that covered too much of the wood patterns (I know I know, I’m picky).

I found a cheaper thinner primer that worked perfectly. I used it sparingly and once it dried it gave me a perfect balance of white + the wood grain I wanted. Here is a progress shot as I applied.

farmhouse shiplap wall

See, you gotta just fit this stuff in when you can, and if that means you paint around the couch that’s got a sleeping toddler on it, then well you do it. Also more laundry!

Below you’ll see that top board I gave up on was painted white and it’s barely noticeable.

farmhouse shiplap wall

Step 6: Apply quarter round in each corner

My wall had the slightest differences in sizes for some boards so I decided to put a long strip in each corner to l provide a more seamless look. This was a simple solution to achieving a professional look with my not so professional cuts. I don’t have a picture of this part but its super simple, so just imagine or wing it!

Throw a few decorations on and ta-da! You’re finished! We also painted the walls in Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore.

farmhouse shiplap wall

I loved this project and felt like it brought some charm back into our farmhouse. It was so easy and inexpensive. If I can get this done with 2 year old twins and a husband on a deployment, then there’s hope for you!

It’s amazing what a little DIY can do to a room. Thank, Mom for such a meaningful birthday gift!

Blessings,

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