Get the Shiplap Look for Less

14 Materials
2 Days

I am beyond excited to share our weekend DIY project with you all! You will never guess what we did… okay, you probably did because it was in the title. I have wanted shiplap since the very first episode of Fixer Upper. We didn’t use true shiplap, but it still looks amazing! We chose underlayment (luan) due to our budget. This is about an 8th of the cost of true shiplap.

We moved into our home about 10 months ago. The longer we’ve lived here, the more projects I’ve added to my list. But this foyer has been at the top for a while. I think it was originally wallpaper, then painted over with these hideous stripes. I knew it would be difficult to paint over due to oil based metallic gold paint. It would’ve taken about 20 coats of paint to cover this hot mess. But shiplap, well, it can cover even the ugliest of a wall. So it was the perfect choice.

So let me share with you how we transformed this hot mess of a foyer into a farmhouse dream foyer. Our foyer is roughly 54 square feet and, working with my husband, we were able to complete the project in 2 days. Of course, that doesn’t include painting. Before we get started, let me show you a picture of the “hot mess” I mentioned…
EEK!  I warned you that it was bad.  I will be so happy to never see those circus walls again.

We used 4 x 8 underlayment (we used 5 sheets of the 1/8″) for the "shiplap."  We purchased these at Home Depot for a little over $11 per sheet.  We had them rip the 6″ strips (this costs a little extra, but well worth it).
If your walls are currently a dark color, you are going to want to prime them first so that the dark paint doesn’t show through the spaces in the planked wall.  The primer doesn’t have to completely cover the previous paint.
Next, you will need to rip your underlayment into 6″ strips with a table saw (we had this done when we purchased our wood).  We sanded each of our boards before we started attaching them.  We used a coarse sandpaper and just sanded around the edges where they were cut.  I used my cute little garden gloves to do this so I wouldn’t get any splinters.
After your primer dries, you are going to want to find your studs.  My stud used a stud finder to do this (ha..  see what I did there).  Studs are standardly 16″ apart, so once you find the first, the rest are pretty easy to find.
After marking each stud, we used a level and drew a line vertically up the wall at each stud (you could also use a chalkline to do this).
Now you are ready to start attaching your boards.  You can start from the top or bottom, but regardless where you start, you want to make absolutely sure that your first board is level.  We started at the bottom.  To make sure your first board is level, put your board on the wall and place your level on it.  Once it is level, use your nail gun and nail into each stud at the top and bottom of your board.  We were able to lay our first board flush against the baseboard and it was level.
Once your board is up, measure the distance between the end of that board and the wall.  Cut another board to fit.  Use what is left from the board you cut to start your second row.  This will help give you a random pattern that will look more natural (if you start seeing a uniform pattern, you may want to make a random cut to stagger it some).  Before nailing your second board, place the nickels between the first and second boards to make sure you have equal space between all the boards.  You may also want to put your level on the second board to make sure you are still level.  Then continue to repeat these steps until your wall is complete.
If you have any outlets or switches on your wall, you will have to measure and use a jig saw to cut out the holes.  To do this, cut your plank the desired length and measure the location of the electrical box you need to cut around.  Draw this out on your board and use a jig saw to cut it out.
After all the boards are up, you will fill in the nail holes with painter's putty.  Mixing the painter's putty with flour makes it less sticky and easier to put in the nail holes.  Just add a very small amount.  This stuff is amazing because you don’t have to sand afterwards.  You just wipe away the extra with your fingertips and let it dry.  Before you apply your primer, you will want to wipe down the walls with a tack cloth or use a vacuum to clean the dust off of them.  And that’s a wrap!
This project was about an 8th of the cost of real shiplap, but still looks absolutely amazing.  It is also a little easier to install because the wood is very pliable and it is so thin that we didn’t have to remove any of the trim.  This saved us tons of time and money.  I’m pretty sure that I want shiplap in every room of my house now.
Picking a paint color for the shiplap was a difficult decision, but I ended up going with Benjamin Moore White Dove and I absolutely love it! This is what the end result looks like and I couldn't be more pleased with our weekend DIY!

I've hope I've given you some inspo to give this a try! Please post any questions below and I will be happy to answer.
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Heather Olinde

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 26 questions
  • Nightdreem
    on Jan 24, 2019

    Hi there, luv it, luv it, but may I ask if you painted the spaces between the boards when you painted the "boards" or did you use some other technique, am asking because the spaces look darker.

  • Gary Robison
    on Mar 10, 2019


  • Monica Lea
    on Jul 17, 2019

    Because the wood is so thin, have you had a problem with it bowing at all?

    • Heather Olinde
      on Jul 17, 2019

      We haven't had any problem with bowing and we've had it up for over 2 years now. If you are concerned about this, you could also use glue in addition to the nails.

Join the conversation

3 of 97 comments
  • Loulou
    on Jan 23, 2019

    What a amazing look thank you for posting looks fantastic!

  • Jacx
    on Jan 23, 2019

    This is so great! Turns a ho hum wall into beauty. I adore this look, as well as battens. Wonderful work!

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