Shiplap Wall: How To Do It Cheap & Easy

2 Materials
1 Day

When I decided to update our family room I knew that I wanted a white shiplap fireplace accent wall. The texture and rustic wood not only give the walls a bit of dimension, but it also adds a visual focal point for the room. Not to mention, I love the way shiplap looks! However, I was not interested in paying almost $10 per board! So I set out to find a cheap shiplap option.

We purchased a few sheets of 8×4 plywood from Home Depot and the nice thing is that they cut it for us! I wanted to go with a thicker 8-inch look, so we had them cut each sheet into 6 strips.

How To Install Shiplap Wall


  • 8×4 Plywood
  • Liquid Nail
  • Spacers (we used quarters)
  • Nail Gun
  • Nail Gun Nails
  • Sandpaper
  • White Paint
  • Table Saw
  • Level

Step 1: Prime Wall

Since our wall was a dark purple color, I primed it first so that I wouldn’t see the purple through the spaces.

Step 2: Locate Studs

Next, we made sure to locate all the studs with a stud finder and mark them with a pencil line so that we would have a guide. (It’s hard to see in the photo but they are there!)

Step 3: Hang plywood shiplap

Once it was time to hang the boards, we started with a full piece at the ceiling.

Make sure to use a level because the ceilings are not always straight.

Little notes left behind the wall 🙂

To hang the wood, we started with an 8-foot long piece. You can apply some liquid nails to the back of the wood, but we decided to skip this step since our plywood was so thin. Once we had it in place, we used a nail gun to nail the wood into each stud. We chose to nail the top and bottom of the board into each stud it hit.

After the first board was up, we measured the distance between the end of that board and the wall and then cut the next board down to the length we needed. Follow the same steps from the first board (fit onto the wall, the nail into the studs).

Then, for the second row, we started in the corner with the leftover piece for the board we just cut. Place that piece below the board and make sure to use a spacer to allow equal gap widths between the rows. We used quarters and made sure to put a few in to ensure it was level and equally spaced. Then repeat the process of nailing into the studs.

Continue to repeat this process until all the plywood boards are on the wall. I didn’t want a perfect wall so I would step back after each row, look at the pattern, and adjust the next row accordingly.

We continued on in that manner until the wall was complete! We did need to cut around an electrical outlet so we measured the location of the box and used a jigsaw to cut the opening. Since you will be covering it with a plate the cut doesn’t need to be perfect.

Step 4: Caulk Nail Holes In Wall

Next, it’s time to fill in all of your nail holes. We used some sandable, paintable caulk. Once they are dry, run a piece of sandpaper over the holes to smooth them out. If you want a smooth one-board look across the entire wall, you can choose to fill in the space where the boards butt up to each other. I choose to leave it for this wall since I was going for a less clean, more rustic shiplap wall.

Step 5: Paint Shiplap Fireplace Wall

Once everything has dried, it was time to paint! Since I wanted a white shiplap wall we went with a crisp white in an eggshell finish to complete the look. We were able to roll the wall with a paint roller and it was pretty quick and easy.

Step 6: Quarter -Round (Optional)

Once the wall is complete, you may want to think of adding some quarter-round trim to the edges. (We opted not to do this since I liked the way it looked without it.)

I absolutely love the way our shiplap fireplace wall turned out! I also love how easy, quick, and cheap this project was!!

Check out the complete fireplace remodel we did to see how it all came together!


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


Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Clayton
    on Apr 16, 2021

    Are the knot holes in the plywood bleeding through the paint?

    • Brooke Grasley
      Brooke Grasley
      on Apr 16, 2021

      They are not bleeding through but I decided not to fill them since I wanted more of a rustic look :)

Join the conversation

6 of 8 comments
  • Barbara
    on Apr 15, 2021

    Love it! You need to get a chunky rustic mantel to complete the look.

  • Bridgette
    on Apr 17, 2021

    Very nice, but needs something. Maybe a mantel because the wall looks so empty. Empty walls remind me of a hospital room, cold and unfriendly.

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