DIY: Faux Shiplap
Fallen in love with shiplap – the one that Joanna Gaines made popular? Or are you tired of hearing about shiplap? Either way – I love it! Plus, we did it the cheap way. We installed “faux shiplap” in our home and you can too. Do you want the look but are not sure where to start? Today, I’m sharing our DIY faux shiplap tutorial, featuring plywood. Yes, that’s plywood that you’re looking at, not real shiplap, which can get very pricey. Ready to get started? Here’s what you’ll need.
5.0MM Utility Plywood Panels
1-1/4 Inch Trim Head Screws
Circular Saw or Miter Saw (You just need to make straight cuts so we use this saw attachment with a drill like this.)
Sanding Block or Sandpaper
Pencil (To mark your boards for cuts)
Ruler or straight edge
Paint (Sherwin Williams Alabaster shown in both projects)
Paintbrush and Paint Roller
How To Do It:
- Pre-measure your room/space to determine the amount of supplies you’ll need, namely, plywood, nails, and paint. For our almost 8 foot tall (80 inches) and 5 foot wide (60 inches) wall, we used 2 sheets of plywood, which were cut into 8 inch strips. The plywood panels we chose cost $15/each, so a total of $30 for us. We liked the look of the 8 inch boards in the laundry room and decided to keep the same look in the powder room. Be sure to make a thorough list so that you don’t have to make multiple trips to the home improvement store. We realize that you’ll loose some wood this way but it’s our preferred look. Plus, Lowe’s (our preferred home improvement store) will cut your wood for free. Just grab your panels, pay for them, and then bring them back to the wood-cutting area for an employee to make your cuts.
Paint the wall the color you want to show between the gaps. In my case, I painted the wall with one coat of SW Alabaster. This ensures that you don’t see any unwanted colors between your “shiplap” gaps. This is one of those steps that no one wants to do but gives your project a professional look.
Sand down the plywood edges to rid them of frayed wood. Plywood is relatively thin so this step will give you a professional look once all your boards are lined up. This step is not necessary, but if you’re a perfectionist don’t skip it. I find that when you’re doing a DIY project that it’s best to not skip steps. You don’t want your home looking like a big project so go ahead and sand those edges. Use a sanding block or sandpaper to do so.
Measure and cut your boards. Once you’re back at home with all your supplies, it’s time get started. Since your boards are already ripped into the size you’d like, all you have to do is make one cut per board. The main part of this project is getting all your cuts completed. The first couple of boards you’ll be running back and forth to make sure you have the correct measurements. Use a pencil or something with a straight edge to mark your boards with the correct line to make cuts. Make cuts using a circular or miter saw.
Make a note of studs in wall for screw placement, then screw boards into wall. The boards will have a natural gap between them, but if you want more of a gap use spacers. We ran our boards up to each other and used a razor blade to get rid of any dried paint between the gaps. Again, the boards will naturally form a small gap. Continue to screw boards into the wall, using the studs to grab the boards. To find the stud area, use a stud finder and mark them as you go. Eventually, you’ll probably be able to “eye-ball” where the studs are, based on the other boards. When you hit the studs, you’ll get a cleaner finish too. Start on the left or right side and work your way to the other side of the board. This will come in handy when you move on to filling in and sanding the holes.
Fill holes with wood filler, let dry, and sand down to a smooth finish. Once your ripped plywood is attached to the wall, you’ll need to fill each hole with wood filler. Once the wood filler is dry, sand it down with sandpaper or a sanding block. I prefer to use a sanding block because I find it gives me more control over what I’m sanding. In the end, you just want a nice smooth finish over your screws.
Paint the “shiplap” with your preferred color. In both spaces where we did this wall treatment, I decided to paint the entire room the same color as the “shiplap”. This meant I didn’t need to use painters tape which I really enjoyed. I did use a drop cloth to protect the floors. If you are not painting the trim or surrounding walls, then you’ll want to use painter’s tape.
To give your project a clean look, you can use a razor blade to remove any dried paint from the gaps. Also, you can use caulk to seal the edges. These steps are optional, however, they do give the project a finished and professional look. There will be gaps on the sides of the wall where the wood meets the corners. To fix the gap, apply small amounts of caulk. I like to use my index finger to press the caulk into the seam. Keep doing this all the way down to the trim. You can also paint over it once it dries if you’d like. I used pure white caulk and decided not to paint over it.
If you followed the step-by-step instructions, then you should be standing back admiring your space. Don’t forget to style the space! You can add shelving if your space needs that, slide your bed back into it’s space if this is your bedroom, or put your washer and dryer back in place if this is your laundry room. This is a wall treatment and can be used for whatever home space you’d like. Depending on the space, you could likely finish this project in one weekend. This is a very thrifty way to add texture to a space and one that you’ll enjoy for years to come.
What do you think of this DIY Faux Shiplap wall treatment? Would you try this wall treatment in your home? Let me know in the comments below.
Resources for this project:
Lula Porter on Feb 17, 2022
Your wall is beautiful! My 100+ year old home has stained shiplap upstairs and painted on the stair walls. I don't know what sealer they used back then, but it is indestructable! I was gifted real barn wood and am using it for an accent wall in my living room. The boards are between ten and twelve inches wide so I chose to stand them vertical which matches my imitation paneling on the other walls. (I used 1x12s, routed a V along the length and slapped them on the walls back when I was young and the wood was cheap.)
Here are two suggestions for your followers. First, when you find the studs, use a piece of painter's tape on the floor and ceiling to mark them. Second, use a level to determine if your floor is level (old homes are not always level) and to keep each shiplap board level. I've eyeballed my work, stepped back and then had to redo it because it was crooked.