Shiplap Wall

9 Materials
6.5 Hours
We... the Pickle and I, have an ever growing list of home improvement/nesting projects that we're working our way through... to really make our house OUR home... We decided to start with the shiplap wall in our living room... it was one of the easiest of the projects on our list and a great place to get started.
Here was our blank living room wall... we'd removed all the art that was up and patched all holes and repainted our home this past winter - Revere Pewter... and we knew we wanted to bring some warmth and character into our main living room... so we decided shiplap would be it.
Getting the planks cut
We picked a good quality 3mm maple veneer ply from Home Depot - the square footage worked out that we needed 3 sheets (which would give us a few extra strips) and we had the 5" x 8' strips cut on this sweet machine at home depot - way quicker and safer than cutting them using the table saw at home as the sheet material is so flimsy.
Quick sand cleanup
Once we got the planks home I gave them all a quick light sanding to remove any fuzzed edges or splinters and to make sure the face of the boards was nice and smooth...
Looking for studs ;)
Using a stud finder we marked the edges of the studs in the walls...
Marking out the studs
...and then used the level to draw the lines up and down the walls at the edges of each of the studs... we would be nailing the planks into the studs... no glue required for this thin ply material.
Measuring the plank cut
Now we didn't worry about the vertical seams where two pieces of plank would but up against each other... our wall was not an even width so as we moved along cutting each piece the seams all ended up in a random pattern... We started with an 8ft plank butted up on the right wall and up to the ceiling. Using the level we ensured that the first plank was level... make sure you get this first plank level folks. Your ceiling may not be perfectly level but you will not notice any small gaps that you may have to make between plank and ceiling to ensure you are starting out level.

Once you are satisfied with the first plank put two nails in the plank starting at one end working across the plank nailing into every stud... if the end of the plank does not land on a stud thats okay... still put two nails into the ends... the wood is light and will hold into the gyproc. From here we measured across from the end of the first plank over to the wall on the left... then we took one of the 8' long planks and cut this short piece from that plank...
Plank edge cleanup
Have some sandpaper on hand to clean up any fuzzies on the edges of the planks that are being cut down.
Nickel spacers while nailing planks in place
To get the spacing between the horizontal rows of shiplap planks we used nickels as spacers... working back and fourth we measured and cut planks if one shorter than 8' was required and then carried on with the remainder of the plank that was just cut as our next plank used on the next row down...
Making our way down the wall
We worked our way down and back and forth across the wall... spacing with nickels and nailing at every stud and at the ends of each plank..
Cutting around the outlet
And then we came to the electrical outlet... we pulled the cover plate off... measured down from nickel width to top of outlet, and from the perpendicular wall to the edge of outlet, and also the width of the outlet...

We then transferred these dimensions to the plank being installed over where the outlet was located and cut the notch out with a jigsaw...
Completed wall
The very last plank that was required to finish the wall was under 5" in width. We measured from top of the molding at the base of the wall, minus the thickness of the nickel... this was the width that our last strip of shiplap. Two planks were ripped down using the table saw and then the custom width piece nailed into place.
Preparing the paint wash
I created three paint wash samples using two greys and chalk white from the FAT Paint chalk paint line... The whitewashed sample really stood out for us as the look that we wanted for our shiplap wall in our home. Now if we were going to paint this wall I would fill all of the little nail head holes with a wood filler, allow it to dry and then sand away the excess... BUT because I was going for a more washy natural an weathered look I decided to leave the nail head holes.
Mixing the FAT paint and water
To create a paint wash I gathered the following... FAT paint which I put into a separate container, a jar of water, one of my favourite CLING ON brushes, a mixing container (glass bowl) and some clean rags...

I begin preparing the paint wash by wetting the brush and shaking it out, then dipped the tips of the bristles into the paint, then I pounce the brush in the mixing container...

For the paint wash I work with the paint and water, but not directly from either of those containers onto the surface I want to paint... I will work the paint and water together in the mixing container at a rough ratio of 1 tip dip of paint to 1 dip of water.

...after the dip in water and some pouncing in the paint that was already put into the mixing container I dip into the paint then mix then dip water then mix again... I will do this a couple times with the paint and water into mixing container to get a bit of paint wash build up to work from... the rags are kept handy to wipe off/blot away excess paint wash that gets out of control or drips...

Work along one plank at a time being sure not to drip down onto the planks below... I started from the bottom planks and worked my way up the wall washing each plank with my paint wash... starting at the bottom allowed me to get my technique nailed down before painting an area that wasn't going to be hidden by a couch ;)

If you want to be sure how your piece will look always do a few tests planks with your extra material as the final finish will look different when it is dry from when it is wet with the wash at first.

I paint washed the planks one at a time from bottom to top - working from the bottom up allowed me some practice before I was painting planks that wouldn't be hidden behind the couch ;) Take look at the post over on my blog for additional detail about all of these steps and for waaaay more photos!
Time to sand
Once the wall is dry I use a 220 grit sandpaper to smooth the wall... regardless of the finish applied to the wood the grain will likely slightly lift... the light sanding will smooth that out along with the finish making it as smooth as butta!
After sanding the wall got a vacuum and a wipe down and the furniture was put back into place... for now we're leaving it the big bare beautiful shiplap wall but I've got plans for some custom artwork in the works so stay tuned for that!... because of course I'm going to share how to make it! ;)
Resources for this project:
FAT Paint
Tacklife DMS04 Stud Sensor with Large LCD Display LED Indicator Multi-Wall Detector For Metal, AC Wire, Wood Finder with Dangerous Indication
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Feathering My Nest - Lacey Haskell
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 18 questions
  • Sara Sara on Jan 29, 2018
    what is FAT paint?

  • Janise Janise Janise Janise on Jan 13, 2019

    Would the type of wood that you used work well in damp areas like small bathrooms or do you think it may warp?

  • Cindy Cindy on Jul 16, 2019

    What did you do on each side to make sure smooth? Did you caulk the edges?

    Thank you!

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2 of 125 comments
  • Kim Kim on Feb 11, 2018
    candlesI am definitely going to do this in my entry & also my "Babe Cave" (enclosed garage) game room. The wall in my "Babe Cave" has 2 doors that I will transform into sliding barn doors, then the shiplapped wall in between will be the backdrop for a freestanding "outdoor" fireplace that I light candles in for the ambiance! Thanks for the inspiration! ♡♡♡

  • L. Creative L. Creative on Mar 20, 2018

    I agree it looks gorg, and even BARE! I would look on Pinterest for gallery walls which are very popular now. Make use of that big gorgeous space with tin letters and family photos and fun arrows, etc! I’m working on one myself (have a metal ampersand I love)