Install DIY Shiplap: The Easy Way

Holly Conway
by Holly Conway
15 Materials
12 Hours
Shiplap - it's all the craze right now and I don't see it going away anytime least not in my home! It is one of those timeless looks and I get a lot of compliments on my shiplap in my entry way. The reaction I get from people when I tell them that I did it myself is sorta funny. Honestly, shiplap was the one of the easiest DIY projects I have done so far. This project definitely fits into the small home projects that make a huge impact series! Not only was this project easy but it was also cheap. Costing at under $150 dollars I was able to install easy DIY shiplap and completely change the look of my entryway.
All it takes is some plywood sheets, nails, and paint and you'll have yourself some beautiful DIY shiplap!
So are you ready to get to work? I am going to show you exactly how to shiplap your walls!

All it takes is some plywood sheets, nails, and paint and you'll have yourself some beautiful DIY shiplap!
So are you ready to get to work? I am going to show you exactly how to shiplap your walls!
Step 1: Rip your Plywood Into Strips
Rip you plywood into strips with your table saw or have your local home improvement store rip them for you. I kept the plywood at the full length of the plywood sheet but had them ripped into 9 inches wide. You can make these any width you want, but for the look I wanted I went with 9 inches.
Step 2: Sand Down your Strips
You will want to sand down your new plywood strips.

Step 3: Find/Mark your Studs
I used my (aff link) stud finder  to mark where all of my studs were running. I marked mine at the top, middle, and bottom and then connected the lines with my level.
Step 4: Start Installing
Start by laying your first plywood strip either at the top of your wall or in my case against my baseboard. You will then want to take out your level and make sure it is level. After your first plank is set and level, (aff link) take your brad nailer and start nailing into the studs that the plank covers.

Step 5: Continue Along the Wall
Once you have your first plank nailed in you will continue along that line until you have finished that one line of shiplap.
If you get to the end and your plank is too long, measure the length of the wall you have left and cut your next strip the length you need.
Step 6: Start your Next Line

When starting the next line of shiplap make sure to use what was left over from the last plank you cut. Always use the remaining plank of the last piece you installed. This way they are staggered and not exactly the same all the way up the wall.

I made sure to level each plank out and put spacers between them to give them that gap between. Then I continued the same process I did for the first line of shiplap but adding spacers each time.
Step 7: Cutting out your Outlets
I have this as step 7, but you will do this whenever you come to an outlet or light fixture that needs to be cut around. To do this measure the hole that you need and use a jigsaw to cut into the plywood to make your cut-out.
Step 8: Add your Trim
Now that you have all of your shiplap up you will need to hide all the corners with trim.
If you have outside corners you will use your corner molding. Measure from ceiling to top of baseboard, cut, and nail with your nail gun.
For your inside corners you will measure from the top of your ceiling to the baseboard (or in my case top of baseboards to top of shiplap) cut your quarter round trim, and nail in place.
Step 9: Add your Shelf
This step is only for those that are only going halfway up their wall. If you're installing shiplap only half of the way up a wall it would look kinda funny if you just left it as-is. To fix this problem you will add a small floating shelf to the top of the ship lap. I used 1x3 hobby boards to do this.
Step 10: Caulk & Paint
After all of your shiplap, trim, and shelves are in place it's time to bring out that caulk gun and caulk every little nook and cranny. Where the trim meets the shiplap, where the shelf meets the trim/shiplap, and where the shiplap meets the baseboards. I did not caulk the gaps between the shiplap! You're going for that look so make sure to leave that alone.
Suggested materials:
  • MIter Saw
  • Table Saw
  • Jigsaw
See all materials
Holly Conway
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 12 questions
  • Barb Brown Barb Brown on Jul 26, 2017
    What type of floor underlayment did you use? Unfortunately on Home Depot and Lowe's websites there are 3 or 4 types of floor underlayment, never mind all the different types of other plywood, lol!

  • Vic Taylor Vic Taylor on Aug 20, 2017
    Hi Holly
    did you use a dark paint on the walls behind the gaps in the "ship lap"

  • Jen Jen on Nov 16, 2019

    I’m not seeing a photo of your “finished product” I’d love to see the shelf on the top. How did you add the floating shelf? Did you keep it white?

    thank you. Looks great, we’re actually doing our bathroom walls (1/2) in shiplap and I can’t wait to finish the project!

Join the conversation
2 of 48 comments
  • 1cs1267 1cs1267 on Sep 18, 2019

    I have done shiplap on all walls in 3 rooms! Love it. Our Home Depot has an OSHA policy/reg that only allows them to cut nothing smaller than 12 in. So I have them cut a sheet of plywood into 12 in. widths, then I cut those into 6 in. widths. I do mark my walls where each sheet of shiplap will end/begin and then take my paint on a roller and simply run a "strip" of paint on the wall … then I have the same color showing thru the gap in the shiplap boards. I found this easier than trying to go back and paint that tiny space after the shiplap is up and installed.

  • Marcy Moreau Marcy Moreau on Jul 25, 2020

    Yes! I would love to have this "look" in my bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and living area. I know that I would have to hire someone to do this for me. Can't wait to see it the finished product! 💞⚜️