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How To DIY a Shiplap Wall the Easy Way

How To DIY a Shiplap Wall the Easy Way

Welcome to week 2 of the Spring 2021 One Room Challenge! If you’re new here, WELCOME! You can learn more about us here.

This coastal inspired Jack & Jill bath is officially underway. Without a doubt we’ve been busy painting this space and installing our DIY shiplap walls. As a reminder from our design plan unveiled during week 1, each side of the bathroom will have a navy shiplap accent wall behind the vanities.

Remember you can easily navigate through each week of this coastal inspired bathroom project.

-1st week: The Design Plan

-2nd week: you are here!

-3rd week: How to tile a shower like a pro, even if you’re not.

-4th week: How To Grout Tile stress free!

-5th week: How to install a hexagon bathroom floor tile

-6th week: How To Make an Affordable Barn Door

-7th week: How To Confidently Choose Bathroom Vanities

-8th week: Final ROOM REVEAL!

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The Love of Shiplap . . .

Of course we all know what shiplap is thanks to the iconic stars of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna Gaines, whom we would happily claim as personal friends.

Undoubtedly the years following the highly successful TV series, shiplap has become a common household word. Not to mention DIYers alike have flooded the internet with a variety of tutorials and how to videos to share how even the beginning DIYer can install shiplap (whether it’s the real deal or a faux shiplap) in their own home.

If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that we learned a lot through our mistakes installing our shiplap ceiling in the basement. So this time, we did things a little differently to save ourselves a ton of extra work and time!

Now, there are obviously many different ways to install and paint shiplap. In this post we’ll focus on the tips we used to make this process go more smoothly. Be sure to take notes so you can avoid making these common mistakes yourself!

prep work for diy shiplap wall

TIP 1: Paint walls prior to shiplap installation

Actually the most challenging part of completing our shiplap ceiling was applying paint in the grooves. Certainly, multiple factors played into this. However, this time we opted to paint the wall before installing the shiplap.

Initially, I wrestled with the thought of wasting paint since we were going to cover up the majority of the wall. On the other hand, I knew it would be much quicker to paint the wall itself rather than trying to paint inside the small grooves afterward.

Overall, I’m grateful for taking this preliminary step! It only took 15 minutes to completely paint both walls. And yes, while it may be a wasteful use of paint, it was most definitely worth the time it saved in the long run!

For another tip that will speed up the painting process see painting a room fast with less mess.

TIP 2: Paint edges of shiplap boards

paint edges of shiplap
smooth out any paint runs on shiplap

Additionally, we chose to paint the edges of each shiplap board prior to installation as well. Again this step only took a matter of minutes to complete and was well worth it in my opinion.

To easily do this, stack the shiplap boards on top of one another and paint them all at the same time. More importantly, after you have painted the edges, carefully look at each individual board and smooth out any areas where the paint may have pooled. If this step is avoided you’ll find ridges of dried paint you’ll have to sand smooth later.

(Refer to our post on how to shiplap a ceiling to learn more about the pros and cons of using true shiplap vs. faux shiplap to help determine what product is best for your space. These DIY shiplap walls were installed using 1/8″ utility plywood.)

TIP 3: Mark Studs on wall

mark studs on wall with a level

Clearly another time saving tip is to mark the stud placements on the wall. This takes all the guess work out of securing each board into place. By doing this you’ll know exactly where to drive the brads.

(Stud placement can easily be marked with a pencil, or by placing a piece of painters tape down the wall.)

Installing a DIY shiplap wall

cut shiplap to fit around electrical outlet

Installing a DIY shiplap wall is perhaps the quickest step in this whole process.

Begin at the top of the ceiling and work your way down. Then align the first board into position. Use a level to ensure the entire design will be installed straight. Secure the board into each stud using 2″ brads and a pneumatic brad nailer.

visual chart to cut hole for light fixture
use rotary saw to cut circle for light fixture

Although it may seem intimidating to make cuts around electrical outlets and light fixtures, it doesn’t need to be hard if you have the right tools.

Use a measuring tape to obtain accurate dimensions. Plot the dimensions on the board using a pencil and a speed square. Then use a speed square to ensure the markings are transferred accurately while remaining square.

For ease in making these cuts, you’ll want access to a couple of tools.

The straight cuts can be made using a mulit-tool or a jigsaw. And a rotary saw is a great tool to create the circular cuts.

installed shiplap ready for paint

To create this DIY shiplap wall, we used 1/8″ utility plywood cut into 8″ strips. A paint stir stick was used as a spacer to achieve equal spacing between each board.

Finish work

brad holes filled with putty in shiplap

After the DIY shiplap wall has been installed, the finish work can be completed.

First, fill in each of the brad holes with putty. Then lightly sand smooth when dry. Finally, remove any dust from the wall using a damp washcloth.

steps for painting shiplap

The final task to complete this project is to paint the walls. Over the many years of our painting experience, we have come to use this technique over and over again. If should be noted that it always results in perfect crisp edges without any bleeding!

  1. Apply frog tape to the surrounding walls.
  2. Then cut in with the surrounding wall color and allow to dry. This coat of paint is essentially what we like to call the bleed coat. Any paint that bleeds under the tape will match the surrounding walls.
painting shiplap

3. Now cut in with the accent wall color and paint the remaining wall space.

(Since we painted the walls and edges of the boards prior to installation the grooves didn’t need to be painted. However, just for peace of mind, I did use a brush to apply one coat of paint on the front surface of each grooved area prior to rolling.)

completed DIY shiplap wall
completed DIY shiplap wall

4. Finally remove frog tape while the paint is still wet.

That’s it! Taking the time to paint the bleed coat will result in perfect crisp edges every time!

I’m so happy with the results! Navy is my current obsession and this is the perfect shade! Also, I can confidently admit that I’m 💯% grateful for the ease of this project compared to installing our shiplap ceiling! These tips made this whole process go much more smoothly and saved a ton of time in the long run!

Are you look for more inspiration for an accent wall in your home?!

Take at look at these ideas:

And for more Ideas to add beauty and value to your home, take a look at 10 Sensational Home Improvement Ideas on a Budget.

Final thoughts

What are your thoughts? How would you go about this project differently? Do you have any tips you’d like to share with us? We love hearing from you, be sure to drop your comments and questions below.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check in again next Thursday to see the updated bathroom progress!

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And as always here at Sunny Side Design


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This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Casey

    How did you handle the outlet in the middle of the wall? Do you need to pull the outlet box out so the outlet plate screw will reach – or do you just buy a longer screw? Of all the articles I’ve read, no one covers this part.

    1. Stephanie

      I’m sorry, we should have explained this part. But actually the box can remain as is, the outlet itself can adjust out with the screws that mount it to the box. And since we used utility plywood for our shiplap, it’s less than 1/4″ thick. So we just adjusted the outlet itself out a little bit and we were able to put on the cover plates. This method also works when installing backsplash tile as well. Let me know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!

      1. Casey

        Thank you! Appreciate the explanation!

        1. Stephanie

          You’re welcome, any time!

  2. Christine

    I love the color! Looks great! Can you kindly explain how you accomplish the bleed coat with tape? 🙂 I always pull tape off and have it bleed underneath :/

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Thank you kindly Christine. You can read all about applying a bleed coat in this post. Let us know how this technique works for you.

  3. Peggy

    Looks great!!! How wide are the boards -6 or 8 inches?

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Thank Peggy! We love it! We cut our boards into 8″ wide strips. Thanks for stopping by our site.

  4. Susan Wiley

    What sheen level did you use with such a dark color?

    1. Michelle Dickson

      We used an eggshell finish paint.

  5. Symba

    The paint color is secret society? The color card looks lighter but I’m loving that color on your walls!!

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Thank so muh! Actually the paint we used on the shiplap wall is Hale Navy, by Bemjamin Moore, but we had it mixed at Home Depot with Behr Ultra Premium Plus.

  6. Heather

    Did you roll up and down are along the length of each board?

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Heather, once each board was caulked we brush the groved area with paint and then rolled on the paint with paint roller.

  7. Charlene Michalec

    It looks great! I would love to do this with stained wood, but my husband thinks the spaces between the boards would catch dust and possibly difficult to clean. I’d love to know your thoughts and suggestions! I really want to do this! Thank you for the inspo!

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Charlene, I’ve had a shiplap wall in my bathroom for 7 years. I dust it occasionally with a wall duster and it’s never built up noticeable dust. You’re welcome.

      1. Maureen

        Hi. I’d love to know more about using the frog tape to prevent bleed through, exactly where did apply the tape on the wall or the wood?
        It looks great!

        1. Michelle Dickson

          Apply frog tape to the walls without shiplap.Then cut in with the surrounding wall color and allow to dry. This coat of paint is essentially what we like to call the bleed coat. Any paint that bleeds under the tape will match the surrounding walls. Now cut in with the accent wall color on the shiplap and paint the remaining wall space. Finally remove frog tape while the paint is still wet.Taking the time to paint the bleed coat will result in perfect crisp edges every time! Good luck on your project. Please share with us how it goes. Thanks for stopping by our site, have a great day.

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