Okay I know you are probably thinking, “Oh no, another DIY plank faux shiplap wall post!” Well, I must say that you’d be right. That’s exactly what this is. I really wanted to put up a plank wall in my kitchen. This plank wall project was part of my kitchen makeover. And now that the project is done, I hope you can learn from my experience. If you’ve already read a hundred other plank wall posts, well feel free to just skip over this one. But if like me you searched out and read every blog post you could find on plank wall DIY projects before tackling yours then read on.
The first thing I want to say though is that if you are considering doing a plank wall on your own, well don’t hesitate. It really was quite simple. There was work and time involved in this project. But if I can do it on my own, you can certainly do it too! So I do encourage you to go ahead and tackle your own faux shiplap plank wall project.
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Why I decided To Do A Plank Wall
Let me begin by sharing my starting point. This kitchen was just plain ugly. No other way to say it. My kitchen makeover project, a budge makeover, included this plank wall, painting the kitchen table, painting the kitchen cabinets and updating their hardware, changing out a faucet and replacing the antiquated dishwasher. Oh, and let me not forget about painting, yes you heard me right, painting the ugly laminate countertops. You can read more about this whole kitchen makeover in another post. And if you are thinking about painting your cabinets you can read more on how I tackled that project here.
List of Supplies Used
4 x 8 Sande Plywood 1/4 inch thick (from Home Depot) – ripped into 6 or 8 inch planks, depending on your preference
Paint for your boards (I used Sherwin Williams Pure White). roller handle, tray and refills or paint brush – here is a fun kit on Amazon
Nail Hole Filler – I used Dixie Belle Mud in White
Quarter Round Shoe Moulding
Stud Finder – this is the one I have
Nickels or Pennies for spacing
So now onto this DIY faux shiplap plank wall project. I’ll start by sharing what I was covering up. This old wall was covered in fruit wallpaper from the 70s. I’m sure it was the original wallpaper and it was very well stuck to the wall. We had tried to remove it, but those attempts caused some damage to the drywall that would surely show through any paint. And the other thing was that monstrosity of a master intercom system hanging on that wall. Oh my, yes, an intercom system. They were all over the house which is absolutely ridiculous when you consider that this house is only 1700 square feet of heated space. I really don’t see why an intercom system is necessary, but it was the 70s, so what can you say, right?
Removing The Old Intercom Box and Painting The Stuck On Wallpaper
So first I removed the intercom system from wall after disconnecting it’s power and then sealed off the wires with wire nuts and electrical tape. These wires are very low voltage, but why take any chances? So these wires definitely needed to be sealed off properly. Then I made a drywall patch to fill in that large gap and did the appropriate drywall repair as best I could. I found a really great helpful video on youtube.com by See Jane Drill that greatly explained how to do this drywall patch. If you are looking for some helping home repair instructions or any information about tools you are likely to find it on her YouTube Channel.
Next up, I painted over all that wallpaper with white latex paint. When you do a plank wall a little of the wall may peek through the slight spacing between the boards, so it is best to start with the wall a base color similar to what color your plank wall will be.
Prepping For DIY Faux Shiplap Plank Wall – Measuring For The Planking And Decide On Plank Width
Once that was done, we measured the wall to determine how much square footage to purchase. You can buy prepared planks and actual shiplap boards, but they are not cheap. This is a budget DIY faux shiplap plank wall, so I opted for 4×8 sheets of sanded plywood. To figure up how much plywood you need, first decide how wide you want your planks to be. Most people choose 5, 6 or 8 inch wide planks.
Also you need to decide the thickness of your plywood. You can use 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch. I have a cabinet with some hinges that sits perpendicular to this wall so I needed to go with the 1/4 inch thickness. Anything thicker would interfere with the cabinet opening properly. At Home Depot I found 4×8 sheets of sanded plywood, Sande Plywood brand, in 1/4 inch thickness for around $23 a sheet.
The nice folks at Home Depot ripped those huge plywood sheets into 6 inch planks for us. Each sheet gave us eight 6 inch planks with one skinner plank left over, which we kept in case I needed a smaller piece for the top and bottom of the wall. I ended up getting 3 of the 4×8 sheets, so around $70 total on boards. Once home, I ran a sandpaper down the edges where the boards were ripped to smooth out the edges. But just a light sanding by hand was all it took.
Prepping For DIY Faux Shiplap Plank Wall – Where To Start Your Planks
Once home we started with the longest section of wall behind our kitchen table. This seems to be the main focus wall of the kitchen. I started with the section near the top of the wall. This was so that the top of the first plank placed was even with the top of the door frame. I started there and worked down first to the floor of that wall and then up to the top. The length of this section of wall is under 7 feet. So after I measured across I then cut the boards to the proper length using my Dewalt Miter saw. If you don’t have a miter saw, the length cuts can be made with a hand saw, jigsaw or even a circular saw.
To Paint The Boards First Or Not
One big question is whether or not to paint the boards first before placing them up. I did not do this. Many would consider this a mistake. I wouldn’t even say that I did this on purpose, but just that we got so excited about doing the project that once we got the boards home we got to work! You may want to paint the boards first including the edges of the planks. It is harder to paint the edges once the boards are nailed up. Painting first will create a more modern, neat appearance. I honestly didn’t mind the more rustic look so I painted the boards after planks were all up and in place. So the little spaces between the boards do show the thin strip of darker edge.
How to Space The Planks On The Wall
To get the spacing right between the planks, thereby creating that “shiplap” look, you can use a spacer. They make spacers designed for this, but the easiest and cheapest thing to use is a coin. A nickel or a penny works best. We used nickels placed between the boards to given proper spacing before nailing. Also we used a small level to ensure the boards were straight and even and level before the first nail went in.
Mark the Location of The Wall Studs
Before placing my boards up I used a stud finder to mark the location of the studs. Here is the stud finder I have. It is cheap and simple and works great. For the most part I tried to place the nails into the boards where there was a stud so the boards would be secure. I sure didn’t want these things falling off the wall. To make the boards even more secure, you can use an construction adhesive to hold the board to the wall. I did not use any adhesive glue, just in case we opted to change things up in the future. And it just seemed too messy to be honest. We opted to simply nail the planks in place.
Recap Of Steps So Far
So a quick recap of the steps so far. Mark the studs on the wall with a pencil so you’ll know where to nail. Then measure the length of the wall on which to start your first board. Next cut the first board to length and test it to make sure no small trim cuts need to be made. And then hold the board on the wall and get it level using a small or long level. Lastly, once you have the board level you can pop in a few nails according to where your studs are. And voila, your first board is up. I suggest starting your first board a little ways from the top of the wall. Think about where your eyes go when you look at that wall. It’s best to have the main focus areas nice and even and then work up or down from there.
Nailing The First Planks On The Wall
To nail in my boards I used my very favorite tool ever. This is my Ryobi 18 Volt One Plus Brad Nailer! This thing is just the coolest and I love it! It is useful for so many projects and it was the perfect tool for this job. The brad nails have enough strength to do the job of holding these 1/4 inch boards on the wall but they leave very small holes that are super easy to camouflage and fill in. I chose to use 1 1/4 inch brad nails.
This Ryobi Brad Nailer uses the same battery as all the 18 Volt One+ tools making it super versatile and no air compressor needed! That’s the best part and it can use brad nails from 5/8 inch length to 2 inches. So, 1 1/4 inch brad nails seemed about right for this project. You could use a finish nail gun or even just a hammer and nails, but a nail gun is the bomb and makes the job so much faster!
Continue Placing Boards On The Wall
Then work up and down the wall placing the boards to fit appropriately. Some people like to place the boards long ways keeping each board the same length. And others prefer to do a subway tile staggered pattern when placing boards. The pattern you choose is up to you. Check out some pictures on Pinterest of DIY faux shiplap plank walls to see what style you like.
What To Do At The Top And Bottom of The Wall
Place a penny or nickel in between the boards as you work to get equal spacing between each board. This spacing helps it to look more like true shiplap. I did have to rip a skinnier plank (less than 6 inches width) for the top to meet the ceiling and at the bottom to meet the baseboard. For this I used a circular saw. While I am not the best with a circular saw, it gets the job done. I have a Dewalt Cordless Circular Saw.
Some people choose to remove their baseboards and take the planking all the way down to the floor. While I think this looks really nice I was worried about drywall damage if I tried to pull off baseboards. So I left the baseboards in place and brought the plank wall down to meet it.
Filling In Nail Holes
Once all the boards were up I filled in the small brad nail holes with Dixie Belle Paint Company Dixie Mud in White. Dixie Belle Mud is so easy to work with. You can use your finger to fill in the holes and it doesn’t take much of the mud to do so. But any paintable wood filler works for this. I used some of the mud too in a couple spots where I had to split boards like around the two electrical outlets. I had to mark the outline of the outlets and cut an opening out in the boards to fit over the outlet. For this I used a Ryobi 18 Volt One Plus Jigsaw. This is another fun tool to have for various projects.
One thing I have done yet that I still need to do is get some outlet extenders to extend the outlets out to sit flush with the plank wall. My outlets still sit back in and although I was able to fit the outlet cover over it using longer electrical screws, it doesn’t look as nice as if the outlets were extended out.
Painting The Boards
Next up was painting the DIY faux shiplap plank wall with a roller and latex paint in satin. I used Sherwin William Pure White which is what I am using to repaint all the trim work in the house. It is a nice color, but did take a couple of coats to fully cover. Optimally you would paint before putting your plank boards up. Mainly because you can better get the edges of the boards that peek through the spaces. I wanted the more rustic look so I wasn’t as worried about the edges.
Quarter Round For The Edge Trim
To finish out the drywall and make it look nice at the edges where it meets the wall I cut a quarter round shoe molding to fit the length. I painted the shoe molding to match the Pure White. This really works nicely to give it a finished neat appearance and cover the edges of the boards where they meet the wall perpendicularly.
Summary: DIY Faux Shiplap Plank Wall Is A Fun, Easy Project and So Pretty!
So, again I say that if I can do this, you can too! It was truly a super easy project that my daughter and I worked on together. It took us less than a day to go to Home Depot for the boards and get the planks up on the wall. Painting the planks took a little longer because it took several coats and time for each coat to dry. But this project changed the look of my kitchen dramatically and I’m so happy with the outcome!
And, when someone looks at this wall they cannot guess that there is ugly 70s fruit wallpaper was under there. And who would know that there was at one time a giant ugly brown intercom box in that space? I am so happy to have both of those eye sores gone from this kitchen space.
Is this plank wall perfect? No, when I look at this DIY faux shiplap plank wall I do see a few flaws here and there. There are a few things I could have done better, but I am satisfied that I did myself! So if you are thinking about doing a DIY faux shiplap plank wall, I encourage you to go for it! Again I’ll say that if I can do it you can too!
If you have any questions or comments I’d love to hear from you. You can post in the comments below or DM me on Instagram. Instagram is where I hang out most on social, but you’ll also find me on Facebook. I also have a Pinterest Page where I show ideas and inspiration for more chalk painting and DIY projects. I’d love to have you follow me on Pinterest!