DIY Shiplap Wall for LESS!

Ok, I know you all have been anxiously waiting for this post 😉 Adam and I have pretty much done every upgrade to our house. We always have friends and family ask us how we do it, how much it costs and how long does it take. Home reno was a big part on why I started this blog. We wanted to show friends and family what we have done but also to inspire others that DIY IS POSSIBLE! So needless to say, we are very excited about this tutorial on an inexpensive way to do shiplap!

Disclamer! Adam has a lot of really good ideas. For the most part they always turn out awesome. But sorry babe, this mirror was a fail. It started out as stained birch ply, then we hated it and painted it white. That made it worst! We had shiplap on the wall to our office with barn doors, so we decided to carry that onto the back wall of our office.

Materials needed:

  • Wood (MDF or plywood)
  • Painters Caulk
  • Spackle/putty knife
  • Finish Nail Gun/compressor
  • Sand paper/electric sander (If you have one you can do it all by hand with out electric) (square sponge sander in 80 grit) also get 120 grit for hand or electric sander.
  • Primer
  • Finish Paint (We used Behr Ultra Premium Plus Ultra Pure White 7050)
  • Nickels (yes, the money)
  • Miter saw or skill saw
  • foam roller 
  • paint brush


SHip Lap 2

AFTERShiplap 21

(ugly before pic as we started to tear it off the wall)

Once you have decided on the wall/room that you want your shiplap in, find your local Home Depot 😉 Now there are a couple different materials you can use for this. We decided on 1/2″ sheets of MDF (medium density fiber) board. Why? because its fairly inexpensive and it is easy to use and paints up very smooth. For a 4’x8′ sheet of 1/2″, it is about $29.00. Now there is cheaper material like 1/4″ plywood that will run around $15-25 a sheet. We did this up stairs in Beckham’s room. We do like it but the 1/2 inch MDF is thicker and paints up better, that’s why we were willing to pay a little more for it. So you can choose if you want to go even cheaper and do the plywood sheets or the MDF. This was is still way cheaper then most other methods for shiplap. When we did our front entity we did already cut pre primed MDF and it was almost triple the cost.

shiplap 1

Once you decide on your material, have them cut it down for you. My Husband has a table saw, track saw, skill saw, almost every saw! But its so much easier and effeciant to have them rip it down for you! They put it in the panel saw and rip exact cuts every time. We went with 6 7/8’s wide for each plank. Using 4 total sheets. Our wall was 9×15.

Shiplap 3

Once home stack all the woods and sand the edges by hand with a square sponge sander. We used a 80 Grit. This will clean up the edges and make the lines more consistent.

Shiplap 4

Shiplap 6

Now some people won’t tear off window sills and baseboards. But I feel the overall finish product is much better. So to cut the caulk, score it with at razor down the lines. This makes it much cleaner once you start to pry it away from the wall. If you have window sills, start there, then move down to the baseboards. Now be careful when you do this, you will reuse the baseboard and nail back up when finished.

Shiplap 5

Once you have removed the base boards. Find the studs and mark them with pencil lines from top to bottom. So when you nail up the shiplap, you are hitting the studs. Also, always nail top and bottom of the board about an inch from the edges.

Shiplap 8

Once you have the baseboard and window sill ripped off, its time to start nailing up the shiplap! Now we start at the top. Why? So all the boards look uniform and the same width from top to bottom. It’s also more noticeable if you have a smaller piece (not as wide) up top, then it is at the bottom. Nail your first piece up and then measure the distance from the end of the shiplap to the end of the wall. Make the cut, and nail up the other piece. Make sure to but the ends (joints) as close as possible to be able to sand and spackle to make it look like one solid piece. Also, don’t start on the same side each time so that you joints never line up with the line above. So start on the left, then the next row, start on the right.

Shiplap 13

This is where the Nickels come into play! We used them as spacers. Get the next piece ready, put it up and use the nickels every 2 feet or so, so that the gaps are even. Then nail the shiplap into place. And repeat, over and over and over again!

Shiplap 7

Shiplap 10

Shiplap 14

Now we didn’t use the same window sill, instead we decided to just trim the window out. We used 3 1/4 inch trim on the inside of the window just strain cuts as you can see. Then to frame it on the outside measure the length and width and cut 45 degree cuts and nail up.

Shiplap 12

Putty or spackle all the nail holes. Then sand the spackle smooth so none of the nail holes or joints stand out. You want don’t want to see it. It makes for a much more professional finish. Adam painted homes for about 7 years, he always talks about how important the prep work is to make the final product that much better.

Shiplap 9

Finished wall Before paint with the baseboard and window trim nailed up.

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 9.15.30 PMSHiplap 11

Now the fun part… not! I HATE painting! Who doesn’t right? Well Adam doesn’t… but he still makes me prime. We like to use Kills. The water based version (less stinky). Also, this covers up and hides all the pencil marks. Once finish, sand everything!

Shiplap 17

Once finished sanding, look for joints and nail holes missed, and spackle them. Once the spackle dries, sand it smooth.

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 9.17.30 PM

Then calk all around the edges of the wall’s ceilings and baseboards. When calking do a consistent line and then smooth with finger and wipe excess from finger to a wet rag. If you need a video on how to caulk here is one for you.

Shiplap 18

Now your ready for your final paint. What ever color you choose, due multiple coats. We did 3 on ours. Once finished, then decorate!

Shiplap 22

And yes, I let Adam hang his Elk! Which we both love! More decorations to come and better lighting!

Shiplap 24

We hope you enjoyed this post! Don’t be afraid to try something new! It can always be changed or painted 🙂 If you have any questions please let us know!  I will do another post to show you the whole room once all complete! We love you all and thanks for following.



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