DIY Shiplap Tutorial

For any lovers of 'Fixer Upper" and Chip and Joanna Gaines, you have seen your fair share of shiplap! I love the look but the real version can be very expensive. I went with a "faux" shiplap for my bathroom makeover and here is how I did it;

I purchased 5mm underlayment plywood from Lowe's that comes in 4x8 sheets. I grabbed two of these and had Lowe's cut them into 6in strips, free of charge! Tip * don't have them cut both boards at the same time, this resulted in uneven cuts.  I had them cut to 4ft lengths as I did not have room in my car for 8ft boards.  Some people prefer long strips but I was fine with shorter ones given the smaller space and having to cut around the vanity and mirror. I was able to get 16 boards per sheet.

I sanded the edges of the boards with my electric sander and recruited my dad to help me as I needed his miter saw and air nailer.

We marked where the studs were on the wall and started by laying a full length board against the trim. We ensured it was level and attached the board using the air nailer and brad nails into the stud. Tip* some tutorials suggest using glue in addition to nails for adhesive but I only used the finishing nails and the boards are very secure.

We used nickels as spacers and staggered the board placement as we worked our way up the wall.

Tip *Make sure to check that the boards are level as you work away.

Once we found a rhythm, we were able to get the boards hung fairly quickly. The most time consuming part was going in and out of the house to cut the boards and ensure they were the right length.

We used small pieces for the space beside the door, a step that I hadn't even thought of but thankfully had my dad there to do the close cutting :)

We used both nails and glue for the boards hung behind the toilet as the stud is right where the toilet is located.

My dad had to leave at this point so I started painting. I used Behr Ultra White primer + paint in Semi Gloss, applying two coats using both a bristle brush and foam roller. I used a wood skewer and exacto knife to get the paint that snuck in between the boards. I didn't have wood filler on hand so I went ahead and painted, planning to fill in the holes afterwards. 

Unfilled nail holes

Unfilled nail holes

I bought white wood filler figuring this was saving me a step as the boards were already painted white. I applied it using a putty knife and sanded the patches down once dry. Tip* Do not apply tinted wood filler to a painted surface as it has a different sheen therefore it took a lot of sanding and several more coats of paint to ensure you couldn't see the spots anymore. Lesson learned!

This is before I sanded the patches, but you can see how it is a different white than the paint

This is before I sanded the patches, but you can see how it is a different white than the paint

My boyfriend had been on vacation when my Dad and I started the project, so I put him to work when he got home :). We hung the remaining boards above the toilet and I made sure to fill the holes prior to painting to avoid the same problem.

Hanging around the vanity was a bit tricky since it isn't level so we could not use this as our guide. We managed to figure it out with a few "do-overs" and any cuts that weren't perfect could be fixed using caulk.

 I purchased a skinny piece of pine to finish the top of the shiplap but waited to hang this piece until the mirror was framed in.

It is a pretty straight forward project and simple once you get the hang of it. I only spent around $55 on the wood as I had the paint and other supplies on hand. I love the look of shiplap and really love that it is a great way to cover up walls that are not in great shape.

Jess xx