The easiest way to create a DIY vertical shiplap wall in your home! Skinnylap nordic style with a shortcut and tips on which fillers to use, working with walls that aren’t level and how to shiplap around plugins.
This is one of those tutorials that is so simple it hardly feels like a tutorial. But at the same time, there’s definitely some tips that help make the job go quickly and give such a great finish. This is also one of those tutorials that I’ve said ‘it’s coming!’ about for a long time. So it sure feels good to get this out to you guys and answer the questions I’ve been asked about this DIY vertical shiplap wall since I shared the reveal this spring! If you missed the reveal, we made over our boys’ shared bedroom (and this skinnylap wall!) for the spring One Room Challenge… which means we did this whole space in 6 weeks! You can see that right here.
Since we were on a timeline for this room and we were starting from total scratch (like, removing a valance, reflooring, new doors etc) while Shane was working on the entryway at the same time, I wanted to find the easiest way to get the vision in my head into that room. I knew I’d be on my own making it happen and that my time without kids underfoot is so so limited. I asked my mom to come and hang out with the kids one evening and got the vertical shiplap wall put together. So if I can do this solo in one evening, I promise that it’s an easy one!
What makes it easy? Can you guess just by looking at it?
Today I’m partnering with Home Depot Canada and Alexandria Mouldings to share the ‘how-to’ on this simple project. Everything I used for this wall came from there (along with most other things in our remodel- ha!).
The material I used to make this wall come together in a snap? Baseboard. Contractor packs of the stuff. Just buy it all- ha! This makes it so darn simple to pull together. The pack I used here is the 3 1/2″ x 1/2″ primed flat base from Alexandria Moulding. We use the flat trim on all of our baseboards and windows in our home (just wider). We chose the most narrow one available in the ValuPAKs and I’m so happy with how this size looks for the vertical shiplap! If you read the tutorial for the boys DIY desk, you might have already known that this is what we used… but it’s just such a good shortcut. Let’s chat about the process!
I chose to do the shiplap only above the baseboard (instead of running it to the floor) so I ended up cutting about 4″ off of each of the pieces of baseboard. But this isn’t our first time doing a wall treatment and we’ve learned the hard way that you can’t just take a measurement and make all of your cuts the same. Pick one edge to start at (if only one is visible like ours, this is great… start there! Measure up and then cut ONE board to start. Check that it fits, then you can cut about three at a time. I found that if I did three, then I could measure again and cut some more. without there being too big of a change in length.
When you’re installing the first piece, it’s important to make sure that it’s plumb so that you don’t have your vertical lines running on an off angle. Use a level and use brad nails to secure it in place. I started the wall with only three brad nails in each board but decided to go back and add more since I wanted it to look totally flat. We use this Ryobi Brad Nailer for everything- it’s affordable for how much you can do with it!
There’s a couple things that you’ll run into as you go. If your ceiling has texture, like mine, you might run into sections where the texture is a bit bigger and hits where your trim needs to go. I found it easiest to put the top edge of the trim in first, then tapping in the bottom edge (pushing the texture up a bit this way if I needed, instead of pushing towards the wall and risk damaging visible parts of the ceiling texture).
You might also run into… plug ins! There’s two ways to deal with these depending on the depth you need. You could use box extenders (we did this in our garage on our slat wall) OR in this case all we needed was a few spacers and longer screws. Just make sure to put the spacers on the screws that hold your plug in place. Not on your cover. Then for the shiplap, you’ll want to cut it close enough to the plug that you plug cover goes over the edges. We did this using a jigsaw.
The other thing you’ll run into is that very last board… and it probably not fitting perfectly without cutting it. I forgot to take a photo before I filled and painted it. But you can see it here before the second coat of paint. This one was not only not a full piece of baseboard BUT it wasn’t a level wall.
So for this- there’s a few tips. The first thing I did was measured the top, middle, and bottom distance. If they are the same, rad! Cut that on a tablesaw. If they are different, you have a few options. You could cut it the smallest depth and fill the gap in the corner with silicone before painting or you could do what I did and draw a line, connecting the marks on your baseboard, then carefully cutting it on the line. We did this by running the baseboard through the tablesaw on the line (instead of using the guard). This is best done with two people- one feeding and one holding the other end. I’m sure a jigsaw would have worked great as well and been professionally recommended. But this fit perfectly, so I’m calling it a win!
Let’s talk about finishing this baby! There are two types of fill you’ll want to use. There’s the nail holes which you can see above before and after filling/sanding. We fill those with a wood fill. I get this white paintable wood fill that works wonders for trim. It comes in little tubes and then when it’s dry, you just sand it lightly.
For the vertical edges (against the corners) and along the baseboard, I use paintable caulk (we always buy contractor packs of this one) to give it a smoother, more finished look. One of the first videos I ever put together was on caulking so if that’s new to you, you can find that right here!
Lastly… when aaaall of that is dry, it’s time to paint! I painted it with a brush. It took forever. In hindsight, it would have been faster to mask the room and use a paint sprayer. I am always so impatient with masking- I love to see the paint go on right away. But if you have a paint sprayer- this is definitely the way to go on this one! I wouldn’t use a roller as it would be hard to get into the grooves between the baseboards without getting drips. The paint we used is Behr Nor’Wester and it gives all the nordic vibes I was going for with this vertical shiplap wall texture!
Alright, I hope that answers all the questions you had about this DIY vertical shiplap wall! If you have any more, drop them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer! If your questions are about the bedroom in general- check out the full blog post here!
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