Let me start by saying that we have lived in our current home for almost 14 years. Two years ago we changed out our dark kitchen counters for a light granite, and I just loved how much it brightened up the space!
Since then I’ve been trying to decide how to change up the look of our family room that is open to the kitchen. I’m always slow to make these decisions because I don’t want to get it wrong then have do more work to fix it.
I’m a huge fan of home makeover shows, and my favorite (of course!) is Fixer Upper. If you’ve ever seen it, you know all about shiplap! I finally made up my mind that I wanted to find a way to add the look of shiplap to my room and keep it on a budget I could live with, just in case I ended up hating it. I decided that doing just the one wall behind our entertainment center would be perfect because that’s where everyone is usually looking anyway.
I did a lot of research online for faux shiplap and found a bunch of tutorials and different methods. I kind of combined several different ideas and went with it1
Finding the kind of plywood sheets that I wanted was the first step in the process. Also, I wanted to have the sheets cut into strips at the store to save on time at home. Depending on the store you may have to pay a small fee for this, but it may be worth it for you.
The main thing to consider about the wood is the thickness. If you have crown molding and/or baseboards, you will want the thickness to match up the best you can. I wanted boards that were about 1/4 inch thick.
Measure the area of your wall to determine how many sheets you need, and measure the height of wall to determine how wide to have the strips cut. Most likely your strips will not work out to be a perfect fit from top to bottom. I had the majority of ours cut into 6 1/2 inch strips, but the bottom row was only 5 1/2 inches. Always put the oddball strip at the bottom because your eye will not be drawn to it as much. I found the perfect wood at my local Home Depot. I bought 9 sheets at $11.99 each. This took us 2 trips because I measured incorrectly & didn’t buy enough the first time. The employees were more than willing the cut the sheets and didn’t even charge for the cuts! Here is a picture of the sticker on the back of the wood.
Besides the wood, the other tools we needed were a nail gun with 1 1/4 inch brad nails, and a saw to cut the boards to length. We used a circular saw. You can use a hammer and nails if don’t have a nail gun. We also used a stud finder & level to mark the studs to make sure we nailed into them as much as possible. Some people use an adhesive on the backs of the boards, but we didn’t want to do that.
To start the application, we used a full length strip at the top of the wall just below the crown molding. We used nickels for spacers between each row of boards. When we got the to end of the first row, we needed to make our first cut. As we continued down the wall, we made sure to use cut boards in a staggered pattern so that the seems on each row did not match the seems above or below it.
One more thing you need to think about when doing this kind of project is that your outlet plates will not fit with the extra thickness of the wood. You will need to get outlet spacers. I found these at Home Depot for about $3. They were hard to find in the store so take the picture with you! You can also order them here.
Once the wood was on the wall the real battle began! My husband and son wanted the keep the wood it’s natural color. It did have a very nice look, but I really wanted a lighter, whitewashed finish. So I did a few test boards and the boys decided they could live with it:)
Here are the products I used to create the finish. I used cheap white craft paint with water for the first layer. Then went over that with this Waverly liquid wax to add a protective coating. I applied all of the layers with a soft cloth. You can get all of these products at Walmart in the craft section. The large wax was about $9 and the smaller was about $5.
I used a combination of clear & white because my store only had one bottle of white. Here’s a close up of the finish. I love how it has an aged look, and you can still see the wood grain!