DIY PROJECTS: FAUX DIY SHIPLAP

We all know that shiplap is ALL THE CRAZE right now, but really, who has that kinda money?  Clearly some people, but not us! Tongue and groove shiplap is pricey and, for us, just not a option... SO! Here's an easy tutorial on how to get the shiplap look at a fraction of the cost! Can I gettttaaaaa AMEN!

THINGS YOU'LL NEED:

  • Math skills
  • Table saw (or a crazy way of convincing Home Depot/Lowes employees)
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil
  • "x" amount of sheets of 1/4" plywood (we'll get to the math in the post)
  • Table saw
  • Miter saw/Circular saw
  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife
  • Hand sander or sand paper
  • Nail gun
  • 4' level
  • Stud finder (if installing over drywall)
  • Nickels (yes, the currency)
  • Ear protection (for install)

1. THE MATH

Calculate the square footage of space that you want to shiplap. For instance, if you have an 8' tall by 6' wide wall, you will need 48 square feet (8' x 6' = 48sf) of plywood/shiplap. A sheet of plywood is 4' x 8' = 32 sf, so you'll need exactly 1.5 sheets of plywood (48 sf/32 sf = 1.5 sheets). Because you can't buy 1.5 sheets of plywood, you will have to buy 2 sheets. This is good for a waste factor too -- anywhere fro 8%-10%.

Each sheet of plywood can produce 8 'strips' of shiplap. Please see the graphic below:

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2. HEAD TO HOME DEPOT OR LOWES

Here, you'll need to get as many sheets of  1/4" plywood that you need based on your math. Then prance youreself over to the big huge machine where they cut wood for you and LOOK REALLY SWEET. Men, bring your wife along for this one... only because sometimes the employees can get a littttttle perturbed at cutting down multiple sheets of plywood into small increments.

3. CUT THE PLYWOOD

This is where I say you need a table saw OR some mad persuasive skills. Our local Lowes said they could cut the sheets down into 12" strips (not 6"), but that's all that they were willing to do. They mentioned it was a safety precaution because the 6" pieces may kick though I've heard of them cutting them in 6".... guess I didn't look as sweet as I thought. Maybe it had something to do with my attire which consisted of a overly large Goodwill jacket and a very tattered Carhartt beanie? Oh well.

So we left Lowes with lots of 12" strips of 1/4" plywood. 

We then had to cut the 12" pieces into 6" pieces with the table saw. Very very easy, but if you don't have a table saw, you really want to turn it on for the Lowes/Home Depot employee.

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4. STACK APPROPRIATE PILES BY SIZE

Ok. This is a step that I've seen other tutorials miss. If you're doing runs that are LONGER than 1 strip of 8 feet shiplap OR you're doing multiple adjoining walls, this step is for you! 

You don't want to install a 6" board and right next to it a 5 3/4" or 5 7/8" board. The table saw will inevitably make 1 board exactly 6" and the other bore 6" MINUS the width of the blade that cut the board (around 5 7/8"). You may not think this is a huge deal, but it does make a difference. Stack all of your 6" boards in one pile and your 5 7/8" boards in another and label them each with a pencil. This will help significantly with install!

5. INSTALL YOUR FIRST PIECE LEVEL!

Time for install! You want to start at the TOP of the wall and make sure that the top wall is level. In our case, we're installing this shiplap in an old house and, if we butted the top piece up flush with the ceiling, it would actually be out of level the entire way down the wall.

It is SUPER IMPORTANT to make sure that first row/piece is installed level.

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If your piece/row is level and there is a weird gap at the top in some places, that's ok! You will finish out the top/edges/corners with trim pieces, so don't worry!

Use your nail gun to secure the shiplap in place at every stud. If you're not installing on raw studs, use a stud finder prior to install and mark your studs so you know your nails are hitting studs and not other things (electrical, plumbing, etc.).

TIP: If you're having to work around electrical outlets, use a small jig saw to cut the openings.

6. DEVELOP A PATTERN & SPLIT STUDS

If you're installing on a wall that's longer than 8', you will need to develop a pattern making sure that all pieces fall on a stud. When you're installing, you want to SPLIT the stud, otherwise, you won't have anything to attach the next board to.

There's really no magic formula, you just don't want all the joints to all in the same place and that your piece lands on a stud. You can see the pattern for the bedroom closet in this picture: 

DIY Shiplap Layout .png

7. GRAB SOME NICKELS AND KEEP GOING!

This really is a 2 person job. You want to use nickels as spacers. Sometimes the boards can be a little out, so this is why it's good to have two people to make the space between boards as uniform as possible across the board! Sometimes we found ourselves really man-handling a board and nailing as soon as it was in the perfect spot -- just something you have to deal with when not using tongue and groove!

Remember how we stacked those 6" and 5 7/8" pieces into separate piles? You can imagine if we used different size boards on the left and right of the window in the picture below, how much the gap would vary once we got to a full piece running below the window.

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8. Add moulding

You want to add corner or top molding (like this from Lowes) so that you can't see the raw edges of the shiplap. 

9. WOOD FILL & SAND THE NAIL HOLES

Throw in some headphones and get to working on filling in all of the nail holes. The wood filler we use you can find at Lowes + with a putty knife, you're in business. 

Allow the filler to dry and then get to sanding each spot. I use this orbital hand sander , but feel free to grab some sand paper too. Make sure your sand paper isn't super gritty because the 1/4" plywood is fairly thin and you don't want to take out a huge chunk. You can also hand sand the holes, but it goes MUCH faster with the orbital sander!

10. READY FOR PAINT & VOILA!

Now, a fresh coat of white paint (in our case, Sherwin Williams Origami White because it matches our cabinets best) and you're done!

Here's our kitchen prior to paint. I'll update this post with the final look as the fixer house renovation continues!

KITCHEN: BEFORE DIY SHIPLAP

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KITCHEN: AFTER DIY SHIPLAP

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TIP: If you're placing cabinets in front of your shiplap, no need to continue the 6" shiplap behind the cabinets. We used the larger 12" strips to tackle this area because it won't be seen.

Sorry there weren't more pictures with this tutorial. I really wasn't expecting to make this step-by-step guide, so I didn't take more pictures...but feel free to email us or drop us a message/comment over on Instagram and we'll be sure to answer any questions you may have :) 

ALSO! Share your pics with us!! We'd love to see your final product! 

Until next time,

-Brian & Sky

Skyler ThomasDIY