How to Shiplap a Wall

how to shiplap a wall

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by HANDy Paint Products. Although we were compensated to write this post, all opinions and content are our own, and we stand behind and use all brands and products we endorse on our site. 

Shiplap! Our new best friend. Anyone that is just as obsessed with Fixer Upper as we are is also drinking the shiplap Kool-Aid.

It’s no secret that we love our shiplap and incorporating it into our client’s homes. If you saw our modern farmhouse basement finish, you saw how we put up a shiplap wall above the fireplace mantle. We just recently finished up a master bathroom remodel that we incorporated shiplap into as well and want to show you guys how to DIY.

For this master bathroom, our client wanted a fancy farmhouse style but didn’t want to overdo it on the farmhouse or the fancy since their home didn’t have a lot of those styles in general throughout. We recommended doing a little accent shiplap wall behind the vanity to town down the fancy and bring in the farmhouse. We also put in a free-standing tub, enlarged the shower and addded in beautiful light and bright tiles with a glass door. And we gotta say, it ended up looking just as we had hoped!

So today we wanted to give you guys a tutorial on how we created this shiplap wall and bring you in for a little tour of this master bathroom so you can DIY- it in your own homes. That is if shiplap is your thing.

1. Tools and Materials

First step to any home project is getting all of your tools and materials in order and space prepped. Here are a list of the tools and materials we used for this project:

  • Table saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Nail gunNails
  • MDF
  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Sandpaper
  • HANDy Pro Pail
  • Mini paint roller
  • 3″ paint brush
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Caulk

2. Find & Mark Studs

Next, you’ll want to determine where the studs are. Lucky for us, this was all fresh drywall since we had just remodeled the entire space, so we knew exactly where to find the studs. But if you’re not sure, use a stud finder and mark off with a pencil where the studs are so you know exactly where to nail into the shiplap boards.

3. Measure & Cut

Once you have the studs marked off it’s time to get those babies hung! For our wall, we used 1×6 MDF boards, but you can use any board dimension and type you want to match the look you’re going for. Figure out where your starting point is and measure from wall to wall to determine the length to cut your boards. We also like to measure the boards as we’re hanging them up on the wall, doing a couple of boards at a time just in case the walls aren’t perfectly plumb.

4. Level

We started from the ceiling and worked our way down for this project because we wanted a full board at the top rather than a ripped down top board. To start off, you’ll want to make sure to hang your first board perfectly level.

After nailing up the first board and making sure it’s perfectly level, you can take the next board and stack it tight to the one above it. This will keep things level all the way to the bottom.  Depending on where you start, just continue your design by adding one plank at a time and one row at a time and working your way down.

5. Hang & Nail Boards

One by one, nail your boards up; ensuring you are hitting your marked off areas on the studs with a nail gun.

People have been known to put quarters in between their boards to give a little spacing to your shiplap look, but we just butted and nailed them right up against one another. We’ve also heard paint stir sticks work great if you like the space and those sound a little easier to put in between your boards when hanging and nailing. However, Jamie likes a very clean look to his projects so he prefers butting them up against one another to avoid any wavy un-level lines.

If you run into any electrical switches, the jigsaw comes in handy to cut around those boxes within the boards.

6. Paint Boards

Our favorite part, painting time! Whenever the paint goes up it just feels so refreshing, doesn’t it?

When painting we love to use our HANDy Pro Pail because you will want a mini roller and a brush and the pro pail fits both. It has a magnetic strip on one side for the brush to hang on and its large enough for a roller to sit inside.

Being that the shiplap will probably be a statement piece that people’s eyes will be drawn to, you’ll want to make sure it has a nice finish. No drips or air bubbles. We prefer to use a mini roller because we like to roll one board at a time. We don’t like to roll over two boards at once because you want to ensure the boards look like separate boards.

We prefer to paint our boards after we hang them. We’ve painted beforehand a few times but we always end up having to go back and touch up spots from moving and hanging once they’re up, so now we just leave it until we hang.

The only thing you need to be careful with if you wait to paint the boards until they are up is that the paint tends to stick together in between the boards. You want to make sure it looks like two separate boards. If and when this happens, let the paint dry a little bit and then take a putty knife and just drag the flat edge in between the creases to give it that gap. Otherwise we’ve also used something as simple as a piece of paper.

 7. Style

Lastly, it’s time to style those babies! Being we were going for the modern farmhouse style, we added in some weathered wood mirrors complimented by a clean lined modern vanity and wall sconce lighting for each side of the mirrors. Keeping it all fresh and clean!


You guys totally just created your own DIY shiplap wall in just a few steps. We can’t wait to see what you came up with in your homes. We’ll be doing a black shiplap wall in our office soon, and we can’t wait to share it with you guys. Don’t be afraid to add some color to those shiplap walls either, even though as you can see we are drawn to the simplicity of the white shiplap walls. You can’t ever go wrong with colored shiplap! Sometimes our thoughts behind the white is to stick with that at first because then if you get sick of it, you can spice it up with some paint color.


shiplap wall with handy paint pail

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Amber K

You have amazing tutorials! Great job you two!! And this is such a Beautiful bathroom!!!


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