Shiplap Dos and Don’ts

Hey guys! Today I’m talking about my shiplap experience! In the last few days while my husband was out of town I decided to make the wall in my dining room shiplap! I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile now. I also sold my old dining set and I’m updating the entire space so stay tuned for some more changes!

Some of you may of heard we were moving. Unfortunately that didn’t workout so now I’m back to focusing on our current home! Surprisingly I’m not disappointed because there are a lot of things I’ve wanted to do to this house and I’m finally able to do them.

Let’s get back to business! Have you guys heard of Jenna Sue? She’s my favorite and so inspiring! She does so many DIY projects and makes it look easy! I follow her on snapchat as well as Instagram and she just recently added shiplap to her master bathroom. She also shared a shiplap tutorial on her YouTube channel. Heck yes! This gave me the push to do shiplap in my dining room!

Was it as easy as it looked in the video you ask? No it was not! At least not for me…

First of all. You’ll need to watch the video to know what I’m talking about! Click here to watch the tutorial.

Now that you’ve seen how to do shiplap let me tell you how things went for me!

I had my list of supplies ready and headed to meet my mother-in-law at Home Depot! To our surprise they were completely out of the plywood we needed. They checked the other store in town and they were out too. So! We headed over to Lowe’s. Now I went to Home Depot first because their customer service is always great. In my experiences. Lowe’s on the other hand not so much. When we got to Lowe’s they had plenty of the plywood we needed. I have to mention too that Lowe’s rolled out the red carpet for us that day. We had so much help it was crazy!

We found a guy in the wood department and he grabbed all of the plywood we needed and ripped them down to the size we needed no problem. Yes it is actually FREE to get your wood cut and he said he would bring it to the front when he was finished so we could do our other shopping. Perfect!

I had measured our walls earlier (91 1/2″ tall) and decided I wanted my boards ripped to 5″ instead of 6 or 8 like other people do (I would end up with a tiny piece at the bottom of the wall which didn’t matter to me). I wanted thinner pieces but not too thin. For my dining room wall we used about 3 sheets of plywood total but I purchased 4 just incase! The price at Home Depot for the plywood was about $11 and the price at Lowe’s was about $14.

We headed to the paint department and I purchased a gallon of Valspar “ultra white” Signature paint in satin. I wanted white shiplap!

Here are all the supplies I purchased including 16g 1 1/2″ nails for my nail gun.

Btw don’t spend that extra money for this Frogtape… It was terrible!

First things first was sanding the 5″ pieces of plywood. That took the longest time and was not very fun. Instead of using a hand sander we just took some rough sand paper and sanded by hand. Once those were done it was time to get started on the wall.

Normally you start from the bottom and work your way up. That way if the top is left with a smaller piece you can cover it with crown molding. In my case we don’t have crown molding just baseboards. So! We started from the top which was more difficult. We also marked all the studs and drew a line on them from the ceiling to the floor just to make things easier for us.

Here’s the next problem we ran into. We found out my ceiling is crooked, the ground is crooked and oh the wall was bowing out a little bit too! Then we also realized the pantry closet was not made straight as well. Just my luck! Now for you that might not be the case. Lucky you! Make sure you check before you start nailing up boards.

How do you stagger the boards you ask? You can pretty much do it however you want. You can stagger them all over the place randomly and leave the cracks open to get that staggered look or you can do it like me and fill the holes with spackle so you see no lines between each board side to side. I also didn’t want too many cracks to fill so I ended most of the boards above the closet. At some point they will be hidden with some barn door hardware when I add a barn door for the pantry.

My wonderful mother-in-law helping me!

To get an idea of how long this took we started putting up boards at around 4:30pm and attached the last board at 9pm. We could of started earlier in the day but I couldn’t get a helping hand til 1. This didn’t include sanding, prep work and going to the store.

So here is the number one reason I’m sharing my experience! In Jenna’s video she talks about leveling the boards as you put them up! Once you get started it goes faster… Not for us. We had to hold one board up. Level the left side of it, nail it.. Level the center of it, nail it.. Then level the right side and nail it. As we were doing that we were trying to balance the nickels in between the boards. I was also going in and out of our garage cutting pieces to size and because everything was crooked each piece was I different size. That’s a lot of walking back and forth!

I 100% recommend you paint the cracks as you go! Just like the tutorial. Put one piece up, paint, add another piece and paint! While waiting for my mother-in-law to paint I cut the next board and filled nail holes.

When we got to the very bottom I expected to cut a very small piece to finish the wall. We were both shocked to find out the last piece fit perfectly! Now I don’t know how that happened but we were super happy and thankful. Less work!

Outlets! How did we cut for outlets you ask? Easy! With a miter saw, screw driver and hammer. You could also use a chisel.

You want to hold your board up and measure the hole you need to cut. Draw your lines and hold the board up to the miter saw. Not flat laying down like how you would do normal cuts but sitting up against the fence. Cut each side and then chisel out the horizontal line. The piece of plywood should pop right out! You can see here I cut a little too much but it’s nothing spackle and a face plate can’t hide! We also had to pull the outlet out a little bit to match up with the wall.

All finished. Just kidding. You have way more work to do! Fill all your nail holes. If any nails are sticking up you’ll want to hammer those in. Wait for everything to dry. Tape everything off for paint and make sure you clear up an entire day for painting!

I chose not to use primer. I just used my Valspar paint and it took about 4+ coats of paint.

This is after one coat.

I’m going to share my biggest tip with you guys! I’m not sure if I’m just an idiot or what but make sure you do not do what I did. DO NOT I REPEAT DO NOT paint inside the lines between the boards. Shiplap looks like shiplap because of those dark lines! I started painting in between the lines at the bottom because I had OCD and saw you could still see the wood in the cracks. Something didn’t look right so I went back to look at Jenna’s shiplap pictures and realized you leave the cracks the way they are. So all you need to do is use your paint roller and roll the entire wall with paint leaving the cracks unpainted. Learn from my mistake!

You can kind of see on the bottom left where the light is shining where I messed up. Yes I can admit my imperfections! I will probably go back and try my best to sand out the paint from those cracks. It doesn’t bother me too much because soon there will be a piece of furniture there to hide it!

Lastly our ceiling was so crooked. I mean crooked to the extreme! I couldn’t leave it like that of course… Some people hide it with crown molding but I have no crown molding in my house. That would just look random and weird. So for now I filled the crack with spackle. I’m not sure if that’s the right way to do it but that’s what I did. In a few days I might go buy some trim (like the small trim Jenna used in her video) just to trim out the top and sides. That’s it! Some things to think about before you start a huge project that looks really easy. Every home is different and there’s so much more to nailing strips of plywood to your walls.



So there you go! A little insight on what it takes to create a shiplap wall. It definitely takes a lot of time and effort but so worth it. Hopefully I will be a lot better and faster at it next time! I’m planning on doing a couple more walls in my home. For now I’m taking a break for a few weeks… This kicked my butt.

If you have any questions don’t be afraid to ask! If you didn’t watch Jenna’s tutorial make sure you do so you can see what supplies you need. You can also checkout her actual blog post here. See you next time!




  • (4) sheets of plywood about $54
  • Paint $34
  • Supplies about $35

4 thoughts on “Shiplap Dos and Don’ts

  1. Which cracks shouldn’t you paint? Was a bit confused because the steps you discussed had your MIL painting each of the cracks as you put it up but then later you said not to paint the cracks in between.


    1. Yes that’s what I said and that’s exactly what you do. As your putting the plywood up you paint the wall so when you have all of the shiplap up and you look in the cracks the wall is painted. Once the shiplap is all up you roll on the paint and be careful not to get paint inside of the cracks or the cracks will look all blotchy. If you watch Jenna Sue’s video you will understand.


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