If you’ve read yesterday’s post “Shiplap School- DIY Shiplap Boards” you survived a VERY long post and you are ready for action!

Let’s get down to how to hang your shiplap boards starting from the bottom up.  Gather your supplies (see prior post) and cover your carpet or flooring.  Remove any outlet or light covers and set aside.

Time to strategize – or not. Depending on your wall length you will have boards that start and stop as you go across unless it is less than 8 feet long.  You can plan it out so your boards end and begin the same every other row or stagger it.  I like to let things flow and am happy with a “perfectly imperfect” kind of look so I don’t pre-measure.  I don’t like boards to end straight in the middle though so I’ll start by taking an 8 footer and cutting about 1/4 off.

Do you have a stud finder? I have 0 faith in these and mine is a total liar.  If your stud is accurate – lucky you!!! Studs frame your walls vertically and are 2″ wide and are supposed to be 16″ apart.  You can knock on the wall and if it sounds hollow it is.  Hollow is not what you want here.  Starting on the left edge of the wall you should find a stud and 16″ to the right should be the next stud.  Try hammering in a nail lightly and if it resists you found a pot of gold.  If you find a stud take your level and draw a pencil line straight up the wall so you can see where you want to hammer as seen in the photo below.  Keep going across the wall locating your studs and marking the wall vertically.  If you end up with a few nail holes it won’t matter because you are shiplapping over that.

IMG_2362Line up your first board against the left side on the edge along the baseboard.  Check with your level that the board is level- sometimes floors and ceilings are not!  I use 2 nails per board -one at each end and it’s a bonus if there is a stud.  I add an extra if it is over another stud.  Hit it so that the nail is barely visible and is recessed.  They sell countersinking tools that you can hammer into the nail head to recess it more if you decide this is something worth you time.  I don’t mind the nail holes and I do not putty them.  If you have a nail gun the hole is microscopic and fast/easier/probably superior but I haven’t bought (or received one) yet. lol.


Now if you have a remaining space on the same row measure it with your tape measure.  Measure a strip of wood and mark it.  When you cut using a miter saw you lose a little wood in the process so you want to mark exactly how long you want the piece then place the blade to the right of the line ( assuming the piece you are keeping is to the left).  Wear safety glasses and fire away.  If you don’t know how to use a miter saw or a jig saw let me know and I can do a power tools post.  Sand the edge you cut.

Try fitting it on the wall and if it is too long give it a quick haircut. If you are way off and it’s too short don’t fret- you will use it somewhere else.  Try again.  As you stack a board above the previous row use your spacers for that cool gap you want to achieve.  I use one spacer at each end of the board- usually nickels or 2 pennies taped together.  No right or wrong here- just be consistent.  They fall when you hammer.  You may curse.  Just sayin’.  Keep climbing the wall.  It’s all fun and games until you hit the outlet.

IMG_2491Ugh.  This calls for some practice and patience.  I’ll often hold the board where it’s planned to go and trace the outlet cover where I anticipate it fitting.  You will cut on the line or err on the outside of the line.  I jig completely inappropriately across sinks, trash cans or whatever is near me.  You *should* use a clamp to secure your wood and cut.  I don’t have a special space and go rogue. This is a poor description I know.  You tube surely has appropriate videos of how it should be used.  Anyway- get it as good as you can.  I doubt anyone is going to zero in on how well you cut around the outlet- they will be WOWed by the bigger picture.


So turn up the music and keep plugging away- hammering, measuring, cutting, sanding, hammering.  Repeat.  Repeat. Repeat.  If you arrive at a light switch or light itself try measuring or tracing the shape on paper until you have the right curves or fit then trace it on the wood.  Prayer helps.

When you get to the very top your final row of boards might be less than your 6″ or 8″ wide inch plank.  Measure the space from the last board to the ceiling and then draw a horizontal line on your plank-to-be and you will have to jig it.  If it’s a little wavy shhhhh no one will know- just place the less-than-straight edge against the ceiling.  Step back and BE PROUD of yourself.  Shiplap happened.

Give it the stink eye once- tap in some nails, sand any ragged edges you missed and then move on.

You are ready to prime if painting or stain.  I have 2 coats of primer on this wall.  I used a 2″ brush to work it in and if it gets globby between the gaps just try to brush it out.  Between primer and paint I usually go in between any areas that fill in with a flat screw driver or steak knife.  Yes, Mom, that’s the real reason we needed new knives for Christmas.


I still need to paint the wall with the Decorator’s White latex sitting around the corner for a nice finish…but I just haven’t gotten to it.  I love it so much and hope you are stepping back and in awe of your wall soon!  Oh and note the outlet- oh wait you can’t!  It’s behind my metal basket ‘o pillows.  Smoke and mirrors my friends.

If I forgot anything or if this was helpful please comment below.  You have officially graduated from “Shiplap School”!  Ready, set, go get ’em.

Best of luck on your shiplap adventures- Kristen


Laurel Dane Designs, LLC

DIY Blogger, Personal Organizer and Designer