DIY Shiplap Tutorial

Shiplap Tutorial

I often get asked about this Spirit Lead Me wooden sign. Click HERE for the source!

DIY Shiplap Installation

I have been admiring shiplap walls for awhile, and I finally decided to create one for our home.  I enlisted the help of my husband, and we completed this large wall (9 feet x 20 feet) in one weekend!

There are several ways to create a shiplap wall (see my earlier post HERE), but we decided to go the easy route and bought pre-cut pine boards that have a simple tongue and groove system.

Supplies for Shiplap Wall

We found these boards at Lowes and bought 11 packages. We had plenty of extra small pieces leftover (the extra will be used on a smaller wall in our mudroom).

Don’t get overwhelmed at the thought of doing this project because it is definitely doable.  We installed the shiplap with some hard cuts (two outlets, a light switch and a hood) in one day and painted the second day.

Here are the supplies you’ll need:

DIY Shiplap Supplies

  • Sanding Block
  • Tape Measure
  • Pine Tongue and Groove Boards
  • Wood Filler
  • Primer & Paint
  • Jig Saw
  • Chop Saw
  • Stud Finder
  • Pencil
  • Nail Gun & Nails (we used 16 gauge nails)
  • Caulk
  • Level Ruler

The cost of the supplies for this wall was under $200.  The wood boards cost around $100 and the primer, paint, nails, wood filler and caulk were under $100.

Begin by sorting the boards,  because you will find flawed boards.  Save the flawed boards to cut into smaller pieces.

Sorting boards for shiplap wall

Although most of our flawed boards were minor, there were a couple that looked like this.

Scrap Piece of Shiplap

To begin, mark the studs (using the stud finder and level ruler).  Then begin at the bottom with the first row.  Use a level to make the first row is straight (and continue using the level throughout the entire process).

Using a level for shiplap

When possible, use the full 8 foot board.  However, when you do cut, use the tape measure to measure (twice) before cutting.

Measuring and Cutting Shiplap

In order to keep seams consistent, make a game plan.

Shiplap Wall Seams

For our wall, we started from the bottom right with a full 8 foot board and cut the one on the left.  Then we used a full 8 foot board on the left and cut the one on the right.  We continued this patterned all the wall up the wall.  The door frame obviously required another solution.

Shiplap Wall Seams

Use a nail gun and put two nails in each stud.

Using a nail gun for shiplap

Use a chop saw for the easy cuts.

Cutting Shiplap with table saw

And a jig saw for harder cuts.

Cutting outlet in shiplap wall

Jigsaw to cut out shiplap

The jig saw is great for going around outlets, light switches and any other obstacle you may need to tackle.

You can buy electrical box extenders for outlets and light switches to bring them out over the ship lap.  We left ours sunk in in because we are in the process of (slowly) replacing them throughout the home.

Cutting Shiplap with jigsaw

We created paper patterns for the really hard areas like around the kitchen hood, traced the pattern on the wood and cut with the jigsaw.

Creating patterns for cutting boards

Installing Shiplap around the hood

With some planning, patience and time, we had a completed wall!

Shiplap Tutorial6

The next step was filling the nail holes.  I had my oldest help out with this, and we managed to fill 800 (!!)  holes pretty quickly.

Filling nail holes in shiplap

After the wood filler dries, we sand the holes and use a roller to prime the wall.

Adding Primer to Shiplap

Once the primer is dry, add paint.  Our wall required one coat of primer plus two coats of paint. Use a brush for the paint since the roller will not reach in the cracks/seams.

Painting Shiplap

Here is a progress shot:

Shiplap Wall DIY Tutorial

And the final wall:

Shiplap Walls

Shiplap Wall Ideas

Shiplap in Kitchen

DIY Shiplap

DIY Shiplap Tutorial

DIY Wall Treatment

We are now the proud owners of a shiplap wall.

Go shiplap something!


*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. I only recommend products that I love and use myself!

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P.S.  Here’s all the stuff that was taken out of my kitchen for the final beauty shots:

Junk from Kitchen


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41 thoughts on “DIY Shiplap Tutorial

  1. Sara,

    I love the shiplap on your wall. You & your husband did a great job with it. I love everything about your entire space that I can see from the photos. Just beautiful!
    Are you all the next Joanna & Chip? lol


  2. Hi Sara! Great work! I absolutely love shiplap. As for the outlets and light switch plates, you can get little extensions for the outlets and oversized plates so they don’t have that sunk in look. We have used them on many projects and love it.

    1. Hi Briana! We’re in the process of updating all our light switches, but it’s been a slow process. When we (eventually) replace ours in the kitchen, we’re definitely going to use the extensions. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. I was snagged from Pinterest seeing the sign on the wall, had to see the rest of the room, so lovely! I simply love it all:) and the last pic showing real life:)

  4. Hello, your project looks so
    Lovely! Where did you get your wall hanging “spirit lead me….” Love that song thank you for sharing!

  5. Your wall looks amazing. We are buying a new house and I want to add a couple shiplap walls in our home. But I have a really “dumb’ question. On some of the walls I have looked at online they seem to have a dark color in between the boards and others do not. I love the look of the dark color between the boards. How do I go about achieving this or is it just the way the light hits the wall?

    1. That’s not a dumb question at all! The wood I used as shiplap has a tongue and groove system – which makes installation really easy. The real shiplap doesn’t have this, and the dark color between the boards is actually just a gap in the wood. So if you want the dark color in-between the boards, you need to go with something that doesn’t have a tongue and groove. Good luck with your new house!

  6. Very nice! Can’t wait to do something – somewhere like this! Thank you for the beautiful photos. . .

  7. I want to do ship lap on a wall in my daughters room, but is has crown molding installed at the ceiling. Do I need to remove the crown molding or can just go up to it?

    1. Hi Kathy! You should be able to go up to the crown molding without removing it. However, cutting the boards will be tricky because the wood is very soft. Caulking it will give you some forgiveness, but removing it may be easier than trying to cut around it. I think I would leave it up and see where the shiplap ends up – you may luck out and not have to cut anything! However, if you’re not so lucky and cutting proves tricky, you can always remove the crown molding.

  8. Hi. I was just wondering where you got your “spirit lead me…” wall decoration. I have been searching for one like that for a long time.

  9. I don’t understand why you would go through all of that work and not put the boards underneath the outlets and light switches. It’s baffling to me. It would’ve been easier. It would’ve looked nicer with a more finished look. All you would’ve had to do would take the plates off, put the boards around the outlet, applying spacers if needed to make the outlet more secure to the wall once it’s screwed back in. You aren’t the first one I’ve seen do this. If anyone decides to do this, put the boards under the plates! You wouldn’t have to worry about very precise cutting in those areas at the very least! 😉

    1. Hey Laura – we left ours sunk in because we are replacing the light switches/outlets in our home – slowly (actually my dad is – and he does a room every time he visits). The new switch plates are larger, and we decided we’d pull them out (and deal with spacers or whatever else was required) once they were replaced.

  10. We just did a huge built-entertainment center using the tongue and groove also. I’m getting ready to paint it and I have a question for you. Did you hide the vertical seams or just let them show. I can’t decide if I want them or if I want it to look like one continuous board going all the way across?

  11. Do you know if they make the same planks in a package a little bit wider? We are looking to do vertical ones behind our bookshelves we are building? Thanks!!!

  12. Hi! I love how your wall turned out! I just finished helping my friend shiplap a wall in her kitchen with the plywood planks. Something her husband (who’s an electrician)showed us is to cut the boards around the outlets bigger than the size of the box that’s in the wall. This way you can pull the outlet out flush with the wall and have something to screw into to secure it. We were just going to buy the extenders but this worked perfectly! I know you are replacing your outlets but I thought maybe someone else would benefit from this little tip. And I love your sign as well!

  13. Aww! It turned out so nice :0)

    I’ve just done the same thing in my entryway. One thing I’ve found is that the paint between the joints has cracked once dried (probably to do with expansion and contraction. I thought I put thick enough coats of paint on the wall. Has this happened to you? Any tips?