I love the look of real, historic shiplap. It's been around for over a 100 years, so I don't think it's going anyway anytime soon. We chose to DIY our shiplap to give it more of a historic look. Here is our process.
Why is Shiplap so Popular?
We all know Joanna Gains made shiplap what it is today. But it wasn't the recreation of shiplap that we were striving for. Her home is a great example of the look we were going for. Plank boards not lining up, gap sizes varying; we wanted the true shiplap.
The texture and warmth that shiplap brings, is what makes it so popular today. Shiplap takes a plan wall and instantly adds warmth and character.
We knew we wanted to DIY our shiplap, embracing the imperfections that come with it. This is a cheap and easy way to achieve the look we were going for.
Our process for DIY Historic Shiplap
Remember this is not like other DIY shiplap methods where perfection is the goal. We are embracing crooked walls, slanted floors, and nail holes. Let's begin!JUMP TO PRINTABLE INSTRUCTIONS
Step 1: Mapping out wall for DIY Shiplap
First, we mapped out the wall that we were going to shiplap. This included checking to see if the ceiling and floors were level, as well as the adjacent walls. Ours were not, and most homes probably won't be either. We then found and marked out all the studs in the wall.
Step 2: Prep Materials for DIY Shiplap
Before we began we prepped all our boards. We used 4ft. x 8ft. x ¼ inch mahogany boards. Ripping them into 8ft. x 8 inch strips. We chose to use 8 inch wide strips because we were applying the shiplap to a very wide wall. So the boards will naturally look smaller.
Once our boards were ripped down we marked out a horizontal levelled line with a pencil.
We started in the top left corner of our wall, about 6 inches from the ceiling.The reason we did not start our line at the very top is that our ceiling and floors are not level. We wanted our shiplap to be level and trick the eye into thinking our floors and ceilings were level as well.
If we were to have started lining our boards up against the ceiling our shiplap would look crooked to the naked eye.
Step 3: Applying shiplap boards to the wall
Start the first board 6 inches from the ceiling. Making sure your first board in level, use your brad nailer and nail it to the studs you marked out in step 1.
Apply your second 8ft. x 8 inch board right next to the first one, nailing it to the studs as well. Continue this process until you reach the end of the wall.
To start your second line use what is remaining from the previous 8ft. x 8 inch board. This will ensure that your boards don't line up.
You will not need to level your boards going forward. From this point on use the coin to space the boards apart from each other.
You will start to notice the imperfections come to life, as not all the 8ft. x 8 inch boards will be ripped the same (because we are human). This will result in different gapping measurements. This is ok, this is what will make your shiplap look more historic.
Step 4: Finishing the top and bottom row of your historic shiplap wall
Once you have completed most of your wall, and only the top and bottom sections are left you will have a couple of options.
Measure the remaining gaps. If they are pretty close in size go ahead and rip your boards to a complementing size and apply the boards to the wall.
If your ceiling and floors are extra crooked, like ours are in some spots you will need to scribe your boards. Here is a youtube video that will help you with the scribing process.
Step 5: Prime and Paint your DIY historic shiplap
Here is the fun part! This is where your project will come together really quickly, transforming your space instantly.
Make sure to prime your mahogany boards first. I made the mistake of not priming my boards. About 6 months later I watched as nice white shiplap went from white to yellow. Since then I have had to go back, prime and then repaint.
And you are done! You have brought in some historical character by DIYing your own Shiplap wall.
Enjoy those nail holes and varying spacing dimensions. These imperfections are what build charm and character.
- Brad nailer
- Miter Saw
- Table Saw (or get pre-cut at local hardware store)
- Stud Finder
- Paint Roller and Tray
- ¼ inch Mahogany 4x8 Board
- Find and mark out all studs. Mark stud from floor to ceiling on the desired wall.
- For old home, start first board 6 inches down from the ceiling.
- Start the first line with one full length, 8 ft board
- Have one person hold up the first board, making sure it is level, while the other person nails the board to the studs.
- Hold the next board up against the first, making sure to level the board once again nailing it to the studs. Continue process until reaching the end of the wall.
- For the second line, and all others you will replace your level with a coin. We used a loonie to get the spacing between our boards.
- To achieve the rustic look make sure to alter the length of your boards so that the ends of the boards never lined up vertically.
- Once you have completed these steps you are ready to tackle your first and last row.
- Measure the remaining spacing. Ripping new boards, smaller than 8 inches to fit in the remaining space.
- For the advanced, scribe your last planks to help hide your crocked walls.
- Prime and paint your shiplap.
- Congrats, you are finished! Have fun styling your new space!