How to Make Vertical Shiplap Paneling (on the cheap!)

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Intro by Robin
Steps by Ed

vertical shiplap

I LOVE a dramatic before and after - you too?  And this room has me smitten.  

Our vision was to create a cozy welcoming guest room that doesn't feel like it's in the basement.  Have we achieved that?

I can't get enough of this before and after!  It was just a dreary, bland box that screamed BASEMENT!  Maybe a step up from sending our guests into a dungeon room filled with hand me downs.  

Instead of saying, "Welcome, friend" it said something more along the lines of, "Don't get too comfortable.  You aren't staying long."

Of course, as always, our second goal was to achieve this transformation on a budget.  This project is a great example of doing more with less.  See that lovely green panelling in the after photo?  That cost us about $25 - including paint!  

If you're curious as to how we made beautiful vertical shiplap paneling on a budget, we've got you covered.  It all started with a leftover material from our wall-to-wall bookcase...

Normally, I try to avoid going into our basement storage room/workshop. Ed and I have different approaches to storing things - and I let him express himself freely in there. It is absolute chaos!  But he can find everything.

But one day, after we installed our IKEA hack built-in bookcase, I was forced to go in there.  I think I fought it for a day and a half - but there was no avoiding that room.  It was then I saw a cast aside material that I knew would make my already planned panelling so cheap!

vertical shiplap materials

The unused Billy bookcase backings!

If you've seen our bookshelf project you know that we amped up the character of them by backing them with faux brick. We didn't use the backing that came with the shelves. Until now!

We measured the square footage and then checked the accent wall in question. If we planned carefully, there was enough.  

diy vertical shiplap
That pillow! That big (faux) window!
Those live edge treadle tables!

Now, not everyone has bookcase backing lying around.  But what we achieved here can be easily reproduced with cheap panelling.

Vertical Shiplap Panelling DIY

What You Need:

How to:

1. Cut your panelling into strips.

vertical shiplap cutting strips
We determined that a panel width of 4.5" was optimal - this made the best-sized strip and also kept waste to a minimum. 
Rip on a table saw or use a circular saw with cut guide. (get help - this material is floppy and the long strips are awkward!) 

strips for vertical shiplap
We cut all the strips at once and took the pile to the room.

2.  Do a "dry run" and determine your optimal gap.

vertical shiplap gap
We tacked a few strips in place to determine what the optimal gap between the "boards" would be.  Turns out, the thickness of the strips (1/8") was perfect!
When you come to fastening your finished pieces, be sure to work hard on the first few to get them level and straight.  If you make a mistake at this point it will get exaggerated as you finish more.
After you get the first couple rows straight, it goes pretty quickly - gap with a spare piece, and nail a panel. Repeat a bunch of times.

3. Fasten your strips in place - and learn from our mistake!

installing vertical shiplap
Fasten your pieces to the wall.
Notice no photo of us applying the adhesive - this is a mistake - we didn't do that!
 We thought we could do it all with nails and things would be fine. Wrong! You end up needing to use a LOT of nails, which means more filling and mess. 
Learn from our mistake and use construction adhesive, too!

vertical shiplap seams
If you're using fresh MDF material - you shouldn't have the problem we did: scabbing together small pieces to stretch out our materials.
The funky part was determining where to hide the panel sections we needed to join. We didn't have enough material to do full pieces all the way across. So behind where the headboard of the bed would be, we cleverly (read, frugally) stitched together some scrap pieces to complete the look. 
Trust us, a bit of filler and paint and no one will notice...

4. Trim out the top.

vertical shiplap trim
Lastly, we added a piece of pine trim to cap the whole wall. It had the added benefits of hiding some ends and holding the panels to the wall a little more firmly (did I mention we neglected to use adhesive? Don't neglect it.)

5. Fill the holes, sand and paint.

And you're done!

vertical shiplap diy

Decor sources:
Throw Pillow Fabric (I made the simple pillow using this tutorial.)
Sheets (So soft and pretty - and a great price.)
Coverlet and Shams (Yeah - I almost didn't buy it when I saw who the "designer" was. Ha! But the quality is wonderful.)
Lamps (similar outside Canada)
Faux Pink Peonies
Faux boxwood topiary (similar) vase is thrifted
Panelling paint (green): Milk Thistle Behr
Trim paint: Soft Focus Behr

how to vertical shiplap

Other projects in our Basement Guest Room-Library:

This is one of dozens of projects we've created in our Budget Basement Makeover(more here) and one of many projects in our cozy Guest Room-Library (more here).  

Wait until you see it all!  Keep in touch and follow our progress by subscribing above.

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1 comment

  1. Wow! The shiplap really transformed this space! Great job!


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