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Shiplap on a budget

February 7, 2018

Well today is the day! I’m finally starting my shiplap wall.  I have researched, created inspiration boards, read blogs of others who did similar projects and after compiling ALL of the info I came up with a plan that fits our space, budget and vision pretty well (well in my head it does anyway, we’ll see how that pans out as we go!)


So the first thing I decided after much reading was that I wanted to frame up my fireplace with shiplap to mimic the presence of a chimney, I wanted to create a statement with this wall and with my fireplace so this made the most visual sense in my brain.  I have seen many other blogs where the entire wall was shiplap and if that makes you inspired then go for it.  The initial design is really up to what YOU want for your space and how YOU see it coming together.  The thing about creativity is that is speaks it’s own language and when you tune into it projects pretty much guide you along and tell you what to do next, at least that is how my brain works.


For my materials I decided to use thin plywood cut to 6″ strips for my shiplap.  I bought this product from Home Depot for my purposes and had them cut it into 6″ strips for me in the store and by me I mean mr brushes.


A BIG side note here! Our home depot said they couldn’t do 6″ cuts for safety reasons, after explaining to them that we had read on blogs that others had theirs cut there they made and exception and cut ours to the requested 6″ cut as a one time courtesy. One cut Mr. brushes happily loaded all the materials and headed home (without looking at the cuts)  so I could start my project.  upon inspection of the cuts however they were NOT cut even, see photo below for how they had been cut.  I basically ended up retrofitting every single piece to fit properly which was a PAIN IN THE you know what! Our Home Depot is a bit of a drive with traffic and I didn’t feel like going back out to have the re-cut correctly….Sooo my advice…… if you’re having your local hardware store cut your pieces MAKE SURE they are even cuts BEFORE leaving your store, it will save you SO much frustration and time! I have yet to purchase a table saw because of limited space issues in my garage however I think it’s time for me to just break down and buy a portable table saw so that I’m not at the mercy of Home Depot to make cuts again.  serenity now! You’ll see below that not only were the cuts NOT 6″ they carried in size from board to board and some were cut off at an angle not even straight across the board itself.




Here is a list of materials you will need for this project:
  • 1/4″ Plywood cut to 6″ strips

  • Framing boards (if you are framing in your project) I used 2×2 quality pine boards for mine.

  • 1.5 and 2.5 inch brad nails

  • stud finder

  • white paint (or stain or paint of your choice) and brushes to apply

  • Level

  • laser level

  • tape measure

  • saw for cutting strips to size you need to fill in spaces as you go

  • hammer (for removing any nails from trim boards you removed from your wall)

  • safety goggles

  • marking pen

Step one

My first step was to measure and mark the area where I wanted my shiplap to go.  For me that meant finding the center of my wall and measuring the fireplace and adding on 4″ on either side of the fireplace to create my framed in area.  I also felt like adding in a few inches extra on the sides was a ‘think ahead’ move.  Our fireplace is electric and therefor could possibly be traded out at some point, not knowing what the future holds or what size could end up there adding in a few extra inches gives me more flexibility later if I decide to go with a larger scale electric fireplace. ( work smarter not harder… that is the method to my madness. sometimes it works and sometimes it does not but I should get points for trying)



Step Two


Once I isolated the area where I wanted my shiplap (and framing ) to go I used this handy little stud finder to locate all my studs.  I have read various tutorials where the project master didn’t worry about studs and just nailed to sheet rock.  To me this makes no sense in terms of final quality and depending on what you are hanging over your fireplace might be a bad idea for support…. hellloooo flat screen tv or expensive painting crashing to the floor.  I also saved my stud markings in measurements so if I need to hang something into the stud for later I know where they are located without guessing. I’m thinking the stud finder won’t work at finding the studs again now that shiplap is hung but maybe I’m wrong there? I’ll need to test that out.  Either way I have my notes to reference if needed.



Love this handy little stud finder!





Step three


My next step was to use my laser level and create straight lines going up the wall on the sides where I wanted my framing trim to end (see image above for lines).  For my purposes it made the most sense to frame up the area first and shiplap inside my framed area.  Getting the outside framing straight is an important step to ensuring the project turns out visually perfect because Type A personality here, looking at visual imperfections on a job I have done will drive me crazy until I fix the issue… so correct set up is important.

Plus I had found this level super handy when I hang frames, mirrors etc.  It  gives me straight evenly hung pieces every single time.




Step four

It’s time to frame in your space. (if you are not framing in your space skip to step 5). oops I forgot to get a photo of this step but I used 2×2 premium pine boards for my framing, they are good quality, cost effective and framed up the shiplap space pretty nicely. This is an easy step because I have level lines to follow and I used my level to ensure straight lines when I hung. There are no studs on the framing area so I used a combination of liquid nails and 3″ nail brads and put in place with my Ryobi nail gun.  ( I LOVE this thing! I got it for mother’s day last year and it has made my life easier with SO many projects and best thing… NO compressor needed to run it!). continue applying your framing trim until it’s all in place, level and tidy.