A Simple and Affordable Faux Shiplap DIY – Ellison Made

A Simple and Affordable Faux Shiplap DIY

With a little know-how and a few power tools, you can put up your own authentic looking shiplap without spending a fortune! Because we already had the necessary tools, this project only cost us $60. Hopefully you have your own stash of power tools, if not, I've linked a few below if you're looking to start a stash, but I'd also suggest asking a neighbor or friend to borrow theirs. When we were first starting out on our DIY journey, the neighbor at our old home was so kind to let us come & borrow whatever tools we needed whenever we needed. Now that we have moved to a new state in a new home, we get to be that person for others in the neighborhood.

Real shiplap is a hardy tongue and groove material and it is rather costly. This is a hack on how to get a similar look, but for way less money. I'll break it down into a few simple steps.

Tools/Supplies Needed:
Sources are affiliate linked for your convenience. See my disclosure for more information.
Table Saw

(For around the outlets)

Pneumatic Nail Gun

5mm Underlayment in 4' x 8' sheets

18 Gauge Nails

Paint & Roller or Sprayer

Corner Trim Edging, optional

A Nickel or Quarter Coin
(For spacing the gap)

Do your math. This shiplap method uses cut down 4' x 8' sheets of plywood. So the longest solid (uncut) plank you can make with this method is 8 feet in length. That means if your wall is 12' in length, you're going to need to stagger your boards (you could do 8 ft x 4 ft for example, see my drawing) For our walls in our shared girls' bedroom, the length of the accent wall we did was 13 feet long so we were able to do one solid plank of 8' and then the other one had to be cut down to 5' (which means there was some 3' scrap pieces left over.) That's the hardest part, just figure out how many sheets you'll need BEFORE heading to your hardware store. 


Now that you're back home, lay each sheet out on a work table and either use a paint sprayer (I own this one) or a paint roller to apply 2 coats of white paint. Make sure you let the first coat dry fully. We use a paint & primer in one. 

 After the 2 coats of paint have dried, set your table saw guide to 6". You will need two people for this part, one to push the plywood and another person to pull and guide it evenly. Run your sheet of plywood along the table saw into 6" strips. Make sure you are cutting parallel to the the longer 8 foot side. When you're done, you should have approximately 8 strips per sheet of plywood. Repeat with each sheet for as much as you need. 

Now that you have a pile of 6 inch wide & 8 feet long white strips, you'll start to attach to the wall. This will also require two people - one person will hold it to the wall while the other person uses the nail gun to attach it. We recommend starting at the top and working your way down. 

Now that you did your first layer, take a nickel coin and use that as your guide to space between your boards. As I mentioned before, real shiplap is tongue & groove and has some space between each board. The nickel will help achieve this same look. While my husband nailed on one end, I'd stick the nickel in on the other end to make sure everything was aligned. 

You've come across your first outlet. No biggie! You will just need to draw or trace an outline of where the outlet is and use a jigsaw to cut out the area in your plank so remove the outlet cover and draw an outline of the outlet shape. You'll want to make sure you cut an area large enough to go over the outlet, but not so large that it shows when you put the cover back on.

You've completed your accent wall! Maybe your corners look weird or you feel like it needs a finishing touch, so depending on your particular project you can pick up some quarter round or any molding/trim of your choice, paint it white and then attach! This came in super handy when the Mr. made a little too short of a cut on one plank. It was off by a tiny bit but enough for me to see a small gap in the wall and then once we put the corner trim on, it helped a ton.

Here's a view of the entire wall in the room once it was completed. 

It may sound more complicated than it really is - honestly we shiplap areas sometimes because it's easier than painting, ha!  Let me know if you have any questions! And as always, feel free to connect with me on Instagram where I often hang out.