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An 11-Step Process for DIY Shiplap

Shiplap is a popular design trend that can be placed horizontally on walls or vertically to give your room a taller appearance.  One of the many reasons shiplap is so popular is that it is a very accessible design technique for Do-It-Yourselfers.  But what do you need to pull off this look?  Most items can be found at the Big Box Retailers, but we recommend you start at your local lumber yard retail center.

Tools and Materials:

  • measuring tape
  • stud finder
  • large level
  • nail gun (or go old school and sling a hammer)
  • chalk
  • eastern white pine with the level of character that you desire (check out these lumber grade variations from the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association on YouTube)


  1. Prepare the wall by removing any nails, and filling any gaps.  Also remove any crown molding, baseboards, etc.
  2. Next, add a fresh coat of pain on your wall, since Shiplap has a gap between boards, this give you more control over the end appearance.
  3. Measure the wall to know how much material you will need to purchase.  Divide the height (if installing horizontal shiplap) of the wall by the width of the shiplap boards. Place any boards you’ll have to cut horizontally at the bottom of the wall.
  4. Using the stud finder, mark the vertical studs that you will hang the new boards from using chalk.
  5. Using the long level, mark guidelines for your horizontal shiplap boards
  6. Start attaching shiplap from the bottom of the wall up.
  7. Now set the “gap” between your board using nickels (hence the term “nickel gap”) for an authentic gap between each board.  Space them about every foot or so before you lay your next board.
  8. Install your next course on top of the nickels.
  9. Stager the cuts on your boards as you move up to create a more uniform look.
  10. Finish with your desired paint, stain or oil.
  11. Send us pictures!



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