Shiplap for Rookies

Breaking News: My shiplap dreams have come true! I recently talked about how this new round mirror had me completely itching to make a few more updates in our bathroom. (Enter my shiplap dreams).

Shiplap Plans

In a perfect world, I would shiplap the entire bathroom, but there were a few roadblocks and a few uncertainties that urged me to shiplap halfway up the wall instead. #babysteps

I used painter’s tape to visualize the “look” and thought some shiplap was better than none, so I proceeded with the project and haven’t looked back since.

A few disclaimers:

  1. I did this entire shiplap project for around $70. Casey let me borrow leftover white paint and I had all of the tools, so all I had to pay for was the wood. And to be honest, I could have done it for less if I figured out preciously how much wood I needed before I started. #oops
  2. I did all of the shiplap while Matt was out-of-town and Casey was at work, proving that if I can do it ALONE, I know you can do it too!
  3. I did recruit my mom to help on Day 2 because I needed an extra set of hands to hold the shiplap while I nailed it in the wall. <– Moms are the best, aren’t they?!  Always willing to help.
  4. I would definitely do this project again on a larger scale and think shiplapping a whole bedroom would be even easier than a bathroom because there are less detailed cuts and less tiny spaces to work (i.e. behind the toilet)

Now, onto the rookie level DIY shiplap tutorial…


  • 2 pieces of Plywood cut down (aka “ripped”) to 5 1/2 wide strips
  • Corner wood accent piece to hide seams
  • Finishing piece of wood to add to the top seam of the shiplap (I forgot what I used, but it’s a 2″ square piece that I had cut to size in the lumber department)
  • Wood Glue + Caulk Gun
  • Caulk
  • Nail Gun (my favorite one!)
  • Miter Saw (love this one)
  • Primer
  • White Paint
  • Roller + Paint Brush
  • 50 cents in Nickels (to act as spacers)

Step 1: Get plywood cut down (free at Lowe’s!)

Shiplap can be a very cost-effective project because plywood is so darn reasonable! I used maple plywood and had two sheets cut down (in store… for free!) to 5 1/2″ strips. You can get your strips cut down (they called it ripped) to whatever size you want. I bought two sheets and had quite a bit leftover. For $24 per board, this stuff is a steal!

Rookie Tip: The plywood I bought is very light and flimsy and did do a bit of chipping when I cut it down, so if you want wood that’s a bit more sturdy, consider buying plywood that’s thicker.

diy_shiplap_bathroom_tutorial-9Step 2: Cut the shiplap to size and label

You don’t HAVE to do this step next, but I didn’t want to paint ALL of my wood since I knew that a lot of it wouldn’t be used. To identify exactly what wood needed to be painted, I pre-cut the plywood to fit every area in the bathroom.

The day I tackled this project, Matt was out-of-town and Casey was at work, so I had no choice but to do it all by myself. I would hold the piece of wood approximately where it would end up going on the wall, then I marked the wood and headed to the garage to cut it down with a miter saw. (I was “in the zone” so much so that I forgot to take pics!!


Quick Tip

My BIGGEST piece of advice is to mark on the back of each piece of wood where it will eventually be hung. This piece was marked “2R”, which meant “R” for right of the vanity and 2 for second from the top. I marked every piece of wood so after I painted all of the pieces, I knew exactly where they should be hung on Day 2.

Step 3: Prime the walls and the boards

After the pieces of wood were cut and labeled, I primed the walls and the boards. I’m not sure if priming the wall behind the shiplap is totally necessary, but it will save you from having to get a tiny paint brush into the little cracks after it’s hung. The same goes for the sides of the boards. Priming the front and sides of each piece before it was hung really saved me tedious painting work later in the project.


Rookie Tip: When priming, don’t try to cover all of the wood with ONE coat… just a light layer of primer on the front and sides of the boards is perfect. I used a roller on both the wall and the boards to avoid brush strokes.

diy_shiplap_bathroom_tutorial-27Step 4: Hang the shiplap!

Since I already had all of the boards cut to size AND primed, all I had to do on day two was hang, caulk, and putty. The hanging of the boards took no time at all since they were all cut and ready to go.

diy_shiplap_bathroom_tutorial-21My mom graciously volunteered her afternoon to come over and help hang the boards because I needed an extra pair of hands to hold the boards (thanks mom!!). On this wall, we started by hanging the first board along the baseboard.

Secure the Boards

We secured the boards to the wall by squeezing liquid nails onto the back of the board and then nailed the it to the wall at every stud. Once the first board was up, we simply placed the nickels along the top of that board to create a consistent seam, and then nailed on the next board. We used that same method all the way up the wall.

Keeping the nickels in the seam as we nailed the next board was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Once the board was secure, we pulled those nickels out and used them on the next board.
diy_shiplap_bathroom_tutorial-31Once the boards were up, we used the same method to secure the top piece of finishing wood, which created a small “ledge” of sorts. Obviously this piece isn’t needed if you’re shiplapping all the way to the ceiling.  diy_shiplap_bathroom_tutorial-23

Step 5: More hanging

Now the other side of the bathroom was a bit of a different strategy, but unless I told someone about this tiny difference, you’d probably NEVER notice it. Because I didn’t want any obvious “cuts” around the vanity, we started hanging the wood pieces on the top of the wall and worked our way down.

Starting from the top and working our way down created a tiny piece of wood that we had to fill at the very bottom of the wall (which didn’t happen on the other wall). I didn’t mind the slight difference because that tiny piece of wood is behind the toilet and is barely noticeable.
diy_shiplap_bathroom_tutorial-25See how the top of the vanity has a whole piece above it and not a lot of random cuts? I think the tiny inconsistency between the two walls is worth the clean, consistent look around the vanity. diy_shiplap_bathroom_tutorial-24Even though the bottom piece was extra tiny, we used the same method to add it to the wall — nickel spacers, liquid nails, + nail gun. We didn’t anticipate this tiny space and that’s why the wood isn’t primed like the rest of the boards.
diy_shiplap_bathroom_tutorial-28This part is totally optional based on your preference, but I added a small finishing piece in the corner to hide the corner seams. I felt like this simple piece made the corner look more “finished” and dare I say… professional?! Ha!

Step 6: Caulk, Putty, Sand and Paint!

The next day, I caulked the top of the ledges and around the vanity. I puttied all of the nail holes and sanded down the wood. Since it’s plywood, I recommend giving ALL of it a good sanding before painting. This simple step made the wood a lot smoother and overall more consistent.
diy_white_shiplap_tutorial-6Last but NOT least, I painted the shiplap using Casey’s leftover “Ultra White” (Valspar) paint from her recent board and batten project.
diy_white_shiplap_tutorialI wasn’t careful about painting the top ledge of the shiplap because I’m obviously repainting the rest of the bathroom (once the bathroom fixture and outlets are changed).

I can’t believe how clean and BRIGHT this space looked once the shiplap had two coats of this white paint on it. I LOVE the changes and the top of the wall isn’t even painted yet.

Speaking of the top of the wall, I’m having such a hard time choosing the paint color. The dark vanity and yellowish/beige countertop (boo!) is making this color selection so dang hard.

diy_white_shiplap_tutorial-4Here are the options I have so far. Any preferences?! A lot of you weighed in on Instagram and your amazing suggestions have really helped me investigate lots of color options (thank you so much!!). Bottom line: finding the perfect “greige” is HARD!

Bathroom UPDATEshiplap_bathroom_reveal-15

We finished the bathroom and would love to show you around! Come get the full tour HERE!



  • This looks so amazing, and way to do it by yourself! You’re inspiring me to take on big projects by myself…once you break it down it really doesn’t seem that bad! For paint colors, I like the top and bottom colors. Can’t wait to see how the final project will turn out!

    • You’re so sweet, Gretchen! And I’m glad you think it looks attainable because it really was A LOT easier than I thought it would be. I did need an extra set of hands to hold the wood while I nailed it to the wall, but other than that, the project was one I didn’t mind doing by myself. And seeing how it looks now makes me motivated to shiplap EVERYTHING! haha jk…. kinda.

    • Bridget

      I would love to see a pic of the final product!! I’m trying to get this done in my bathroom, as well!! GREAT JOB!!!

    • Thanks Bridget! Here’s the post where we share the final “reveal” —>

    • Bridget

      BTW… love your name… you even spell it right!
      And Thank you!!!

    • I was thinking the same thing! 😉

  • H Buchanan

    Your project looks great! As for the paint, I like the 2nd from the top and the bottom one. I think I like the 2nd from the top a little more though!

  • shawnna griffin

    hey girl looks great! Great job!

  • Heather

    Looks awesome!!! I just put shiplap in my dining room this weekend and it is crazy how EASY it is!! The only headache (for me) was actually getting the wood ripped. I wanted 6″ and the store I went to said they can no longer rip that low….annoying! Since they didnt offer an alternative for sale, I had to convince them to rip the wood down.

    • Really?! I would be in trouble if they stop ripping the wood too!! I’m glad it worked out…. I’m sure it looks amazing!

  • I can’t believe you did it all by yourself (honorable mention to mom) – it looks great!

    • Your “honorable mention” made my day!! You’re so sweet, Elise!! Thank you and quite honestly, I can’t believe I did it by myself either! #babysteps

  • Samantha Clark

    I would probably recommend at least priming the back of the boards since they’re installed in a bathroom with a shower. I imagine the moisture could become trapped behind and cause swelling and/or mold.

    • OMG thank you for this tip!! Unfortunately I think it’s a bit late for my project, but thank you so much for sharing that tip for others tuning in (and for my future shiplap projects). Thank you, thank you, thank YOU!!

  • I think I’m liking the top two paint options with a beigey countertop–especially the 2nd one down. I love the cooler grays below but they might make the counter look more yellowish.

    The shiplap looks great–kudos!! You’re such a pro. 🙂
    XO, Jaclyn

    • You’re far too kind, Jaclyn! I don’t know if I would say “pro” but I’ll take it! haha It was fun and definitely a learning experience! And thanks so much for the paint tips, I am TOTALLY nervous about the counter looking yellow and will do ANYTHING to avoid that. And I agree with you, I love the bottom colors but think that may highlight the counter a bit too much. #TORN

  • Trang

    Great solo job Bridget!
    It is extremely hard to find the perfect ‘greige’. I recently went through this when Sherwin Williams was having their 40% off paint sale. Good luck!

    I’m surprised you are hiring an electrician to change out the outlet/receptacles to white. It’s an easy DIY (just make sure the power is turned completely off). I think this calls for a blog entry on your other sites: Zillow and hireahelper. 🙂

    • Aww, thanks Trang!! It’s funny because Casey told me the same thing about changing the outlet, but working with electrical freaks me out a bit. I just started another project where the outlet needs to be changed to white so I think you both have convinced me to DIY it. Stay tuned….. =)

  • WOW … I NEED to look into this color ASAP. It sounds like a color I would LOVE. Thanks for sharing!! =)

  • I love love love that you did this (mostly) on your own!! So impressed AND inspired to do more tool stuff on my own! (Although, as I type this my husband is using his jig to put together a headboard for me….soooo….). It looks great!

  • Kristen Ayotte

    Looks awesome, great job! Your willingness to tackle this on your own is inspiring!

  • Sarah Hubbell

    Looks so good!! Curious what you used to make cuts around the plumbing stuff behind the toilet?

    • Thanks lady! There was only one small pipe behind the toilet to work around. For that, I used a jig saw and cut a circle (the best I could) out of one of the pieces. It’s definitely not perfect but it’s hidden behind the toilet so I’m not too worried about it. Plus the caulking/painting helped hide any imperfection pretty well. #rookieprobs

    • LA

      I gotta ask HOW you got the piece of wood behind the toilet with the hole cut in it for the plumbing? Did you break it up into 2 pieces like a puzzle and put them together behind it?

    • We used a jigsaw and cut a half circle into two different boards. The seam was right there so by putting the two half circles together, it created a round hole around the pipe. Does that make sense?

  • Thanks Jami! The paint is matte finish.

  • Kelly

    What’s the width of your vanity? How big is your bathroom? We are literally using this design for our half bath in our home and we have gotten varying information regarding the mirror. Our vanity is 30 inches wide and the mirror has a 30 inch diameter, per So we weren’t sure if that would be overwhelming or not.

    • Aww, how awesome! My vanity is 37 inches wide. I don’t think the mirror would overpower your 30 inch vanity but I definitely understand the hesitation, especially since the mirror is a bit pricey. Have you been to HomeGoods lately? I’ve seen a lot of almost identical mirrors in all different sizes. Maybe one of those would allow you to test out the look before committing. Plus one of those options may end up saving you some money too! Good luck!!

  • Tabatha Strickland

    We are getting ready to list our home with a realtor, and I want to do this to both of my bathrooms first. Our master bathroom though has me concerned. When we shower, the walls sweat! (We like our showers HOT). Even with the window cracked (it faces the road, so we don’t want to open it much) and the fan on, the walls still get visibly wet.
    Do you have any issues like this at all? Do you think the wood may warp or mildew because of the humidity? I’d hate to leave new owners with that problem!

    • Congratulations Tabatha on the upcoming move! I am the same as you.. I LOVEEE a hot shower and also have sweaty walls but I’m happy to report we have never had an issue with having a shiplap in the bathroom. Hope that helps with your decision, good luck!