DIY Vertical Faux Shiplap

This tutorial explains exactly how to install a budget-friendly, vertical faux shiplap and it even has an incredible, free project calculator that will make this project 100x easier. If you hate math, this is the tutorial for you.

The vertical faux shiplap in our bathroom is the boldest color in our whole home and we love it! This is our kids’ bathroom, so we wanted it to have some personality. It’s a tiny space and it seemed like the perfect place to do something totally different from the rest of the house. We were inspired by this Emily Henderson design, but since we already had one blue wooden wall in our home, we knew we wanted to take it in a different direction.

This gorgeous green is “Backwoods” by Benjamin Moore, and we had it color matched at Home Depot. It draws your eye away from the travertine floors while still complementing the warmer tones in the tile. Although, painting or replacing that tile is still on our to-do list.


Warning: There’s a decent amount of algebra involved in this project, so we HIGHLY recommend downloading our free project calculators!

We’ve read a lot of DIY tutorials, and while they’re helpful for understanding how the authors did a project, they don’t always help you recreate it in your own home. We want to do things differently! Converting our measurements to work in your space is time-consuming and requires more math than anyone wants to do. So, we’re making it easy on you! Recreate this exact vertical shiplap wall treatment in your own home, without having to do the math!

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Download the calculators
  2. Measure your wall
  3. Enter those measurements into the calculator

That’s it! The calculator will tell you:

  1. How tall your boards should be
  2. How many boards you’ll need
  3. How many sheets of plywood you need

PLUS, we know mistakes happen, so we added in a little cushion. Don’t sweat it if you cut a board too short or run over a plank with your car (guilty!), we’ve gotcha covered. If you’re ready for a math-free project, just tell us where to send the calculators.

This post may contain affiliate links. When you buy something through our links, we’re paid a small commission at no additional cost to you. These commissions help us continue to provide free content to you, so thanks for shopping through our links! And of course, we only share products that are truly awesome.

DIY Faux Shiplap Tutorial

Supplies needed:

Step 1: Measure your wall

Measure the height of your wall and multiply that height by ⅔. This is the height of your wall treatment, including the 1″ x 2″ and 1″ x 4″ trim boards. To get the height of your faux shiplap planks, subtract 4.25″ (3.5″ for the 1″ x 4″ and .75″ for the 1″ x 2″). Use this height to determine how many planks you can get out of each sheet of the underlayment. Our planks were 6″ wide. Don’t forget to account for the width of your wall(s) when determining how many trim boards and sheets of underlayment you need. (Reminder: you could skip this step and just use our calculator instead…)

Step 2: Make your faux shiplap


If you want a full tutorial, check it out here. For the cliff notes version use a table saw (or a circular saw and this jig) to cut the underlayment into 6-inch planks. Most home improvement stores will also do this for you for a small fee. Do not cut the faux shiplap to height yet. Sand the edges of the planks with 150 grit sandpaper. Wipe the planks clean and use a paint sprayer or roller to apply primer to all of the planks. 

Step 3: Install vertical shiplap boards


Project a level line at the shiplap board height you calculated in step 1. If you don’t have a laser level, use a tape measure, level, and pencil to draw a level line across your wall. Walls, floors, and baseboards are rarely level, so projecting or drawing this line ensures that your vertical shiplap doesn’t slope up or down across the wall. Starting at one edge of the wall, measure the distance between your baseboard and the line. Cut a shiplap plank to that size, lightly sanding any rough edges. Place your level flush with the longer side of the plank to ensure it is straight. Shoot nails into the 4 corners and down the length of the plank. 


For the subsequent planks of faux shiplap, repeat the steps of measuring, cutting, and sanding. Place your spacers (we used pennies) in the crack between the boards and push the boards together to hold the spacers in place. Shoot nails into the corners and down the length of the board.

Step 4: Install trim boards


Measure the width of your wall and cut the 1″ x 4″ and 1″ x 2″ to that length. If your wall treatment continues around a corner, cut 45-degree angles into the ends of your boards to create mitered corners.

Run your stud finder above the vertical shiplap and mark the studs. Place your 1″ x 4″ above the shiplap. Use your level to make sure the 1″ x 4″ is level. Nail several 1 1/4″ nails into each stud. Place a few nails in between each stud for good measure.

Next, place the 1″ x 2″ board on top of the 1″ x 4″, so the 1-inch side is flush against the wall, creating a small shelf. Check that the board is level. Use the same nails to attach the 1″ x 2″ to the 1″ x 4″.

Step 5: Fill nail holes

Fill all of the nail holes. Make sure to overfill each hole, so it can be sanded flush. After the filler has dried. Use a 220 sandpaper to smooth out the holes.

Step 6: Caulk the seams

Caulk where the 1″ x 2″ meets the wall, where the 1″ x 4″ and 1″ x 2″ meet, and where the faux shiplap meets the 1″ x 4″. In our bathroom, we also caulked where the wood met the shower surround, the sink/backsplash/vanity, and where the shiplap met the door frame. Use a wet finger to smooth out the beads of caulk (baby wipes are my secret weapon for caulking!). Use a butter knife to remove caulk from the shiplap seams. 

Step 7: Paint

Use a paint sprayer or brush and roller to paint your faux vertical shiplap. Our space was small and cramped, so we opted to use the brush and roller instead of our sprayer. It took 2 coats to get full coverage. 


If you have any questions, scroll down to read our FAQ. If you’re ready to get started, tag us in your photos on Facebook and Instagram (@thebuildits) so we can see you install your faux vertical shiplap!

faux shiplap


Can shiplap be installed vertically?

Absolutely! The vertical orientation helps to modernize the wall treatment. It’s also easier to install than horizontal shiplap because you aren’t worried about staggering any seams.

How do you make shiplap?

If you’re not wanting to use shiplap or tongue and groove boards, you have several other options. For this vertical shiplap installation, we used underlayment that we cut into planks, which is the same method we used in our master bathroom. This post has a detailed tutorial on how we made the planks for ¼ the price of pine shiplap.

What can I use as a spacer for shiplap?

If you’re using faux shiplap like us, you’ll need something to create the gap in between the boards as you nail them in. You can use coins, pieces of wood, tile spacers, etc. For this bathroom, we used pennies. We’d place one on the top, middle, and bottom of the seam and press against those while nailing in the planks.

Should you paint shiplap before installing?

You can paint the shiplap before installing them. If you’re going for a rustic look and want to leave the nail holes unfilled, you won’t have to do any touch-up painting. If you’ll be filling, sanding, and painting all the nail holes, it may be easier to wait until that finish work is done. Regardless of when you paint the planks, you should always paint your walls before installing the planks. The gaps you create with your spacer will show the color of your walls, and you want that to be the same color as the planks. 

How do you nail shiplap on walls?

We used our 18 gauge nail gun. Our planks were ¼” thick, so we used ¾ inch nails. We placed nails in all 4 corners and down both edges of the board. Once you have it nailed to the wall, push down the length of the board to make sure it’s secure. If any area moves, just add a few more nails. Some people will use liquid nails on the back of each board, but that makes the project fairly permanent. If you want to remove the boards after using liquid nails, you’ll have to patch if not replace the drywall. With only nails, the boards can be pried off and the only remedial work is to fill some nail holes. 

How much does shiplap cost?

Our DIY faux shiplap costs about $0.45/sq ft. If you’re using tongue and groove planks, pine boards cost about $1.95/sq ft, and MDF costs around $1.88/sq ft. In addition to the lumber, you’ll need nails, caulk, wood filler, and sandpaper which total about $25. Your paint costs will vary depending on the brand, but our Behr paint cost $28/gallon.

vertical shiplap

Leave a Comment