DIY Shiplap Wall Tutorial

Shiplap walls are a hot trend right now! We’re going to show you how to make your own shiplap wall in your own home! 

Shiplap Wall

How to make a shiplap wall

To shiplap a wall, you need a few basic tools and basic woodworking knowledge. This is a very beginner “woodworking” project but you need to be comfortable using a saw to make your cuts. We have done several shiplap walls and have fine tuned our method for building a shiplap wall.

Shiplap Walls

Supplies to make a shiplap wall

  • 1/2″ MDF – We have Home Depot cut down a 4×8′ sheet of MDF into 8″ strips.

TIP: If you order and pay for the sheet of MDF online, some Home Depot stores will cut your strips for you before you go and pick it up. This makes your project SO much easier!

  • Miter Saw or Circular Saw
  • Jigsaw (optional) *for cutting around outlets or light switches
  • Nailer (this one is our favorite and we HIGHLY recommend it!) You can use a hammer and nails if you don’t have or don’t want to buy a nailer. It is a bit more tedious and time consuming without one.)
  • 1.5″ brad nails (if using nailer)
  • Tape Measure
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Level
  • Paintable caulk or wood filler
  • Primer (optional)
  • Paint

DIY Shiplap Wall

Shiplap Wall Tutorial – Step by Step

  1. Cut your MDF into 8″ strips – you can do other widths but we love the look of the 8″. Most home improvement stores will cut the strips for you. Some charge a small fee but in full disclosure, we’ve never been charged the fee. Be nice to your lumber department employees and they’ll take care of you!
  2. Remove any outlet covers with a small flat head screwdriver (or a butter knife! haha!)
  3. Starting at the bottom on one corner, start nailing your first row of shiplap to the wall. Make sure your first row is completely level before nailing. NOT all floors and baseboards are level. There’s a good chance it may not be so double check. If there are any slight gaps, you can fill with caulking later. Again, make sure your first row on your shiplap wall is level. We always nail into the studs first (you can use a stud finder for this step if you don’t know where your studs are) then we always use extra nails into the drywall/sheetrock for extra support. Starting at the bottom allows your next rows to sit on the bottom for support while you nail them in.
  4. When you get close to the adjacent wall, cut your MDF strip to length with a miter saw or a circular saw. Nail to the wall.
  5. Next, use your popsicles sticks as spacers and nail on the next row.
  6. Repeat all the way up the wall, using a jigsaw to cut around any outlets or light switches.

Shiplap Wall Video Tutorial

To see our shiplap wall projects, check out:

How to shiplap a wall the easy way! - www.classyclutter.net


  • Reply
    Ei Con
    March 8, 2018 at 6:01 am

    Half inch mdf is pretty heavy. Could you use 3/8” instead?

  • Reply
    March 29, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    How come you use MDF instead of 1/4″ plywood? Is there a distinct advantage? Also, popsicle sticks instead of nickels as spacers? Is that better? I’ve done a couple of shiplap walls but am curious about these differences.

    • Reply
      Mallory & Savannah
      April 17, 2018 at 11:15 am

      Hey Holly! Both of those would work just fine. We wanted MDF because its super smooth compared to most plywood. The smoother plywood sheets seem to be more expensive and our client requested MDF. Nickels and Popsicle sticks are about the same but we never have enough nickels around. 🙂

  • Reply
    Gabby Henderson
    May 7, 2018 at 9:22 am

    What color paint did you use? Would you recommend this white paint for any project/walls in your home?

  • Reply
    Lauren Stroble
    October 12, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    What length do you cut the MDF?

  • Reply
    Katherine Barnes
    February 3, 2019 at 9:40 am

    You cut the strips in 8 foot strips, correct?

  • Reply
    Sandra Watts
    February 6, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    Nicely done. Looks lovely.

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