How to Make a Budget Shiplap Wall with Plywood

You know those home projects that you imagine you’ll complete a few weeks after you move in.. Then months pass by and they are still left unfinished? I have a few more of these projects then I’d like to admit!

I’d had plans to put up a faux shiplap wall and paint it ever since I first saw the project on Pinterest. I kept putting it off, but I finally got it finished! This cheap shiplap wall is budget friendly and I think it looks pretty darn great.


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Prepping the Plywood Shiplap

  1. Measure your wall before you head to pick up your plywood. I needed 110 square feet. The plywood was 8ft by 4ft, so I needed 4 sheets. The boards were $22 a piece, so my total was around $110.
  2. Cut the plywood into 6″ strips. I had them cut it for me at Home Depot, so that saved a lot of work.
  3. Sand the edges and surface of the plywood. Most of my pieces were already smooth, but a few needed some sanding.

Once your boards are sanded, its time to get started on the wall!

When to Paint the Plywood?

Most of the tutorials I’ve seen recommend painting the wall white before you put up the faux shiplap. Otherwise the original wall color will show through the gaps.

I really didn’t want to do the same job twice, so instead I used a paint sprayer to spray the boards after they were put up. The spray reaches the gap between the boards – so you only have to paint once.

Putting up the Boards

First, I found the walls studs. I made a line marking all the way down the wall on the stud so I’d know where to nail the boards.

If your wall is longer than 8 feet, you will want to stagger the boards. Luckily my wall was just about 8 feet, so I was able to apply the boards full length without any cutting.

Start nailing the boards to the wall. Start at the ceiling, so if the wall isn’t level you can hide the gap with your baseboard.

In between each board, use a penny or a spacer to make a small gap. Continue nailing the boards to the wall until the wall is covered.


After the plywood is up, tape off the surrounding areas to prevent overspray.

Start by laying down something heavy on the floors like a drop cloth or sheet. Then use masking film to tape off surrounding walls, trim or anything else you don’t want to get paint on.

Taping off was the most time consuming part. If you pre-paint the boards and the wall you can avoid this step.

However, you’ll still have nails holes to fill and need to paint the wall before hand. That’s another reason I chose to use a sprayer and get it all done in one step.

Painting with the Paint Sprayer

I used the Flexio 5000 paint sprayer. Be sure to read the manual for the sprayer you are using, and do a few practice sprays!

Spray in a long steady motion – moving with the sprayer instead of flicking your wrist.

Keep the paint sprayer about 6-8 inches away from the wall. Start moving the sprayer before pulling the trigger, and then continue the motion after you’ve released it.

If you stop painting for a few minutes, paint may accumulate on the nozzle. Wipe clean with a paper towel before you start spraying again.

Finishing Touches

I added trim to the sides and a piece of quarter round up top.

Fill in any nail holes and touch up with paint.

Here’s the wall all finished!

Isn’t that better than a boring old wall?

Pin this for later!

I’ll see you next project,