DIY Plank Wall {Project One in the Boys’ Bedroom}

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Today I can’t wait to share the first big project that we completed for our Boys’ Bedroom - a DIY Plank Wall.  This project was actually fairly easy to do and I absolutely love the texture and interest that the plank wall adds to the room.  We toyed around with what type of paneling we wanted to add to their room and I am thrilled that we went ahead with a DIY plank wall – the horizontal planks add so much interest and are the perfect backdrop to the boy’s twin beds.

DIY Plank Wall tutorial at the happy housie

I read a few great tutorials on how to pull of a DIY plank wall before we began this project, in particular these ones by  ShaynaAllison,  Danielle, and Taryn, and Shelley.  After reading through the different techniques and suggestions and wrapping my head around the process I managed to rope my Dad into helping me with this project while my husband was out of town on business.  (Thanks Dad!!).

All in all, doing a DIY plank wall was a pretty straight forward process, so if you are thinking of doing it don’t let fear hold ya back.

Plus, you might get to use a nail gun and that is crazy fun.

DIY Plank Wall How To tutorial at The Happy Housie

 

Materials for a DIY Plank Wall:

– MDF planks (6″ wide by 8′ lengths which we cut down to size)
– compound mitre saw to cut the planks to length
– nail gun and air compressor (you could also use a hammer and nails)
– measuring tape, pencil, and stud finder
– table saw (used to rip down the trim board for the gap between the first row of planks and the ceiling)
– level
– filler, primer, and paint

To begin, I drew a little graph using the dimensions of my wall first in order to figure out how many 6″ strips I would need to cover the wall with planks.

I kind of have a thing for drawing little graphs.

Next I visited to my local hardware store and buying three sheets of 1/4 inch MDF and having them cut it into 6″ strips.  I had to pay for the cuts but it was well worth it because it saved my Dad having to rip it all down using his table saw.  I have to admit that the guys at the hardware store weren’t totally thrilled with my request…

To prep the MDF we lightly sanded the edges where the strips had been cut just to make sure they were smooth.

 

I had primed and painted the wall before starting so that none of the original grey paint color would show through between the gaps. We first used a stud finder (as well as a nail and hammer) to find the location of the studs along the wall and marked these to ensure that we nailed directly into the studs.

DIY Plank Wall Finding Studs at the happy housie

We started at the top of the wall and used a level to ensure that the first board was completely level.  Apparently the ceiling wasn’t level so there was a gap between the ceiling and the first board that was wider in some spots along the wall.  I will show you how we ‘solved’ that issue down below.  Once we got going, the process went really quickly.  We staggered the joints so that in one row there would be a long/short and then next row would be short/long. We simply attached them with the nail gun directly into the studs.  If you don’t have access to a nail gun you could definitely just use a hammer and small nails – the gun just speeds up the process.

DIY Plank Wall using the nail gun at the happy housie

We used pennies between the boards as we nailed up the next one in order to keep the gaps the same all the way along.

nail

DIY Plank Wall penny as a spacer at the happy housie

Like I mentioned above, once the wall was finished, we needed to do something to disguise the gap between the top level board and the ceiling.  My Dad ripped down a couple of pieces of the MDF into about a 1.5 inch strip to act as a trim piece that would cover the gap.  Below you can see the way it looks once we nailed it into place between the top row of planks and the ceiling.

trim board

You can also see that I filled all the nail holes with polyfil and then sanded it smooth once dry.  I covered it all with a coat of primer followed by three coats of white paint (Cloud White by Benjamin Moore).  In fact, the whole room got three coats of white paint while I was at it.  Painting with white is awesome- it was the same color as the trim so I didn’t have to worry about my usual spill-overs of paint and didn’t have to pre-tape anything.

I’m pretty thrilled about how the whole thing came out…as well as being thrilled with the fact that I avoiding nailing any part of my body or clothing to the wall during my first real nail gun experience.  I’d call that a great success.

DIY Plank Wall with tutorial at the happy housie

 Well, what do you think?  Do you see a DIY plank wall in your future? Do you like planked walls? Or more traditional types of paneling?  Have you used many power tools yourself?  A nail gun?  I must admit that it was pretty addicting.  So much more power then my usual glue gun.  And that little ‘chu-chu’ noise it makes satisfies some kind of primal power tool urge.

Thanks for reading. And remember my housie friends, HOME isn’t built in a day. Enjoy the journey!

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Comments

  1. Megan says

    I love the plank wall! I have one question for you before I install one at my house. Did you paint the sides of the mdf planks? I’m just curious if it shows through like an existing color on the walls might. Thanks in advance!

    • Krista Aasen says

      Hi Megan! I didn’t paint the edges of the planks – I did paint the wall behind…but not the edges. I guess I thought that paint would seep through slightly when I painted the faces of the planks (once they were up) and that if there is any darkness showing between the strips of planking that it would add extra dimension. That being said, if you want to make sure it looks really white on the edges as well then it would probably be a good idea to paint them first. Good luck with your project!

    • tina says

      hi i’m not the greatest with computers but I just wanted to let you know how great all your ideas are and very simple instructions to follow. I look forward to your updates everyday. Continued success in all you do. Tina

  2. says

    Your wall turned out fantastic! I’ve wanted to do a plank wall for a long time, but have so many other projects. Maybe one day. Have a great week! ~Deborah

  3. says

    What a fun way to add a little bit of texture and fun to your boys’ room! This would also make a great wall for photographing pictures. Thanks for sharing on the weekend re-Treat link party!

    Britni @ Play. Party. Pin.

  4. justagirlabby says

    Ooh I would love to do this to the back wall in our bedroom! Thanks for the helpful tips, Krista! Pinning!

    ~Abby =)

  5. says

    Oh, I love how that turned out! It gives the wall so much interest. I’ve got to remember the penny trick if I ever try a planked wall, great tip! And I love a nail gun! We have had one for years and if I have to hammer more than 5 nails, I whip that baby out. ha! :)

    • Krista Aasen says

      Thanks Mindi- I love how it turned out! It is really smooth- we sanded the edges of the pieces as well to make sure they were smooth. I should add that to my tutorial- thanks for the reminder!! (and thanks for the visit – hope you are having a great week!)

    • Krista Aasen says

      Thanks Alexis- just an idea I borrowed from some of those wonderful tutorials I read! I love how it turned out too- thanks for popping in!

    • Krista Aasen says

      Hi Kathleen! Sorry, I should have put that in the post and will try to add it later today. The three MDF sheets were $60 total ($20 each) plus they charged me $21 for all the cuts ($1 per cut) plus taxes. I had the primer already and I bought white paint that I used to paint the entire room with (so whatever the cost of paint that you choose). We also had access to the nail gun through my father-in-law and he gave us the nails but I think they are only a few dollars. If you live near larger hardware stores like Lowes or Home Depot they may cut your wood for less – I am not sure what they charge. And if you are in the US the MDF sheets are likely less expensive as well! Hope that helps.

    • Krista Aasen says

      Thanks Mandy- it does suit the rest of the house I think. I would love to add some more of it somewhere…. the wheels are turning:) Thanks for coming by, friend!

  6. says

    So gorgeous! You make it seem so easy, Krista!
    And I love that you had the guys cut the boards for you. It’s making me consider a plank wall myself!

    • Krista Aasen says

      Haha Tara- the first guy I talked to about it at the hardware store basically tried to write me off when I told him how many cuts I wanted – but thankfully I was determined enough to seek out another kind hardworking soul who didn’t mind doing 21 cuts for me (lol). It was pretty easy as far as paneling projects go!

    • Krista Aasen says

      Thanks Amy- I borrowed that trick from some of the great tutorials I linked to- and I borrowed the pennies from my son!

    • Krista Aasen says

      Thanks Laurie! I love how it turned out and it was pretty easy – I linked to some of the great tutorials I found and read as well. It was helpful to read several!! Good luck with your project:)

    • Krista Aasen says

      Hi Tash! That is a great idea- we did a similar thing in our laundry room but we used the tongue and groove planks in there. It was fun to try this different look with the MDF planks with the gap. Thanks so much for popping by!!

    • Krista Aasen says

      Thank you Meredith! I am thrilled with how it came out- nice to be able to read so many great tutorials ahead of time so that we knew what we were doing:) Thanks so much for stopping by!

  7. says

    It looks great. I love this look, but it seems like so much work!
    I wonder if a cheat of painting really thin stripes on the wall to give the illusion of the break between the planks would work? Although trying to do that might wind up being just as much work as installing the planks!

    • Krista Aasen says

      Hi Susan! I wonder if that might work? It would be a lot of taping though- unless you are talented enough to freehand it. If the hardware store will cut the MDF down and if you have a saw to cut it at home, the whole process doesn’t take too long once you get going on it – though it is a bit more of a commitment then paint. Since we just used the small nails it won’t be too much to repair the walls if we remove it one day (not like glue…). Thanks for stopping by!

    • Krista Aasen says

      Thanks Shauna- I agree – paneling always adds so much interest and is so bright and fresh in white. I am loving the white paint the most- think I may have to go white somewhere else around here:) Thanks for popping in!

    • Krista Aasen says

      I agree Katie- I have been hankering after these for a while and am so glad I went for it! Thanks for popping by:)

    • Krista Aasen says

      Thank you:) It really was a pretty easy project- much less finicky then some of the paneling that we have done. It really only took a couple of hours once we got going – and I am thrilled with how it came out. Thanks so much for your visit Kimberly!

  8. Diana says

    Krista this looks great with the bed and makes it stand out. It also adds texture to the wall love it. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

    • Krista Aasen says

      Thanks so much Diana!! I am really excited to share all the projects we have been working on – it is starting to come together now! Hope you’re having a great week:)

    • Krista Aasen says

      Hi Julie! I have been hankering to try it for a while and am so glad I went for it- my husband was skeptical but I think it I growing on him. I would actually love to try it somewhere around here too… Thanks for your visit!

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