Welcome to the Workshop Series brought to you by
With a guest appearance by Karla of It’s the Little Things!
Today Miss Mustard Seed is going to start her new series on furniture painting, with the first installment on how to select the right piece before you even start. I so need this lesson myself as I tend to pick up ‘junk’, so see you there.
Today’s hot lesson on Funky Junk is…
photo courtesy of It’s the Little Things
~ How to Board and Batten
a Feature Wall ~
Have you tried the infamous board and batten wall treatment yet in your own home?
Board and batten is such a simple way to add major character to a plain wall. It’s easy, cheap, and anyone can do it, guaranteed! But I will add, it’s a little easier doing it the Funky Junk way. And you KNOW I’ve invented my own twist to it, yes?
The most common way to achieve the effect is to simply nail slats of wood directly on your drywall, to simulate a boarded effect with dimension. I have officially done it twice now. I love the effect so very much I can’t wait to install it elsewhere!
Since I self taught myself, I have a few tips to pass along to you should you feel like giving it a whirl.
~ Board and batten in 7 steps ~
What you’ll need:
finishing nails or nail gun
1. Decide: Feature wall or full wrap?
A feature wall vs. a full wrap are both beautiful effects! It’s wise to know the difference on how to install the two so you can make a good decision about your given space.
Feature wall - boards look best going right to the ceiling. This treatment makes a great impact focusing on one wall or area.
Full wrap – It’s The Little Things
Full wrap- boards look best going up 3/4 to allow some wall colour to peek over top. A lovely option if you have miles of drywall and wish to carry a continuous look throughout an entire room or more.
2. Choose your boards.
What kind? How thick?
The boards I personally chose were pine tongue and groove random scraps that happened to be pretty thin. So I did no special treatment where they hit the baseboard. But if they were thicker, I would have had to cut a 45 degree angle where they meet the base molding. If you want to cheat, go thin.
Mine ranged from 1.5″ to 3.5″ as I did a random pattern using scraps, however alot of what size to use is determined by how close you wish to place the boards together. I suggest pick up a few samples to get a feel. You can make virtually any size work as long as they’re spaced appropriately for the given space.
3. Decide on crown molding first.
For a feature wall, at this stage, you really want to decide if you desire crown molding or not. I didn’t have the budget to do that, so I simply went flush to the ceiling with the treatment. If you want crown molding, it must go on first.
even sizes and spacing
‘funky’ random sizes and spacing
(no funny cracks about my cheater wall painting, ya hear?!?)
First decide how you want your wall to look. I personally chose random boards with random spacing so it would be easier to install, plus to add something abit different. Work around plugs and wall switches if you can. This is the beauty of doing it the funky method.
5. Cut your boards to size.
If you are fortunate to own a compound miter saw but have never attempted to work with it, I highly encourage you to get lessons and use it! Cutting with this saw is like slicing butter with a knife. The cuts are so precise! I now officially have my saw set up like this permanently so I can quickly throw on a board, cut and off I go.
Tip 1: When making a cut, it’s important to see where the blade is cutting. You have to ensure you cut on the right side of the pencil mark if you are going for an exact number. The blades are thick and will mess with your precise measurements.
Tip 2: Be safe. Tie long hair back and get GOOD hearing and eye protection!
6. Attach your boards to the wall.
Because I chose a fun random pattern, I didn’t have to sweat over perfect spacing. However I still ensured I followed a few rules so they looked good.
a) Prepaint the wall first or not to prepaint?
Your choice. But I personally saved no steps prepainting the wall as I did in my kitchen, so when I did the bedroom wall, I didn’t prepaint. Also remember if you plan to silicone the edges, you have to paint over that anyway. I vote to not prepaint the wall myself.
b) If you can, measure the placements of your wood slats wider than the paint roller. Makes painting a whole lot easier! This was a total fluke and I was mere fragments of an inch just right! So it bears repeating here.
c) Level it.
Each board got the level treatment so my lines didn’t go wonky on me.
The pros would use a nail gun for install. Not having one, finishing nails worked just fine. You just have to be watchful that your wood doesn’t split on you. Sometimes predrilling a hole is safer, but I went for the gusto. I split only one, but it wasn’t anything a little wood filler couldn’t take care of.
Tip 1: Install a finishing nail in the CENTER of the board half way down the wall to start with. This will enable you to slightly rotate the board either way to straighten it later. Worked like a charm!
Tip 2: Make sure you use the right nails.
Finishing nails have a very small head so you can countersink them easily. After the nail is driven in the board, tap 1-2 times extra with a countersink tool to bury the level of the nail head for filler. The nail head has a slight indent that will keep the countersink tool in place.
Tip 3: Follow countersunk nails with a wood spackle or wood putty, NOT caulk.
The putty dries hard enough to sand and silicone stays rubbery. You want to sand. A window frame installer saw me use paintable caulk instead of wood putty and boy did I get a well deserved lecture. (I LOVE knowing the right way to do stuff!) I use this whipped variety called Shur Stik and apply it with a small putty knife or finger if just for tiny holes. It dries super fast and sands like a breeze.
Eggshell or semigloss? Read on!
7. Paint it
a) Paintable caulk first?
Caulk is that goop you slide against the board and wall so you can fill in any gaps. I personally didn’t use it on mine in case I changed my mind on this wall treatment. Caulk is quite a job trying to remover later. Just know, you may see slight spaces here and there between the boards and wall if you forego the caulking step. Mine were minimal and it has a more rustic cottage look if it isn’t perfect anyway. For a room with good lighting, or for a larger area, I’d do it right and caulk all the gaps.
(Want a video and tute on how to caulk? Just say the word)
b) Eggshell or semi gloss?
A true board and batten would be slightly glossy just as as moldings generally are. HOWEVER!!! I do not recommend this. You are using the drywall as your pretend board background and drywall is not as smooth as a board, so IMO it’s much better to camouflage that aspect. I suggest to use a high quality eggshell instead. The outcome is a very soft muted feel, rather than a bumpy sheen. The picture above is done in semi gloss and I couldn’t stand it. I changed it out to eggshell right after.
c) In your white / white paint, get 1 drop of black added.
This removes the white starkness out of the tone just a touch. Apparently for south facing walls, you don’t need to do this is what I’m told, so I’ll leave that one up to you. Ask your fav paint person. But I always mess with the white if going on a full wall to minimize the stark impact white can have.
If you’re going to try board and batten for the first time, I recommend start with a small area and just do a feature wall to get the feel of it. There’s alot of measuring if you wish to do it the standard way and you may be glad you only chose a feature wall to start with. Then again, do it my way (random boards and spacing), it becomes more fun and less chore. Ask me how I know.
A great beginner project would be my smaller scaleboard and batten backsplash tutorial HERE.
Wish to go for the gusto and want a full wrap?
Karla’s livingroom (I know… gasp!)
The best tutorial I’ve ever found is at
Karla’s How to Board and Batten
Karla and her hubby take you through all the steps required to do a large scale project. Look at all those perfectly spaced boards! Or are they? Read her article so you can learn a few of her cheat sheet methods as well.
Karla, thanks for the wonderful links! What do you think of my mini tutorial? Is there anything else you could add?
Karla ~ “Donna! I LOVE your tutorial!
I would just add, if people are going for the full wrap, not to be intimidated by the scope of the project! Putting the boards up and adding the top rail of molding really didn’t take that long (only about 5 hours – and that was for 2 good sized rooms, and we didn’t have any sort of “How To” to follow. We were flying by the seat of our pants for this one!). It was the multiple coats of paint and primer that was the real time consumer.
But if you’re looking for a way to add instant architecture to a space that is lacking character , board and batten is a fantastic way to do just that! We have no regret with our decision to wrap our entire kitchen and adjoining family room. To be honest, I’m still looking for another place in our home to add more board and batten! We like it that much!
Thanks so much for including me in a post from such a fantastic series. I am honored!”
Donna ~ “I’m honored to have you here Karla!
Karla created a brand new post for the very purpose of joining in the workshop series, so go and find out how she likes her board and batten after a year of living with it, plus other features they added. Check out the new ledge on the top rail. Wonderful!
Karla`s new post is HERE.
Donna – “So Miss Mustard Seed, what’s your take on board and batten?”
Miss Mustard Seed ~ “I think board and batten is one of the easiest ways to add some architectural detail to a room. I’ve never done it, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t wanted to. I love the treatment on your backsplash and it was the reason I became a follower of your blog in the first place. So, hopefully I’ll have a project of my own to share one of these days!”
Donna ~ “I didn’t know that! Cool. Glad I did the kitchen even more now. ”
I now have a little surprise for you.
~ Board and batten link up! ~
Have you done this treatment in your home? Please feel free to share your link with us so we can inspire others to give it a go! I’d love to see where you’ve placed it and your own tips and tricks.
The link will be active for new additions until the next workshop. Remember to come back and visit them.
Any other questions either Karla or I could answer for you? Are you inspired to give it a go? You can do it!