Workshop Series – how to board and batten a feature wall

Welcome to the Workshop Series brought to you by

Funky Junk Interiors and Mustard Seed Creations!

Today Miss Mustard Seed is going to start her series on painting furniture the professional way. There will be several steps to this one so be sure to check it out to keep up.

Today on Funky Junk, you’re going to get a lesson on…

~ How to Board and Batten

a Feature Wall ~

my kitchen back splash board and batten treatment

Have you tried the infamous board and batten yet in your own home?

It’s such a simple way to add major character to a plain wall. It’s easy, cheap, and anyone can do it, guaranteed! Or shall I say, if you do it the Funky Junk way. And you KNOW I’ve invented my own twist to it, yes? 🙂

When I did the board and batten treatment on my bedroom wall, I picked up many tips I’d like to share with you to make your attempt all that easier. Note: I did this by myself with absolutely no help or advice. If I can do it, so can you!

feature wall

full wrap from It’s The Little Things

1. Feature wall or full wrap?

The look I chose was a feature wall as opposed to wrapping around an entire room. I chose this method so I could further enhance the new headboard that was going up in my bedroom. An entire wrap gives a totally different feeling so just know ahead of time what you desire first before starting.

Feature wall – boards look best going right to the ceiling

Full wrap around the room – boards look best going up 3/4 to allow some wall colour to peek over top.

2. Shallow boards are easy to work with.

The boards I personally chose were random scraps that happened to be pretty thin. So I did no special treatment where they hit the baseboard. But if they were deeper, I would have cut a 45 degree angle where they meet the base molding. If you want to cheat, go thin!

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.

4. Lay them out.

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 goofy things like plugs and wall switches if you can. This is the beauty of the FJI way. 🙂

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. It’s just that easy and painless and so very 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 protection!  Good ones will set you back around $45 but they were worth every penny. Hearing protection is not all alike.

6. Attach your boards to the wall.

Because I chose a fun random pattern with different board widths (who says they have to be all the same?!?) , 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. I’ve done this wall treatment prepainting the wall and boards prior to install but for those of you that use silicone in the joins, you’ll want to paint over that anyway. Not prepainting didn’t slow me down very much except for the hassle of cutting in. But only doing one wall, it wasn’t a big deal.

b) If you can, measure your wood slats wider than the paint roller. Makes painting a whole lot easier!

c) Level it.

Each board got the level treatment so my lines didn’t go wonky on me.

d) Install

The pros would use a nail gun at this point. 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: Make sure you use the right nails.

Finishing nails have a very small head so you can countersink them easily.

Tip 2: Tap a finishing nail in the CENTER of the board to start with. This will enable you to slightly rotate the board either way to straighten it later. Worked like a charm!

Tip 3: Countersink those nails.

Place the countersink tool over the nail head and tap it once or twice with a hammer. The finishing nails have a tiny little groove in the middle to allow a countersink tool to stay in place.

Tip 4: Follow countersunk nails with a wood spackle or wood putty, NOT silicone.

The putty dries hard enough to sand and silicone stays rubbery.  You want to sand. A window frame installer saw me use silicone 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.

7. Paint it

a) Silicone first?

 Silicone 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. That goop is terrible to try and remove later. Just know, you may see slight spaces here and there between the boards and wall. 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 silicone.

(Want a video and tute on how to silicone? Just say the word)

b) Eggshell or semi gloss?

A true board and batten would be slightly glossy as moldings generally are. HOWEVER!!! I do not recommend this. Bear in mind, you are using the drywall as your pretend board and drywall is not as smooth as a board, so IMO it’s much better to camouflage that aspect. Use a high quality eggshell instead. You won’t be sorry.

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. That’s alot of impact.

First Timer?

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 if 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 fun rather than a chore. You shall see. 🙂 

Wish to go for the gusto and want a full wrap? The best tutorial I’ve ever found is at It’s the Little Things That Make a House A Home.

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!

Donna – “Miss Mustard Seed, what’s your take on board and batten?”

So, did this tutorial give you the confidence to give it a whirl? As soon as I scrounge up abit more wood, I have plans to do my fireplace wall too. And I’ll be sure to bring you along when I do. 🙂

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