DIY Board and Batten

Now that we’ve been in our home for almost 9 months we’ve been able to figure out things that work well for us as well as things that need some improvement.  We originally thought our basement was a little small, but after getting the furniture and toys down there it is just perfect.  However, the back hallway and laundry room are a little smaller than they were in our old house.  We knew we would have to get creative with these spaces to make them work well for our family.

When we moved in there was a shelf with a clothes rod attached.  We loved being able to hang things to dry on it, but it blocked a lot of light and took up a lot of space:


I felt like there was a better way to use the space, so I began to search for ideas.  I really wanted a built-in with a bench but in the end I decided on a board and batten treatment with hooks.  I knew it would be a great place to hang coats and backpacks without taking up too much of the room.  I finally found a tutorial that I felt was easy enough for me to tackle.  My husband is handy with lots of things, but he doesn’t have the wide range of tools that I know some hubbies have.  The tutorial I used is great and had lots of information, but I thought I would share my process here.  I did things just a little differently!

First, I measured and measured and measured once more.  I decided that I wanted two horizontal rows, so I factored that into my measurements.  Once I had the total width (72.5 inches) I subtracted the width of the vertical boards (3″ x 5 boards= 15 inches), then divided the leftover measurements by 4 to figure out the spacing between the boards (14.375″) as shown below:


In the tutorial linked above the blogger went to Lowe’s and had them rip a board into 3″  pieces for the project.  So one Saturday night when we were at Lowe’s we went to do the same thing.  However, the employee told me that they couldn’t make that many cuts on one board (sad face!).  I put the wood back and started to thing of a back-up plan.


We ended up stopping by Menard’s on the way home to see if they could rip a sheet of plywood.  I ended up finding something better- wood that was already cut to the size I needed!  Plus it was on sale!  I grabbed what I needed- two 1/2″ x 4″ x 6′ pieces and seven 1/4″ x3″ x 4′ pieces.  It was even better than the wood at Lowe’s because it was the exact sizes I needed.  Whoot!!  The only downside is that is was nicer than plywood, so it was a little more expensive.  However I think the wood for this project cost less than $50 total.

Once I got home the first thing I did was take down the shelf.  It made the room feel so much bigger once that was gone.


Then I used tape to figure out where my boards would go.  I wanted the bottom set of boards to be 4′ high (which was perfect because that was the length of the boards I bought).  Once I was happy with the height I got to work.

IMG_5203  I started by placing the end 4′ boards.  I nailed the ones on the ends in first, making sure they were level.  The walls weren’t perfectly straight in the corner and sometimes there was a bit of a gap, but I knew I could fix this with caulk.  Once I had my two end pieces down I nailed in the bottom horizontal board, making sure it was level:


Once that was hung I used my handheld miter saw to cut 12″ boards for above the horizontal board. When they were cut I used painter’s tape to tape them into place while I checked to make sure they were level.  Then I nailed them in.



Then the project stopped for a while.  I taped up the 4″ boards under the bottom horizontal board but I couldn’t get the spacing right (even with the measurements).  I let it go for a few weeks.  Finally I worked up courage to put up that middle board on the bottom.


And once again the project sat.  When I put up the middle board I couldn’t get it flush to the wall on the bottom corner, so it would move if I tried to wiggle it.  Finally after staring at it for a couple of weeks I went ahead and went for it.  I put up the other boards and called it a day.  I was happy with how it looked!  Then I filled in the nail holes and sanded the wood and the wall to prepare it for the primer.


After taking two months to get this far, I got the primer on and was excited to see it all coming together!


Then once again, I stopped.  I was looking for the perfect white paint. I had my heart set on Simply White by Benjamin Moore, but when I had a sample color-matched at Lowe’s it seemed very yellow.  I went back and got another sample of Snowfall White by Benjamin Moore and even that was really yellow.  Finally I went to Sherwin-Williams and got a sample of Pure White. It was perfect!  A nice crisp white with no yellow undertones.  Yay!

Last week my oldest two were on spring break, so one morning while they were working I got busy painting the final coat.  I ended up doing two coats and I LOVE IT!!!  I hung up the hooks on the bottom board and stood back and admired it.


Please excuse the wall above.  I’m planning on painting it Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore but I haven’t gotten that far yet.  I have a couple other plans for this room so the final color will have to wait.  But we have already put this wall to good use!  Yay!

Here are a few things I learned along the way:


1.  Measure, measure, measure, but don’t be afraid to make a mistake.  I ended up using nails for this project, but I did test out one screw.  It didn’t sit flush on the wood and when I took it out there was a huge hole.  Eek!  Thankfully the wood filler that I used fixed it right up.  This project is very forgiving, so don’t be afraid if you hang a board and decide it needs to be moved.  Just try to nail it in a couple of places until  you decide that it is good, then put in a few more nails.

2.  Find your studs.  Thankfully the old shelf helped me find the studs in the wall, and I used those to hang the horizontal boards.  Since I was putting the hooks on them I wanted to make sure they were secure.  They aren’t going anywhere, that’s for sure!  The vertical boards are not in studs, but I figured that’s okay since they are just there to look pretty.  🙂

3.  Caulk is your friend!  I forgot to mention that I caulked all of the edges before I primed the wood/wall.  It helps to seal your wood and make it more stable.  Remember that wiggly board?  Once I caulked it and let the caulk dry it wasn’t wiggly anymore!  It made it more sturdy- yay!  Make sure you use paintable caulk and you are good to go.  I should probably do a caulk tutorial because I searched and searched for a great tutorial and then didn’t save any of them.  Ha!

4.  Sand between coats of primer.  I think I ended up doing two coats of primer, now that I think about it.  I also sanded between the coats to get rid of the brush strokes and to make it all look more like wood (walls, too).


5.  Don’t forget your baseboards and how you wantthat part to look.  Our baseboards are 1/4” thick at the top, so I knew if I went with a board that was 1/4” thick I could make it work.  Many baseboards are not that thick, so make sure you know how you want that part to look before you purchase your wood.  There are many different ideas on Pinterest of what you can do, so start there.

I think that’s it!  If I think of any other tips I will definitely share them, and feel free to ask any questions in the comments!  This would take most people a weekend or two, but it has taken me three months (!).  If I did it again I’m sure it would take me…two months?  Ha!  I’m so excited to have a space we can finally use.  No more coats and backpacks on the floor.  Hooray!



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