batty for board & batten … and a tutorial




I’ve gone a bit batty for board and batten …

Entry boxes (550x413) (2)


… truth be told, I’ve really gone much, much more batty than a mere ‘bit’ for this amazing wall treatment …


… and yes, I’m late to this particular home diy party.  What else is new?


I love this wall treatment so much that after my husband and I installed it in the entry (you can see the amazing before and after here) — by hand with old fashioned hammers and nails — I ran out to Home Depot and purchased a nail gun of my very own …


… because I will be installing more … EVERYWHERE


Entry B&B more (550x413) (2)

I love how it looks like it’s been here forever …


Entry down stairs (550x413) (2)

… and I love how it’s the perfect backdrop for my other love …


…hooks …


Entry photos (550x413) (2)


Now on  to the promised tutorial (though, quite honestly, you can’t swing a proverbial dead cat in the diy blogworld without hitting a board & batten tutorial) …


The key to making the process run smoothly  …


… and not freak out my husband who is not a diy handy dude (though he does wash a mean load of laundry) …


… was advance prep and planning.


I started here at Centsational Girl’s tutorial and then followed all of the links she included in her post.


Unlike Centsational Girl, I decided against trying to install panels on the wall.  My walls are smooth drywall so I just nailed the vertical and horizontal boards to the wall, caulked like a crazy woman, and painted it all a high gloss white.  Drywall included.  In the end, you can’t tell the difference …


I started by determining how high on the wall I wanted the molding to be …  but I had to work around this odd little window …


Board and batten start 2

So I grabbed some painter’s tape and a level and starting taping out a pattern that looked pleasing to the eye.  In the end, I took the molding about 2/3rd’s of the way up the wall, with the vertical ‘battens’ approximately 16 inches apart.  I fudged here and there to make it fit.  I leveled the horizontal and vertical taped lines as I went.


Board and batten start
Then I painted it out with primer and removed the tape … and was left with a template of where to place the boards …


Stairs Staining & board and batten

I measured all the vertical and horizontal lines once, twice … and then once and twice again … and jotted down all my measurements.


Then (this is a very important step ladies) I took a shower, styled my hair, put on make up, rummaged through my wardrobe for something without paint and glue stains, grabbed my list of measurements, and went to the lumber yard at Menards.  A gentleman who worked there very kindly made all my cuts for me … and didn’t charge me a cent ;)


I use primed mdf … I’m all for cutting out a few steps of sanding and priming.  Here are the materials I used:



1 x 6 Primed MDF for horizontal top board


1 x 2 Primed MDF for vertical slats

mdf.primed.1x3 cove molding

1 x 3 Primed MDF for shelf; cove molding to finish off underneath the shelf.

I also picked up …
liquidnails caulk


… a box of 2 1/2” hardened trim nails …
trim nail

… yea, that stuff is never coming off …


… and grabbed this $15 miter box on my way out …


My lumber came in just under $40.00.


Plan A included borrowing my next door neighbor’s nail gun.  No such luck.  He couldn’t find it.


Plan B included a skeptical husband, two hammers, and a box of nails.


If you, too, will be employing this low-tech installation technique, may I recommend that you hammer the nails partially into the boards first before attempting to put them on the wall.  Then you don’t have to worry about holding the board and holding the nail and holding the hammer and holding the level …


… see how this could be problematic …?


… oh, and don’t do this on your hardwood floors because sometimes you … or your husband … may get a bit overenthusiastic and hammer that nail right through that board and make a few nail holes in the hardwood …


Before any hammering of nails, I did a quick dry fit …our 115 year old home is neither level nor square … and then numbered the wall and the boards so I would know which ones went where.


I also used a stud finder to try to find studs, but since (a) my house is old and (b) this is an exterior wall, I was finding studs all over the place.  I marked them out as best I could …


Finally, some people remove and replace their baseboards with a 1 x 4 so that the “batten” will sit flush on top of it.


I didn’t bother.  And it doesn’t bother me  … not one bit.  Isn’t that what accessories … and real life ‘stuff’ … are all about …?


Entry boots (550x413) (2)
One final step:  We slathered liquid nails on the back of each board before nailing to the walls …


… did I mention that these boards will never, ever be removed from the walls without causing serious damage …?


After three hours of leveling and banging and leveling and banging …. and on and on … all was attached.


My husband countersunk the nail holes and I followed behind with spackle.


Then the caulking began.  This is a long and messy process … but so worth the end results!


Three coats of semi-gloss BM Bright White later, we added hooks, mail sorter bins and a few accessories …


Entry Boxes Closeup 4551 (550x413) (3) - Copy
Entry Bench birds eye (550x413) (2) (550x413)

This is officially my favorite room in the house.  Now if I could just figure out how to fit our bed in here …


Entry Xmas from living room (550x413)

Have you heard about the “Imagine the Impossibilities” challenge?  Or that I’m on the hosting team?  Or that it all culminates in a January 31 multi-blog link party?  If not, you must click here … or on the button below …

Because this board and batten project I’ve shared with you today … it took me months to build up the courage and confidence to commit.  I thought it was impossible that I would be able to tackle this on my own …

… but I’m so very glad that I didn’t let that perceived ‘impossibility’ stop me.  My board and batten entry is living proof that perceived ‘impossibilities’ are truly possible …

Entry favorite view (550x413) (2) (370x413)

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  1. julie says

    I love the results..beautiful..this helps me muster up my own courage to put up b/b in my home..I’m dying for the look and I even own a nail gun!! What’s stopping me?? thanks for the courage!

  2. says

    This space is beautiful! So jealous that you have a wonderful foyer to do this in! Also, love your blog name and the “our home, my canvas”. :)

    Visiting from

  3. says

    I think I would go batty installing my own board and batten! You are a true DIYer! It looks fab and can’t wait to see it “everywhere”! Now, stop talking and get to painting that bedroom – the challenge reveal is just around the corner!

  4. says

    SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL!!! I’m visiting from Handy Man, Crafty Woman party…thanks for the detailed tutorial … LOVE the tip about shower, makeup, etc and heading to Menards to get the boards cut for free! I’ll definitely remember that one! hee hee!
    All the best! :)

  5. says

    That is what I call “the perfect use of space”… the entire family can come in and drop off their coats and boots! I just love the grey paint on the wall!
    Great Job!!!

  6. says

    This has been on my project list for a long time now and every time I see it I just want to do it right away! It looks really good and I’m sure I would also be tempted to do it everywhere!

  7. says

    This is totally beautiful! I love what you’ve done with this room. We’re currently thinking about wainscoting for our dining room – not sure yet what style is going to work best for us, but we need some visual interest below our Central American artwork!

    Found you over on HoH and this project caught my eye. If you’d like to submit this to our first DIY Link It Up party on OPC, we’d love to have you (runs through Monday)

  8. says

    Love.Love.Love it! I really want to attempt this in our master bathroom, but am a little intimidated! Thanks for the encouragement! I am enjoying your blog for the first time! Hope on over when you get a chance!

  9. says

    I love this post! We are going to be doing this technique in our mudroom…so I have been reading alot of blog post tutorials on it. Yours, in my opinion is the very best I have seen. The detailed pictures…right down to the pictures of the wood you used…appreciated! I have never seen anyone else who taped it all off like that…and primed the wall…that is genius…and we will definitely be doing that! I am you newest follower!
    Stop by and visit sometime!

  10. says

    Looks great! I am curious how you worked with the uneven walls. We are running into the same problem. I’d love any tips you can offer.

  11. says

    Looks great! I am curious how you worked with the uneven walls. We are running into the same problem. I’d love any tips you can offer.

  12. says

    I really love this! I have a similar shade of grey in my kitchen/dining combo and have been wanting to do board and batten for a while! Thanks for the tutorial!!

    I’ve been to your blog several times before, don’t know how I missed this post, but to make sure I stay on top of things, I’m now following you!

    I’m co-hosting the link party with Lines Across and I would love it if you would stop by and share, if you haven’t already!

    Hope to see you there!
    Barbara @ Chase the Star

  13. says

    I love it! Should have know this was your house when I saw it linked up on Thrifty Chick :)
    Totally cracked up when you got gussied up to go to Menards – I totally do this too when I need some free wood cuts ha! All your accessories really make the space, beautiful job as always! Kelly

  14. Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D says

    Hi Linda,
    We’re looking at making a gallery hallway and using board and batten.
    I knew right where to look for a tutorial – YOU!

    When I say that…I use my best Charlie Sheen voice in my head.)

    Hey, so just wondering. Since your post has the phrase “finding studs,” are your “searched phrases” results leading to your blog pretty hilarious??

  15. elaine says

    Hi! Your work is really beautiful! Hence u have me and my husband inspired. We just finished the measurements for the b and b and have placed all the painters tape. Would really love to know the paint color on the wall above the board and batten. Thanks and more power! ELAINE


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