DIY Board and Batten tutorial

Have you ever spent hours on hours scrolling through Pinterest finding home inspiration? I do it all the time. It is a part of my night time routine. I lay in bed, turn on the tv and switch back and forth from Instagram to Pinterest. Most of my pins are related to home decor or DIY projects. I’ve been dying over floor to ceiling board and batten for quite some time now. I knew it wouldn’t be in the budget to have someone professionally do it for me. One day, I decided I was going to make it happen! 

I stumbled across the below picture that was an inspiration for my project.

board and batten, tutorial, DIY
Image by honeybearlane

I already knew exactly what room I wanted to feature my new board and batten, my living room. I wanted it somewhere I spend a lot of time in and could show off. Please ignore my messy house while doing this project. Let’s be honest, my house is a mess 99% of the time.

Step one: picking the perfect shade of white. Who knew there were so many shades of white. Yellow undertones, blue undertones. Is your wall next to a window? What kind of lighting do you have in your room? Honestly, I was overwhelmed and this for me was the most difficult part. My husband, EJ did not understand the concept of having to pick a white. In his eyes, they all looked the same. I knew I did not want any hint of warm undertones. But I also didn’t want my white to be too flat or cold either. I settled for a white with little undertones, Extra White by Sherwin Williams. Picking the paint is important, I recommend swatching on your current walls to see what they look like during different parts of the day.

Step two: Supplies. We used primed MDF panels stripped down to 2.5″. We got all of our supplies at Home Depot but you can likely find at any hardware store. You need a table saw and a nail gun (brad nailer). If you don’t have access to those tools, you can rent pretty cheaply at your local hardware store. We probably spent a little over $200 on this project. Most of the expense was the paint.

1. Table saw
2. Brad Nailer
3. MDF panels
4. Caulk gun and paintable caulk
5. Level
6. Tape measure
7. Spackling Paste
8. Sanding block
9. Painting supplies

Step three: MATH. Yes, you read that right, math. There are lots of calculations involved to get your spacing perfect. You need to determine how wide you want your battens and the spacing between them. “Measure twice and cut once” is a saying to live by in this tutorial. I think I measured and calculated everything at least three times. I used an amazing tutorial from Remodelaholic

First, you need to measure the length of the wall. Next, you determine your approximate spacing between the battens. I chose 16″ as my starting point. You then divide your wall length (inches) by your spacing. Add that number + 1 and this gives you the number of battens you will need for that wall. Next, you determine your batten width, I chose 2.5″. Take your batten width and multiply by total number of battens. Subtract that number from your total wall length. Divide that number by the number of spaces you calculated. This gives you the approximate spacing in between battens for THAT wall. There will be slight variation wall to wall but when you step back and look at the big picture it is not noticeable.

For example: 
100″ (total wall length) / 16″ (approximate spacing) = 6 (spaces)
6 (spaces) + 1 = 7 (battens)
2.5″ (batten width) x 7 (battens) = 17.5″ (total batten width)
100″ (total wall length) – 17.5″ (total batten width) = 82.5″ (wall length minus the battens)
82.5″ (wall length minus the battens) / 6 (spaces) = 13.75″ (spacing between each batten)

Step four: Place the top and bottom horizontal boards. A lot of the tutorials I read, called for pulling up your bottom baseboards. This was not something I wanted to do. My bottom horizontal board was 4″ and my top horizontal board was 6″. I used my brad nailer to fix the boards to the wall. I then placed the vertical boards or battens using the calculation from above.

Step five: Priming. I used spackling paste to fill in all the nail holes. EJ used a caulking tool to apply caulk along the entire board edges. This meant applying the caulk on either side of the battens and horizontal boards and also where any boards connected to adjacent boards. This really tidies everything up and hides any imperfections with cuts. This step made the biggest difference and when everything started coming together. Next, I sanded along all the board edges to get a nice smooth finish.

Step six: Painting. My least favorite part of all. We applied two coats and used a primer and paint all in one. Although this was the most time consuming step, it was exciting to watch it all come together and see my vision come to reality.

Step seven: Take a lot of pictures and relax, you deserve it! Pour a glass of wine and enjoy your room transformation. It really makes such a big impact on the room. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most difficult and 1 being the easiest, I would rate this project a 3. I think it is a great project for beginners. Send me your before and afters, I would love to see them! I want to do a different batten style as an accent wall in my master bedroom. First, I have to survive Blair’s first birthday party and our Disney World trip. Hope you enjoyed!