DIY: Plank Wall

August 15, 2015

Last week I mentioned that I was working on a project in my craft room.  It is currently painted a soft yellow.  I wanted to add a little pizazz to the walls, so decided on a plank wall at one end of the room. The photos make the room look very narrow, but it’s 9′ wide.


First stop: Home Depot.  I wanted thin wood, so chose an oak plywood, which can be purchased in large sheets (8′ x 8′ as I recall).  I opted for 6″ wide strips, and talked to a friendly and helpful employee who agreed to cut the strips for me.

First challenge:  Bringing 8′  long boards home in a little Scion. 🙂  No photos. I didn’t want a record of that experience.  Let’s just say…. well, let’s not. Let’s just leave it alone.

First Step:  I designed the wall in Photoshop, so I would have a visual of: 1) the length of the boards, 2) the colors I wanted, 3) the arrangement of the colors.  I put a grid on the document, so I knew exactly how many inches wide and long each board was. That would make it easy to cut the boards the correct lengths.


First cut: After recording on paper what board lengths I wanted, I cut the 8′ length boards into their appropriate sizes, then sanded them with a medium grit sandpaper.

First embarrassing picture: See below. 🙂  (Working outside in some little summer pajamas. It was hot out!)


With some of the left-over boards, I experimented with different looks, using a combination of paint and stains.

I used a green, white, and yellow paint and 2 different stains: golden oak and clear.

Once I was happy with the color choices and techniques I would use to achieve the results I wanted, I started painting the boards I had cut to size.

I referred to  my Photoshop drawing and numbered the back of each piece of wood (by row) so I would know exactly where to place each plank on the wall.

When the boards were all painted, I sanded them (again!) lightly with a 220 grit Extra Fine sandpaper.


Now the boards were ready for placement.  I could have trusted my drawing and proceeded with putting the planks on the wall…. but I wanted to double-check and make certain I was satisfied with the colors and how they looked together.  It would be easier to make any changes now, rather than later.  Referring to my drawing once more, I laid the planks out on the floor to get a preview.


I was happy with this, in general.  I want to give the solid blue and solid yellow planks a little more interest by lightly sanding away some of the paint, allowing the wood grain to show through a bit more. But I decided that was best done when the planks were on the wall. So up they went!


I started at the top, near the ceiling, because I knew the last row of boards would only be about 3″ in width. I used  brown rustic-looking drywall screws at each plank end, and small Wire Nails to tack down the the middle of the longer boards.

I wanted to add some additional interest with a bit more sanding. Armed with a piece of 200-grit sandpaper, I sanded in between the seams of the planks, to create less of a stark contrast between the different colored boards. It’s not obvious in the pictures, but there really is a significant difference up close and personal.

I also wanted to protect the wood and add a little sheen to it, so added a coat of Paste Wax.

Next, to frame the edges of the wall, I added a border of 2-inch pine strips, painted white. I used the same rustic-looking drywall screws when attaching the border, to keep the look consistent.

I decided the solid, pale yellow walls looked too plain, so I painted the lower 48 inches of the wall to match the plank wall. (The walls sure doesn’t look yellow here, do they?)

You can tell the drywall isn’t entirely straight by the slight gap in between the wall and the border. Of course that annoys me, but I know when I get pictures hung and furniture put back in place, the “obvious” gaps won’t be quite so obvious.

So now the wall is complete. Yeah!

Total cost: wood, paint, stain, nails, and dry-wall screws… about $140.


If you’ve ever thought about creating a plank wall, give it a whirl. It’s not really difficult.  Like any type of construction, whether you are working with wood or fabric, or anything really…. just remember the old adage: Measure twice, cut once!

Next step… you may remember that several months ago I mentioned I was going to turn a door into a table? Great story about how I got the door, but I’ll save that for next week.  For now, the door is in place… just resting on top of 2 cabinets.


Once I order glass to cover the top, everything will get moved back against the wall, and picture frames and other what-nots will be put in place!  It’s starting to come together.  I love the warm colors in the room.  When I walk in, they just seem to hug me.

What is it about YOUR workspace that you just totally love?  Please leave a comment and let us all know!

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  1. Stacey

    I totally love how this turned out. it really jazzed up the room!

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  4. Gloria Rieschl

    WOW wow wow!!!! I am so impressed by everything you’ve done here…from the Scion (I so want pictures!!! lol) to the finishing touches!! I also can see why YOU are the designer and I simply put a few things together from your creations!! 🙂 Beautiful work!!! Love that you share these intimate working moments with us all!

    • Karen

      Thank you, Gloria! You do AMAZINGLY beautiful work… not “simply” put a few things together! I can’t do what YOU do…. We all have our our gifts! 🙂

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