DIY Accent Wall

Episode 36: Welcome to the She Builds Show, I’m your host, Stefanie Olson. Today I want to give you some practical advice on how to create your own DIY board and batten accent wall. So, for Christmas, my daughter got a gift to get her room redone, she’s now 10 years old, and just kind of ready for a room upgrade, which meant no more pink, her entire room is pink, and she wanted something fresh and updated and more of a reflection of her… And I love that she is growing into herself and able to claim her likes and dislikes, I love that she wants her space to be a reflection of her personality, don’t we all? And, I love that she turned to me to make it happen, so I rarely get to do projects myself, I’m usually just out there telling everybody what to do, but I wanted to take this on with her and for her. Join me as I share what tools and materials I used with the step by step process on how we created the accent wall.

Ready, let’s go…


•  It’s pretty simple, you see board and batten all the time on the exterior of a house, but it’s really easy and a pretty simple one to start with, if you want to do an accent. So, I want to take you through the steps and how to achieve this, so the first step is to gather, steal, borrow or beg for the tools you need, or you could go buy them, but here’s the list. You need a nail gun. I use all Milwaukee tools, they don’t sponsor me anything like that, but I just love their tools, and I love that they have a smaller battery option, the tools are just a little bit lighter, they’re not as heavy. So you need a nail gun with either… I would suggest one and a half or two inch nails, you need a hammer in some sort of pry bar, that’s to get your baseboard off. You need a Jigsaw, which is just a small handheld tool with a tiny little saw on it that does more detailed cutting. You need just a regular screwdriver with probably a Phillips head on it, you need a miter saw, so a miter saw is the big saw that you grab with your hand and it comes in, and it cuts down trim. It’s a big saw that stands on its own, you need a multi-tool that is able to cut edges or baseboard if needed. (03:01)

•  I think that a smooth surface adds an extra level of finished detail, it just looks really custom, and the way you do that is you put hard board over your wall. So, if you don’t care about that, you can just skip the hard board and put the trim up on your wall, directly on to your existing sheet rock. So, I chose to have a smooth finish, and you just get hard board at Home Depot, it’s a 4 x 8 sheet by 1/ 8 inch. And you want to make sure that your cuts or where your vertical boards are going to be, but have Home Depot, they will cut that hard board for you. You don’t have to take it home in the ginormous sheets, take your measurements with you and have Home Depot cut it and then take it home, it’s so much easier. The four way sheets are kind of cumbersome and hard to carry by yourself. So I highly recommend having Home Depot cut it for you. So the next thing you need to do is get molding, I used three-inch molding, and I think I got 17 foot long boards. (05:25)

•  Now, the next thing you want to do is take your boards and cut out holes. If your hard board, that’s going against your wall is going to cover an outlet or a switch, you need to make sure that you cut the outlet holes in the switch holes, and you do that using your jigsaw. Now, to make sure you get those outlet holes in the correct spot, you can do one of two things, measure, mark it, cut it out with your jigsaw and pray you put it in the right spot. I messed up on this one, so it was really frustrating to find out that my hole was in the wrong location. So, what I found was a tool… It’s called a blind Mark drywall electrical box locator tool. They have it at Home Depot or you can order it online. And what you do is you put a magnet on the plug, and then you put the magnet on the other side of the hard board, then you draw around it, then you hit your hole every single time. And if you don’t want to get frustrated with this part, that tool is invaluable, and I highly suggest it. So cut out your holes and your hard board, and then next what you’re going to do is spread liquid nails all over that hard board, and then you’re going to squish it against the wall. Then you’re going to take your nail gun and you’re going to nail the perimeter of your hard board, don’t nail in the middle of it because they’re going to end up showing, and you don’t want that.  (08:54)

•  Check all of your nails to make sure they’re fully set, and when I say fully set, when you’re doing trim, you don’t want any shiners, which means you want that nail to be inset enough to where you can put putty inside of it, if a nail is sticking out and you can feel it when you rub your finger over it, that nail needs to be pushed in with a nail set. It’s just a small, little…Kind of looks like a large nail and you use your hammer to nail it in, or you can just use a hammer, just be careful not to damage your trim. So after that, you’re going to caulk all of your edges for your horizontal and vertical boards and your baseboard and then you’re going to use painter’s putty to fill all of your nail holes. Once that dries, you’re going to sand your putty, and then you’re going to prime everything. The hard board, if you use the hard board, it really needs primer to have a nice finish on it, so make sure you prime your hard board. And then I had to prime my walls because I had pink, and covering pink up with a really light blue was going to be impossible without primer. So we had to prime everything. And then you want to paint at least two coats of paint on everything, and then you get to take photos and show off to all your friends, and you are going to feel so accomplished. Gosh, I just want to celebrate with you. And honestly, being able to build something like this that adds detail and design to your house is so rewarding. I just want to encourage you today to change your mindset, that if this sounds so impossible to you, I want you to re-evaluate that thinking, that even if you’ve never done this, you are capable of it. You have it within you to tackle something like this, you have it in you to create and fix things that you want to… So dive in.  (12:27)


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