Be Bold: DIY Plank Wall

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DIY Painted plank wall

Well friends, our ugly foyer is well on its way to being gorgeous!  I have been wanting to install a weathered plank wall in our entry for close to a year – ever since I saw this, this, and this.  But I pretty much knew it was never going to happen.  I may be a DIY maven, but for some reason this seemed completely out of my budget and beyond my abilities.

Luckily, I decided this year was all about living boldly.  Not being scared to fail.  Taking risks and shooting for something awesome, knowing full well it just might turn out closer to awful.  So I went for it… and it turned out amazing!

I was able to complete this plank wall for less than $50!  To keep costs down, I used 1/4 inch plywood to make my planks.  I read a lot of tips about saving money by using masonite, but I knew I wanted to incorporate some wood grain into my plank wall so masonite wasn’t a good choice for me.

For my entry wall, I needed two 4’x8’ sheets of plywood.  I had my plywood cut into strips at Lowes – 8 six inch strips, 4 eight inch strips, and 4 four inch strips.  I am so glad I had my planks cut in the store – even with their huge cutting machine, it took awhile to make all of those long cuts.  (Plus, even better, they did the cuts for free.)

Once I had all of my wood home, it was time to paint.  I knew I wanted a textured, weathered finish and decided to accomplish this by dry-brushing.  Dry-brushing is incredibly simple.  Chip brushes are ideal for this, but any paintbrush can be used.  Put a very small amount of paint on your brush and then wipe as much off on the lip of the paint can as possible.  To remove even more paint, you can wipe your brush on a paper towel several times.  Basically, you want your brush as dry as possible while still having some paint on it.  Then lightly paint your board.

General Finishes provided me some of their milk paint to try out for my Be Bold project and I ended up using four of their colors: Snow White, Seagull Gray, Driftwood, and Patina Green.  They were all great but I’ve gotta say the patina green is particularly gorgeous!  (I’ve got a major weakness for a good aqua.)  I also used a bit of stain on some of my boards to bring in more of the wood grain. Check out all the different finishes I was able to get using only four colors of paint!

painted plank wall using general finishes milk paints

Once everything was painted, it was time to install the wall.  Let me say right now, I do not have a nail gun. And if I did, I would probably be scared to use it.  You can totally install a plank wall using an old fashioned hammer and nails.  My husband, Mitch, and I worked together and we were able to get the whole thing installed in just a couple of hours.

I started out by cutting one of my four inch strips in half to make 2 two inch strips. I used these as a sort of molding along the edges of the plank wall.  Then I used a stud finder to mark where the studs are in the wall.  From there I used a jigsaw to trim my boards to the right length while Mitch hung the boards.  Because the plywood is so light, they were quite easy to hang.  We simply nailed them up with a finishing nail in each stud.  This way, it is possible for us to remove the wall if we decide to change things up or put the house on the market.  As we were hanging the planks, we used a few pennies between each board to keep the spacing between boards even.


plank wall in entry


foyer plank wall

I am so glad I went bold with this instead of staying scared!  And don’t forget, Monday ten other bloggers and I are teaming up to give you a chance to show off your own bold projects.

be bold challenge with border

Here is the lineup of my fellow bold bloggers:

52 Mantels

Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body

House by Hoff

Just a Girl and Her Blog

May Richer Fuller Be

Lovely Etc.

Naptime DIY

Primitive and Proper

The Blissful Bee

The Happy Housie

The Wood Grain Cottage


I am loving the bold projects my co-hosts have been posting this week and I cannot wait to see what all of you have to share next week!

If any of you have ever thought about building a plank wall in your home but just didn’t think you could make it work, I want you to know

  • it doesn’t have to be expensive
  • you don’t need fancy tools
  • you don’t need special ‘reclaimed’ wood
  • you don’t need special skills

You can totally do this!

I am linking this project at Best DIY Project of the Year. I am also sharing this project at The Power of Paint, Weekend Bloggy Reading, Link Party Palooza, Super SaturdayThe Makers, Tutorials and Tips, Hit Me With Your Best Shot Thrifty Decor Chick, East Coast Creative.

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  1. Debbie says

    I want this is in our beach themed guest room! This is gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing. I enjoy your blog so very much.

    • Carrie says

      Thanks so much Debbie! This definitely turned out beachy – which is great for me. The beach is definitely my happy place.

  2. Barbara Allen says

    WOW!!! That’s all I can say. You and hubby totally “nailed” it :). If and when you put your house on the market, LEAVE THE WALL. Someone will thank you.

    • Carrie says

      Thanks Abby! I am so happy I decided to go for it and not settle for the same old thing. I definitely want to keep up the boldness after this challenge.

  3. says

    I’m so glad you went bold! It is incredible, like a designer beach house!
    And Carrie, when I found your blog the other day I did a bunch of reading on your money saving posts and have been thinking about them ever since!

    • Carrie says

      Thanks Kimm! I am pretty in love with it myself! And my awesomely talented brother designed my blog logo – lucky for me to have a graphic designer in the family!

    • Carrie says

      Thank you so much Dana! And you can definitely get this up without a jigsaw. Any saw would work since you are just cutting straight lines. And if you are really organized you can get your planks cut to the right length at the store when you buy your plywood.

  4. says

    Wow, I love this and just pinned it! Incredibly beautiful… I really want to try it now. We are competing in the contest together lol…but your work is seriously amazing, I wouldn’t doubt if you were picked. Just had to let you know that I love your style. New follower! Thanks for sharing, Christina at Dear Beautiful You

    • Carrie says

      Thanks Christina! I have to say there are so many gorgeous projects linked to the contest, I already feel like I don’t have a chance! But I can’t wait to check out everyone’s fantastic blogs! Will definitely come by and visit!

  5. says

    This is beautiful!! I love the bits of turquoise – my favorite colour :)
    I just moved to a lakehouse with a cute little guesthouse that is in serious need of a makeover. I’d love to do something like this to the dated oaky planks that are currently there. Thanks for the inspiration! Your website truly is lovely.

    • Carrie says

      Thanks! I am so happy with how this wall turned out – it makes me feel happier everytime I walk in the front door.

      • Lezlie says

        Carrie, I am inspired…have been since you first posted this, way back when you completed it.
        I was cheating on you (…:\ ..).
        My daughter showed me another plank board/pallet board idea, and I’m going to do one of my kitchen walls.
        All of you girls have such inventive and creative ideas.

        • Carrie says

          Thanks! Don’t worry about cheating – we don’t have to be exclusive. ;) I’m glad you are inspired and hope your plank wall turns out wonderfully!

  6. Heathe r says

    Hi Great Wall. How high and long was your wall. I think my wall may be bigger and I want to know if I should still attempt the DIY. Thanks~Heather

    • Carrie says

      Thanks so much Shonee! I think this wall might be my favorite project in our whole house – it is just so happy!

  7. Pam says

    I love how this looks, I want to use the same colors you did! One question…on each board you used two colors, did you use the first color and completely paint the board, then dry brush with the second color? I’m trying to get an idea how thick the first coat of paint was.

    • Carrie says

      Pam, thanks so much! Yes, I painted one coat of the base color – not especially thick, just a normal coat of paint. Then I lightly dry brushed over that first coat. I would definitely recommend practicing your dry brushing on a scrap piece of wood to get a feel for how thick you want to paint it on.

  8. Tia Hopper says

    This is so beautiful! I want to do it for an accent wall. Could those paints be bought at my local Lowe’s or are they a special company? Thanks for the help!

  9. says

    I know you said you used 1/4 plywood, but what type, there seems to be many choices and different grades when I go to the store. Love the colors!! Going to attempt this on one wall in my dinning room. I have used the general finishes gel stain in java color, and so far love it, I re did my kitchen cabinets with it. So can’t wait to try the milk paint.

  10. Jacqui says

    How do you dry brush the two colors to get your end result? Do you dry brush one color, let it completely dry, and then dry brush the second color?

    • Carrie says

      Pretty much. Brush on one color and let it dry – it will dry very quickly. I just painted this first coat on regularly but not super thick. When you brush on the second color, wipe most of the paint off your brush and then wipe any excess on a paper towel. When your brush has just a hint of paint left, brush it over the board.

  11. Bailey says

    This is amazing!! My mom is helping me do this in our entry way this weekend! Quick question, how did you lay the pennies in for spacing? If you lay them flat between the boards wouldn’t they stick out past the thickness of the board?

    Thanks–I’m so excited for the finished project!!

    • Carrie says

      Bailey – how exiting! Good luck with your wall! We just slid the pennies between the boards as we were nailing them up. They did stick out but that was fine because once the next board was nailed up, we removed them.

  12. Cori says

    Love! What color was the wall behind the planks? Did the color show through? I read on a few other blogs and they mentioned having to paint the inside of boards. Would that be eliminated by using pennies instead of some other spacer? Thanks so much!!

    • Carrie says

      Thanks Cori! The wall was white behind the planks and I haven’t examined it closely but I’ve never noticed it showing through at all. Though if it was a bold color, it might. I didn’t paint the inside of the boards and they really are close enough together that it really doesn’t matter. It might also help that I used pretty thin wood – I believe it is 1/4 inch thick – so there isn’t a whole lot of ‘inside’ to show through.

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