Introduction: $HIPLAP! (Or How to NOT Patch Drywall)

About: DIY and Making-Wood, Glass and More!

Do you have a gaping hole in your wall?

Wait...forget I said that.

Do you want a beautiful feature wall that can easily be done in a morning? If so, this project is for you!

This grand opportunity came my way when somebody put their foot through the wall in a colossal temper tantrum. After looking at the size of the hole, there were a few options to choose:

  1. Patch the drywall perfectly (so hard...) and repaint the wall- ultimately the whole room.
  2. Cover the hole with a nice piece of art (tempting!)
  3. Fix the problem in a way that looks like you had always planned it- (classy)

Option number 2 worked for a couple days...but the answer was obviously #3. I measured the wall, did the math...and decided I needed about 21 pieces of shiplap to cover the wall. The wall is 13 feet wide, and I didn't want to use 8 or 12 foot pieces and have a lot of vertical seams, so I bought 16 foot boards. This way, I only need to make one cut, and the piece runs the entire length of the wall.

By the way...just have it delivered (pro tip!), don't do what I did and stress out the whole way home with 16 foot boards tied to your vehicle.


Things you will need for this build are:

  • Ship-lap
  • Saw
  • Magnet, Pencil and Tape Measurer
  • Level
  • Compressor
  • Nail Gun (I used 18 and 23 gauge)

Step 1: Assess the Damage, Measure and Wall Prep


There, I said it. Remember at the beginning how I said this could be done in a morning? Well it can! I picked up the wood the night before, but the actual work only took one morning. The secret to getting it done without a lot of headache is preparation.

Make sure you buy enough wood to finish the job. If you have done this before, account for 10-15% waste. If this is your first time, make that 20-25%. Trust me, you don't want to go back to the big box store when the job is 88% done.

The only way this will go quickly and smoothly is if you take the time to mark where the studs are in your wall. ALL THE STUDS! If you nail into drywall, it will not hold, and the piece will fall off the wall.

I have heard of many ways to find studs: use a tape measure, tap the wall with a hammer, shine a bright light at an angle, use a store bought stud finder...all of them are a complete waste of time. Not all studs are the perfect spacing, and the other methods will give you errors.

The absolute BEST method I have found is to use a strong magnet. Mine has a hook on it that makes it easier to grab. Run the magnet along the wall, it will "catch" on a screw beneath the drywall. Circle that spot, and move down and up the wall, circling where each screw is. This way- you know exactly where the studs are in the wall.

Step 2: Cut Pieces to Fit, Nail Them to the Wall

In the first photo I have circled in red all the spots I found screws. This gave me a reference point when nailing the boards onto the wall.

Take your time to measure the distance and cut 2 to 3 pieces at that length. Make sure your cut is straight and square. Nail the boards in the middle and work your way to the sides. Start at the top and work your way down the wall. You can reference the first board off the ceiling, or use a level to make sure the first one is straight. Once the first one is straight, all the others will be as well.

In the first photo I have circled in green where to nail the boards, this way the nails are hidden from sight. This alone is strong enough. If you want, you can nail some extra nails in the top of the boards with a 23 gauge pin nailer. The nails are so small you can't see them. If you decide to paint the wall those holes will be covered by the paint, no filler needed. If you only use an 18 gauge nail gun, keep the nails hidden on the lower section of the ship lap.

Step 3: Bask in the Glory of a Job "well" Done

That's it! Now you can stand back and enjoy the new feature wall!

My daughter is graciously demonstrating how the ship lap is strong enough to prevent holes being kicked in the wall a second time- how convenient!

This project is really simple to complete, but has such a big impact in a room! You could choose to do this on just one wall, or make a wainscoating of this with trim. Plenty of possibilities!

If you decide to try this, I'd love to see how it turned out!

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