Thursday, April 24, 2014

Board and batten in the nook

No creative title today. Just my beautiful room and a little tutorial for you!  

In case you missed the first board and batten post... you can find it HERE.

You will learn that I'm not really 100% about doing things the "right" way.  If there is an easier, cheaper or cuter way to do something that is just as well done, I will try to find a way to do it!  I call it my ghetto DIY fixes. If these fail, and sometimes they do, I'll be the first to tell you.  :)  

Here's my before picture.  

I know you are jealous of that light fixture!

I started this project by heading to Pinterest and pinning and researching like crazy!  There are a million tutorials out there for board and batten. I have done it before on a smaller scale on the bathroom of our last house. So I had some experience but it was on one wall... No corners and no other walls to have to match spacing. (Which I will get back to.)

Then I talked to my friend Jess over at Whimsical Treasures. She has the most beautiful wainscoting all over her house.  All different kinds and heights. I would love to just move in to her house.  She have me tons of great tips. I also like this tutorial at make it and love it.  She does it with real board, while I do a faux version.

Next was throwing some paint on the wall. I chalked a line 44" up the wall and painted on either side. You don't have to be perfect because your rails will cover the seam. 

Here's a tricky part. You can use existing baseboards and there are plenty of tricks to make that work.  (Like tapering the bottoms or using a thinner board for the vertical boards). But I hated our baseboards so they are getting thrown to the wood pile.  

I changed them out for pre-primed 1x4 mdf. I love the chunkier look!  

I used pre-primed MDF for all my board and batten. 1x2 for the vertical batens and 1x3 for the horizontal rails. It holds up to abuse so much better than the boards that aren't pre-primed. I don't know why.  Some kind of magic.  

So... I laid out new baseboards.  Then I sat down and mapped my room out and did some measuring and math. And then my brain started hurting. I was trying to find a measurement and spacing that would work for all three walls. There was none. And then I started thinking about how it would space out on the other 4 walls of the living room when I get to that room.  And then my brain hurt some more.  I already had decided the height of my battens (39"). I cut a 12" 1x2 to use as my spacer and marked the wall with it so I could see how the spacing worked out.  It didn't.  So I went back to my notebook and tried again. And again and again. Then I got mad and impatient. I am my fathers daughter after all. 

This is right before I threw my notebook on the floor.

I went to the saw and cut a length that looked good and started nailing boards that far apart. I started in a corner and moved out. While I don't recommend this, it actually worked out perfect for me!  The reality is, that when you are working with this many walls, it isn't ever going to work out for all the walls. But you can fudge the spacing a little so that it still looks uniform. My battens are a little over 14" apart. But on one wall they are almost 15" to make it all look good. You can't even tell.  ;)

As you nail the 1x2 battens, make sure you use a level!  I have a good eye for level. I might even say great.  But I would never not use one for this. So check for level and then nail that bad boy up there! Use your spacer and then nail the next one up.  Easy peasy. 

After all your vertical battens are up, go ahead and lay out the rails. This step is so easy.  Just lay the rail on top of your boards and nail it up. You could miter the corners if you want. I didn't.  They get caulked anyway so no one will ever know. Except you. Because I told you.  ;)

This was all the most fun parts!  Power tools rock. But now you have to put them away and do the tedious work that makes everything so pretty.

First, use putty and fill all your nail holes and seams.  Use the putty and not caulk for this stuff. This way you can sand it down and make it smooth and seamless.  I would err on the side of too much putty.  You can always sand it off.  When it dries, it shrinks a little and if you use too little, you have to go back and add more.

Then take your caulk gun and caulk all the corner seams and wall seams.  EXCEPT THE TOP RAIL/WALL SEAM.  Like how I emphasized that?  That comes last.  Make sure you buy a caulk that is white and paintable. Most people use their fingers to clean excess caulk.  That's lame and messy. Spend a couple dollars and buy this guy at walmart or your local home improvement store. The rubber sides make everything look so pretty!  I keep a stack of baby wipes with me and just wipe it off after every swipe. 

Now we wait. Let your putty and caulk dry overnight.  Next day, sand your puttied seams smooth with fine grit sandpaper and paint everything white. Use a brush or roller or whatever floats your boat. Just be careful with the top of your top rail.  Tape off the wall if you need to.  

Last!  Almost done!  Tape about a 1/4" up from your top rail.  (Just do it. I promise it will make things so much prettier and easier). 

Now lay a line of caulk and smooth it out.  When you're done pull up the tape and let it dry. It looks so perfect!  

All finished.  Here is the finished product. I love it!  The space looks so much brighter and cleaner.  There's a lot of furniture in there since it's now also our home office, but I'm in love!

I just realized I forgot to put back the antlers!  Opps.

What are my faves in here?  

Obviously, the Tune my heart sign!  I love that more than I can say.  I get all my vinyl from Lisa at  (No sponsors over here... I just love her stuff and it is reasonably priced.  She is also great to work with for custom stuff)

Don't be afraid of my ghost pig.  I thought it would be cute to chalk paint our piggy bank so we could change the label as we reach our goals. It just turned out creepy. But she's growing on me. 

I love my owl lamp! I coveted this from walmart for months before I broke down and bought it and gave it a makeover.  And I found this awesome burlap flower at Hobby Lobby.  WIN!

I'm loving painted mason jars right now! And a little basket for keys etc.

And last, my sweet new light fixture!  That's a whole other post.

I hope this helps if you are looking into tackling a similar project. Don't be afraid! I did this all by myself.  If I can do it, so can you!