It’s finally done! The board & batten is up on the walls in the entry hall, and I LOVE it. I know I’ve posted a few sneak peaks before, but it wasn’t finished yet. And I didn’t go into details on how I did it. So here are the full details.
I think that it looks so much better than it did before. Check out that before and after photo above. Don’t you agree?
But it’s not just pretty. It’s so functional. Sure, some of the shelves are just holding fun decorations, but the ones closer to the door are also where I store my sunglasses and Matthew stashes his wallet. The hooks on the other side hold my purse and the dog leash. In cooler weather, they’ll be a quick place to hang jackets.
Did you catch in the title that I did all of this with yardsticks? Yep, I did! After reading lots of internet tutorials on creating board and batten, I had settled on using lattice trim on my walls. The lattice boards are just 1/4 inch thick, so they’re great for sitting on top of baseboards like mine without any overhang. My dad went along with me to Lowes to shop for it. We eventually found the lattice, and I took photos of the prices so that I could go home and figure up the cost of the project before buying.
Then, we walked past a big barrel of yardsticks. And my dad, being the great problem solver and thinker that he is, noticed that yardsticks were the EXACT same width and thickness as the 1.5 inch lattice strips. They only came in 3 foot sections – of course! – but he thought that they might work. You see, they were on sale, marked down from 99 cents to 69 cents. That’s just 23 cents per foot. The actual lattice we had looked at was 75 cents a foot. So the yardsticks were less than a third the price of the lattice. But there was a problem – and I thought it wouldn’t work at all. The yardsticks weren’t just printed with paint. They were actually embossed.
Dad bought one yard stick, since he still thought it was a good idea. He has a belt sander in the garage, and he showed me how I could sand one side of a yardstick down enough that it was smooth wood. Just like the lattice. No markings remained, and it only took a few minutes. He was right – this could work!
So I went to Lowes and bought 50 more yardsticks. I only used 30 in the end, but I bought extra just to be sure. And then I spent several hours at the belt sander, sanding the markings off 30 of them. Here’s a photo of my very dust covered arms and hands. I just slowly slid the yardstick across the belt sander, like you see here, and it eventually did the trick. It took FOREVER, but it saved a ton of money!
In order for 3 foot sections to work without awkward seams, I decided to add a horizontal strip at the 3 foot mark, and then continue up with 1.5 more feet (since that would make two boards out of each yardstick without waste). To accomplish this, I had to learn how to use the circular saw. Oh, and I also bought some pine 1 x 4′s for the top shelf. Those had to be cut too.
I also cut two 12″ pieces of ruler to serve as my template, so that all the boards would be spaced evenly.
Then I took the boards all home, cut to the sizes I had measured, and got to work. First, let me suggest that if you can have the circular saw at the job site, it makes things much easier. Some things ended up being a bit too short, which I fixed with caulk. Then other things ended up being too long, which required some intensely difficult sawing with a hand saw. Actually, still have not cut a few last boards to fit on the walls not shown here. I plan to take them to my parents’ house to cut, and I keep putting it off. So I’m fibbing a little when I say the project is done!
I used painter’s tape to stick the first set of boards (formerly known as yardsticks) to the wall, spacing them out with the template sticks. Then, I sat a horizontal board on top with a level. And guess what? It wasn’t level. The boards were all the exact same length, so apparently the baseboard wasn’t level. So this is where I brought out the hand saw and did some exhausting hacking at those boards that couldn’t be easily sanded to a shorter length. Once the board across the top was level, I re-checked my 12″ spacing with the templates, and then nailed in the first row of boards. And I nailed the horizontal board.
Then, I did the same thing for the top row. But this time, since I was starting with a level board, all of these checked out level without any extra cutting. I did hit a snag, though. Apparently not all of the rulers were exactly 1.5 inches wide. Some were narrower. And it was important that the line that I’d started on the bottom continued up without shrinking. So I had to play around a bit with matching specific cut pieces to the right bottom ones. So if you do this, be sure that you check the widths before purchasing the yardsticks.
Finally, I added the top board and shelf. I used 1 x 4′s for both of those pieces, since I wanted a pretty good sized shelf that I could actually sit stuff on. Again, here’s some hindsight wisdom on that part. In my case, I screwed the vertical boards to the wall first and then hammered the shelves on top. That was really hard, and banged up my walls a bit. A MUCH smarter way to do this would be to assemble the shelf onto the supporting board first, ideally with screws, and then put the whole unit on the wall. I wasn’t able to screw them on, since I had only about a half inch of clearance with the wall when I attached the shelf.
The funny thing is that I thought all of this was the hard part. And I thought it would be the priciest part, which it was, but not by much. But I spent about $50 in total for the yardsticks and lumber. And then I spent $39 on paint. I thought that was a lot of money for paint, but I bought a paint + primer combo at Lowes that seemed like a good idea. I’ve painted things white before, by the way, and it’s never been a huge deal. But with this paint, it took FIVE stinking coats to get those walls pure white. FIVE! I’m using the same paint on my pantry right now, and I’ve just taken a break. It’s crazy.
I decided to wait to paint everything until it was on the wall. A roller would have been faster, and probably would have offered better coverage. But sticking strips of wood on the wall is really a faux method of doing board and batten. The proper way would use actual boards to cover the wall surface. Since I wasn’t doing this, I wanted to at least paint the walls with a brush so they’d look a little more like wood. A roller on a wall leaves that slightly textured look that definitely gives away that it is drywall. After five coats of white paint, brushed on, the slight brush strokes left behind really make my walls look like they are wood panels.
And here, again, is the finished project.