Happy Sunday!

Welcome back for Part 4 of the Ugly Home Office Makeover Series!

Let me start by saying that this week’s project was an exercise in frustration, perseverance and a LOT more hours than I had anticipated, so I’m exactly one week behind schedule on the makeover.

In the end, though, it was soooo rewarding and turned out just like I had envisioned! 😀

Original Plan

At the beginning of the series, the plan was to build a faux shiplap accent wall in my office.  I LOVE the look of shiplap and wish I could have a whole house full of it!

But in the end, practicality won out for a few reasons:

  • This is not our forever home.  We’re planning to sell and move within a couple of years and there is a high chance that potential buyers aren’t actually Fixer Upper addicts [gasp!] and might not appreciate one wall of shiplap in an otherwise non-shiplappy house.
  • The thought of ripping down all those boards in a year or two, filling nail holes and repainting the wall wasn’t too appealing.
  • If I was going to invest time and energy into a project, I wanted it to be something I can enjoy for years to come, no matter where I live.

So… to get my shiplap fix, I decided to build a large shiplap wall hanging for my office: part clock, part sign, part shelf.  


I searched online for inspiration and borrowed ideas from a few very talented bloggers, then added my own touches.

DIY Shiplap Wall Hanging at The Rugged Rooster/Rugged Home Blog (Jess has a gorgeous home and site, and this post gave me the idea to do a wall hanging vs. a full wall.  Thanks Jess!!)

DIY Pottery Barn Clock at The Willow Farmhouse (excellent DIY clock tutorial and beautiful site!)

DIY Shiplap Walls on the Cheap at Driven By Decor (great tutorial on DIY Shiplap!)

Read on to see the full project, and learn how a few small errors cost me time and tears (well, not really tears, but there were a couple of moments where I felt like crying!).

The Project

Using blue painters tape, I started with an outline on my wall for perspective.  This blue rectangle is 3′ x 5′ – like a very large index card.

Friday night, Greg and I headed to The Home Depot to get the wood needed for the frame and planks (full material and tool list at the end of the post).

Our new friend Jordan at the Depot did all the cuts for us.  🙂  One important thing to note about the dimensions above.

The labeled thickness and width of the common board are the nominal dimensions, not the actual dimensions.  This can make a BIG difference (as you’ll see).

This handy chart from FamilyHandyman.com shows the nominal-actual conversions for wood thickness:

Around 9 a.m. Saturday morning, I neatly laid out all my materials, expecting the whole project to take about 3-4 hours.  The garage didn’t stay this neat for long, and the project took waaay more than 3-4 hours (transalation: days. several of them)

See the the paint sample jars on the table? I have about a gajillion of these things from past projects.  They have felt pads on top – the kind you put on the legs of furniture – and now I use them for painting boards, cabinets, etc.  Works like a charm.

Step 1 was to paint the planks a base coat of gray so I could distress them after adding a couple of coats of white.

[This was my original plan but I ended up NOT distressing the boards because once they were painted I liked the clean, crisp white too much].

I used a sample of Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray left over from another project.

This step took just a few minutes.  No need for perfection here, as you can see from the next picture.  Just get the paint on the board and move on.

All done… I’m rockin’ and rollin.  On to Step 2.

While the base coat of the planks dried, I moved on to the frame boards.

When I stain, I always sand first using my Dewalt palm grip sander and then apply a wood conditioner.  The wood conditioner is supposed to prevent streaks and blotches.

Only this time I didn’t use it because when I opened the nearly-full can that I had it was all clumpy and hard.

So I sanded only, and the stain went on fine.

After sanding the frame boards, it was time to stain.

Enter Mistake #1 that cost me a little extra time.

I have a favorite stain, but to change things up a little I decided to try Varathane Wood Stain in Carrington this time.  From the can, it appeared to be close to the stain color that I had in mind.

And here are the frame boards after a coat of stain:

Pretty, but not the look I was going for.  A bit too much red for my liking.

And how did I end up with ALL of my boards stained a color I wasn’t crazy about?

Because I didn’t test on a sample board! 😕

Lesson #1: ALWAYS test paint and stain colors.  I know this, but my enthusiasm to jump right in bit me in the hiney this time!

This small mistake caused me to have to do a second coat of stain later using another color.

While the stain dried, I painted the “shiplap” planks the first coat of white.

Once the white paint had dried, I realized there was more texture on the board than I wanted.

Since I was planning to paint a second coat of white anyway, I went ahead and sanded the painted plywood with a block sander, which resulted in a smoother texture.

After sanding and wiping down the planks, I applied the final coat of white paint.  Ahhh… nice and white and crisp.  And shiny… which becomes relevant shortly.

After the first coat of stain had dried on the frame boards, I applied a second coat using my old friend Minwax Espresso that I had on hand.  Can you tell he’s well-loved?? 😋

And here are the frame boards after applying the second coat of stain.  Much better!

I arranged the boards [on this very wrinkled sheet] to form the frame before I started joining them.

Then I flipped the boards to drill the pocket holes.

This is my Kreg Pocket Hole Jig R3 with Clamp.  It’s such a handy little tool.  It makes drilling pocket holes a breeze.  IF you use it correctly

Without a second thought (unfortunately), I positioned the collar on the drill bit and set the pocket hole guide (below), both for a 1″ board.

The collar position and guide setting should match the thickness of the board.  And my board is 1″ thick.

Simple, right?

Except for one thing… remember that helpful chart above about actual vs. nominal lumber dimensions?  Well, I FORGOT that little detail. 😔

Queue Mistake #2, and this was a whopper!

My boards were 3/4″ thick, not 1″!

See the outer pocket holes?  Those are the first ones I drilled to the depth for a 1″ board.  The inner ones are the ones that I drilled at 3/4″ after I realized my mistake.

And how did I discover my measuring faux pas after drilling ALL OF MY POCKET HOLES???

I screwed in the the first screw using my drill and heard an awful cracking sound, which was the wood splintering because the screw went in too close to the edge.  I wanted to cry 😥

I tried using wood glue to patch things up, but the end of the board was still too weak to accept a screw.

Finally, I tried drilling a pocket hole in the board that had split (the one with the weight on it below) so I could screw into the other board where I had drilled the first set of holes and – yippee! – this worked.

I didn’t want to push my luck, so I only used one screw on this corner.

And here is the frame, fully assembled – whew!

Lesson #2: Measure your boards to determine the actual thickness, length and width when doing anything that requires precision!

You can see the damage to the board on the end, but nothing a light sand and a little more stain can’t fix.

Not perfect, but I decided to call it “character” and move on 🙂

The next step was to attach the planks to the frame using my Dewalt drill and 3/4″ wood screws.


I made sure the first board looked good before moving on.

After the first board was in place, I positioned the rest of the boards on the frame, spacing them with nickels to get the desired gap.

Thanks to Kris at Driven By Decor for the nickel spacer idea!

Once all the boards were positioned, I attached them to the frame, using 2 screws per board on each side, with extra screws along the top and bottom planks.

And here it is… fully assembled. 💖

Now it was time to add the fun stuff!

For the clock hands, I found this wall clock on Amazon. To be honest, I’m not really blown away by the quality (and lack of instructions), but the colors were perfect and so far it’s working fine.

To position the numbers on the clock, I considered a few different options I found online, but finally came up with the idea of using a clock printable as a template because… well, it was super easy!  Easy = 😀

I located the center point for the clock, then marked each number’s position at the tip of the big hand, using the printable as a guide.

To make sure everything lined up properly, I printed the numbers on regular paper and arranged them on the board, using my marks from above.

To get the clock numbers on the boards, the original plan was to use my inkjet printer to transfer the numbers using the freezer paper transfer method.

I’ve used this method successfully before and it was super easy.  [See a trend here?  I like easy!]

What I didn’t consider, though, was that I had painted the boards with semi-gloss paint that we had on hand, so when I tried to rub the ink on to the painted wood, it wouldn’t stick.  Not at all – I could only see the faintest outline of the numbers. 

Hello Mistake #3!

This had me stumped for a while.  Quite a while.

Painting the numbers on, with or without stencils, wasn’t an option – not for me, anyway.  I have an unsteady hand and ZERO patience for small, detailed tasks.

Finally, it occurred to me if I had a more porous surface, I might be able to get the ink to transfer to the boards, so I mixed up a batch of homemade chalk paint using the same white semi-gloss paint and Plaster of Paris that I already had.

Thankfully… this worked, and I was able to get the ink to adhere to the surface.

Lesson #3: When transferring ink to painted wood, don’t use a high gloss paint!

For each number, I placed the ink side of the freezer paper on the board, pressed it down by hand, then placed a block on top with a weight and let it sit for 2-3 minutes.

I don’t normally use the block/weight method, but I wanted to be extra sure the numbers would transfer.

Then I used the end of a Sharpie to rub the transfer on, going back and forth over all the ink, and then back over it again, rubbing in a circular motion.

The final touch for the clock was adding text above the hands, which gave it a fun touch (thanks to Jennifer at The Willow Farmhouse for the idea!).

And here is the finished clock! 🙂

To create the supports for the shelf, I attached two 1/2″ pipe flanges (the round thingies) to the planks on the lower right side, then screwed on 8″ nipples with end caps (yes… they are called nipples 😜).

For the sign, I chose Ecclesiastes 3:1. I love Ecclesiastes 3, plus it seemed fitting since I was making a clock… that keeps time.. get it? 😛

Again, I used the freezer paper transfer method.

One note on this… be sure to affix the freezer paper to a piece of cardstock and tape down any edges that are sticking up before running it through your printer.

Not doing this can ruin your printer.  I know this because I might or might not have destroyed a printer a few years ago trying to skip this step.

When transferring the letters, I used a small paint roller to go over the back of the freezer paper, along with the wood block/weight/sharpie technique.

THE most important step of the transfer is rubbing the Sharpie in a circular motion over every part of each letter with firm pressure.

I missed rubbing a couple of spots fully (see the “t” in time and the “n” in thing?) , so the letters were too light. But I was able to reprint those letters and go back over the spots I missed.

If you end up having to do this, be sure to get the reprinted letters aligned properly over the existing ones!  For the “t”, I actually cut it in half and re-transferred it in 2 sections.

The final step was to hang this labor of love and add the finishing touches.  Greg hung it for me 💖 using this OOK Hangman wall cleat.

And here it is… all done and hung securely on the wall! 💖💖💖

The shelf was cut down from a piece of leftover wood from another project to a length of 25″ and width of 7″.

The cute jars, wire basket and faux sage are from Michael’s (bought on sale).  And the pot of succulents came from Home Depot (also on sale!).

For an extra rustic touch, I cut out a strip from one of the linen bags that we use for our cup drawer pull packaging, frayed it around the edges and hot glued it to succulent pot.

I ended up hanging it in the space above where the DIY File Cabinet Desk will go (next project in the series) instead of on the wall that I had initially planned because I wanted it to be the focal point when you enter the office.

I love being able to see the Shiplap Wall Hanging from the hall 😍

I’m so happy with how it turned out! 🌿🌿🌿

The Budget

If you’ve been following the series, you know that there is a $500 budget for the entire makeover.  After painting a couple of weeks ago, I was left with $433.81.

For the sake of brevity, I won’t break down everything that was spent this week in this post, but the grand total was $78.45 , leaving $355.36 in the budget for the rest of the project.

[NOTE: The total spent doesn’t include tools or materials we had on hand, like stain and paint]

Materials Used

  • (2) pieces of 1″ x 4″ (nominal) common board, cut to a length of 29.5″ (actual)
  • (2) pieces of 1″ x 4″ (nominal) common board, cut to a length of 56″ (actual)
  • (1) large piece of plywood, ripped to 6″ x 4.5″ (actual)
  • (1) board for the shelf, cut to 25″ x 7″ (actual), thickness of your choice.
  • 50 pack of 3/4″ Wood Screws
  • Dark Base paint (if distressing; you can also use stain as a base)
  • White paint (I recommend flat – NOT semi-gloss 😬)
  • Stain in your color choice; I used Minwax Espresso
  • Pre-stain wood conditioner (optional)
  • Block sander
  • (8) 1 1/4″ Pocket Screws (these were part of my Kreg kit)
  • Clock Hands
  • (2) 1/2″ Metal Pipe Flanges
  • (2) 8″ Metal Pipe Nipples (to fit 1/2″ Flanges)
  • (2) 1/2″ Metal Pipe end caps
  • (1) Wall Cleat
  • Wood block, weight of some sort, tape, Sharpie and paint roller or brayer (for ink transfer)

Tools Required

What’s Next

This project ended up being WAY more work than I anticipated, mostly due my mishaps along the way. But there is nothing more gratifying than building something yourself.  😀

  • PART 1: Intro
  • PART 2: Design Layout and Select Color Palette for Walls, Furniture and Accessories
  • PART 3: Paint Walls
  • PART 4: Install and Paint Shiplap Accent Wall
  • PART 5: Build and Install Desk
  • PART 6: Refinish “Printer Stand” Dresser
  • PART 7: Build and Hang Industrial Shelving
  • PART 8: Add Accessories and Wall Decor
  • PART 9: Wrap-up and Big Reveal

The next project in the series is building a File Cabinet Desk, and I’ve already scored a pair of used file cabinets for $40 for the pair!

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a winner for this week’s HOMPOW (Home Office Makeover Prize of the Week) 😔, so I’m carrying the $25 Home Goods Gift Card contest over to next week.

To qualify, just leave a comment or question below about anything from this week’s post. Instagram and Facebook comments about the contents of the post also count!  The winner will be announced next week, when I reveal the Part 5 – DIY File Cabinet Desk.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to receive blog updates and notifications about our One Day Flash Sales!




10 thoughts on “Ugly Home Office Makeover – Part 4: The Shiplap Wall Hanging”

    1. Thanks so much Jennifer! And thanks for the clock inspiration on your blog. It’s beautiful! ❤️

  1. SO awesome to watch you fight through the “learning opportunities” (i.e., mistakes). Great job…that thing looks like something that people would probably pay $113.99 for.

  2. Love love love it! After trying hand lettering on my last project (a pain, time consuming and plus, I suck at it) I want to try the freezer paper method next time. I’ve never tried a clock before either, I think that will be a future project.

    1. Thanks so much Linda!!! Yes, the freezer paper method is awesome for those of us with a less than steady hand – and for me, a lack of patience 🙂

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