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7 Easy steps to DIY wall panelling

Updated: May 31


Wall panelling is hugely popular at the moment and it is no wonder really! Having been around for centuries, It is the perfect feature to help bring character and charm to your interiors and with so many variations, there is sure to be a wall panel style for every personal taste and type of home.

From traditional moulding panels, to versatile shiplap, to the more contemporary geometric statement panels and everything in between - there are quite literally hundreds of ways to panel a wall. I could talk the hind legs off a donkey about all the different styles but for the sake of todays post, I am going to rein myself in and focus on how to DIY one particular type of panelling - board and batten.

Its safe to say I have had a fair amount of love for my DIY board and batten panelled wall in my bedroom and so I wanted to share the process I went through to complete it. It really is pretty straightforward even for those not-so-DIY minded!

Bedroom Wall Panelling in F&B Railings
Board and Batten Wall Panelling in F&B Railings

For this project you will need:

Pencil

Blank paper

Ruler

Tape measure

Spirit level

MDF panels cut to size (more on this later)

Instant grab-adhesive

Polyfiller

Sandpaper

Primer

Paint

Ready? Ok, let's crack on!

  1. MEASURE UP

This bit is probably the most time consuming part. Bear with me though, coz once you’ve got this bit nailed the rest will be plain sailing.

First of all, measure the full width of the wall to be panelled. I measured twice just to be sure - once across the bottom, just above my skirting board and then secondly further up around about where I was wanting my top panel to sit. Some walls can vary slightly so its worth checking! This measurement will become the length of your horizontal panels so write it down.

Once you have this, you will need to decide on the height of the panelling. This really is personal preference and so you can kind of choose any height. I did mine by eyeballing roughly how high up I wanted it to go - I knew I wanted it above my head board and that's quite big so I estimated about 3/4 of the way up the wall. I measured that height (from the skirting board not the floor!) and then rounded it up to an easy number to work with, e.g. 170cm. Again, make a note!

Wall panelling preparation and measuring
Working out the panel spacing and measuring

2. PANEL SPACING

Now we have the length of the wall and the height of our panelling, we need to work out how many panels and the spacing between them. I estimated that my top and bottom horizontal panels would be 10cm wide each and so if you minus that from your total panelling height you are left with the height of your vertical panels.


Looking good so far….



Now the final bit of maths is to work out how many vertical panels you want and the spacing between them. This bit is kind of important as too many panels and it will look a bit cramped, too few and it will look too sparse! Again, I did this by eyeballing. I wanted my vertical panels to be more narrow than the horizontal panels so started with 8cm. I also knew I wanted one panel in the centre of the bed, and one on each end of the wall to keep it looking neat, so I marked these on the wall with a pencil.

Looking at the space left between my panels, I tried three more each side, this seemed to look ok sketched onto the wall - so I tried the maths.

I took the total number of vertical panels (9) and my estimated width of each (8cm) and multiplied these numbers (72cm). I then minused (is that a word? It is now) this number from my total wall width. There would be 8 spaces in total in between panels and so I divided the remaining number by 8. This gave me the measurements for the spaces (I think mine were about 30cm).


So, I ended up with 9 panels that were each 8cm wide with a 30cm gap in between each.


Hopefully, you're still here and have your own measurements all worked out!

If you are - congrats! The hard part is done - now comes the fun bit.

3. DRAW IT ON THE WALL

I didn’t actually do this bit, I was too impatient to get sticking but I would recommend you use a pencil and draw the outline of your panelling onto the wall in question. Use your tape measure and spirit level and if you do this carefully, the sticking will be an absolute doddle.

4. GET YOUR WOOD CUT

I used a 9mm MDF for this, I bought a sheet from a local timber merchants and had them cut it to size for me. I know others who have used B&Q or Homebase for this too, but there have been some restrictions on the numbers of cuts per customer due to Covid so I would give them a call and check before you make the trip! I just took all my measurements with me and told them what I needed.

I didn’t fancy using decorative moulding on top of mine, but I knew I wanted something to finish it off - so I just bought a simple piece of pine strip wood to stick on. Either would look good - it really depends on which you prefer!

Bedroom wall panelling
Starting with the bottom and end panels

5. GET STICKING

This is probably the fastest and easiest bit of the whole thing! You will need a gun for your grab-adhesive and then I just applied to the back of my panels and stuck them to the wall in the correct place. I held them in place and applied some pressure all along the panel until it was stuck. I started with my bottom and two end panels, then stuck the top panel in place and finished the remaining vertical panels. I also added my pine strip wood to the top to make a little ledge (I needed a couple of nails for this bit to make sure it stayed in place!)

If you have any gaps - don’t worry. Once all your panels are in place you will need to go round with your poly filler and fill any joins or spaces. Once this is dry - sand it back so its nice and smooth and it will look fab.

Wall panelling preparation MDF
All stuck and ready for filling

6. PRIME

MDF is quite an absorbent material and to avoid any warping (and to ensure a neater finish) I primed my MDF before painting. I used Zinsser B-I-N (its my absolute fav). Make sure to use Frog tape for neat edges!



Frog tape and primer on wall panelling
Frog taped up and primed

7. PAINT

Once the primer had dried, I painted. Mine took three coats due to it being a dark colour but you might get away with two! Bear in mind that if you do go dark and want a matte finish you may need to use a scrubbable emulsion. The darker coloured paints, in a chalky emulsion do tend to mark fairly easily. You could of course go for an eggshell, but personally, I didn’t want the sheen.



Painted wall panelling
Three coats of paint later....

There you have it! I really hope that this has been useful and if any of you try it out - let me know how you get on. I would love to hear!


Dani x

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