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brown paper packages: {tutorial} board & batten

Friday, January 20, 2012

{tutorial} board & batten

Our home was new when we moved into it almost 4 years ago, and as wonderful as a new house is (totally not complaining), I have found myself having feelings of jealousy when I would see really great makeover projects.

Well, the time finally came when I was ready to change my red music room into an office and library. I wanted to lighten things up a little! Board & batten was one of those things I had been wanting to do forever, but I just hadn't been able to justify it on a new house--until now.  I absolutely love it, and I can't believe HOW MUCH bigger it looks!

There are a million bloggy tutorials out there (maybe not a million, but close), but I've found that there are always variations and methods, plus different tips and tricks from different bloggers. It's all the rage for very good reason--it adds brightness, dimension, and an architectural interest to any room or space. This is a project that can be done fairly quickly, and is relatively inexpensive, considering how much it can transform a space or room. you get mine!  My dear husband did A LOT of the work and put up with my perfection tendencies. I really love how it turned out, and it brightens our home immensely. It is totally empty, but I've got big plans, lol!  We're building a desk and bookshelves, and I'm on the hunt for a big comfy chair,  the perfect curtains (something light and white...maybe linen?), and a lamp.  I'm also planning a photo gallery wall on the longest wall, which will be a project in and of itself. I'm really excited though, and I'll post our progress as we go.


These were taken the day after we moved in...

  • white primer
  • paint 
  • Liquid Nail
  • 1 1/4 inch nails (and nail gun)
  • 4 x 3/4 inch MDF molding, pre-primed (for battens)
  • 2 x 3/4 inch MDF molding, pre-primed (for ledge)
  • compound miter saw
  • jigsaw
  • spackle
  • caulk
  • sander

P.S. I apologize in advance for the pictures. They were taken with my 5 year old point & shoot (I am anxiously counting down the next month until my new DSLR arrives!), and they aren't the best quality, but hopefully they'll give you an idea of what we did.

1. The first thing we did was tape off, then prime and paint. I was worried about one part of the room--the arched entrance coming from the kitchen.  We have rounded corners on our walls, and the paint that went over the rounded corner and on to the next wall was perfect--and professionally painted before we moved in.  One of my friends shared a tip, and it worked!!! After we carefully taped along the paint line, we used a foam brush to add Mod Podge along the tape and onto the paint on the other side, creating a clear barrier.  When we removed the tape, it was a perfect line--yahoo!

 The room was a dark red, and definitely required a coat of primer.  Actual board & batten uses a smooth white panel on the wall, but since our walls were already nice and smooth, we decided to skip that step--but that meant we had to prime and paint the entire wall.  Once the walls were primed, we painted the top half blue (Upward Blue by Sherwin Williams), and let it dry completely.

2.  Once the walls were painted, we were ready to start the battens. I wanted thick boards, so I went with 4 inch MDF molding.  I also wanted it to be higher on the wall, so we cut them 65 inches tall. The next part was definitely the hardest part for me, and was figuring out how far apart the battens would be.  I really wanted them to be EXACTLY the same width apart, all around the room, and that proved to be a challenge.  Most tutorials I read said that they chose a width (like 12 or 18 inches), and then just estimated in some places to make them fit.  I couldn't do that.  :)  It took awhile to mathematically figure out how apart to place them so it would work out around the whole room, and it ended up being 22.37 inches.  The very last board is a tiny bit off, but I don't think you would notice unless I told you.  :) We then marked with pencil on the wall where the boards would go. The key is to measure, measure, and then measure again!

 Problem #1:  The baseboards

I read a lot about baseboards before we started, and everyone had a different approach.  Most baseboards aren't as wide as the MDF molding, meaning they will hang over the edge of the baseboards.  Some people just left them, others replaced their baseboards with molding that was the same as their new battens would be, and others angled their battens at the bottom to lessen the impact.  We went for door #3.  I didn't want to replace the baseboards, since they were new and in really good shape.  I also didn't want to leave it as it was, because it would really bug me if they hung over the edge. We made a 45 degree angle at the very bottom of each batten, so it looked like this:

You can't tell at all now that the room is done--we made the right decision!

Problem #2: Outlets

Unfortunately, my exact measurements also called for battens to be placed directly over two outlets. We measured the outlet, then the board that would go over it, and cut out a place for the outlet to go. Worked like a charm! You would do the same thing for light switches too.

We lined up the boards around the room, and were ready to start getting them on the wall. Use a level--make sure they're straight, because once they're on, they're on. We used Liquid Nail first, to apply the board to the wall, then used the nail gun to keep them in place.

3.  The piece around the top is also 4 inch MDF molding. I wanted it to be thicker, but not decorative, and this was perfect.  We followed the same method of cutting, gluing, and nailing to get these in place.

4.   The next step was adding the ledge to the top molding piece.  I tried a couple of different sizes before finally deciding on a 2 inch piece of MDF molding.  I wanted to be able to stand a thicker picture frame on it, and that didn't work with anything smaller.  We glued it in place with Liquid Nails, then nailed it on.

5.  Next came the fun part...filling all the holes with spackle, and caulking all up and down the sides of the battens.  Once that was done, we sanded it down to get ready for the final coats of paint.  I used a white semi-gloss, and it took two coats over all of it (walls and boards).


I'm happy to answer any question you have...


Blogger Jaime said...

Kierste totally worth it, love, love every inch of whiteness there. Please don't go too heavy on the curtains, maybe just natural woven type roman shades or something that pulls up to the top.

January 20, 2012 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

absolutely LOVE it! you guys did a great job and it looks beautiful!

January 20, 2012 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

It's beautiful. You did a really good job. I wish I could wrap my mind around the trick you used with Modge Podge and the rounded corner! lol I just can't visualize it!

January 20, 2012 at 4:04 PM  
Blogger Posie Patchwork said...

Oh it looks amazing, you'll love that room & yes, the magic of light & icey colours, incredible. Love Posie

January 20, 2012 at 4:36 PM  
Blogger Penni said...

I love the difference. The change just brightens up that room. I just did a board and batten to my girls room, but without the board as well:). Thanks for sharing!!

January 20, 2012 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Looks awesome! I'm getting ready to do that in my entryway!

January 20, 2012 at 5:06 PM  
Blogger Steph @ Crafting in the Rain said...

Looks beautiful! I'm temped to do this in the dining room corner of my kitchen.

January 20, 2012 at 6:04 PM  
Blogger houseofchaos said...

Fabulous! You did a beautiful job! I love it! The last picture--with the arched doorway--are those rounded corners? If so, how did you make that work?

January 20, 2012 at 6:07 PM  
Blogger houseofchaos said...

Let me clarify my question about the rounded corners... did you end the board right before the rounded part or where exactly? (does this question even make sense?) :)

January 20, 2012 at 6:12 PM  
Blogger houseofchaos said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 20, 2012 at 6:12 PM  
Blogger Chessa @ Antsi-Pants said...

I love the colors! So modern and updated! Nice work (and how fun it must have been for your kiddo's to get in on some of the action!)

January 20, 2012 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger kierste said...

house of chaos--

On one side of the arch, there was a tiny bit of wall before the corner--only about 4 inches, so I didn't put a batten there. I started the first batten right in the corner where those two walls met, and measured from there. On the other side of the arch, where I ended the measuring, there is a board just an inch from the edge of the wall.


I had two colors of paint meeting each other on the rounded corner, so I taped it like I normally would, with the blue tape as exact as I could. Then I took a foam brush and applied mod podge to right along the tape, and on to the existing paint (which I would be painting over). It created a seal so that paint would have a harder time seeping underneath the blue tape, like it sometimes can.
Did that make more sense? I hope so! If not, I can take pictures. :)

January 20, 2012 at 6:49 PM  
Blogger Stephanie Hall said...

Looks great...but did you really have pictures hung the day after you moved in!!!! It took me a year before I hung any in the last house...and at least 4 months in this one! I would love to do a makeover to my house...but it must start with hanging pictures and finding decor!

January 20, 2012 at 7:39 PM  
Blogger Janine said...

i love the colors. i am so sick of red wall paint. it looks so fresh.

January 20, 2012 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger kierste said...


I really did! I'm kind of crazy like that though--I can't sleep until everything is put away and hung up. My husband loves it. :)

January 20, 2012 at 9:41 PM  
Blogger Toqua's Crafts said...

First: I'm *SHOCKED* your house was so immaculately clean the day AFTER you moved in!!! WOW!

Second: I *LOVE* your "new" room!! The light airy look and feel is a GREAT change!

January 20, 2012 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger Just Simply Live said...

Great job.i love it.

January 20, 2012 at 11:31 PM  
Blogger Kristen Duke Photography said...

I love how you let your kids paint on the wall...I did that in my old house--let them paint and I wrote their names...then painted over it;) The board and batten looks great!

January 20, 2012 at 11:37 PM  
Blogger Swimmingmom said...

You and your husband are amazing!!!!! It came out fantastic and what a difference!!!! I love the lt. blue too!!!!

January 21, 2012 at 10:16 AM  
Blogger juliemadtx said...

Love this! My inlaws are remodeling their bathroom soon, and I think this would look perfect on their one long wall. I would also love to do this in my dining room one day (built house new like you, and can't justify a "remodel" yet - but some day...). We have 2 archways in the dining room with rounded corners, so thank you for elaborating in the comments about how you addressed them.

January 21, 2012 at 6:32 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Love the way this turned out and I love the clean feel of it all! Try Ikea for the white curtains. I got some somewhat sheer cotton ones from there that have tiny thread dots all over. We use them between the dining room/craft room and entry way when I don't want anyone to see my current project(mess). They hang nice and don't wrinkle very easily.

January 22, 2012 at 3:47 PM  
Blogger Yvonne said...

My goodness, it looks BEAUTIFUL. Love it. You two are incredible. I can't believe all you get done. (And seriously, the before pictures were taken the day after you moved it--WOW!!!!)

January 24, 2012 at 8:18 AM  
Blogger Allison {A Glimpse Inside} said...

It looks great! The room does look so much brighter!
We just completed this in our nursery. I will be sharing it tomorrow on my blog.

January 31, 2012 at 1:30 PM  
Blogger Tena said...

The finished project is stunning, I SO want to try it in my bedroom and have wanted to for a few years.

February 7, 2012 at 8:27 PM  

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