Before: Blank, painted wall

Ace Hardware is my blog sponsor and they gave me a chance to try a new product  by Amy Howard at Home– Vintage Wood Pallet Wall in a Box.  I knew right away that I wanted to create a shiplap feature wall right outside the entry to my powder room.   Here’s the space before. Just a blank wall painted Sea Salt from Sherwin-Williams.  I had a full length leaning mirror here.  It’s about an 8′ x 4′ space with no cuts for outlets, so for a beginner like me, it seemed like it would be a doable project.

Before I got started, I set up eight foot tables covered with old sheets and towels in my garage.  And, I watched this how-to video .

The Pallet Wall in a Box comes with unfinished solid red oak planks enough to cover about 20 feet.  Here was my first glitch…I didn’t order enough wood. Thankfully, I have a super sweet relationship with Jabo’s Ace Hardware and they were able to help a girl out by expediting another box to me within a few days.

unfinished red oak planks

I laid all the wood out on the tables and set up my supplies.

First, you start with the Vintage Wood Better with Age stain. Open the can and stir with a stir stick.


Better with Age stain

Dipping the 1.5 inch flat paint brush into the stain, with long strokes, I painted each plank of wood.

brushing on the stain

stained planks

After I was finished, I let the planks completely dry for a few hours while I worked on laundry.  The planks will darken as they dry.  You could stop here if you wanted to, but I wanted a white wash look to the planks, so I moved to the next step the Venetian Plaster application. It’s a plaster made of lime and powdered marble and gives a beautiful textural aesthetic to the wood.

mixing venetian plaster with water

I poured the powder into a plastic bowl and added water until I got the consistency of a milk shake, stirring until smooth.  Using my paint brush I painted the stained wood with a generous coating of the plaster. Note:  I worked with one plank at a time, first applying plaster, then troweling it off.

applying the venetian plaster

Then with a plastering trowel, I skimmed off the coating of the plaster leaving a deposit of the plaster in the wood grain.

troweling off the plaster

It’s amazing how the plaster seemed to know exactly where to stay to show the beautiful detail of the wood.  I let the plaster sit overnight.  Tip: I watched the weather to make sure there were no freezing temperatures to affect the wood while it cured in the garage.  Be sure to plan accordingly if you attempt this project during cold weather by moving your wood inside.

applying cerusing wax

The next step was to apply the Cerusing Wax which is a soft wax that gives a satin patina of protection on the wood.  I first applied it with a lint free cloth, but I switched to a brush because it seemed to go on easier with a brush.  After I applied the wax, I let the wood dry for about an hour, then I went back and buffed it with a soft cloth.  You could feel the softness of the surface and it did give the wood a very light satin finish.

Then came woodworking school.  Because I have zero experience using power tools, I asked my two guy friends from church, who are skilled at a chop saw and nail gun, to help me.  They got the project started for me and once they were half way finished, they walked me through how to install the wood planks myself.  You can see in the photo below how they marked the studs in the wall with a pencil.  Those marks showed me where to nail the boards up first.  They showed me how the wood is installed with no specific pattern.  Look at this photo how each plank is different, some whiter than others, some more distressed.  The ends don’t match either.  Some rows have two planks, some have three planks.  They were great teachers to show me how to determine what plank we should pick for the next row.

initial installation and marked space showing stud location

Yes, I am amazing with my saw skills

Then, came learning how to use a chop saw.  It’s amazing how empowering you can feel the first time you use a power tool…as demonstrated on my face here!

We went back and forth with cutting, nailing, cutting and nailing.  The install took about three hours.

The last bit that needed to be done to finish was the strip right above the baseboard.  It wasn’t quite wide enough for the plank to fit, so the church guys took it back to their shop to use the table saw. Once that cut was made and installed, it was finished. I couldn’t believe how it transformed this small space and made it so fresh and clean looking.

finished wall

view from the powder room

I added the mirror for now

view from the family room

The total for the wood and supplies was about $272.  That was because I needed two boxes of wood.  If you are just needing one box you’d spend around $171.  In terms of time, I broke down the project over several weekends because that was what worked for my schedule.  I think you could easily stain and plaster the wood one day, wax and install day two.

I would totally encourage you to try this project on your own.  It is really fun when you can look at something and know you made it.  As Amy says, “Enjoy the bragging rights!”

To purchase the products listed in this post click here.  Amy Howard products are available through Amy Howard at Home and through Jabo’s Ace Hardware.