If you follow me on Instagram, you know this stunning DIY herringbone board and batten accent wall has been a trial in patience and perseverance. I cannot tell you how good it feels to have it completely done and styled! I actually thought I’d have this wall done in about two weeks, tops! Without thinking about it too much, I’d say it’s been well over a month – and it feels longer than that. My journey should not deter you in installing your own herringbone accent wall because my learning curve will put you ahead of the game.
This stunning DIY herringbone board and batten accent wall wasn’t difficult to install, to do the finishing work, or to spray paint – but it was difficult running into unforeseen issues that just took time to work themselves out. This wall is a statement wall, it’s the first glimpse of our home’s vibe when guests walk in, and I’m so happy with the way it turned out!
There are a lot of herringbone board and batten tutorials out there, but I want to explain important aspects and steps that I took to complete my accent wall design. I think the details are so important and there are some things that you just don’t think about unless it’s brought to your attention. So, without further delay, I will show you a process pic and then share my tips for each step.
Video – Stunning DIY Herringbone Board and Batten Accent Wall:
Tools + supplies – Stunning DIY Herringbone Board and Batten Accent Wall:
The primed MDF boards were purchased at a local wood supplier and were 18′ long by 3.25″ wide by 5/8″ thick. Be sure to give the boards a quick sanding because MDF can have little spots or corners of roughness that will show up after being painted. A part of planning out your wall is to also gather (or purchase) all the tools you’ll need – this will help you reduce possible delays.
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1. Plan out the wall – Stunning DIY Herringbone Board and Batten Accent Wall:
When you plan out your herringbone design, use painter’s tape to roughly measure where you want your vertical boards to go. Take into consideration any outlets, light switches, or in our case, a doorbell. Some people prefer an odd number of panels, but I wanted a very symmetrical look, so I went with four panels. I also wanted my diagonal boards to be at an average angle, not too low or high. Your personal preferences and logistics of the wall will help determine your vertical board placement. This is the time in the process that you’ll want to mark those wall studs with a pencil. I opted to not use chalk lines because I didn’t want the mess on the floor and the prime and paint will easily cover the pencil marks.
2. Add borders – Stunning DIY Herringbone Board and Batten Accent Wall:
The first boards that I measured and cut were the outside vertical ones. The right end of this wall can be seen when walking toward the entry from the rest of the house so I didn’t want seams showing at the top and bottom boards. If this wall was incased by other walls, I would have done the top and bottom boards first. I made sure that the MDF boards weren’t bowed or rough for the right side since it is the finishing piece at that end. These boards were the easiest because they were installed into studs, the others were not.
3. Add more borders – Stunning DIY Herringbone Board and Batten Accent Wall:
This photo shows the top and bottom boards installed as well as the center board. Some herringbone board and batten designs don’t use top and bottom boards, but I used them because I didn’t want to disturb the original baseboard or the double crown molding. The MDF boards are just a little thicker than the baseboards, but it doesn’t look funny and blends quite naturally.
It probably helps that the wall and molding are both Alabaster white by Sherwin Williams – the monochromatic look creates a consistency and fluid visual. However, there are other examples on Pinterest and YouTube of walls with the baseboard a different color than the herringbone wall and it looks great because the baseboard continues around the room while the herringbone wall is a standalone accent wall.
4. Add the final vertical boards – Stunning DIY Herringbone Board and Batten Accent Wall:
Now the wall is taking shape and you can see the other two vertical boards are up and symmetrically spaced, creating my four panels. These vertical boards are installed with liquid nails and 18 gauge brad nails. I tried hard to make my cuts as close to perfect as possible, but honestly, I’m still getting to know my mitre saw. Whenever there was a little gap, I left it at the top so that the finishing work is less noticeable. After cutting each board, I placed it onto the wall, leveled it, and then used a pencil to draw along both sides of the board. This way, once I applied liquid nails to the board, I could easily find it’s place on the wall and know that it was straight and in position.
5. First column – Stunning DIY Herringbone Board and Batten Accent Wall:
When it’s time to add your diagonal boards, make sure you have an odd number of boards, if possible. It’s easier to install and odd numbers are more aesthetically pleasing. Some blogs will just start at the bottom and make the rest of the boards evenly apart, but this often leaves a short board at the top as if the design is continuing. This is fine, but my personal preference was to create an accent wall – one piece – one full design.
So, I measured and cut the top and bottom boards first, then I sketched it out on paper to make sure three more boards between the top and bottom ones would look good – not too cramped or spread out. Five diagonal boards was perfect for my preference and I love the odd number. I also had to plan ahead for the second panel and locate where my diagonal boards would be. I cut these boards at 22.5 degrees and feel it’s a great angle for the width of my 40″ wide panels and for the entire size of the wall.
6. Bottom row – Stunning DIY Herringbone Board and Batten Accent Wall:
With the first panel complete, I went ahead and measured and cut all the lower row boards. I did this because I wanted to see which direction (vertically or horizontally) I should continue and it turns out that I really got into a groove by installing boards for each panel vertically. Sometimes measuring is my nemesis, so I ended up having great success by cutting one angled cut, then lining it up to the board in the first panel using a T-square, and then just visually marking the other end of the board with a pencil. Sometimes I had to make a few cuts to shave a hair off or so, but this method worked better for me.
7. Second column – Stunning DIY Herringbone Board and Batten Accent Wall:
I angled the diagonal boards downward because I thought it would be easier to cut around the outlet rather than the doorbell – and it was a good decision. When you plan out your wall in a rough sketch, consider the direction you prefer your diagonal boards go and then make sure it’s doable. I like either direction, but went with the easier cut.
8. Third column – Stunning DIY Herringbone Board and Batten Accent Wall:
The last two columns went by pretty quickly, and at this point I noticed that some of my boards were pulling away from the wall. This can be caused by bowed MDF boards, but in my case it was mostly our wall. This was so frustrating at first because liquid nails wouldn’t work unless I held the board to the wall long enough to adhere (which wasn’t going to happen) or I had to figure out something else because brad nails would not work either.
9. Fourth column – Stunning DIY Herringbone Board and Batten Accent Wall:
I didn’t use liquid nails on any of the diagonal boards because I was able to install each one into two, sometimes three, studs. I decided to keep installing my diagonal boards to see just how many boards would pull away from the wall, and then I’d deal with them all at once.
10. Pulling boards – Stunning DIY Herringbone Board and Batten Accent Wall:
With all four panels done, I could see just how many boards were pulling away from the wall. There were 11 spots to deal with. But it was also so exciting to see it at this stage, taking shape, and looking amazing. My sweet hubs, Jeremy, did a bunch of research for me to solve the problem of the boards pulling away. We watched a video a few times and felt like this technique was the best option. So we ordered the treatment and had to wait for it to ship. I think there are comparable brands at Home Depot that do the same thing, but the video raved about this brand so we went with it.
CA adhesive works on its own, but you have to clamp it or put pressure for a long period of time – which is no different than using liquid nails. However, you can also get the accelerator which causes the adhesive to dry almost instantly. To attach some of the diagonal boards, I carefully squirted some adhesive between the wall and board making sure that some squished out along the edge that was pulling away from the wall, then I had the accelerator ready to spray and hold it in place. After just a few seconds, I let go of the board and it stayed put. Success!!!
The only issues is that it’s very difficult to keep the amount of adhesive that gets squished out a minimal amount. I did too much on the first board and had to Dremel off some of the dry adhesive. But I got better with the other boards and my bead of caulk covered right over it. I sincerely hope that you don’t have the issue of boards pulling away, but if you do, this technique worked for me.
11. Patch and caulk – Stunning DIY Herringbone Board and Batten Accent Wall:
The step to do all the finish work was completely intimidating for me. I had only caulked two seams on Sawyer’s shiplap wall and it was stressful because I had never done it and didn’t have a good feel for the caulking gun or the caulk. So, I was stressing over this beast of a wall with about 90 seams to caulk. I quickly and easily patched all the brad nail holes and seams where the boards met – I used DAP Patch-N-Paint with my finger because it was easier for me than using a spackle knife. Then I used DAP Alex Flex premium molding and trim caulk for paint projects for the wall/board seams.
When you prepare your caulk, you’ll need to carefully cut the tip off, at an angle, using a utility knife, and then used the poker built into the caulking gun to poke a hole through the seal by sticking it into the tip you just cut. Also make sure you know how to release the caulking gun so that when you need to stop caulking, you can release the pressure so it doesn’t keep coming out. Also have a protected surface ready to set the gun down in between running beads of caulk.
I used a cup of warm water and a paper towel ready to smooth each section caulked. Again, I was pretty stressed, but once you get into a groove of drawing beads of caulk (doesn’t have to be perfect, but try to keep it even) it’s easy to get into the groove of smoothing each bead with a wet finger. I would wet my finger, start smoothing it, and when it felt less smooth, I’d wipe excess caulk onto the paper towel and re-wet my finger to continue. It went so much faster than I expected and it was actually really satisfying. I caulked four seams at once, released the caulk gun pressure, and then smoothed the beads. This way the caulk didn’t have time to dry, but I could make sure the seam was continual within a space.
The DAP Paint-N-Patch is for nail holes and joints because it can be sanded. The DAP caulk is for where the boards meet the drywall and it cannot be sanded – if you mess up on a bead, just wipe it all off and redo it because you can’t fix it easily later (unless you’re just adding a little more caulk to a shallow area). Don’t skip the finish work step, it doesn’t look good to see seams and cracks.
Once everything is dry, you can sand it smooth. I used a Ridgid orbital sander with 220 grit paper and connected our shop-vac to it. Be careful at first to get a feel for the strength of the sander, but when you see how it’s smoothing your surface you will get a feel and it goes by faster.
12. Prime and paint – Stunning DIY Herringbone Board and Batten Accent Wall:
Once all the finish work is dry, looks good, is sanded smoothly, and then cleaned up (I used a Swiffer duster, a vacuum, and tack cloth), you can prep the area for priming and painting. Full disclosure, Jeremy wanted it sprayed, but I didn’t like the finish our cheap sprayer left and felt nervous about trying to use it again. So, again there was a delay in my momentum because I needed to research what the best route would be. After reading this post by Christine from Honey Built Home, I was convinced that I needed to spray this wall, use a high quality paint, and an airless paint sprayer that didn’t require adding any thinners.
We invested in the Graco TC Airless Pro Paint Sprayer. With any paint sprayer, there will be overspray, so I had to tape off everything, cover everything with plastic and protect myself with a hair covering, goggles, and an appropriate face mask respirator for the fumes. I also wore paper paint booties to cover my shoes. I also prepped a spot in our garage with a tarp and the supplies to add the primer and paint to the spray gun. I also had both batteries charged for the sprayer, and had a bucket ready in case I needed to unclog the sprayer (which I did). Whatever you do, be sure to read the manual of any sprayer and have it handy – it’s impossible to memorize after one or even two reads.
In hindsight, I wish I would have just rolled on the primer because there was another delay waiting for the correct spray tip to ship and after it did arrive and I sprayed the primer, I realized that I had to clean the sprayer with mineral spirits. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have mineral spirits laying around (now I do) so that was another quick trip to The Home Depot so that I could clean the sprayer before it started to dry inside my new spray tip! I wish I would have rolled on the primer while I waited for the tip to ship and not had to mess with cleaning oil-based primer.
I used Emerald paint by Sherwin Williams in Alabaster with a semi-gloss finish. The other issue I had is that when you clean the paint sprayer, you turn up the spray speed to 10. This is the highest speed and it’s great for cleaning. Once I had the sprayer clean and then full of latex paint, I forgot to move the speed setting down. This caused the paint to run in several spots before I realized what was happening. I moved the speed down to 4 (which also uses less paint) and it sprayed perfectly.
I had to wait for the runs to dry, and once dry, I used a razor blade to cut the thickness off, sanded it using a 120 grit sponge and then a 220 grit sponge (what I had on hand). There were a few spots that I had to used the DAP Patch-N-Paint to smooth out, then sand, before spraying the final coat. It was a process, and I’m glad I learned so much, but my spray speed mistake was frustrating. One final note about spraying – be sure to keep your paint can inside the house. I think keeping the can in the garage between the first and second coats (over 2 days) thickened it up and I had to unclog the sprayer several times in the beginning of spraying the final coat.
This beautiful C.S. Lewis wall art is from an awesome Etsy shop called Rooted and Grounded Home. My order was shipped quickly and I’m so happy with the quality and craftsmanship of my new wall art. If you love supporting small business and handmade shops, this company is one to check out.
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This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may receive a small commission from each purchase, at no cost to you. Thanks for considering my links!
I just love the final look, styled with a natural worn wood console and some spring vibes. Confession… I have already moved some things and switched this area up a bit. I just love it so much and enjoy seeing different pieces on it. Be sure to follow me on Instagram so you can see how this space changes each season (or whenever I get the itch for a change!). Thanks so much for checking out my stunning DIY herringbone board and batten accent wall. I think this wall seems like it could be complicated with the angled cuts and overall design, but with a little planning, you can create your own beautiful accent wall to fit your style. Would you want a herringbone accent wall in your home, and if yes, in what space? Let me know in the comments below~