The Ultimate Beginners Tutorial to Board and Batten

Before this picture was taken I didn’t have the tools or the training on how to make a Board and Batten Wall. But, that wasn’t going to stop me. Being a novice DIY’er and professional Pinner, I researched Pinterest until I found the means to create my own B+B design my own way. I wanted simple steps, a beginners level tutorial, and minimal tools. Not finding exactly what I was looking for I decided to “make it my way” and it turned out pretty great, if I do say so myself!

{The following photos and tutorials include affiliate links. Click the photo or links to be taken directly to a product page or to my page where you can shop these looks!}

Here are my tips and tricks to the Ultimate Beginners Tutorial on Board and Batten:

Lets Talk Tools:

Before this project I had your typical starter set of tools. A mismatched set of screw drivers, a hammer, a mini drill that I used in school for model making, and a cute pink tool bag.

This is the one time that I will be serious…YOU NEED THE RIGHT TOOLS. But, don’t get too worried, this is a list of beginner level tools that I have purchased for my DIY endeavors and I have linked them for you:

1) Long Level 2) Hand Sander 3) Drill 4) Circular Saw 5) Saw Horses 6) Tape Measurer 7) Paint Brush 8) Nail Gun ( I have the 16 Gauge one).

I have made it really easy for you and linked this to my LikeToKnow.It page where you can shop directly from there!


Now that we have gathered our tools, we need supplies. This is the step where a lot of people vary. As you can imagine there are hundreds of ways to do things with hundreds of different tools and supplies. So, I have narrowed down the list to exactly the supplies I needed to get the job done.

1) White Paint + Primer 2) Finish Nails- I use 2″ 16 Gauge Nails 3) Paintable Caulk 4) Wood Filler 5) Liquid Nails 6) 80 and 120 Grit Sand Paper 7) A few spare rags (this is the perfect time to clean out your husbands white undershirt collection).

WOOD you like to know?

This is a wood project after all. I took some time thinking about what size wood I wanted use. I measured my existing base boards and decided I would go with something to balance out the existing 3.5″ baseboard. I also researched wood types and what type of budget I would have for this project.

I chose to use Common Board for this application because it was inexpensive and easy to work with (I am a wood working novice). ***Warning- Common Board is not the prettiest of woods, but it is best on price. It will be knotty and have imperfections that we will remedy later in the tutorial.***

  • 1″ x 2″ Common Lumber- Used as my “base trim”. The was added on top of the existing baseboard to bulk it up and to also give me a flat edge to build from.
  • 1″ x 4″ Common Lumber- I used this for my vertical “Battens” . Tip: buy an 8′ piece and have them cut it in half at the store. Save time and money!
  • 1″ x 6″ Common Lumber- I wanted a beefier top board to balance the baseboard.


Most hardware stores will cut lumber for you for FREE!

6 Easy Steps to build a Board and Batten Wall:

Step One: Cut Once, Measure Twice

With every cut I could subconsciously hear my dad saying to “Cut once and Measure twice.”

  1. Measure Your Space…twice
  2. Draw it to scale, sketch it on the back of a napkin, or get fancy like me and draw it in CAD (side note: I am an architect by trade and have drafting software. YOU do not need CAD for this). Just get your measurements down.
  3. Use that middle school math that we have all forgotten to figure out what size boards you will need and how many of each size.
  4. Make a list of what wood you need.

Step Two: Cut me Some Slack

We have now measured all of our pieces…twice and we are ready to cut. Don’t be afraid to write on the board and also inspect the board before you cut so that you can decide what pieces are nice quality and what aren’t and can be cut away for scraps.

Make sure you have the proper eye protection and you have created a safe area to cut.

Now get to cutting! I suggest cutting one board and then fitting it in your space just to double check your measurements. You don’t want to get too far into cutting and realize, whoopsie, I cut the wrong size.

Step Three: Sand by Me

We want a nice clean surface and smooth edges. As you are aware, the common board isn’t the absolute best, so use the magic powers of your sander, and let it work it’s magic.

For a majority of the project I used the 80 grit sandpaper to really get out some of the imperfections. This step doesn’t take too long but it makes a huge difference in the final outcome.


The higher the grit, the finer the sandpaper. The lower the grit, the more coarse the sandpaper.

Step Four: Nail me up Buttercup (huh?)

With your boards cut and sanded we are now ready to nail everything in place. I suggest starting with the lowest horizonal piece first and let that piece act as a guide for the vertical battens. From there put up your vertical pieces, then crown it with the larger horizonal piece, and poof you are done…I wish it was that simple.

Here are some tips to make it really simple:

  1. Measure out your spacing (using that middle school math again) and draw your spacings on the wall. Use pencil for easy clean up.
  2. Use Liquid Nails to help adhere the boards to the surface.
  3. A Level is your best friend. Use it to double check that your boards are hung straight.
  4. Pop one nail in to hold the board in place. Use the level to re-align it. Nail some more.
  5. Imperfections and small gaps are ok, that’s why we have step five.

Step Five: The Filling Station

You have successfully nailed up your boards and there is an end in sight. If you are like me, you are starting to see some gaps and some imperfections in the wood. Not to worry…I introduce you to Wood Filler and Caulk. Make sure to use paintable caulk.

Rule of Thumb:

You want to FILL the holes and CAULK the gaps.

Here are some tips on how to use the Filler and Caulk:

  • Use a putty knife to help fill the holes. No putty knife, use your fingers.
  • Sand the dried filler using the 120 grit paper until it is barely noticeable.
  • Use a caulking gun for the caulk. Cut the tip at an angle for better application.
  • Use only a small bead to fill in gaps and use your finger to smooth it out and push it into the gap.
  • Use a damp towel to wipe off the access.
  • Make sure the wood filler and caulk are completely dry before painting.

Step Six: Roll it On

Confession: I HATE to paint. I don’t have the patience to perfectly cut the edges or go over it coat after coat. But, it has to be done, so tape off your space and get started.

At this point I suggest only applying one coat, take a break, and let it dry. This will let the remaining imperfections come to the surface and you will notice more holes and gaps. Fill, caulk, and sand as needed. Then paint another coat or two. I used a small brush for the edging and a roller for the rest. For some reason this took me 3-4 coats. I’m not sure if it was cheap paint, or if I got the wrong stuff, or if the under layer was too dark?

Now step back and admire your handy work! If you like this tutorial please give me a LIKE and PIN!!!

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