When I started this One Room Challenge project, I knew I wanted to do a black board & batten wall. When added to the tribal wall stencil, it has turned out beautifully! Want to do your own? I’m sharing all the details…
Materials & Equipment:
- 2 4X8 sheets of Sanded Plywood (1/4 inch thickness)
- 1 1×6 quality pine board (12 foot length)
- 2 1×4 quality pine board (12 foot length)
- 9 1×2 quality pine boards
- 1″ finishing nails
- Black Screws
- Liquid Nails
- Plastic Wood Filler
- Paint supplies: paint, roller, brush
- Oscillating Tool
- Saw and Hand Saw
- Brad Nailer
- Levels (small and large)
- Caulking Gun
Before you get started on creating a wall feature, you have to remove the base board & quarter round. As a helpful way to check your measurements, use the previous baseboard to lay your project out.
I centered my two pieces together in the driveway, adjusted with the trim laying alongside, and then I arranged my 1×2 boards at equal distance.
How Many Battens Will You Need?
Battens are the narrow boards you’re adding to the frontside of the large boards. There’s a relatively easy way to calculate how many you will need, but in the end, you’ll want to lay it out and make adjustments.
Precisely measure the width of the wall.
Choose an approximate distance between your boards. (18 inches seemed too large for my wall, but I wouldn’t have wanted them closer than 15)
My wall distance was 142.7 inches
I divided that by 17 inches (approximate spacing I chose)
The answer is 8.39 sections–I rounded down to 8, remembering that you have to add an extra one when getting to the other edge of the wall. It doesn’t increase the sections, but the final edge one doesn’t have its own section.
That told me I would be needing 9 battens. But, how did I calculate a more accurate spacing between?
Take the wall length again: 142.7
Add up the actual measurement of your battens (1×2 boards have a width of 1.5 inches) 1.5 x 9 boards = 13.5 inches
Subtract the sum of your batten width from your wall length 142.7 – 13.5 = 129.2
Take your original sections (mine was 8) and use that to divide up the leftover wall length 129.2 / 8 = 16.15 inches
This is helpful when laying out the project, as you can see if the distance you chose fits the look you’re going for. Plus, you can decide, based on the layout, where you want to make the backing boards meet, so they will be covered by a batten.
Do You Need Backing Boards?
Technically, you don’t have to cover your walls with backing board to get the look. But, I did a lot of scrolling, and it seemed like the best way to get a smooth, put together look. I didn’t end up having to caulk the edges of the battens, which I would have done if not for the backing. Then, I would have had battens glued right to the wall instead of boards that can later be removed if necessary.
I cut all of the 12 foot pieces early on in the process. I had my wall measurement, along with my previous trim piece. I planned to use a 1×4 for the baseboard, as well as the “shelf” at the top. The top of the batten was going to be the 1×6. I also cut the backing boards after determining where the center point would be.
I carried one of the 1×4 boards up to his room, along with both of the backing boards. I was able to easily place the backing boards.
Keeping them firmly in place, I used the oscillating tool to cut out the trim where the new base board (1×4) would fit. Don’t forget the depth is only 3/4 inch for a 1×4.
I was able to dry fit all three pieces in place. Hallelujah!
Fastening the Wall Panels
For attaching the backing boards to the wall, I used liquid nails. After gluing up the first wall, making sure it is up against the side wall, use the level to make adjustments.
As soon as you have level, you can use a brad nailer to fasten. The second backing board needed the outlet cut out of it. I measured, marked and cut it with the oscillating tool. Turns out, I cut it a little too big, so I’ll be shopping for a large outlet cover in the near future.
Before putting the glue on the other backing board, I rechecked the fit. I ended up having to take about an 1/8 of an inch off. Gluing and fastening added just a tiny bit of width. This is why it’s so important to measure and remeasure.
Once the backing was up, I rolled on the first coat of paint.
A Couple Notes:
Whenever possible, it’s important to edge ahead of time. I edged all the 12 foot sections–and the backing panels. It wasn’t important to do the battens, as I hadn’t cut them yet, and it would have been a waste of time.
Find the Studs
One aspect of any project is identifying the studs and marking them. I chose to locate them and then put painter’s tape on the floor where they were located so I could continually refer to that if I needed one.
Adding the Base Boards
I used a 1×4 for the bottom base board and a 1×6 as the top trim board. Then, I used a 1×4 for the shelf that would sit on top of the trim. The bottom baseboard was simple enough to install. I used the black screws aligned with the studs to install, checking the level to start. I learned that you should pre-drill the holes, or you may end up with a crack. (Oops!) Thankfully, hubs was home to help me. He made sure there was a screw in place just before the crack–to prevent it from spreading.
The top trim board was a beast to level and install by myself, but I did it. I highly recommend using a tool belt during this process! I was holding the 12 foot board with one hand, checking level with the other. Then, leaving the level in place, I screwed the center point first. This allowed me to check level before doing the next screw. I used the stud markings on the floor again for this. (So helpful!)
We installed the top shelf piece perpendicular to the 1×6 trim, screwing it right into the trim.
I used the plastic wood to fill holes from the screws and fastening nails.
You can sand or use water to clean these up. I used water to prevent dust from collecting.
The Black Board & Batten Wall…What Do You Think?
I’m loving the way this is all coming together! What do you think? Are you ready to try this in your own home?