How to build a Shiplap Door

There has been so much love for my shiplap door from my Coastal Bathroom Remodel that I did as part of the One Room Challenge. So I am going to share with you how you can make your own shiplap door in one day for under $20 and what mistakes to avoid!

I came up with the idea of a shiplap door when I was brainstorming ideas for the kids coastal bathroom remodel. I really loved the idea of having shiplap in the bathroom to go with the coastal theme, but the kids bathroom was so big, my budget to small and my time to limited. I painted the plain wood door white but it still felt like it lacked something. Then I thought why not add shiplap right to the door!


How To Build a Shiplap door

Measure and Prime your door.

You are going to want to measure the door that you are using to determine how wide and long you need to cut your boards. The door you are using may be different then the door I used so this is a result that may vary for everyone. The door I used was a flat cheap builder grade wood door. It was what was already on our bathroom linen closet. My measurements came out to be 6 inches wide by 31 3/4 inches long. I did two coats of white primer on the front and back and along the edges. You will need to do this because there will be tiny spaces in between each board and you don’t want the original door color to show through. If your door is already white, great! One less step for you to do!


Go buy the lumber.


Home Depot is my go to store for building supplies. It runs in the family. Growing up my parents would often go on “dates” to Home Depot and leave me to babysit my brothers. I thought it was kinda lame back then. Now I would love to go on a “date” with my husband to Home Depot! My how things have changed.

You will need to look in the small plywood sheets section for the 5.0mm x 2’x4′ Multi Purpose panel. One side looks like wood while the other side looks like paneling. That is ok because we are painting it. Its nice and thin perfect for applying it to a door. I bought 3 sheets.



-Here is a tip I learned while doing this project-

The board is not actually 2 feet wide.

It is just shy of 2 feet wide. I did not know this. I thought that I was going to be getting 4 pieces to put on my door when I really only got 3 out of one board.

That throws some chaos into the design plans.

The reason I didn’t figure this out until I was ready to assemble the door was because when I was measuring out the cut lines on the board I assumed the last end of the board would be 6 inches like the rest. It wasn’t, it was more like 5 3/4 inches. That was not going to work for me. I felt like there was going to be to much of a noticeable difference with the boards, so I sent my Husband back to Home Depot for more boards.

Don’t do this.

Save your money and cut your boards at 5 1/2 inches and then you will get 4 pieces from each board and this project will only cost you around $20.

Measure and cut the lumber.

Make sure you measure out each piece before you cut, or before your husband makes the cuts for you, (if you are like me and using a saw makes you nervous.) Don’t be like me and assume its the right size. My door required 12 boards that were 6 inches wide and 1 board one the bottom was a little bit larger at 7 1/2 inches wide. It was easier to cut the last board a little bit larger rather then add a few centimeters to each board.



Sand and prime the boards.

Sand down the rough edges of the boards and then prime them. You must do it in that order.


I test primed a few of my boards before I cut them. -Another tip I learned – Don’t prime them before you cut your boards it will cause them to bow. They will still work for the door but it is hard to get the spacing correct.

Space and cut a door handle hole.

Now that your boards are cut, sanded and primed. Grab a handful of nickels. You are going to use them to space your boards apart to give you the shiplap look. This can take some time as you move the boards around to get them in the best spots. Can you guess which boards I primed first before cutting?



Once I got the spacing right I laid under the door and traced the door handle hole onto the board that was covering it. My husband cut the hole for the door handle using the Black & Decker Hole Saw  . You will need to make sure that your spacing is correct so that you do not cut the door handle hole to close to the edge of the board.

Glue and clamp the boards.

Once the boards are all spaced out in the correct spot with two nickels in between the boards, one at each end. You are going to pull one out and flip it over to the non painted side and apply the glue. I used Liquid Nails to hold the boards in place.


Try and get the glue close to the edge, but make sure to leave room for the glue to spread once it gets placed back on the door and clamped down. Make sure that you fill in all the spaces with glue. You want to be sure the boards have enough glue on them to stay put on the door. You don’t want them to fall off or pop up.


Once the board has glue on it flip it back down on the door and wiggle it into the correct space. Press the board down firmly starting from the middle and working outward. Make sure you still have a nickles width in between each board. I left my nickels in until I had all the boards glued and clamped on then I removed them. I didn’t want them to get stuck in any glue that may have squished out from the boards. This glue dries fairly quickly, my door was done in about 30 minutes.

Paint and Hang the door.

Once your boards are firmly glued onto the door it is time to paint it. I wanted my door to make a statement but not stand out so I painted my door the same color of the bathroom walls and trim.




Now you can make your own shiplap door! Please be sure to tag me in any pictures you post! I would love to see them. If you have any questions you can leave a comment below or email me at:

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