How To Make And Install Shaker Style Wainscoating For $100 or less DIY Home Project

How To Make And Install Shaker Style Wainscoating For $100 or less DIY Home Project

Have you ever wanted to add character to a room or give it more depth? If you have, this is a great DIY weekend woodworking project to improve or add character to any room. I will go over all the details and information you need to make this awesome Shaker Styled Wainscoating for your room. It not only will add depth and detail to any room but also teach you how to install baseboards and trim thought your house. This is a great woodworking project for anyone who wants to have a weekend DIY project or give a room more character. Total cost for this project is about $100.


📝 Materials

  • 1x4x12 (1) Primed Wood Board |
  • 1x8x12 (1) Primed Wood Board |
  • 1/2×4″x8″ (1) MDF |

🧰 Tools

  • Miter Saw |
  • Table Saw |
  • Nail Gun |
  • Tap Measure |
  • Paint Brush and Roller Kit |
  • Putty Knife |
  • Square |


  • 32oz DAP Plastic Wood Putty |
  • Sanding block |
  • DAP Caulk White |
  • 2 -1/4in brad nails |
  • Emerald Eggshell White Paint |

Step 1 | Watch My Build Video

Start by first watching my how to build a Shaker Sytled Wainscoating. This will be especially helpful if you are tying into existing wainscoting.

Step 2 | Measure Your Wall

The math for this is really easy!

First – Measure the length of your wall. My wall is 10ft long or 120in

Next –  Determine how many panels you want on your wall. I wanted 5.

Then – Divide 120in by 5 = 24in

This is how far apart you need to make your vertical shaker slats. Make sure to place the center of the slat in the center of your line. I have an illustrated diagram below to give you a visual on how this math works.

math for wainscoating spacing         drawing a line on a wall with a level

Step 3 | Cutting And Installing Your Baseboard

The first thing you want to lay down and cut is your baseboard. This is one of the most important parts of building a shaker style wainscoating. With my project I had to tie into an existing wainscoating panel. This was rather easy as all I had todo was first take off my existing baseboard and add an 8in 1x to the wall. I used scrap lumber I had laying around to get the 1×8 to the correct height. Once it was where I wanted I used my brad nailer and nailed it to the wall.

joining into existing baseboard with wainscoating        Installing a baseboard with a dewalt brad nailerl

Once my 1×8 was attached to the wall I had to install the baseboard trim around the corner.  Tying into the the other wall took some time and patience as I had to get my 45 degree miter cuts just right. I then used a smaller brad nail 3/4in and some wood glue to nail the corner baseboard to the wall. After I added the trim to the corner I then was able to easily measure and cut my long baseboard time and install it. The other important think you need to keep in mind is that your baseboard trim will more than likely terminate outside your door trim. You will need to angle this trim to be at a 45 degrees to terminate into the floor.

Installing baseboard for a shaker style wainscoating        Installing baseboard outside door trim

Step 4 | Cutting And Installing Shaker Slats

For my design I wanted to have my vertical shaker slats be 1/2in thick. The reason I wanted to use 1/2in material over your standard 1x which is 3/4in think was to add character and dimension to the wall. However, finding 1/2in thick boards is very difficult if you do not have a specialty lumber store near you and sadly I don not and had to improvise. I ended up switching to a 1/2in MDF board for the center slats. MDF is a great material to use for this type of project since it is going to be painted, however it only comes in 4ft x 8ft sheets and is very heavy. I ended up having my local home improvement store cut it in half to a more manageable size for me to work with.

cutting a sheet of MDF on a table saw        Installing sharker slats for wainscoating

To cut down the MDF to the right size, I recommend using a scrap piece of lumber as a unit to measure when setting your table saw fence. This will ensure everything stays the same width as the rest of your material. Once I cut everything on my table saw I then used my miter saw to cut the slats to be the same height. A good trick to save time and get everything perfect is measure one board to the desired height, then stack the remaining boards on the bottom and cut it all at once on your miter saw.

Step 5 | Painting

Before you paint make sure you caulk and wood putty any holes or gaps on your wall. Let the caulk and putty cure and then sand the wood putty. After you have sanded everything I recommend using a damp cloth or duster to clean any fine dust that may be on your baseboard or wall before painting.

Painting your wall is really easy. All you need is a paint roller and brush and some painters tape. Paining took me about 30min and this is when the project really came together and felt complete. I have included a few pictures of the final Shaker Wainscoating below.

Panting Shaker Style Wainscoating        painted shaker style wainscoating white

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

This was a really easy project and made a huge difference to my room. I always like projects that take little effort but have big visual impacts. For anyone who is wanting to do this for the first time, the most challenging part of the project was tying into the existing wainscoating…this required some skill in cutting and mitering small pieces on the miter saw. Working with small pieces can be dangerous and I recommend always to be aware of your surroundings and practices shop safety one way I did this was a longer board than I needed and cut small ends off this allowed me to have much greater control of what I was cutting. I also recommend purchasing a cordless brad nailer. I wish I would have purchased one years ago. They are totally worth the investment. You can check out my tools section to learn more about the tools I have in my shop.

Shaker Style Wainscoating corner painted white         Shaker Style Wainscoating painted white

Below are several ways to pin, share, and like this project. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below. If you want to stay up-to-date on my latest projects and are looking for projects yourself be sure to check out my Plans and other Projects on this site. I also am very active on Instagram and YouTube.


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