DIY Faux Wall Planking – for  for a Whole Room!

How to install DIY faux wall planking using just a board and permanent marker for a temporary wall treatment on a budget.

Yes, we actually did wall planking in an entire room for $20. That is IF you want to really call them planked walls.

But you be the judge… do these look like planked walls to you?

DIY faux wall planking in a bedroom using a Sharpie paint pen painted Sherwin Williams Evergreen Fog

The Problem With Real Wall Planking

Here’s the problem about real wall planking:

  • It’s expensive, especially considering the increase in lumber prices these days.
  • It’s time consuming. In the past, it’s taken us 2-3 days to complete the real thing.
  • It’s very permanent. In the future, if you want to change your style and rip out your wall planking, you better plan to replace the drywall.

And since we are tackling a shared teen girls’ bedroom at our neighbors’ house, we are very aware of how quickly their styles change (and how quickly they grow up and move out… I’m not crying, you’re crying.) So we needed temporary.

Bedroom painted Sherwin Williams Evergreen Fog with faux planked walls

Side note: These walls we painted Sherwin Williams Evergreen Fog turned out to be the perfect color! (More designer recommended sage green paint colors are in this post.)

When to Use Faux Wall Planking

Anyways, this faux DIY wall planking seemed like the perfect solution to solve all of those 3 problems because it’s especially the perfect solution for kids’ rooms… or teens who absolutely love the boho vibe made oh-so-complete with cottage-y wall panels.

(It’s also great for “trying on” the planked wall look if you’re not sure you really want to commit. If you don’t love it, paint right over it. Problem solved. Or if you live in a rental and are allowed to paint, it’s a good way to get the planked accent wall look that way too.)

How to Make Faux Planked Walls

The solution: paint pens.

using a Sharpie paint pen to make lines for faux wall planking

Those two words might have made your brain come to a screeching halt, but hear me out.

This faux wall paneling method is every bit as good as the peel and stick shiplap wallpaper stuff you’d find at Target or Wayfair and similar in concept.

It’s just meant for looks to trick the eye, and there are no actual 3D wall planks. Except the paint pen method is way cheaper and less frustrating to install than even the wallpaper approach.

We did several faux shiplap methods at our old house, so it seemed right to bust out one of our favorite old tricks all over again.

How to DIY Faux Wall Planking


  • Black Sharpie Oil Based Medium Point Paint Pen (regular Sharpies do NOT cut it)
  • 1 1x6x8 board (or longer if you’re working on a room with ceilings taller than 8′.)
  • 1 1x6x4 board (in the pre-cut section of Home Depot or Lowe’s)
  • Level
  • Square
  • Tape measure
  • Circular saw or even just a hand saw will do
  • Step ladder
  • An extra pair of helping hands, if possible (not mandatory but definitely helpful)
faux planking supplies

The Steps

Measure for Spacers

  1. Measure the space between your baseboards and window apron, window head casing and crown molding, and the wall space between your baseboards and crown molding. Write down those three measurements.
measuring underneath windows for cutting plank spacers

Cut Boards for Spacers

2. Cut your 1x6x8 board to your longest measurement (for the walls minus the baseboard and crown molding). Cut the 1x6x4 board to your two shorter measurements for the spaces above and below the windows.

These boards will be used as spacers.

cutting boards to use as spacers

Use a Level To Get Started

3. Start at an unobstructed corner. Place the 1×6 spacer board against the corner and use a level to make sure it is plumb. Adjust the board if necessary.

(It’s better to be plumb than to be completely in line with a wonky corner so your lines don’t end up crooked all across the wall.)

Trace Spacers with Paint Pen to Mimic Wall Planking

4. As one person holds the 1×6 spacer board in place, have the other person climb on the step ladder and trace the paint pen along the side of the board.

(It took a little while to get the paint pen started, and I had to step every so often to blot/shake/compress the tip so the paint would keep flowing.)

using 1x6 boards as spacers for tracing lines to mimic paneled walls with Sharpie paint pens

4. When you reach a window, use the shorter spacer boards and repeat.

Tracing 1x6 boards with Sharpie paint pens for faux wall planking
Tracing 1x6 boards with Sharpie paint pens for faux paneled walls under a window

5. Check every 3-4 lines with the level to make sure your lines aren’t going crooked.

Tracing 1x6 boards with Sharpie paint pens for faux paneled walls over a window

6. And you have a fully planked room! It took us 2 pens and about 2 hours to complete this space, which is pretty amazing!

DIY faux wall planking using Sharpie paint pens in a bedroom painted Sherwin Williams Evergreen Fog

So now we have all of the fun decorating ahead.

These faux planked walls really are amazing though. Even standing in the room staring at it in person, I’m almost in disbelief.

DIY faux wall planking using Sharpie paint pens in a bedroom painted Sherwin Williams Evergreen Fog

Have you ever done a wall treatment with a Sharpie paint pen before? Or real wall planking for that matter? If you’re a purist you can find the real wall planking method here.

And here are 8 more wall molding ideas you can DIY too.

Next time you see this room it will be filled with all the cute things!

Can you paint over oil-based paint pens?

Yes, just apply a coat of oil or water-based bonding primer, let dry, and paint with whatever color of interior paint you’d like.

What does faux wall planking look like up close?

It just looks like black lines on a wall. You have to examine the lines to tell it’s not real shiplap, but you can tell it’s not the real deal once you get a foot or two away. Still, it’s pretty convincing.


Leave a Reply