How to Create a Faux Shiplap Picture Frame

Jeanette Lockmiller
Updated May 10, 2016
DIY faux shiplap picture frame
Creating a faux shiplap picture frame is simple with these DIY instructions. (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Lockmiller)

This DIY picture frame with faux shiplap can easily add classic farmhouse flair to your home interior.

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If you've fallen in love with the farmhouse style but don't want to commit an entire room to shiplap, you can add simple touches of DIY shiplap in your home with a little creative know-how. In this tutorial, I'll show you how to DIY faux shiplap artwork that you can create with inexpensive materials found at the craft store.

Supplies needed

A good rotary tool, such as a Dremel® tool, will be the key ingredient for creating a "faux shiplap" matte for your art. Once this is created, you can hang a variety of art on this pretty shiplap backdrop.

Supplies needed to create the shiplap include:

• Open back picture frame (in my project, I used a clearance frame from the craft store and painted it)

• 1/4-inch craft plywood (to fit as the matte backing)

• Handheld rotary tool with tree or cone shaped bit

• Straight edge (to draw straight lines)

• Medium-grit sanding block

• Metal straight edge

• Paint of your choice from the craft store, plus water for a whitewashed effect

Step 1: Draw your ‘shiplap’ lines

Using a T-square or ruler, draw evenly spaced lines horizontally across your plywood, which will become the matte for your art.

For my 24-by-36-inch frame, I spaced my lines about 4 inches apart.

DIY faux shiplap picture frame
Photo courtesy of Jeanette Lockmiller/Snazzy Little Things

Step 2: Create the faux shiplap grooves

Next, use a metal straight edge and align it across the lines you drew. Press the rotary tool (with a cone-shaped bit) firmly into the plywood. Turn on the rotary tool, and pull it across the plywood, following your lines. Keep the rotary tool’s bit simultaneously pressed against the metal straight edge as well as pressed into the wood. This will leave a groove in your plywood.

Repeat if needed for a deeper cut. Rough lines are acceptable, considering you're going for a more rustic look.

DIY faux shiplap picture frame
Photo courtesy of Jeanette Lockmiller/Snazzy Little Things

Step 3: Sand the grooves and the surface

Lightly sand your plywood. Be sure to place the edge of your sanding block in the groove to eliminate any rough spots or splinters that resulted from Step 2.

Step 4: Paint your shiplap

I tend not to over-engineer specialty paint finishes. For a simple whitewash effect, I applied a light layer of paint with my nylon brush dipped in water.

Lightly sand between coats. You can use chalky paints from the craft store in a color of your choice. It's also OK to have some of the grain showing through.

DIY faux shiplap picture frame
Photo courtesy of Jeanette Lockmiller/Snazzy Little Things

Step 5: Assemble your picture frame and art

I had been searching for a way to display this pretty botanical art that I purchased from the craft fair this summer. You can do the same by searching online for vintage botanical art, many of which are available to print (for free) online.

To emulate what I did, here are the supplies and methods I used:

DIY faux shiplap picture frame
Affix a vintage print to the shiplap. (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Lockmiller)

• Foam core

• Art of your choice

• Lightweight fabric (to cover the foam core)

• Adhesive spray

• Hot glue

• Fabric fastener strips (to affix to the "shiplap")

I simply sprayed the foam core with adhesive spray and wrapped it in fabric. I tucked each corner of the fabric under, applying a drop of hot glue at all four corners.

Once the corners were cool and dry, I affixed my botanical art onto the front of newly covered foam core. I sprayed the back of my art with adhesive, then centered it onto the covered foam core.

On the back of the foam core, I applied double-sided fabric fastener adhesive. Then I stuck it directly onto the shiplap.

The best part about DIY art is that YOU are in control of the look, and you can even change your art throughout the seasons. I love having versatility in my decorating, but I'm even more excited about having "shiplap" in my home for an understated farmhouse look, without the permanent commitment!

Are you planning a DIY decorating project? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

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