So, I chose to work with plywood. I know some would choose to use 1x3 or MDF but the 1x3 was more expensive and I didn't like how it would hang over the baseboard in my room and I didn't plan to replace the baseboard, so I needed something thinner. Thin enough not to hang over but yet still show the depth and style. So, 1/4 inch plywood seemed to be the best choice. We used just under 2 sheets. We went to Home Depot and had them strip 1 sheet lengthwise into 3 inch sections.
Remember, a lot goes into this look. Measure, cut, sand the edges lightly, caulk, hang it, prime and paint.
I can't tell you why ours is a specific height, it just happened to work out that way. I didn't want it to be normal chair rail height, I wanted to go higher. I played around with the look and I decided what I liked and it ended up at 51" to the top. I also decided to add a piece at the bottom to the top of the baseboard to give it more bulk and to have a straight edge to work with. I used a 3 in. strip just above the trim. So, with the 3" baseboard, 3" bottom board, 42" batten, plus the top 3" board we topped off at 51" height. My "batten" was placed 18" apart. Again, that is personal preference. A lot of people would choose 16 inches apart because that is where the studs are but I liked how it looked farther apart. And since plywood is so light I wasn't really concerned about finding studs.I taped it up and liked the look so I went with it.
The key is to get the very first batten up level. That's important. If the first one is off, the rest will be too so make sure to be precise with this one. My husband and I used a laser level and attached the first horizontal 3 inch strip (96 inches long) to the top. Once that was level, I attached the bottom 96" long board. Then I started with the first batten and made my way around the room. I used a yardstick cut at exactly 18 inches to place the battens. I taped them with painters tape first since it was plywood and light. Then I made sure they were level and exact. I chose not to use glue, although a lot of people do. I used my nail gun with 5/8 brad nails and I went to town with that. So here it is, half done.
|Ready to prime and paint.|
|This was the first attempt. I ended up taking it down and added the 3 inch board at the bottom and starting the first batten to the left of the switch instead.|
|Under the kitchen bar|
|All up and primed. Painting to follow.|