DIY Temporary Accent Wall with Grasscloth & Nailheads

by Christine DemosJune 29, 2013

Today we’re featuring another fantastic winning project from the Crafting with the Stars promotion that was hosted on East Coast Creative. The theme for this project was home decor and we’re in love with this accent wall by Sarah M. Dorsey Designs. See how she created this project in her home and learn how to complete the project for your own space:

Living in a rental makes it nearly impossible to install classic wallpaper and nailhead, so we decided to build a separate feature wall! We wanted to incorporate two of my favorite materials, nailhead and grasscloth wallpaper. I love the texture of the wallpaper and the dimension of the nailhead!

Want to know how we built the wall? Here we go!
We purchased three sheets of plywood from Home Depot and had them cut to 7′ high. Since the feature wall is 12′ long, it would need to be built inside of the room. We designed it so that it could easily be dismantled into three pieces to be removed. We tied the seams together with 1x3s and built a frame on the back with 1x3s so it was extra sturdy and straight. We then flipped it over and primed it so that they wall paper adhesive wouldn’t soak in.
Once dry, we cut the wallpaper to the correct height, placed it to the side and rolled wallpaper adhesive over the primer. We then used a wallpaper smoothing tool to remove any bubbles. The steps were repeated with 4 rows across, lining up the seams. It was helpful to have two people so that it could be adjusted as needed!
For the design, I was inspired by this fantastic headboard by Annie Selke. We created the design in Illustrator, and calculated the distance between the nailhead and printed it on two sheets of 11×17 which were taped together. We then punched little holes through the dots and used a felt tip pen to lay it out on the wallpaper.

Nailhead isn’t the most fun thing to apply, but once you hit a rhythm you move pretty fast! Here are a few tips that I found helpful as I went:

  1. To help protect my fingers from the hammer and to grab the nailhead more easily, I used rubber finger tips on my thumb and index finger (you know the ones that they sell in the office supply stores for sorting paper and such?) When I did hit my fingers, it hurt a lot less, and they weren’t even sore when I was done!
  2. If your wood is soft enough, push a few in with your finger first and then hammer. This saves time since you are putting the hammer up and down less frequently. Since our plywood was soft and hard in different spots, this wasn’t always possible, but it helped when we could!3. Lastly, this feature wall took about 2,250 nails. Wow, that’s a lot of nails! So it was helpful to have two people or if you have the time, break it up over a few days. Total install time for the nailhead with two people was about 8 hrs.

It was helpful to install the trim (we painted first) before the nailhead reached the edge, so we knew exactly where to stop it. We used finish nails to secure the trim and then filled the holes with wood filler, sanded and painted once dry.

Next, we decided that we wanted the wall to sit just above the trim, so we cut legs to height out of a 1×12 and secured it to the back frame. We then installed a few cabinet anchors through the trim into the wall to make sure that it was firmly attached.

This wall was pretty massive! Almost the length of the room, but I LOVE the impact that it has on the space! Just because we are renting doesn’t mean that without a little creative thinking we can’t have a statement wall!
We hope this tutorial inspires you to try a project like this in your own home. There are many creative ways to add your personality to your space, even if you’re renting a home.

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About The Author
Christine Demos
Christine is the Content Marketing Specialist for She's a small town girl at heart, who currently lives in Norfolk, VA with her husband and their fur baby. When she's not working, she enjoys cooking, decorating, traveling, and binge watching Netflix. As a proud Virginia Tech alum, she also loves cheering on the Hokies!
  • Kelly Miranda
    July 1, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Wow this is idea is brilliant. This room really was simply spiced up. I love the backboard/extra wall with the wallpaper and nailhead design. And I can’t believe you created this yourself. So awesome!!

    I actually love using nailheads as well for different DIY projects. I get mine from M&J Trimming because I think they truly have the best selection, so I just wanted to share with you how they’re having 15% off all nailheads right now on their website. The promo code is: NAILHEAD201 and the link is:

    Thanks for sharing! I really love this idea. Have a great day.

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