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Stained Plywood Squares Wall Treatment

Introduce color and beautiful wood grain pattern to your room. Make this accent wall in a weekend using the natural simplicity of stained plywood squares.

Stained Plywood Squares Wall Treatment

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost


Tools and Materials


  • Table saw
  • Measuring tape
  • 4-foot carpenter's level
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Hammer or pneumatic nailer and compressor


  • 2 - 1/2-inch x 4 x 8 pine sheathing plywood, #202760
  • 2 - Cabot wood conditioner, quarts, #266754
  • Cabot stain, gallon, in Peppermill

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

Missing anything? Shop Online


Make and Stain Plywood Squares

Step 1

On a table saw, cut a plywood sheet into 11-3/4-in-wide strips. Then cut each strip into 11-3/4-inch squares. Each plywood sheet should yield 32 squares.

Good to Know

With a table saw, you only need to set the fence once at 11-3/4 inches for perfect squares. However, you'll need a helper to balance a full sheet of plywood on most saws.

Step 2

Using 120-grit sandpaper, sand the edges and faces of the plywood squares. Vacuum each square and wipe it clean with a soft cloth.

Step 3

Apply wood conditioner according to the manufacturer's directions. After it dries, apply stain and let dry overnight.

Good to Know

Wood conditioner penetrates the surface and seals the wood pores, allowing stain to absorb evenly without blotches.

Install the Wall Treatment

Step 1

Measure the height and width of your accent wall. Transfer the measurements to graph paper, and use it to map out the positions of the full-size plywood squares and any baseboards or spacer strips for the corners. Adjust the position of the first plywood square, if needed, so that you don't end up with any square less than 6 inches in height or width at the top of the wall or in the corners.

Step 2

Mark the wall above one plywood square

Place one plywood square at floor level or at the baseboard in the position you mapped out on graph paper. Make a small pencil mark on the wall to note the top edge of the square.

Step 3

Mark the level line with carpenters level

Position a carpenter's level on the mark and draw a level line as a guide to position the first row of squares. Align the top of a plywood square with this level line and nail the square to the wall.

Step 4

Nail alternating squares in rows

Position the second and subsequent squares so that the grain alternates from square to square and row to row in a checkerboard pattern. Continue to check that rows remain level as you work your way up to the ceiling and watch for any debris that pushes squares apart. That will minimize fine-tuning the top row of squares against the ceiling.