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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.
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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.
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.
Using 120-grit sandpaper, sand the edges and faces of the plywood squares. Vacuum each square and wipe it clean with a soft cloth.
Apply wood conditioner according to the manufacturer's directions. After it dries, apply stain and let dry overnight.
Wood conditioner penetrates the surface and seals the wood pores, allowing stain to absorb evenly without blotches.
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.
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.
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.
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.