Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Mimic the Look of an Early American Colonial Home


The combination of wood and plaster will give a room a distinctly colonial look.
The combination of wood and plaster will give a room a distinctly colonial look.
Tony Anderson/Getty Images

This project takes its inspiration from Colonial Americana. Plaster and wood combinations were used to build structures in early America. The effect Rebecca mimics was actually a product of time. In the original technique, the wood used to build the structure would dry and shrink, then plaster was added to the seams to fill in the gaps.

For this project you'll need plaster, plywood, dark walnut stain, stain sealer, a table saw, a drill, a putty knife and wood screws.

  1. Create the planks inexpensively by ripping plywood into 8-inch strips. Cut the strips on the table saw, then sand the edges and stain.
  2. Add a sealer to preserve the finish of the wood.
  3. Measure the wall and determine how long each plank should be. Cut all the pieces ahead of time.
  4. Find the studs in the wall before beginning the installation. Each stud is usually 16 inches on center.
  5. Ask a friend to hold the planks on the wall. Drill screws through the wood and into the studs.
  6. Once the horizontal planks are up, plaster the spaces in between using a putty knife. The plaster can be rough and textured to create a more authentic look.
  7. While the plaster is still wet, remove any excess that may have made its way onto the wood with a wet sponge and clean putty knife.

More to Explore