DIY: Picture Frame Molding


Picture frame molding is a beautiful addition to any wall, and gives a plain room a more expensive look. Hiring a carpenter to install picture frame molding can be costly, but you don't have to be a professional to create professional picture frame installations. With proper planning and the right tools, the average homeowner can easily install picture frame molding.

Design the Layout

  • Measure the wall for the area you want to install picture frame molding, and draw a rough sketch on paper or your computer with the exact wall dimensions. Decide what layout you want for your molding. You can have one frame or multiple frames. Frames can be squares or other shapes, depending on how inventive you are and your woodworking capabilities. Sketch the frames where you want them and determine the exact installation location for the molding. Remember to include the width of the molding in the calculations or the frame will not be centered.

Prepare and Cut the Molding

  • It's easier to prepare the wood before installing. Select the wood for your project and sand it until smooth. Finish the wood with the paint or stain of your choice. Make sure the wood is completely dry before cutting or the paint might splinter.

    The most accurate and efficient way to cut picture frame molding is with a miter saw or table saw equipped with a miter guide. Set the saw or guide to the desired angle and cut each piece of molding according to the measurements in your layout. When you complete the cuts for an entire frame, assemble them on a flat surface to ensure that the joints fit correctly.

Hang and Finish the Molding

  • Using your layout, measure the wall and mark the location for the first piece of molding. Use a level to make sure the molding is straight. If your picture frames are square, use a T-square to make sure the angles are a perfect 90 degrees. A nail gun is the best way to attach molding to the wall. Using a nail gun reduces the possibility of splits in the wood and eliminates the need to touch up hammer marks.

    Fill the nail holes with wood putty and allow the putty to dry. When the putty is dry, sand the filled areas until smooth and touch up the area with your selected paint or stain. Caulk the edges of the molding where it connects with the wall to seal any gaps. If there are gaps where the corners connect, fill with either putty or caulk.

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  • Crown Molding & Trim: Install It Like a Pro; Wayne Drake; 2003
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