How to pick out, cut & install wall molding

March 06, 2009

I haven't done a molding project in a while and my molding mojo was a callin' -- I took this opportunity to take pictures a long the way to show you how to pick out, cut and hang molding. 

Picking out molding

I use a ton of thin, picture frame-type molding. I use it for accents everywhere. (Click the picture on the side to see!)

I've found that the easiest stuff to use is this:
It's VERY lightweight, very easy to cut, and bendy. At Lowe's, there's a whole section of it at the end of the aisle. It's sooooo cheap -- these eight foot lengths are $4 each. They have just about any type you could need -- I've used chair rail from this section, as well as skinny flat molding.
It holds up great, it cuts like butta, and the best part - you don't have to paint it when you are done -- it's WHITE. (My favorite part.)

Cutting molding

Let me introduce you to my BFF -- my little miter box!
You can find this -- saw included for about $8. You don't need a massive, electric saw -- just this and some arm muscle. Even with the thin molding, you will sweat just a's good for you. :)

The miter box gives you all the angles you'll need. Lay your molding in, figure out the direction you want the angle to go, then hold it down and cut:

The saw fits inside the angles, so it does it all for you...pretty much:

To make a box, lay your cut piece down and figure out the angle of the next piece:

After a while, you will be able to eye it and tell what angle you want. I think I'm fairly smart...(no comments please) but even I have to lay them down like this every once and awhile:

Then lay it in the miter box the opposite way, and cut away.


If you are doing squares along the bottom of a wall, and your pieces will be the same lengths, there is no need to measure and cut all of them separately. 

Hold your first one up to the other pieces of molding:

Then mark with a pencil where the end is, and use that as your guide (over and over) to cut the additional moldings:

Installing molding

Hellllooooooo LOVAH...
You don't NEED a nail gun. But you will WANT a nail gun after the first shot.'s AMAZING. Power...instant gratification...freakin' fabulous.

Before my Dad donated this beauty to my cause, I used a hammer and nails. It's easily done with these, it just takes longer. You can also use liquid nails -- I've used this as well. Use a THIN line of it along the back of the molding though, and make darn sure you know where you want it before it sets.

To hang your first piece, nail right into the middle of the molding, then hold up a level to make sure all is well before you nail in the ends:

For the rest of the pieces, match up the corners, then put your first nail into the end:

Then use your level to nail in the rest of the piece:

In the end, if the corners don't match up's OK! 

Fill in the holes and corners with spackle/putty and you'll be set!:

I. cannot. say. it. enough. Molding and trim transforms your home:

I'll show you this latest molding project after I do a few more things to it! 

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  1. Well, you do make it look easy! I always love seeing new posts by you. I am always so inspired!

  2. Love it!

    I'm looking around to see where I can put some molding...Hmmm...

  3. This is great! Thanks for the tips! I love it when you give us the "Dummy Guide" because I need it :)!

  4. I must say I'm very impressed. I want so badly to add molding to my dining room, but I'm a big chicken. You make it look so easy. I just might go ahead and give it a try.

  5. This is a great post.

    I've been dying to make some of my own picture frames... you know, the ones that cost a gazillion dollars at boutiques? I'm thinking that that mitre saw and the other thingamajig would do the trick.

    Just wanted to add: Nick is on my list. He is MESSED UP. Seriously.

    OH - And another thing: How is it that Ashley is pregnant? Isn't she like 55? Silly.

    Oh - and ANOTHER thing: How did you feel about that totally lame escape scene? That realistic stumble Kay-kay did was amazingly bad.

    Why Y and R? Why? Why are you doing this to me?

    Happy Weekend!

  6. um, I just stumbled on your blog and I just have to say I may be on it a lot more and I just read your first post! Holy sam, can I say how much I love molding and you made it look so easy! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I am saving your link right now...I guess if it is ok! :)

  7. YOU.ARE.AMAZING. And...I think I love you! Thanks for inspiring me yet again.

  8. Okay, this is SO funny. I bought that very.same.moulding last Friday, from Lowe's. I JUST cut it {well, my handy cousin did} at 3:00 this afternoon, and it's sitting in my bedroom waiting to be hung.

    How ironic!! I am hanging it tomorrow for my post on my bedroom makeover, scheduled for Monday {finally!!}

    Thanks for the tutorial though! I'll use it next time around!

  9. Fabulous - I told my husband I wanted a miter saw and nail gun for Mother's Day! You should have seen the look on his face!!

  10. My husband did all of the trim work in our home and I learned a few things from him but I am afraid on doing any on my own. But you do inspire me. I can not wait to see what you are working on!

  11. I'm wondering...if I sent you a picture of my hall wall..would you tell me what to do with it???

  12. This is a fantastic post! So informative and your photos make it look soooo easy!

    The Blue Ridge Gal

  13. Girl, you never cease to amaze me. My hubby would probably fall over in a dead faint if he saw me with a saw and moulding. LOL

  14. I want a nail gun! LOL! I know, I have to do that with molding too to get the angle cuts. My husband just doesn't understand why! He's got a miter saw and if I wasn't afraid of power tools that cut, I'd use it - it so quick and makes nice clean cuts!


  15. Now I will be thinking about where I can add molding!! :)

  16. Oh, I'd feel so much better if you were here to hold my hand and show me exactly....but I think I can do that!! Thanks!


  17. Looks easy enough! My question is: if you have to spackle/putty it - don't you have to paint over that? Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

  18. I really want to put some more moulding in my dining room, but I've been afraid to try it myself. I am going to bookmark this post, and go for it! Thank you!

  19. I am about to re do our bathroom and thanks for the how to tutorial.


    I've got the miter saw, but I'm totally lusting after that nail gun.

    And I've been itchin' for a molding project too. I think it's spring fever. But maybe I should tackle my "unfinished projects" list first. Who are we kidding- where's the fun in that?

    By the way, my grandpa (who has done construction/finish work/ built half my get the idea) always says:

    "A little putty and a little paint, makes a carpenter what he ain't."


  21. Sarah, can you use the miter box and saw for trim for windows?

    Great post - thanks! :)

  22. Great work. I can't imagine doing this stuff myself!

  23. Awesome! You are awesome! Yes, it's molding Amy again. I went to Lowe's the other day and was so overwhelmed with molding I just left! I've also watched other tutorials/videos online and had more questions at the end than when I began. Now I'm finally clear on everything- THANK YOU!!!!

  24. I love it!! As usual it look gorgeous!

  25. Great tutorial! I love molding too - but I have been afraid of the miter factor. I think I could handle one of those manual miter boxes though. Yay!



  26. Great tutorial!THanks!! I have all the tools- just need to get the molding and figure out where to put picture frames on my walls!


  27. NICE, Sarah!! I love all of your moulding. Hmmmm...I smell a project in the works when we get back from Spring Break.

  28. Oh I do so love the look of molding. It just makes such a huge difference. We have those awful rounded corners on all our walls and so far I havn't found anyone to help me with how to address that problem. Any ideas? Hugs, Marty

  29. I had no idea these boxes existed. How cool!

    Your molding looks great!

  30. Guuuuurrll? You rock with that moulding!!

    Resolved...I am not going to wait for hubs to do this....I am going to do it!!

  31. I can't wait to put up some beadboard in my kitchen to spice it up! :)

  32. Hi Sarah,
    Yes it is very possible we are moving soon.
    My husband is in the military so he is awaiting official orders.
    We have a slim chance of staying put.
    I'm so tired of not knowing. I want to do some molding projects and many more things but I'm on hold for now...

    Thanks for coming by and checking out our lighting.
    ~Melissa :)

  33. Thank you for the tutorial! I need to redo (eventually...) the molding in my dining room, and I will bookmark this page for help. You rock, sister!

  34. A little molding can be so empowering and produce beautiful results. So much better when you can do it yourself. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  35. We did this in our dining room and I love it, as well as everyone else who sees it.

  36. This looks familiar! And I'm totally with you on this one, it does transform a room, as I can attest to after just finishing my dining room. I'm ready to do more now, thanks to your expert advice. I really need a nail gun! Wahhh!

  37. OH my gosh! THank you for that tutorial! It is amazing what molding does for a space. I think I might just have to try it!

  38. I have some horrendous built-in mirrored china cabinets that I would LOVE to cover in molding. Hmmmm... this might be a spring break project for moi.

  39. Hi Sarah,
    Great pictures of the cutting process. I did my first one straight, or square, and I like the look of your angle much better.
    Great job!

  40. {Standing up and clapping!!!!}

    You're awesome! I'm working on a project right now that uses some of the picture frame molding. I can't wait to get it finished!


  41. I have an award for you over at my blog!

  42. Oh my! I love power tools...your air gun makes me drool! Seriously I called my brother tonite to get one from him because I am putting in new baseboard molding in my office!

    I am so excited to use power tools and a miter box I can't hardly stand it!

    Thanks for your great tips.

  43. Thank you so much for this post. I have been wanting to start working with molding for awhile but I have been just too intimidated by the whole process. Thank you!

  44. I'm going to try it. You don't even know how long I have wanted to. I noticed someone else said they have the rounded corners... I have them too, how do you deal with them?!

    p.s. we have the same color front door, which I thought was cool!

  45. Wow, you make it look so easy. Nail gun is on my list of have to haves! Thanks.

  46. Wow, you made molding look so simple. I think I'm gonna load up the kids this very second and run to The Depot to get the supplies! HEEEEeee!

  47. I've always been sort of afraid of molding...but I think I might have to try it now! Great post!

  48. TDC - I love you! You are my sister from another mister! Thank you for all you do to inspire folks like me. I look forward to all of your posts like its Christmas morning!


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