How I installed picture frame molding using a no saw method!
A few days ago, I shared our Master Bedroom Makeover plans. I started the process by wrapping a canopy bed with hemp cording. I also added picture frame molding to the walls. Today I’m sharing how I did the picture frame molding, including how I calculated the angles and measurements. The next step will include filling the nail holes, caulking, and using a paint sprayer to complete the project!
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PVC Molding + Miter Shears
When I posted a video of myself installing this molding using PVC trim and miter shears, people went crazy. I received several messages asking why I would use PVC over wood for the project. I’ve recently seen other bloggers like Jenna Sue Design, Avalanche Design Co., and Lauren Jamison install PVC molding. Why is it so great? I’m going to tell you next.
For the project, I used PVC Composite White Ply Cap Molding (11/16 in. x 1-1/8 in. x 8 ft). PVC trim is extremely easy to cut using miter shears (see below). It is durable, rot and termite resistant, and paintable. While you typically see this type of product used in exterior projects, it is becoming popular for interior projects as well. The biggest perk? Availability and price point. I was able to purchase all of the supplies that I needed for curbside pickup (thank you pandemic), save a lot of money, and cut out the trips up and down the stairs to my miter saw.
While I own a miter saw and I’m just learning how to operate it, the process of cutting 45-degree angles was easy enough. I installed one box, running back and forth to the garage to make several cuts in the heat of the summer. Then my miter shears came in the mail and my method of action changed. These shears are incredibly easy to operate and simplified the project.
By using miter shears, you can adjust the angles and make quick cuts as you’re installing the trim. They will work for small pieces of wood trim, but make sure to trial the shears with your material before you plan out the project. I also loved using these shears over the saw because the saw tends to shred the PVC when making cuts.
Moving on, how did I come up with this design and figure out the measurements? I use the Pages application for almost everything that I do, like moodboards and visualizing designs. There are a few functions, like the shapes button and distribution that are helpful for the design. If you follow me on Instagram, I have several videos in my highlights for how to use Pages.
To calculate the spacing, I started by obtaining the total measurements of the walls. For our home, I measured from the top of the floor molding to the bottom of the ceiling molding. I taped off several different sizes of boxes until I found the look that I desired. I preferred 5″ to 6″ between each box. I also knew that I wanted 5 boxes on the wall directly behind the bed, to keep the bed centered.
How to Calculate Spacing
- Calculate space between boxes and end of walls: 5.25″ spacing (multiplying by) 6 spaces (equals) 31.5″ total spacing.
- 212″ total length of room (subtracting) 33″ total space between boxes (equals) 180.5″ leftover space.
- I want 5 boxes so 180.5″ leftover space (dividing by) 5 boxes (equals) 36.1″ for each box.
- Please note, I am rounding here and there so my numbers are not EXACT but they worked in the end. Not recommended by professionals, but it worked for us.
- Repeat this method for the vertical measurements.
Installing the Molding
The real MVP of this project was my new cordless nail gun. I do not advise attempting this project without a nail gun. I justified this purchase because we have several projects in the works that will require a nail gun and it felt like the right time to purchase one. Installing the molding was simple. I started at the top and worked my way down. I made sure my top piece was level, nailed in the center, and then nailed the outer corners. Then I installed the left and right pieces, nailing at the tops only. I worked my way down with the level and nailed as I went. Finally, I measured the bottom to confirm my sizing remained the same. You will find that your walls are not always square and the bottom may not be exact as the top. This is why I advise cutting your pieces as you go! It’s easier to make measurement adjustments as you go on. Finally, I installed the bottom square, following the same method and confirmed the pieces were level with the upper boxes.
A few things to note when using PVC trim pieces. They are highly flexible, which is nice when fitting corners. However, use caution when flexing the pieces or you will end up with curved lines. I made this mistake a few times and had to remove the trim to level it out. That is why it was easier for me to start at the top with my level and make my way down, making sure I was not bending the trim.
Do not worry if your corners are not super tight. That is where caulk comes in to tidy up the job. This concludes part one and I’m moving on to part two where I will fill the holes, caulk, and use a paint sprayer to complete the job. Stay tuned!