Living Room Built-In {post 5: How to install crown moulding}

By Pinktoesandpowertools | Woodworking Tutorials

Ahhh, crown moulding.  How I covet thee.  I want to put it everywhere in this house, but it seems so hard!!  This was my first attempt at any kind of crown.  Up until now, every built-in I have done has been capped off with casing (I think…or it is base…either way, it hasn’t been crown).  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out on this project, so I’m not as afraid to give it a go in other places now.  Here’s how I went about it!

First I did some research after I discovered that I wasn’t sure which way was up.  If you read my little rant, you already know that apparently other people don’t know which way is up either.  I had a little bit of a sticky situation though…I didn’t have much room before I hit a corner, and the crown I had picked out takes up more room depending on how you put it up.  Lucky for me it worked out.

Figuring out which way is up with crown moulding

The research said that the bottom of crown most times has the more decorative elements.  Also, the crown should take up more space on the wall than it does on the ceiling (that is what saved me from having to apply mine upside down–it gave me enough room before I hit the corner of the wall).  This is all in general–it might not be applicable in every instance.  Just don’t ask anyone who knows anything about crown to come into your house and you’ll be fine either way (I crack myself up sometimes).

Anyone interested in coming in and refinishing my floors for me?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller? (Who can name that movie?)  Look how scratched up they are–and I want them a much darker color now.  Uggh.  I don’t look forward to that project.

During my research, I read this article from DIY Network.com where they put base moulding on upside down before the crown to build it up.  I loved it, so I did the same thing on mine.

crown moulding part 1But it kinda ended up being a good thing I had planned on this.  I originally had a top to the cabinet that was separate that I was going to add between the cabinet and the shelves.  Then I made a big mistake and had to modify the plans, but the separate top was 1.5″ thick and I already left 2″ of clearance at the top.  That meant there was only air to attach the crown to on the cabinet and that wasn’t going to work.  The upside base gave me something to work with!

Building up crown moulding by applying base upside down firstJust miter the corners like you would if it were right-side up.  The moulding was a little too high, so I had to adjust the miter saw and cut it from the side.  I don’t like doing it this way, but it was the only way to cut all the way through.  Set it at 45 degrees.

crown moulding part 2Now to cut the crown, you need to put the blade back upright, and turn the saw base and blade to a 45 degree cut like this.

how to angle the saw for cutting crown mouldlingAnd then make sure that the crown is sitting at the angle it will be on the wall–just make sure you have flat contact at the arrows.  I always take my moulding to the spot and mark it (with a slash in the direction the cut will need to go as well) rather than measuring with a tape measure.  Much more accurate cuts which are crucial for a perfect fit.

crown moulding set up in the sawI also leave the cut a tad long and then trim it.  Makes for more trips in and out to the saw, but I’m happy with the end result.  Arrow shows what I still need to trim off.  Maybe someday I can skip that part…

Get a perfect fit by leaving the crown moulding a little long and trimmingJust a few nails into the edge hold it into place.

A few nails into the edge hold the crown moulding into placeI do both sides first.

Attach the sides with crown moulding firstThen the middle section.

All parts of the crown moulding attachedOnce the middle part was up, I carefully put an 18 gauge nail into the corners.  I used a shorter length–either 3/4″ or 1″.  This keeps them tightly together.  You can see on the right corner where the shadow shows an imperfect corner.  Keep those as minimal as possible and when you sand you can blend it all together.

Wood filler in the holes for the crown mouldingWood filler in all the holes and a little bit on the edges of the corners.  An easy and inexpensive sander for crown moulding–rolled up sandpaper.  Make sure to hit the corners to meld them together.  I used mdf moulding for this application and it worked beautifully with the rolled up sandpaper.  Just don’t go overboard in that spot!  A light touch is all it needs.

Rolled up sandpaper to sand crown mouldingOne last tip:  Keep in mind that you will have waste due to the angles you need when you go to measure and buy the crown.  Maybe there is a way around this, but my tired brain can’t think what it would be for this few cuts.  Doing a whole house would allow you to minimize the waste by cutting for a different room using the angles you have, but for one cabinet, I think I am right by saying you’re going to have waste.

Keep in mind the waste you'll have when measuring for crown mouldingIt went well for a first attempt!  I should probably caulk at the ceiling eventually.  Here she is again 🙂

Built In Living room side vertical view

Other posts in this series:

Living Room Built-Ins {post 1: The Befores}

Living Room Built-Ins {post 2: The Plans}

Living Room Built-Ins {post 3: The Reveal}

Living Room Built-Ins {post 4: Coping Base Moulding}

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