How To Make Wood Trim & Molding

Installing ornamental wooden trims around your doors, windows, and ceilings is a quick and easy way of improving the appearance of any room. It can also be used to hide imperfections like gaps between joints, uneven surfaces, or cracks on the wall. While there are many generic-looking trim moldings available in lumberyards and home improvement stores, making your own wood trim moldings could prove to be more satisfying. Plus, you can personally choose the look of the trims that will best highlight the room. Making trim molding cleanly and safely requires use of appropriate tools and careful attention to the given technique.

  • Measure the areas where you will install the trims. Using a ruler or a tape measure, find the dimensions of the wall, ceiling, door or window where you want to attach your wood trims. After getting the measurements, calculate the amount of wood you will need to buy. Be sure to add at least an inch per section of the trim. This will give you some space for when you plane and sand the edges of the molding.
  • Purchase the lumber for the wood trim. You can find a selection of materials for your wood trim at your local lumberyards. Choose the kind of wood that would best suit your budget and the look that you are going for. Hardwoods can be pretty expensive but it is probably the best material to use for your trim. It does not crack or warp easily and it doesn’t require paint if you want a rustic finish.
  • Another option is the pine wood. It is probably the most common choice for wooden trims and moldings because it is very inexpensive. Because it is soft, pine wood can be dented easily. Whatever wood you choose to buy, make sure that you buy pieces that are flat, or at least can easily be held flat. It should be at least more than half an inch thick.
  • Set up the equipment for cutting the wood. For this project, you will need to use a saw, a table-mounted router and router bits that match the profile of the wood trim that you wish to make. You can also use a molding machine to create custom pieces for your moldings. If you plan to make a large number of pieces, buying a table saw could be a good investment. Attach the bit into the router and tighten it to avoid any accidents. Should you opt to use a molding machine, secure molding knives in place. Check if your bit height is correct.  
  • Begin making the trims. Using the saw, cut the wood according to the measurements you have made. Once each piece is cut to the correct length, you may start shaping them. Switch your router or molding machine on and start feeding the wood slowly, one piece at a time. Run the pieces through the machine a few times if needed.  
  • Sand the trims to remove imperfections. Using sandpaper, preferably 120 grit, smoothen the rough surface of each molding. You can switch to a higher grit sandpaper to make the trims even smoother. Your wooden trims are now ready for staining or painting.

After you have installed the moldings, you can brush on wood stains or paint. It is also advisable to apply a sealer or varnish on the surfaces so that your molding will look clean and resist moisture for a long time.


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