How to Install Picture Frame Moulding: Part Two

Welcome to part two of how to install picture frame moulding.  This second tutorial will show you the angles and cuts that we used to install picture frame moulding going up our stairwell.

Check out the first tutorial on how to add picture frame moulding to an entryway (or one level room).  This second tutorial expands on the basics established in that tutorial to show you how to cut moulding for an incline (stairwell).

For the stairwell, start off with the chair rail moulding like we did in the entryway.  Since I had a small piece of wall at the bottom of the stairwell, I placed this at 36" above the floor like the rest of the room.  In order to then have your moulding go up the stairwell in parallel, you need to create a 45 degree angle.  Cut the ends of both pieces of wood at 22.5 degrees.

I installed this all the way up the stairwell in order to help determine where the rest of the moulding should go below it.  Use the same 22.5 degree cuts to bring the moulding back to level at the top of the stairwell and on any landings.

The spacing on the rest of the moulding is going to be different from the spacing we used in the entryway.  The amount of space I had between the baseboard and chair rail was only 27", which means that I lost about 3.5" in height to work with.  No worries, though.  I'll show you how we adjusted to make it work.

Next, you can apply the thin colonial moulding about 2" below the chair rail (you can use a 1x2 for spacing like we did in the entryway).

Now comes the fun part (and I mean this sarcastically).  Cutting the boxes on the incline was what took me so long to complete this project.  I think back to my high school aged self sitting in geometry class thinking "I'll never use this...".  Maybe I should have tried to remember more of that math!

First, determine how wide your boxes should be based on the width of the wall and the distance you would like between each box.  Click here to see how we did this in the first tutorial.  The boxes I used were 20" high and 24" wide.

To cut the moulding you'll need to mark the two angles that you will need to cut on each piece of wood.  Once you have a template, you can simply replicate these cuts for the remainder of the boxes.  The two larger angles are going to create a 45 degree angle.  You can just use a 22.5" cut on each of these like you did for the chair rail.

For the smaller angles I didn't use any math at all.  I actually just laid the two pieces on top of each other and then drew a line between the two intersection points (see below).

Once you've cut your pieces, them dry fit them on the wall to make sure that your cuts are correct.  I had to do this a couple of times, but once I had the angles right I simply cut 5 more boxes exactly like the first.

Then use a level, construction adhesive and painter's tape to attach the boxes to the wall.  I placed the boxes 2" above the baseboard.

If you have a landing like we do, you may find that you need to adjust the height of your boxes.  Ours are 23.5" high - which is slightly smaller than the boxes on the first level.  I found that I needed to adjust the height so that the spacing around the box would remain even - giving it a more cohesive look.

One downside is that it was somewhat difficult to determine where the moulding should break from level to begin going up the stairs.  You can see in the photo above that the two moldings don't line up very well.  However, the other corner looks much better.  It all depended on where the boxes ended and how the baseboards moved.

Regardless of those two small imperfections, I have been VERY happy with the overall effect.  Once you have all of your moulding up, caulk and paint (you'll notice ours isn't painted yet - but it will be once I'm no longer preggers).  Here's a shot of the stairwell with all of the moulding up and ready for paint.

I absolutely love the finished product!  Adding the molding has made a huge impact on the overall feel of the space.  It not only feels more finished and interesting, but it creates a nice line for pictures. Now I just need to buy more frames to finish our photo wall up the rest of the stairwell.

What do you think?  Have you used moulding to add visual interest to your walls?


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