Relieve bland expanses of walls with a decorative treatment that’s simple to cut and install.
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Before shopping for lumber to create this project, use the Geometric Wall Moulding Layout Guide to help estimate the number of boards you’ll need for the space you plan to cover. Then add about 10 percent for waste, such as trimming the ends even. Select the straightest boards available, especially for the two large rectangles.
Sand the outside face and both edges of each board with 120-grit sandpaper. Using the Geometric Wall Moulding Layout Guide, cut the tops, bottoms, and sides for the two large rectangles. If any dimension exceeds the length of a single board, cut two boards with a combined length about 6 inches longer than the size you want. For the corners, cut a total of four 12-inch boards, four 9-1/2-inch boards, and eight oversize boards 8 inches long. Set these corner pieces aside.
For moulding sections longer than 96 inches, you’ll need to join two pieces of wood together. On one end of a full-length board, stand the board on edge against the miter saw fence and cut a 45-degree angle. Do the same on one end of a shorter piece. Tape the pieces together with the cut ends overlapping and cut the part to length. Then label the two halves so you can reassemble them after painting.
You could bump together two square-cut boards instead of cutting overlapping angles. But if the boards shrink slightly with humidity changes, the angled cut will show less of a gap than two square-cut ends, which will pull apart. Putty or spackle any gaps as needed and add touch-up paint.
Apply three coats of paint (Modernist Gray shown) to all sides and ends of each moulding piece to be installed, and let the parts dry overnight. Then use pieces of painter’s tape to mark stud locations along the wall.
For the best results, apply moulding to a newly painted wall (Perpetual Gray shown) where all the surface imperfections and nail pops have been repaired.
Using a level, draw a horizontal line on the wall 12 inches above the floor. (The floor may rise or fall slightly, but the line must still be level.) Center the bottom board or joined boards on the wall and mark the location of one end.
Apply dabs of construction adhesive to the back of the board, and press it in place with the bottom edge of the board even with the marks on the wall. Nail the board over each stud to help hold it in position.
If you’ll eventually need to remove the boards, omit or limit the amount of adhesive to minimize wall damage.
Using a level, position one of the sides with the bottom end even with the bottom edge of the horizontal board. Glue and nail the side in place. Repeat for the other side, but check that the distances between the sides are equal at the top and bottom before gluing and nailing the second side in place. Then add the top horizontal piece.
Repeat the previous three steps to add the smaller center rectangle with a 7-inch gap between the inside edges of the large rectangle and outside edges of the small one.
Refer to the Geometric Wall Moulding Layout Guide to position and install the 9-1/2-inch piece in one corner with the help of a level. Then add the 12-inch vertical piece.
Measure between the side pieces of the two large rectangles, and cut a piece to fit. Glue and nail this piece in place across from the 9-1/2-inch board. Repeat for the other oversize piece directly across from the 12-inch board.
Repeat the previous step for the remaining three corners.
Can’t part with precious wall space? Shrink the lattice pattern, to highlight a piece of artwork or decor or to become a faux headboard.