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Picture Frame Moulding – Library Build: Part 2

There were so many elements that went into our library build and while it might have been the easiest part, it was the picture frame moulding that made the room feel complete. The built-in bookcases were a beast to accomplish, but until the decorative moulding was added, it didn’t feel like a full room transformation. I’m sure I’ve told you before, but Chris and I are suckers for that vintage look. Adding picture frame moulding to a room is also the perfect way to add dimension, character, and a “vintage,” timeless touch.

home library full view

The best part? It is actually so easy. I used a chop saw to cut the PVC moulding to size but you can also use a miter shear tool. You’ll also need a nail gun to attach the picture frame moulding, wood filler for the nail holes, and caulk to fill between the wall and the moulding. In summary, that’s it, but I’ll give you some more details to get you on your way.

"before" photo of home library with picture frame moulding outlined with painter's tape.

The Prep Work

Measure out your room and do some math to figure out the size your boxes will be. I recommend drawing it out on a piece of paper (or taping it on the wall!) to help you account for the space between the boxes as well. I’m a visual learner, so this is a must for me to get accurate measurements and to buy the correct amount of product. During this step, take into account where your outlets and light switches are. There are certainly work-arounds if your moulding runs into them, but the easier route is to go above, below, or beside them, if possible.

Once you have all of your measurements, calculate how much moulding you will need to buy, taking into account that you will want to use a full piece for each side. I don’t recommend piecing them together with multiple cuts. I used this PVC moulding. Some people will tell you that you need smooth walls to add picture frame moulding, but mine are orange peel textured and it worked just fine.

Let’s Get Cutting

When making your cuts, each piece should be cut on a 45 degree angle so that every corner fits together in a perfect point. If you are using a chop saw, you can adjust the settings and rotate it to 45 degrees. Just make sure that the angle is going in the right direction. Use scrap wood to practice if you are unsure about cutting angles, but it is not as hard as it sounds! I always recommend against making all of your cuts at once. If you get it wrong once, not the biggest deal. If you get it wrong on your entire inventory of product, you’ll feel differently.

I found the easiest place to start is the top piece, off to the far side of the room. Use brad nails and a nail gun to secure your first piece, making sure it is level. This is the nail gun I use and recommend. You can test the pressure of your nail gun on a scrap piece of moulding. Make sure that the nail sinks in past the surface allowing you to easily fill and cover it. Next, cut a piece of wood to use as a spacer between each of your boxes of picture frame moulding. This will make measuring and placing a breeze and ensure that each box is equally spaced. Slide this spacer down the wall as you nail the moulding into place.

completed view of the library

The Finishing Touches

Once all of your boxes are done, caulk both the inside and the outside of the moulding. Fill all the nail holes with wood filler and wait for it to dry. Once dry, do a quick pass over the picture frame moulding with sand paper to take off the extra wood filler. Paint everything to match the walls, and you are done! Your room just went from basic, to fancy pants, just like that.

Home library with picture frame moulding

Check out how we made over the rest of this room in Library Build: Part 1.