Step 1: Prep the walls

sanding the wall
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Smoothing and priming the walls before applying the frames avoids the drips and blobs that often accompany painting around the molding when it's already in place.

Using a random-orbit sander and 150-grit sandpaper, smooth the walls in the area under the existing chair rail.
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    Tools List

    • random orbit sander
      random-orbit sander fitted with 150-grit paper
    • combination square
      combination square
    • framing square
      framing square
    • pneumatic brad nailer
      pneumatic brad nailer (rents for $55 per day with compressor)
    • miter saw
      miter saw
    • hand clamps
      spring clamps
    • caulk gun
      caulk gun
    • hot glue gun
      hot-glue gun
    • putty knife
      small putty knife
    • paintbrush
      paint brush
    • paintroller
      paint roller

    Shopping List

    Molding Typically, base cap or panel molding works best for creating frames. Make sure to get 10 to 20 percent more than you think you'll need, to accommodate offcut waste.

    Scrap Plywood and Wood Blocks to make a jig for building the frames

    2-Inch Brad Nails

    Wood Glue220-Grit Sandpaper for smoothing mitered corners and filled nail holes

    Panel Adhesive to secure the frames to the wall

    Hot-Glue Cartridge

    Wood Putty

    Paintable Caulk

    Primer and Paint