Step 3: Mark the Layout

mark the layout
Photo: Kolin Smith
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The spacing between wall frames should be from 2¾ to 3½ inches, but the space above and below can be as much as 4 inches. Whatever spacing you choose, stick to it all around the room. The frames can change size, but the measurement above, below, and between them must remain consistent.

To determine the width of the frames for a particular wall, first measure the length of the wall. Add 1 to the number of frames that go on that wall and multiply by the spacing between frames. Subtract that sum from the length of the wall. Finally, divide by the number of frames going on the wall. The result is the outside width of each frame.

Tip: Use this formula to calculate frame sizes: wl – (s x (f + 1)) ÷ f = fw
Where wl is the wall length, s is the spacing between frames, f is the number of frames, and fw is the frame width. So, for example, a 60-inch wall with 3 frames on it set 3 inches apart would mean each frame is 16 inches wide: 60" – (3" x (3 + 1)) ÷ 3 = 16"
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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