Step 1: Build the Frame

Follow the cut list to size the pieces. For the front and sides, make 45-degree miter cuts where they meet; make 90-degree cuts where the sides will meet the wall. Use corner clamps and wood glue to secure the front to the sides, then tack the corners with a pneumatic nailer and 1½-inch brad nails. To make the French cleat, set your circular-saw blade to 45 degrees and rip a 1x4 in half. Sandwich one half of the cleat between the sides, with the cut edge facing the interior of the frame and pointing down, and secure it with glue and brad nails. Position the top flush at the back and overhanging the front and sides evenly; secure it with glue and brad nails.
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    Tools List

    • 30-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • drywall corner clincher tool
      Corner clamps
    • pneumatic brad nailer
      Pneumatic brad nailer
    • air compressor
      air compressor
    • circular saw
      Circular saw
    • sandpaper
      220-grit sandpaper
    • 2-and-a-half-inch paintbrush
    • two-foot level
      2-foot level
    • drill

    Shopping List

    Poplar 1x8 for the sides and front Get a 5-foot length.

    Poplar 1x4 for the French cleat Get a 4-footer.

    Poplar 1x10 for the top Get a 4-footer.

    3-inch solid primed-pine crown molding

    ¾-inch primed-pine ogee molding

    Primed-pine cap molding for the bottom of the cornice1 ½-inch brad nails

    ¾-inch brad nails

    2 ½-inch wood screws

    Wood glue

    Wood filler