• In this video, This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers puts up frames made from molding to give the illusion of wall paneling.


    1. Sand and prime the wall where the frames will go.

    2. Calculate the frame sizes: Set frames at a consistent distance apart—2¾ to 3½ inches—all around the room. Space them 3 to 4 inches from the chair rail and baseboard. Subtract the spacing around your frames from the wall dimensions and divide the remaining space.

    3. Draw a top layout line with a block, and mark off where the frame corners will fall.

    4. Build a jig out of scrap plywood and blocks to keep the frame corners square.

    5. Put a stop on your miter saw fence to help you cut uniform pieces of molding.

    6. Cut all the frame sides ahead of time. Glue and nail the frame corners, using the jig to make the corners square.

    7. Glue the frames to the wall with panel adhesive. Use hot glue in the corners to clamp the frames to the wall as the adhesives dries. Nail the frames to the wall at the studs.

    8. Set and fill the nail holes and caulk the gaps.

    9. Sand the frames, and paint the entire area with a semigloss paint.
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      Calculating the frames’ sizes may be a head-scratcher at first, but building them is simple.
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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      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