How to Make Your Own Picture Rail Molding

Lead Image
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Fine-grit sandpaper
Stain or paint
Masking tape
Finishing nails
Wood putty
Putty knife
Sanding block

Picture rail molding was common in homes during the Victorian era but is making a comeback. Picture rail molding is used to safely hang art on a wall. It is installed across a wall, near the top, and can extend around corners. Suspension hooks are placed on the picture rail molding. This prevents you from damaging the wall while being able to place and move art.

Step 1 - Choose the Right Molding

When making your own picture rail molding it is important to get the right kind of wood. Creating molding from strips of wood is too difficult and time-consuming. The easy solution is to use crown molding or other decorative molding. Choose one that is not too decorative with a lot of scrollwork or other deep embellishments. Simple is preferred when creating picture rail molding.

Step 2 - Length

Picture rail molding is lined up with door molding but slightly below the crown molding or else spaced evenly between them. The decision is up to you and your particular style. Mark the wall where you have decided to place the picture rail molding and then measure the length of the wall. If you happen to transect a door or window then measure each section of the wall carefully. Transfer this measurement to the back of the molding and put a piece of masking tape over the mark. Place the piece of molding on the saw with the back facing up and then cut the piece to length. The masking tape prevents the molding from chipping and splintering by buffering the vibrations from the blade of the saw.

Step 3 - Trim

Regular molding is often too large to be used as picture rail molding in the sense that it is too wide. An ideal picture rail molding is 4-inches wide. Always trim the molding from along the side that is thicker. Measure the width of the molding and then make the proper adjustments for the trimming process. Draw a line on the back of the molding and then center a piece of masking tape over the line as you did previously. Trim the molding with the saw.

Step 4 - Finish the Picture Rail Molding

Your picture rail molding needs to be finished prior to you installing it to the wall. This prevents you from staining or painting the wall by accident. Use sandpaper to sand down the rough edges from the sawing. Apply the stain or paint to the picture rail molding.

Step 5 - Instal and Finish

Apply a thin strip of adhesive along the length of the molding and then press it in place where you need to install it. Hold it for a minute to allow the adhesive to set. Nail the molding in place through the center. Apply wood putty over the holes and then, once dry, sand the putty flush to the molding. Touch up the paint or stain.