Picture Frame Moulding: Part 1



If you haven’t noticed already, I’m a HUGE fan of all things involving decorative moulding. Door frames, window frames, board and batten, beadboard…You name it, I love it! I love the coziness it brings into a room. With that in mind, it’s no surprise I decided to add some moulding in our hallway. Our hallway has always been blan and boring. Sure, it functioned, but there was absolutely nothing special about it. After weighing whether I wanted board and batten, or picture frame moulding for months, I decided picture frame moulding was the way to go. It gave me the look I wanted and it didn’t seem very hard.

What you’ll need for part 1:


Miter saw


Nail gun (brad nails)

Air compressor


Chair rail

Joint compound


Dry wall knife

Mud pan

Sanding sponge


I started off by putting up the chair rail (Thanks Ashley for your help!) I love when mouldings are done high on the wall, but in this case I decided that would be a mistake. Our hall is fairly average in width, so I was worried you’d feel like the walls were going to eat you if I put the moulding too high. I decided to put the chair rail right at 40″. Once the chair rail was leveled, and nailed into each stud (just like I did in Anna’s room), it was time to smooth the wall. I’ve told you before how the walls in our house are all bowed and crazy. Originally I wanted to put up a board between the chair rail and the floor board, but I decided it would be a huge mess considering all the problems with the wall. Instead I decided to just smooth the texture of the wall to give the illusion of having a board there.

IMG_4532To smooth the wall you’ll need a box of joint compound. There’s quite a few options when it comes to dry wall mud, so it was hard to decide. Our friend Parker came to my rescue (Thank you Parker!) He recommended to NOT get the lightweight mud. He said it’s easier to sand, but it’s harder to work with. When you’re a beginner like me, you’ll take every break you can get. He also suggested getting the pre mixed compound in a box over the powder.


After dumping the mud into the bucket we decided to add a little water and stir it until it was smooth.

IMG_4548You can see the texture of the mixture here. It was thin enough to work with, but not so thin it was sliding all over the place.

IMG_4550 IMG_4552

We used a smaller dry wall knife to fill the pan, and then we got to work. Using a large dry wall knife, we spread mud all over the bottom portion of the wall. Here’s where I learned experience is key! Parker was a master while my skills were, shall we say, lacking. Eventually I got the hang of it, but I was much slower than he was. The idea is to get it reasonably smooth. Parker didn’t really have any tips for this part. Just put it on there any way you can. Like I said, experience! You won’t be able to get it perfectly smooth during this step, so don’t worry too much about lines or imperfections. That’s where sanding comes in.


After the wall was dry, which took a few hours, we sanded everything reasonable smooth.


I had to use the sponge sander in the corners and next to the chair rail.

*Ready for some bad news? We had to do 2 coats to get the wall where I wanted it, so repeat everything above.


Once the second coat was dry I really wanted to make sure everything was perfect. I found using the sponge sander on everything gave me a lot more control and made the finished product perfectly smooth.


Here’s one of the not so fun parts about smoothing a wall. It makes a mess! My ENTIRE house was covered in a layer of dust. The finished product was definitely worth it, but this cleanup was epic!


After 2 coats of mud, 2 rounds of sanding, and some major cleanup this is what the wall looks like. Perfectly smooth and ready to add the picture frame moulding.

STAY TUNED for part 2!

Here’s a little sneak peak.



2 thoughts on “Picture Frame Moulding: Part 1

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