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As you know, I renovated the house we bought in June, and part of that renovation involved putting up crown moulding and faux wainscoting. I’m not going to do a tutorial on crown moulding, because I was spectacularly bad at it and have managed already to completely block out any memory of how I accomplished what I did. Plus, I’m pretty sure I did everything wrong anyway. Mostly, I just caulked the shit out of everything. The only tip I’ll give is that I cut several small pieces and labeled them as to whether it was an inside left 90 degree angle or outside one or outside 22.5 degree angle, etc. That way I didn’t have to think quite so much when figuring out which way to turn the miter saw and cut the angles:

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  1.  As for the faux wainscoting, that actually went fairly well. Here are my tips: Draw your squares/rectangles on the wall first to make sure the spacing is right. There weren’t any walls that were the same length in the 2 rooms I did this in, so I had to get creative. Drawing it on paper was one thing, but actually drawing it on the wall after I’d mostly figured out what I thought would work really helped to visualize it and see if it worked. Luckily, there was already chair rail installed, so I just used a 3″ wide level to draw lines under the chair rail and above the floor boards to get my top and bottom edges. Then I actually measured to get the 3″ in from the sides of the wall and between squares.

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2.  Once I had my measurements, I started cutting. You’re cutting each at a 45 degree angle, and measuring from the longer side of each strip. The two ends will be cut in towards each other, like a picture frame.

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With the exception of the rectangles under the windows, I knew that the height of all of the rectangles would be the same, so I cut those first and laid them out where they’d be hung. I did the left hand side for a bunch of them, then moved the miter saw to do the right side going the opposite way. Then I started cutting the different lengths for the tops and bottoms of each section, again laying them out where they’d be hung to help me keep track.

3.  At first, I tried just placing each strip on the wall and using the nail gun to attach it directly to the wall. Without someone to help hold the strips in place, this did not go well. They moved each and every time, so things aren’t entirely square in my dining room. Thank god for caulk to fill in the gaps and make the corners look better.

4.  In the living room, I changed tactics and decided to put the rectangles together before mounting them on the wall. This went much better. I used a speed square both to brace the pieces I was attaching together with the nail gun and to ensure that I was staying at a 90 degree angle.

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5.  Once I had the rectangles assembled, I mounted them onto the wall with the nail gun. Then, I caulked the corners and the nail holes before painting everything. Again, there was a little bowing because I didn’t have a second pair of hands to hold things in place, but overall, they look damn good. And it really improves the look of the house in general. Now we look all fancypants, and the moulding (including both the crown moulding and the pvc wainscoting moulding) cost under $300 for 4 rooms (crown moulding in 4 rooms, wainscoting in 2). It’s a great way to really improve the wow factor of your house for a minimal amount of money and a boatload of swearing and throwing things.

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