DIY picture moulding boxes – no saw required

For a low-cost feature wall that requires minimum effort.

Box trim on wall in living room
(Image credit: Liz Hartmann )

Classic and timeless are two words that tend to be good starting points when decorating a home. I absolutely love mixing styles, but I find that adding timeless elements that will never go out of style is so helpful in combatting the ever-changing trends. Picture boxes are an element of design that checks both the “classic and timeless” boxes, but even better than that, they are an incredibly easy DIY that anyone can complete, even if you don’t own a saw. 

Quite often, feature walls require a lot of cuts, but this project is the exception and happens to be one of the easiest DIYs that I have ever completed. Real WOOD isn’t even a requirement for this one, which also leaves it with a price tag that won’t break the bank.

Materials you will need for this project:

  • Painter's tape
  • Trim pieces, you can pick trim and moulding up at Home Depot
  • Brad nailer/ wood adhesive/ double stick tape or command strips (for renters)
  • Finish nails
  • Level
  • Spackle
  • A damp cloth/baby wipes
  • Your paint of choice

PVC trim is my go-to for the material in this DIY project, and using this type of trim will allow you to also use a pair of miter sheers instead of a saw. If you aren’t familiar, miter sheers are basically a pair of scissors that will cut small pieces of wood (or pvc in this case) to the exact angle that you’d like. They are a huge time saver for projects like this, and give you the ability to knock out a beautiful wall in a short amount of time.

Box trim on wall in living room

(Image credit: Liz Hartmann )

1. Plan and tape out your boxes

To begin, you will want to decide the size of your boxes. I always love to use painter’s tape to tape out what my project will look like. As a very visual person, I find it helpful to actually see what the end result will look like, and so taping out my boxes on the wall helps me with that. It also gives me an idea of the measurements that I will need for my trim pieces. In addition, I recommend grabbing your measuring tape to make sure that the width of the boxes and distances between them are even. Some basic math will ensure that everything looks uniform and pleasing to the eye.

2. Make 45 degree angled cuts

When measuring for your cuts, you will want to make sure that you are taking the angled cuts into account. All of your cuts will be 45 degree angled cuts, so when making your measurements, you will want to take this into account. Measure either the inside length OR the outside length of your box, and stick with those measurements throughout your process.

3. Attach the trim to the wall

Attaching your trim to the wall is as easy as using a level, a brad nailer and some small finish nails as you would with DIY Wainscoting for example. Don’t fret if you don’t own a nail gun, though. This project can also be accomplished by using adhesive and essentially “gluing” the pieces to the wall, and I have even seen people do it with double stick tape or command strips, which is renter friendly!

4. Fill any holes

Once your boxes are hung and level, you will want to fill your nail holes and seams. I prefer to use spackle for this, and I use a baby wipe to smooth when dry. That’s right. No wood filler, no sanding. This little hack saves me time and a mess, and any time that I can avoid cleanup, I will, especially with DIYs. 

For the seams, I run a bead of caulk (make sure you grab the paintable kind) down each side of each box, and each corner seam as well. Caulking is a skill that, like most others, improves with practice, and you will find that less is more in almost every case. You will want to run a small bead of caulk down the line, and when finished, wipe the seam clean with – you guessed it – a baby wipe. This is actually one of my favorite steps in projects like this, because the difference that you will see after you caulk a seam is what really gives that finished, professional look.

5. Let it dry and paint!

I prefer caulk that has a quick 20 minute dry time, and so once dry, you will be able to paint your picture boxes. I love the monochrome look by using the same color as what you used to paint the walls with.

Box trim on wall in living room

(Image credit: Liz Hartmann )

It is amazing what a small project like this can do to elevate a space, and with little to no power tools required, there isn’t a reason why anyone can’t give this one a whirl!

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