Plans for Building Shadow Boxes on Interior Walls

Written by cadence johansen
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Shadow boxes, also called wainscoting, can dress up any room. Building shadow boxes for interior walls requires a simple chair rail moulding and smaller moulding for making the shadow boxes. Building the boxes is easy to do when you have the proper tools, and it is a simple way to add a touch of elegance to your home.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Chair rail moulding
  • Moulding for shadow boxes
  • Chalk line
  • Level
  • Mitre saw
  • Electronic stud finder
  • Nail gun
  • Wood putty
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint

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  1. 1

    Measure the perimeter of the room where you are installing the chair rail and wainscoting boxes, and measure how much moulding you will need for the boxes. Use the measurements as a guide to how much moulding you'll need to buy.

  2. 2

    On one wall, use a measuring tape to measure 32 inches from the floor; mark the measurement with a pencil. Repeat this step several times on each wall. Make a chalk line connecting your 32-inch marks across the length of each wall. Make sure the lines are level by placing a level along the line. Adjust the lines as necessary to make them level.

  3. 3

    Cut the moulding to size with a mitre saw. Moulding corners can be cut by adjusting the settings on the mitre saw to 45 degrees.

  4. 4

    Install the chair rail moulding above the marked chalk line. Use a stud finder to find the wall studs; mark the studs with a pencil. Use a nail gun to nail the moulding to the wall, nailing directly into the wall studs whenever possible.

  5. 5

    Decide on a layout for the shadow boxes on the wall. The boxes should be located at an equal distance between the chair rail moulding and the baseboard moulding. Similarly, they should be spaced equally apart from each other. Some homeowners choose to make the boxes large and rectangular, while others make them square. Use a drawing of the wall to help you decide on a layout for the wainscoting boxes.

  6. 6

    Cut the moulding for the boxes. Set the mitre saw to 45 degrees. Each piece of moulding for the boxes will need 45-degree-angle cuts in opposite directions. When you have finished cutting the moulding for the boxes, the boxes should fit together like a picture frame.

  7. 7

    Measure and mark the wall to indicate where the boxes will be located. Place the moulding pieces along the marks on the wall and nail them into place with a nail gun. Repeat with each box.

  8. 8

    Fill nail holes and joints in the chair rail and shadow box moulding with wood putty. Allow the putty to dry and lightly sand. Paint the moulding as desired.

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