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How To Install Crown Molding with Rope Lighting

* * * Instructions follow in the text below * * *

Install Crown Molding with Rope Lighting

Ever since I installed rope lighting behind crown molding on this 2004 project I wanted to do it again.  Seven years later I got my chance.

Learning how To install crown molding with rope lighting is easy.

The screen porch pictured here is mine.  I spend countless hours out here from working to relaxing to entertaining.  I love this room and recently decided I wanted to install crown molding with rope lighting as accent lighting.

Adding rope lighting creates spectacular light accents and a inviting mood light.  The problem I had was choosing the Crown molding.  The room has a simple country design with its tongue and groove breadboard, wood floor and wide flat window casing.  I thought crown molding would be too fancy for this room.

I almost gave up on the notion of rope lighting when I realized that I could make a simple Shaker style molding out of 1×4 flat boards.    The Shakers were known for their Craftsmanship as well as their simplicity.

Once I decided to install crown molding with rope lighting I measured the room and went to the store to buy rope lighting.  I took the easy road and bought rope lighting at a factory determined length with a wall plug. I think I spent $40.00 on the lights.   An electrical supply store can provide you with the tools and materials needed for custom sizes.

Making the Shaker Style  Crown Molding:

I started by buying long enough boards to span the three  14’ walls of my porch.  Using my table saw I ripped all four edges of these boards .  When ripping long boards like this make sure to use extension rollers to keep the board level and in line to the saw blade.

Two cuts opposite side cuts at 35 degrees gave me the wall angle and top edge of the crown molding, and two opposite cuts at 45 degrees gave the other angles.  [See photo]   Once all of the boards were ripped I used a hand block plane to remove the saw marks, lightly sanded the cuts out and primed all of the bare wood.

Continue Reading . . .

Installing the Shaker Style Crown Molding.

Measuring wall to wall I cut my new crown molding.  Because I was only running this crown on the outside walls I only needed to miter one side of the molding.  The other side butted square into the house wall.

Tip:  When working alone and measuring long distances, insert a nail close to the opposite wall and hook your tape onto it.  [see photo]

To double check the corner I cut a scrap piece of molding with a 45 degree angle and tested it against the first piece of molding I just installed.  I use this test piece to check the accuracy of the miter.  [Not all corners are perfect 90 degrees]  If the heel of the miter is open I re-cut the scrap molding to 44, 43 or 42 degrees to close the gap.   The same method applies [opposite direction] if the scrap molding miter point is open but the heel touches.   In this situation I cut my scrap piece at 46, 47, 48 degrees to close the gap.

Once I have my scrap piece fitting tight I use that degree mark to cut my next molding, the next molding has two miters.  The left miter receives the same angle that the scrap molding had; the other miter is cut at 45 degrees.

I used Gorilla wood glue to secure the miters and nailed off the molding every 12” along the bottom edge.

Installation Tip:

Prior to cutting the third and last piece of molding I use another piece of scrap molding and dry fit the miters, adjusting them as needed.

It’s a good practice to cut the molding at the exact length or 1/16” longer.  I like to do this so I can bend the molding out and get a super tight fit.

Fitting The Crown Molding:

To do this I index one miter end into the corner and then bend out the molding into the room while indexing

the other side miter into its corner.  Once both miters are in place I release tension on the bow and allow the board to tension in.  If done right slight hand pressure will hold the crown to the wall and the finish nails will hold it in place.  Doing this keep my miters pressed tight and allows for the glue to do its job.

Continue Reading . . .

Nailing This Crown Molding:

This molding is only nailed along it’s bottom edge.  I  installed 8d finish nails into the molding along the bottom edge to the wall.  A little glue along this bottom edge helps too.

A friend of mine once said, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth gluing.”  Make sure to use glue and 8 penny finish nails, if you hand nail I recommend pre-drilling and using a nail set to set them slightly deeper [1/16″] than the surface.

I chose to use my Paslode cordless finish nailer.  This nailer does not have a cumbersome cord and allow me to set the exact depth of my nails.

After I had all three crown molding boards installed I made sure to set all of the nails and fill them with wood filler.

TIP: I find its less sanding effort to fill nail holes flush and to do a light second coat if necessary.  This two coat method is still faster than over applying the wood filler and having to sand it smooth.

After the second coat I lightly sand the wood filler spots and spot prime them.  I caulked all of the seams at this time as well. A final coat of trim paint and it looked like it was always there.

I then cut a hole into the house side of one of the moldings.  This hole was to be used to pass the rope lighting down to the electrical outlet.

To hide the rope light cord going to the outlet I built a chase out of poplar wood.  The chase hides the rope lighting and allow for the rope lighting to be passed down to the cord undetected.

Install crown molding with rope lighting:

I ran the the  rope lighting in the chase, through the hole and around the room behind the molding.  The rope lighting I bought came with plastic clips and screws.  These clips worked great for keeping the lighting down behind the crown molding.

This whole project including buying the rope lighting and wood took 6 hours but will give me years of enjoyment and bragging rights!



Rope lighting basics:  designing with rope lighting

Tips on installing crown molding lighting

Speaker wire installed behind crown molding

Preparing for crown molding




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