Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Interior Design: Picture Rail

A picture rail, is exactly that, a rail to hold pictures.

This is a weekend project, provided you have a few tools.

I took 3 layers of 3/4" plywood. I cut the first one 1" wide and then cut a 45* angle with a table saw, the second layer I cut 2 1/2" wide and rounded over the edge with a router,the third layer I cut 4" wide and cut a 45* angle with a table saw and used a router to cut a 1/4" slot 1" off the front edge. This slot will hold pictures in place.

Concept sketch.

I glued these pieces together. All it takes is wood glue and clamps (or something heavy like paint cans).
Since I used plywood, I needed to smooth the edge of the wood in preparation for paint.  If you wanted to stain the wood, you will need to use solid wood, which will make this project much more expensive.

I used drywall compound and applied it to the face of the wood. With 400 grit sand paper  I sanded it down once dry and then painted it.

My picture rail wrapped two walls, so I mitered the corners, and also mitered the ends so that the picture rail angles back into the wall for a nice clean edge.

The end is mitered and dies into the wall.

 You need to nail this into studs. You can use a stud finder. It's likely your studs are 16" on center, so if you start from the corner of the room and measure out, you have a rough idea of where to find a stud. Also, if you are above a door or window opening, rest assured, there are studs at each end of the opening.

If you aren't sure exactly where the stud is, hit a nail through the drywall behind where your rail will go. It's important you make this hole where your picture rail can hide it. You'll know if you hit a stud. If the nail hits something solid, that's a stud. If the nail pushes right through the wall. There is no stud present. If no stud is found, keeping trying while moving horizontally, and take solace in the face that your picture rail will cover all the holes you put in the wall.

Any questions? Let me know and comment!
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