Faux Technique for Wood Panels on Wainscoting

Faux Technique for Wood Panels 
on Wainscoting 
contributed by Involving Color

Our dining room makeover is moving right along. I showed you previously that we gave our dining room a little royal treatment with some crown molding. This past weekend we finished installing wainscoting.

Wainscoting After
“Real” wainscoting uses wood panels on the whole bottom portion of the wall which seemed like it would be difficult and expensive. The faux technique applies wood trim right onto your drywall. I love the way it turned out! It really adds a lot of detail and interest to the room.
How we did it:
  1. Measure and map out the box placement. There are no real rules with the box placement or size. It up to you, what you think looks good, and what fits the space. Some people choose to make all the boxes the same size around the room, and others choose to make the boxes different sizes to fill up the wall. We went with the latter option, so our boxes are all different sizes.Wainscoting plan
  2. Buy the trim. We bought ours from Lowe’s. 
  3. Measure the first wall again before cutting (measure twice cut once!)
  4. Cut the end of the first trim piece at a 45 degree angle using a miter saw. I used this antique hand miter saw that was my grandfather’s.
    miter saw
  5. Measure and cut the other end after making the first cut since a little of the wood gets removed when cutting.
  6. Repeat previous two steps for your four box sides.
  7. Mark the wall using a tape measure, level, and a pencil where the trim pieces should be placed Wainscoting outline
  8. Apply wood glue to the back of the first trim piece. wainscoting with glue
  9. I found it easiest to apply the bottom piece first and let it dry for 5 minutes or so before applying the other four sides. You can use trim nails to hold it in place, but I found it easier to just hold it with my hands for about 30 seconds to a minute, then to give it a little support so I didn’t have to sit there, I made a makeshift prop of glue and a level. Glue Prop
    Who knew these were multi-purpose tools?
    **Tip: Since wood naturally warps, some of the trim pieces might not be perfectly straight. Your walls might not be straight either. Because of these imperfections, you will probably experience some gapping between parts of the trim and the wall. This is okay and can be filled in with caulk later.
  10. While waiting for this to dry (give it about five minutes), I got started on measuring and cutting the next box. Keep an eye on the piece you just glued to make sure it doesn’t start slipping. I got into a good system of gluing and cutting, so I wasn’t waiting around for the glue to dry.
  11. After five minutes or so, the first piece should be stable enough to go ahead and finish the rest of the box. Apply wood glue to the side pieces and place on the wall, then repeat with the top piece. Check the sides and top with a level. The best part with using just glue? No hole filling.
  12. Repeat steps 3-11 for the remaining boxes.
  13. Caulk and paint. We already painted the existing chair rail molding and the bottom portion of the wall Sherwin Williams Alabaster, so all we have to do is paint the trim pieces.
Wainscoting after
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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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  1. >Looks really great! I've seen it done this way before rather than the whole wainscotting and this "cheats" way loks just as good.

  2. >This looks beautiful! We also did this in our dining room. I do have to be a bit of a party pooper and say that you really should use liquid nails and not wood glue for this project. Wood glue is meant to bond wood to wood, not wood to drywall. It will separate and crack over time. Regardless, you did a wonderful job! I know how much math it takes and how time consuming this project is!

  3. >Absolutely love the look; love that you used your grandfather's miter saw even more! What a fantastic looking tool, and a wonderful thing to inherit!