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How to Create Faux Crown Molding With Paint

Crown molding adds a touch of elegance to your home.
Paul Avis/Photodisc/Getty Images

Things You'll Need:

  • Ladder
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Painter's tape
  • Straight-edged ruler or piece of lumber (at least 24-inches long)
  • Paintbrush
  • Glaze or your original wall color (if your wall is textured)
  • Paint in the color you want your molding to be


If you need to take a break while painting, do so. If at all possible, take these breaks when you've reached a corner rather than in the middle of a wall. Since corners create automatic breaks in the paint itself, this will help you avoid obvious seams in the paint.

If you want a more detailed crown molding look, you can add a thin molding such as quarter round to the top of your wall against the ceiling. A paint-only option to mimic this look is to paint the top inch of your wall with a slightly different color. Consider something in the same shade family as your original paint just one step lighter or darker.

Experiment with your look until it has the appearance you want for your space.


  • Do not try using anything other than a ladder to complete this work. Also be certain to follow all instructions for your ladder, including not stepping higher on the steps than recommended. If you have chemical sensitivities, consider using low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint and a mask.

Painted faux crown molding can be added to any room to give it a custom look without the time and expense of real molding. Taking your time and paying attention to details at the beginning will help you complete your project fairly quickly and with the overall look you want. Once you've mastered the basics, consider experimenting with different finishes, colors and details to make your design your own. These techniques will also allow you to match existing moldings with the style of your home.

Prepare Your Walls

Examine your walls to ensure they are clean, smooth and free of damage. Remove any dust or spider's webs. Fill and sand any holes prior to completing the next steps.

Determine the desired size for your molding. For rooms with average ceiling heights, 4-inch molding is appropriate. If your walls are shorter or appreciably taller, you may want to choose thinner or thicker molding.

Use your measuring tape to measure 4 inches from the ceiling down the wall. Mark this height with your pencil.

Continue around your room marking at 4 inches approximately every 2 or 3 feet, depending on the length of your straight-edged ruler or lumber. Be sure your straight edge can easily reach between two marks as this will make your next step much easier.

Lay your straight-edged ruler or lumber along the wall along your marks. Draw a line connecting your marks using your straight edge as a guide.

Lay your painter's tape along the line you marked. Make certain to align the top of your tape with the pencil line so you have the full 4 inches of wall above the tape. Press the tape firmly ensuring it fits tightly with the wall to create a clean, crisp paint line once painted.

Paint Your Faux Molding

Seal along the painter's tape to help keep your molding paint color from bleeding under the tape, if your walls are especially textured. To do this, simply apply a thin coat of glaze or the original wall color along the tape line, overlapping it so you have about 1/2-inch of paint on the tape and 1/2-inch on the wall. Let this dry before proceeding to the next steps.

Paint the 4-inch space above the tape with your chosen crown molding color. Along the ceiling line carefully cut in your paint while taking care not to get paint on the ceiling. If you have difficulty with this, you may want to use a piece of paper or a manila folder to protect the ceiling while you paint up against it.

Allow your paint to dry. Once dried, remove the painter's tape to reveal your new, faux crown molding.

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