Closet Makeover Phase 1: Miter Cuts and Caulking |

This project started when I decided it was time to make the move from crafting to home improvement. Woodworking has always been a dream of mine and I felt this project offered a nice beginner experience. The truth is, I had *definitely* incorrectly estimated my skill level, time commitment, and cost of materials involved. So before I go on to share my story, I’d like to introduce you to a new feature on How Fantastic, this is the DIY rating system.DIY Skill Level |

Beginner level requires little to no use of power tools. Projects should primarily include painting and hand tools.

Intermediate level assumes a basic understanding of power tools and language.

Advanced level assumes extensive experience with power tools.

My hope is that this will give readers a more realistic sense of the skill level involved before tackling something that looked deceptively simple on Pinterest. We’ve all been there, am I right? This was an intermediate level project. Cost of materials and time allotted to this phase of the project are all included at the bottom of the post.

Now, a few months back I decided I wanted to embellish my closet doors with crown moulding and paint them. I went back and forth with design concepts and ultimately decided that mirroring the symmetry in the pane glass door (pictured below) created a nice balance and kept the room from feeling too busy.

Closet Door Makeover |

I purchased a pro-pack of crown moulding. All together I probably used  just over half the pieces (there were 10 total). Still this was cheaper than purchasing individual pieces and I’m sure the left over pieces will come in handy for a future project. While at Home Depot I tested out a miter box with some of their scrap trim. Feeling like I had the strength and stamina to make 60 cuts, I went for it.

Closet Makeover Miter Box and Saw for Crown Moulding |

Rookie mistake #1, miter boxes are great for their traditional purpose, but for the purpose of this project, it’s better to go electric to ensure a cleaner cut.

After about an hour of this method, I had major hand cramps. I also realized that the edges were really rough causing some awful seams. So back I went and bought this bad boy.

Ryobi TS1142L Miter Saw |

This Ryobi TS1142L miter saw was under $100 and significantly less bulky than other models, which I loved! Neither Rich or I have experience using power tools outside of a drill and electric sander, so the fact that we were able to assemble and operate just by following the manual says a lot about how friendly it is for beginners. Plus I felt like a total pro using it.

Ryobi miter Saw TS1142L Crown Moulding Cuts |

Unfortunately I found that even with the laser on the machine my cuts weren’t exact. Maybe this was a measurement error but I wound up using much more crown moulding than I expected. As a solution I started measuring how much each piece was off the mark. For example 1 millimeter over vs under (1mm+/1mm-). Eventually I had enough trial and error cuts to match them up. Even if they weren’t all going to be exact, this was a nice way of getting close with minimal gaps.

Miter Cuts Crown Moulding Closet Makeover |

Then it was on to affixing the cuts to the doors. Initially I intended on purchasing a nail gun, but after a bit of research I decided against it because they can be extremely dangerous and most models require and air compressor which can get pricey. Even without the air compressor, cordless guns are about $350 on average. Before settling on hand nailing the pieces I spoke with my friends at home depot and learned that liquid nails caulking would do the job just fine.

Caulking Crown Moulding to Doors |

Embellishing Doors with Crown Moulding using Caulking |

The caulking was a total success! I did find that some of the compound would seep out from under the pieces. The best way to clean this up is with a utility knife after drying.

Materials used in Phase 1:

2 tubes of Liquid Nails caulking ($3 each), caulking gun ($3), Ryobi Miter Saw TS1142L ($89), Home Depot Pro-pak of Crown Moulding (about $65), thick sheet of wood for stable work station ($12).

Total Costs excluding tools: $86

Time in Phase 1 :

2 hours on miter cuts (not including the hour wasted with the hand saw) , 2 hours shopping, 30 minutes caulking, plus several hours researching process and style.

Make sure to check back tomorrow for Phase 2 where I talk about painting prep and hardware!

  • Alice

    Wouldn’t be an alternative option the use of a detailed picture frame instead of crown molding? What do you think?

    • Hi Alice, you could absolutely do that as well if you don’t have the tools at home to make the miter cuts. Good luck!

    • Alexis_Gloria

      I was thinking the same thing! Thanks!

  • Love this, what a great project! It looks fab! xx