How to Install Crown Molding on a Bookcase

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Crown molding
Miter saw
Table saw
Nail gun
1-1/4 inch brads for nail gun
Wood glue

Install crown molding on a basic bookcase to give it a rich, elegant finish. With an electric miter saw, the procedure is quick and results in near perfect joints every time. If this is your first crown-molding project, don’t be intimidated, the profile of the crown is already cut. Enjoy your ‘new’ bookcase.

Step 1 - Attach Top Surface

In order to install crown molding on a bookcase, there needs to be a surface to attach the crown molding to. If your bookcase has a wide enough top edge you can skip this portion.

To provide a surface to install crown molding to, cut a piece of plywood that is at least one inch wider than the top edge of the bookcase. Lay the plywood on top of the bookcase while holding a piece of molding in position. Mark where the molding top-outside edge hits the plywood. Attach the plywood to the top edges of the bookcase with nails.

Step 2 - Set up Miter Saw

making a cut with a miter saw

The best way to cut molding is to flip the piece upside down in the miter saw. This places the molding with the edge that attaches to the bookcase at the top of the saw (fence). To assure that every piece of molding is fastened exactly the same, use a piece of scrap wood about three feet long. The wood must be wide enough that the saw will not cut through. Clamp the board to the saw table.

Step 3 - Cut Molding Right and Front

Starting with the right-hand side of the bookcase, miter the front edge of the molding. Also, miter the front piece of molding, on the right-hand end. Hold the two-pieces up to the bookcase to check the fit. Trim and adjust the miters as necessary to achieve a perfect fit. Cut the right-hand piece to size with miter saw. Install crown molding along the top with 1 ¼-inch brads in the nail gun. Attach the bottom with 1-inch brads in nail gun. Cut the front piece about 3/16 inch longer than required.

Step 4 - Continue to Left and Back

crown molding

Cut the left-hand side-molding piece to install crown molding. Hold the front piece and the left-hand piece and perfect the joint fit as in Step 2. With the front piece cut to size, glue the right-hand/front joint. Attach the top of the front piece with nail gun loaded with 1 1/4 inches brads into the plywood. Reload the nail gun with 1-inch brads to attach the bottom. Now, with the front piece set perfectly, cut the left-hand piece about 3/16 inch longer than necessary. Measure the back length required, and cut it slightly longer on both ends to allow for fitting (3/16 inch each end).

Step 5 - Final Fit

Working the angles between the left-hand and back crown molding pieces, continue cutting with the miter saw until the fit is perfect, and the left-hand molding is the correct length. Glue the joint between the left-hand and front moldings. Nail the top of the left-hand molding into the plywood. Work both ends of the back piece until the angles at each end match perfectly, and the length is correct. Glue the two end joints and attach the back molding in the same manner as the rest to finish the crown molding install.