Shaker Molding That Shines
Installing Shaker-style Crown Molding with Rope Lighting
By Rob Robillard
Ever since I installed rope lighting behind crown molding during a 2004 remodeling project, I’ve wanted an opportunity to do it again. Now seven years later, I finally got my chance.
The project pictured is my screen porch. I spend countless hours on this porch, working, relaxing and entertaining. I love this room and recently decided to install the crown molding with rope-style accent lighting.
What is Rope Lighting?
Rope lighting is a plastic flexible tube that is made up of tiny bulbs, either incandescent or LEDs. Rope lights are a super easy way to introduce accent lighting and color into your lighting design. They work so well because of their versatility. A common use for rope lights is as a cove or accent light. Rope lighting placed behind crown molding can create a warm accent glow and makes a great DIY project.
Rope lighting can be bought in predetermined lengths. When I’m working at a client’s house and hardwiring the rope lighting, I prefer to cut the tube between lights at the exact length needed and splice together my connections.
Combining with Crown Molding
Installing crown molding in any room greatly enhances a home’s decor. Using rope lighting in combination with crown molding is a great way to provide both an inviting mood light and aesthetic beauty. The warm glow becomes a focal point and really draws you in!
Combining crown with rope lighting is easy, as long as you follow a few simple principles, such matching the existing décor. I already knew that rope lighting would create spectacular accents. The problem I had was choosing the molding.
The screen porch has a simple country design look, complete with tongue-and-groove beadboard, a mahogany wood floor and wide, flat 1×6 window casing. I initially thought crown molding would be too fancy for this room.
I almost gave up on the notion when I realized that I could make a simple Shaker-style molding out of 1×4 flat boards.
The Shakers, a religious group, approached work as an act of worship and aspired to a combination of simple yet beautiful design and fine craftsmanship. To this day, Shaker furnishings are recognized for their elegant simplicity and exquisite workmanship. Why not borrow from their lead?
Once I decided to make my own Shaker-style crown molding, I measured the room and went to the store to buy the rope lighting.
I took the easy road and bought rope lighting at a factory-determined length with a wall plug.
I think I spent $40.00 on the lights. An electrical supply store can provide you with the tools and materials needed for custom size rope lighting.
Making the Shaker-Style Molding
I started by buying 1×4 pine boards, longer than the 14-ft. span of the three screen porch walls. Using my table saw, I ripped all four edges of these 1×4’s to achieve the desirable spring angle. First I ripped the board to width and then ripped the two opposing edges at 35 degrees, which gave me the wall angle and top edge of the crown molding. The two opposite side rips were made at 45 degrees for a decorative beveled edge.
Once all of the boards were ripped, I used a small block plane to remove the saw marks, lightly sanded the ripped edges and then primed all the bare wood.
Tip—When ripping long boards like this, make sure you support them with extension rollers to keep the work piece level and in line to the saw blade.