How to Paint Crown Molding

While it might seem like a small change to an embellishment that already makes a good impression, painting your crown moldings can yield a variety of beautiful results. Maybe you're remodeling and need a molding that fits your design scheme, or perhaps your current color just isn't cutting it. Painting your crown molding may offer your room a new world of aesthetics. Keep reading for more information on the topic and tips on how to paint crown molding.

Painting Options

There are generally two options for painting your foam crown molding. You can either hand-paint or spray-paint, both of which offer smooth results. When painting by hand, you can do it before or after installation, while spray-painting requires you to paint ahead of time.

Painting by hand is a more accessible option for most people, as all you need is a paintbrush and paint. It takes a little more time, and you'll have to pay special attention to details and intricate designs, but it dries more quickly. Hand-painting is an excellent option for less experienced painters. It is easier, requires fewer specialized tools and it dries faster. There are a few aspects you'll have to be careful with to achieve a smooth result, but we'll go over those later.

If you're using spray paint, you'll need to do it before you install the molding. Painting before installation allows you to paint outside and not worry about ventilation as much. It also allows you to access all sides of the molding that will be visible after installing, and prevents splattering your walls with paint. You can use spray paint out of a rattle can or a spray gun, if you have one. In either case, spray painting can be a faster process, but it may take a lot longer to dry, especially if you put down thick layers. Weather and humidity can also play a part in the drying. Spray painting is excellent for reaching intricate details and may be faster for experienced painters.

How to Hand-Paint Crown Molding

Follow these steps to ensure the best results when hand-painting crown molding.

  1. Stir the paint well: Be sure to "whip" the paint by using a paint stick to pull it from the bottom up to the top and then push it down again. Repeat this in a circular motion to thoroughly mix the paint for a smooth consistency. As the paint sits, its ingredients can separate, so whipping the color ensures that it all stays together and dries appropriately.
  2. Begin painting: Use long, even strokes as you cover the molding, and make sure to get in all the details. Don't go overboard on thickness, especially if you are using a molding that is already primed, like those from Focal Point. If this is the case, you can use multiple layers to get the color down. If your molding is not pre-primed, you may want to add a coat of primer or use paint that has primer built-in.
  3. Be thorough: Make sure to paint every piece of crown, including the corner pieces and connectors. Don't forget the sides and bottoms, either. These will be visible after you've installed the molding. If you have a more complex design, such as our Acropolis kit, make sure you get all the grooves and indents covered.

How to Spray-Paint Crown Molding

If you are a more experienced do-it-yourselfer, you can be confident that following these spray-painting steps will produce excellent outcomes.

  1. Shake the paint can thoroughly: Continue doing so as you paint, rattling it every 30 seconds or so.
  2. Go over the molding with long, steady strokes: Keep the layers thin. The first coat might look pretty close to the primed color, but don't make a heavier layer to compensate. Remember, spray paint tends to take a lot longer to dry, so you may be waiting several hours or days if you overdo it. You'll be putting on multiple coats anyway. Drying time might take longer due to inclement weather or humidity, so try and paint on a dry, sunny, windless day.
  3. Let the first coat dry completely: After waiting to ensure the first coat has dried, add another two or three layers for a smooth finish.
  4. Paint the components and corner pieces: Don't overlook the connectors, sides and bottoms. These will all be visible once you've installed the molding.

Tips for Painting Crown Molding

Tips for Painting Crown Molding

While crown molding isn't a complicated process, there are several choices you need to consider and tips that can make the job easier.

  • Before or after: While you can paint your molding after installation, it is easier to do it before. If you paint after installation, you'll have to use a ladder to get around. Also, this limits you to hand-painting, as you won't be able to use a spray can or gun in the house.
  • Ventilation: If you do opt for using a spray can or gun, make sure you do it in a well-ventilated area, such as the outdoors. A mask wouldn't be a bad idea, either.
  • Thin layers: Remember to keep spray paint layers light. If you go too thick, the paint could run, which doesn't look good on your result, and you'll spend a lot more time waiting for it dry.
  • Caulk: If you're going to be caulking the molding, we suggest painter's caulk to ensure any gaps between the molding and the wall get filled. Keep in mind that painter's caulk is white, so you may need to touch up the paint on the molding after installation. Even if your molding is white, you'll still want to paint over the caulk, since it will dry to a gloss or semi-gloss finish, which will be a harsh contrast to the matte finish of the molding.
  • Pre-primed: Order crown molding that comes primed. This option saves you a time-consuming step in the painting process. At Focal Point, we use a polyurethane crown molding that is primed and ready for painting when you get it.
  • Clips and mounting pieces: Install quick clips and mounting parts while the molding dries, which can take a few hours with hand-painting and up to a few days for spray paint.
  • Edges: If you're going to be painting your moldings after you've installed them, you can use two options to get a clean edge. For most DIY painters, you'll want to use painter's tape to mask off the area you're not planning to paint. More experienced painters may be able to get the job done by "cutting in," a technique that allows for a smooth edge with just a brush.

Why Paint Crown Molding?

Though it makes a statement on its own, there are plenty of reasons to give crown moldings, new or existing, a fresh coat of paint. These include being able to do the following.

  • Match the room: When painting a room, you'll want to create a cohesive atmosphere throughout, and mismatched colors can break up the ambiance and take away from other features. Coating your moldings with colors that flow well with the space will allow them to enhance it in all the right ways. A proper design scheme can make all the difference in helping a room feel the way it is supposed to.
  • Create a finished look: Leaving certain features, like exposed beams and fireplaces, unpainted and raw can make for an attractive design and a positive impression. Crown moldings head in the opposite direction. They are typically a symbol of refinement and elegance and make a room feel complete. Unfinished crown molding can take away from that tone. Even a simple white coat of paint can make a huge difference.
  • Meet your preference: Of course, you can ignore all that and go with whatever color you like the best. Crown moldings look beautiful in a variety of different colors and wood stains. No single option stands above the rest, and in the right setting, you can make any color work.
Easily Paint Focal Point's Crown Moldings

While traditional moldings might take some added work to achieve your desired look, you can start fresh with Focal Point Product's crown molding kits. You can easily cover the panels included in our kits, as the polyurethane comes primed and ready for any paint. Between that quality and our four available designs, we can offer a broad range of appealing options. Contact us today with any questions you have, or buy your kit online now!