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Project Kitchen: Creating "Custom" Cabinets with Crown Moulding

Project Kitchen: Creating Custom Cabinets

June 24, 2016 Sarah Coggins
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Our kitchen makeover continues to be a work in progress. Such is the case with a lot of larger DIY projects, but it is worth it as we look back and see the changes.

I painted the lower cabinets and changed out the drawer pulls 18 months ago. Yes, a full year and a half. The plus of this? We’ve had a chance to see how well the paint would hold up with two small children before I put in time & effort painting the upper cabinets.

Kitchen Makeover: Painted Cabinets & New Drawer Pulls

Result? It’s worked! I spent several days working on those lower cabinets carefully priming and painting multiple coats. They are still beautiful today and, when they have gotten dirty, cleaned up nicely.

Part of my delay in getting the upper cabinets painted was wanting to add crown moulding to the tops beforehand to give them a more “custom” look. I spent time searching ideas and techniques on Pinterest. Finally deciding that I wanted more than *just* the moulding. I wanted to build the cabinets up a bit higher. They are 42″ high but, with 10 foot ceilings in our kitchen, still have a nice gap between the tops and the ceiling.

Earlier in the month Trent took a week off of work to spend time with us and celebrate his birthday. Our son chose to go to camp all 4 days (Monday, Memorial Day, camp was closed). We took advantage of that and our daughter’s nap times to build my “vision”.

Project Kitchen: Upper Cabinet Moulding - Dry Fit

She took a nearly 3 hour nap the first day. We managed to build all the framework for the 3 sections and cut every piece of crown moulding except one. Our first time doing a coping joint so it took a little more thought and effort.

After dinner that night while Trent took the kids outside to play, I painted the walls above the cabinets knowing it would be much easier before we added the moulding. Yes, I finally made a decision on a paint color! Benjamin Moore “Revere Pewter” – 50% tint.

After taking an afternoon off to enjoy a baseball game, we jumped back in during naptime the following day, adding blocking along the tops of the cabinets to attach the new framing to.

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Then we added trim pieces to help hide the joints and add a little extra “custom” look to the cabinets. Because we made square boxes at the top versus insetting the sides a bit like the cabinets themselves, we needed to start with a piece to fill the gap. We found screen trim boards in the moulding section at Lowes that fit perfectly. I measured each location, cut the boards, and then used Liquid Nails to adhere them into place directly onto the existing cabinets. I repeated the process at the bottom of the cabinets to give them a more finished look.

Next, I used our original measurements from building the box framework to cut half round trim, mitering the corners. These I also attached with Liquid Nails. I used painter’s tape to secure the pieces for 24 hours while the glue dried.

Project Kitchen: Upper Cabinet Moulding - Detail

Now I’m slowly working during nap times as I can to climb back up and fill all the gaps & joints so, when we finally get a less humid day, I can start priming and painting the upper cabinets as well as finish painting the walls. Hopefully it won’t take another 18 months.

Have you added trim to your cabinets or considered doing so?

Cost breakdown: approximately $110
– (4) 1×4 primed pine boards
– (4) pine half round moulding
– (2) pine screen trim boards
– (4) 8′ long pine MDF crown moulding
– brad nails
– wood filler
– coping saw

See more of our kitchen makeover experience: Kitchen: Before | New Granite Counters | Appliances | Kitchen Organization | Painting Cabinets Part 1 | Backsplash Tile


  • Lynn Spencer June 25, 2016 at 7:23 am
    Holy Cow...that was quite an undertaking, but it is looking fantastic. Since we spend so much time in our kitchens, having one that we love makes a huge difference. Enjoy! Lynn
    • Sarah Coggins June 25, 2016 at 1:26 pm
      Thanks! Honestly, it went much faster & easier than we expected. Especially given we were trying to squeeze it in during nap times. I really do love the space so much more. When we were house hunting 4 years ago, I disliked the kitchen in every house we looked at. This one was no exception. Finally it's getting to the point of love. Then to figure out which project I want to tackle next! :)

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    Hi! I'm a DIY and craft obsessed mom to 2. I have my hands covered in sawdust or paint any given day. My husband and kids join me in many of our projects. When we aren't creating at home, we're creating memories in our many adventures. Join along! Read More


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