Are you interested in DIYing your own window trim? Trim installation doesn’t have to be that difficult, especially if you choose a simple and straightforward design. If a good straight line speaks to your sense of style, then this DIY is for you! Follow along as I install our simple, shaker-style craftsman window trim.
What is Craftsman style window trim?
Are you wondering just what IS craftsman style? Simplicity, horizontal lines and visibility of workmanship are the features of a craftsman-style home that I wanted to emphasize with this project. These features mean any DIYer (regardless of experience level) can successfully trim out their own windows using this style! There are no fancy cuts or elaborate hard-to-work-with moldings. Just square-edged pieces of trim that are easy to cut and install.
Because Our DIY House is a very square, simple foursquare craftsman home I wanted our DIY window trim inside to reflect that style. I knew before I started that these windows wouldn’t have a fancy window sill or ornate molding surrounding them. I just needed to find the right inspiration to figure out an exact style before I got started.
After virtually rummaging through craftsman-style window trim photos on Pinterest, I decided I wanted square casings (and baseboards) and I wanted to keep the profile simple with just a bit of detail at the top and bottom. It had to be something I could DIY, but still add some character to our new home. I was trying to avoid the builder grade window look.
What to use for Craftsman style trim?
Craftsman-style window trim can be made from almost any kind of board you would find at your local hardware store (this is part of the beauty of this simple style). For my purposes, I used MDF boards. I was looking specifically for MDF trim because it was cost-effective and I was painting everything semi-gloss white anyhow. If you want to stain your casings, MDF will not work for you and wood is the way to go.
My mom enjoys doing finishing carpentry, and she’s a huge Windsor Plywood fan. She assured me our local West Edmonton store would have MDF casing & baseboards to create the profile that I was looking for to make our DIY simple craftsman / shaker trim, and she was right!
I was so excited when Windsor Plywood West Edmonton wanted to partner with me on our trim project! Josh, the manager, knew exactly the right shaker-style casings and baseboards I was looking for after I emailed him a description and an inspiration photo. He also helped me decide what thicknesses to use for the top, bottom, and side pieces of trim. It is worth talking to an expert before you begin a project of this size, trust me!
This trim is super-duper simple and it’s a great price (plus, Windsor Plywood always has awesome sales!). It’s square and flat with a very slightly rounded edge.
How to Install DIY Craftsman Window Trim
I decided that the tops and bottoms of my window casing would jut out from the side casings with an overhang of 3/4″ on either side. This meant a lot of straight, easy cuts that I was able to do all by myself. I used a cross cut saw for all of the cuts. (Now I want to build all sorts of things after learning new tools!)
Calculating Materials for Craftsman Window Trim
Since the casing is 3″ wide and we wanted a 1/4″ reveal of the window frame before the casing began, my formula was as follows:
Side casings = window inside height measurement + 1/2″ (x2 pieces)
Top and bottom casings = window inside width measurement + 8″ (6″ for the trim + 1/2″ reveal + 1 1/2″ jut-out) (x2 pieces)
Cutting Your Trim Pieces
I carefully measured and cut the trim pieces for the windows one at a time. If there were two or three the same I cut the pieces all together. If you decide to make all your cuts for every single window at the same time and the measurements aren’t all the same, make sure you keep track of which trim pieces go with which window!
My wonderful little sis (and my brother too!) helped me paint the casing. We gave everything a light sand with 120-grit sandpaper (including the short ends of the top cap and bottom pieces) and then coated them once with our trim paint (with a foam roller – my favourite for a smooth finish). You could put a couple coats of primer on too if you wanted, but I didn’t because I was in a hurry and didn’t mind if the MDF soaked up a bit of extra paint.
Installing Your Craftsman Window Trim
Then it was time for installation. I cut a “jig” out of a 1/4″ scrap piece of plywood that I could use as a measuring stick when I placed the casings on the window (since they needed to be 1/4″ from the inside of the window). Once I had the casings placed, I used brad nails to secure the top and the bottom to the wall (a nail gun or brad nailer is another awesome tool!).
First, I put a nail or two in the middle piece of trim (depending on the length of the casing). The style I picked was straightforward and easy to do since the joints just butted up against each other and didn’t require any miters or finicky adjustments. And, because the trim is light and will not be required to bear any weight, stud placement doesn’t matter and you can nail it straight into the drywall. I hope you’re getting the idea that this would be a great style for a beginner to tackle!
Then, I repeated the process with the second side.
(I forced Hubby to take these pictures of me doing this because I’m so terribly proud that I’ve done our trim myself…even though he built the rest of the house… )
Then I secured the bottom (the apron). I eyeballed the 3/4″ on each side, mostly.
And finally, I nailed the top piece (the header) on. If there were any unsightly spaces due to my measurements being off, I filled those with caulking. Nothing was too off, thankfully!
Caulking is a really wonderful trick that can hide a lot of errors.
After I nailed the trim in place, I caulked around the inside edge (where the casing meets the window). The smaller the hole in your caulking tube, the better! The less product that comes out at a time, the less you have to manage and wipe away.
My mom taught me this trick: go over your caulk beads immediately with a damp cloth to clean away any excess. This goes for the nail holes too! You could also use wood glue to fill those, but since I already had my caulking gun out I just used caulk for this too.
The little indentations on the tops and bottom of the trim that you can see also need to be filled with caulk. Don’t skip this step! It takes your hard work to the next level and makes everything look finished and professional.
Once the nail holes were sanded and the caulking was complete, I did a final sanding and coat of paint.
Aren’t the window casings so simple and lovely?
Who knew that trimming windows was so easy? I really think this trim gives off the vibe I was looking for: craftsman character, simple and modern.
This trim around our transom windows by the fireplace made the windows really pop!
The contrast of the white trim with Little C’s electric purple room is wonderful! I also made some easy DIY fabric-covered black out roller shades to hang in the windows. You can see that tutorial on the blog too!
Thanks for such a great product to work with, Windsor Plywood, and for all of your friendly help on this fun DIY.
What do you think of our simple craftsman trim? Are you ready to master a saw and nail gun for your next home reno project?
(Disclosure: This post is sponsored in part by Windsor Plywood West Edmonton. The views and opinions expressed here are purely my own.)
Let’s make it!
- Casing (I used 3")
- Cross Cut Saw
- Nail Gun
- Foam Roller
- Caulking Gun
- Sanding block
I decided on having the tops and bottoms of my window casings jut out from the side casings 3/4″. The door frames will be the same. This makes for a lot of straight, easy cuts that I was able to do all by myself.
- My casing is 3″ wide (the baseboards are 4″ wide) and we wanted a 1/4″ reveal of the window frame before the casing began, my formula was as follows:
Side casings = window inside height measurement + 1/2″ (x2 pieces)
Top casings = window inside width measurement + 8″ (6″ for the trim + 1/2″ reveal + 1 1/2″ jut-out) (x2 pieces)
I carefully measured and cut the windows one at a time, and if there were two or three the same I cut the pieces all together.
- I gave everything a light sand (and sanded the short ends of the top and bottom pieces) and then coated them once with our trim paint (with a foam roller – my favourite for a smooth finish).
- I cut a “jig” out of a 1/4″ thick piece of plywood that I could use as a measuring stick when I placed the casings on the window (since they needed to be 1/4″ from the inside of the window). Once I had the casings placed, I nailed the top and the bottom to the wall with a nail gun and then the middle once or twice (depending on the length of the casing).
- I repeated with the second side.
- Then the bottom (I eyeballed the 3/4″ on each side, mostly).
- Finally, I nailed the top piece on. After I nailed the trim in place, I caulked around the inside edge (where the casing meets the window). The smaller the hole in your caulking tube, the better!
- The nail holes also need to be filled with caulking, as do the little indentations on the tops and bottom of the trim that you see.
- Lightly sand the nail holes and finish off with a final coat of paint.
My mom taught me this trick: go over your caulking beads immediately with a damp cloth to clean away any excess right away. This goes for the nail hole filling, too!