Installing DIY Faux Wood Beams in our Master Bedroom was one of the best decor projects we’ve ever done! I can’t tell you what an incredible difference it has made in bringing a new dimension to our bedroom and making our 9′ ceilings feel even taller than they are! The following is a quick tutorial of how we managed this project in 7 easy steps! Enjoy! I’d love to see pics if you decide to tackle this DIY too! It was, by far, one of the best “end result” DIY project we have completed to date! (and my apologies for some of the blurry photos, I couldn’t make them hold still long enough for a photo, lol) But no complaints over here! Loving my beams!
Step 1: Find and mark the studs in your room. My husband used an A-frame ladder, a stud finder, a laser level, a pencil and painters tape to mark the studs on our ceiling. The faux beams need to be attached to existing studs, as their weight would rip them down from drywall. The faux beams need to be placed perpendicularly to the studs in the ceiling or aligned with existing studs. Do not attempt to attach beams to drywall only.
Step 2: Measure, cut and, attach untreated (and unfinished) pine 1″ x 8″s to your ceiling. My husband used our laser distance measuring tool, which is much more accurate than using a tape measure. Our room was approximately 18′ across, so we used two 9′ sections, end-to-end. This doesn’t have to be pretty…it just has to be in a straight line. This is the wood you will attach your faux beams to and it will not be visible when finished! My husband used GRK R4 Multipurpose Star/Torx Screws #8 – 2 1/2″ to attach these boards to our studs. He used these because they don’t need a pilot hole and they don’t split your wood while screwing them in. He put in one screw about every 12 inches.
Kadsie was a good sport, although he’s not really looking forward to the next project.
Step 3: Begin to create your faux beams. Each section of beam will require 3 more untreated sections of 1″ x 8″, cut to the same length as the corresponding section already attached to your ceiling. After cutting, lay 1 board on a flat surface. Stand two other boards vertically along the edge of the flat board and attach with a nail gun (put in a brad nail about every 6″ to ensure your beam stays together). Make sure your hands are clear of the area where you are nailing! When these 3 pieces are nailed together, you will have a U-shaped beam.
Step 4: Lightly sand and wipe your beams. The outside of your U-shaped faux beam may have printing, dirt or blemishes. A light sanding with a hand sander and 100-grit sandpaper will prep your beams for staining. Once sanded, wipe the dust off with a damp rag or paper towel. I also used a hammer and some other tools to make marks in the beams so that they would look a little more “worn” and “old”.
Step 5: Stain your beams. I wiped on Minwax Special Walnut stain with a lint-free rag. I wanted the beams a little darker (but not too dark) so they would pop against all the neutrals and whites in our bedroom. I also loved how the color of the stain pulled out the dark grain in our Mannington Floors (see flooring details here)! To stain the faux beams, I flipped the U upside down and propped them on paint cans out on our patio. The desert sun baked them dry in no time!
Step 6: Install your faux beam. Slide your U-shaped faux beam over the board you already screwed into your ceiling. It may take a little prying, shifting and pounding, but they will fit! This is probably a 2-3 person task, as 1-2 people need to hold the beam in place and push it towards the ceiling, while someone else uses a nail gun to nail the U portion of the beam to the board on the ceiling. Again, my husband put in one brad nail approximately every six inches from end-to-end. Another trick we needed to use with a really tight fitting, stubborn beam (and crooked drywall), was forcing one section of our beam into place with a car jack (see pic below)! I’m not sure that I would say, “try this at home”, but it did work for us.
Step 7: Cover the gaps for a finished look. We had a seam where two sections of the same beam met, as well as small seams at the end of each beam that I wanted to hide. My husband measured and cut strips of 1″ wide (1/8″ thick) aluminum to size (using a hacksaw) and hammered them into a U shape (in a vice) to cover the ends and the middle seam on each newly installed beam. Using the vice allowed for him to hammer a perfect corner to fit snug against the faux beam. I wanted the strips to be darker than the beams, so I opted to spray paint them with a dark oil-rubbed bronze finish (using this spray paint) instead of their natural shiny silver aluminum. These stirps also look like they are supporting weight of the beam, even though they are just for show! My husband attached the aluminum strips by drilling a hole in the end of each strip and then attaching it to the beam with a black truss head screw.
And that is it, my friends! DIY Faux Beams created and installed. We were able to complete the project in a weekend and we couldn’t be happier with the result! Below is a detailed list of what we used, should you decide to tackle this project too! Happy DIYing!
Materials/Tools we used:
- 32 untreated pine 1″ x 8″ x 10’s (quantity and length of boards can be adjusted according to length needed to span across your space)
- Frog Tape (painters tape)
- Air Nailer and 2″ 18 gauge brad nails
- 2 boxes GRK R4 Multipurpose Star/Torx Screws #8 – 2 1/2″
- Laser distance measuring tool or large tape measure
- Laser level
- Stud Finder
- Drill and extension cord
- 1/8″ drill bit
- Hand Sander
- 100-grit sanding sheets
- A-Frame Ladder
- Special Walnut Minwax Stain
- 4′ long x 1″ wide x 1/8″ thick aluminum stips
- Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint
- #8 x 3/4″ Phillips Truss Head Screws(used to attach aluminum strips to beams)
- a pencil
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