Perfect Window Trim

Like many miniaturists, my favorite part of a project is the “pretty,” after all the pesky construction details are done. So any time I can figure a way to make those details go faster, I like to share the tip so others can get to the good part more quickly, too.

This is about interior window and door trim. You have to paint it. You have to glue it in place. It has to fit perfectly and the miter joints should actually join. It goes in hard-to-reach places, and can look really bad when it’s not right. An aggravating aspect of something that’s supposed to be fun.

But there is a better way, and all you need is graph paper and white glue in a fine-tip dispenser.

For stained trim, stain before this process. For painted trim, paint after.

Simply assemble the window or door frame on graph paper using a fine line of glue along the back of the trim piece and in the joint. Align the pieces with the grid at one corner (it will likely not match up at any others) and keep the lines straight. Check that the door or window fits inside the trim (if it is supposed to, not all are). Let dry completely.

You can put more than one frame on a sheet of paper, but don’t crowd them. More space is better. Do this early in the construction process and the drying time won’t delay your progress.

Paint and finish the dried frames while they are attached to the paper. Paint carefully at the edges to avoid thick paint that will stick.

When everything is thoroughly dry and you are ready to install, roughly cut the paper away with a knife or scissors, starting on the inside of a frame. Leave enough paper for your fingers to grab. Then carefully, especially at the corners, peel the unglued paper away from the back of the frame. Alternately, you can turn the frames over and use a knife and ruler to cut the paper near the edge of the frame. You may need a knife to cut through dried paint. Re-glue and reinforce any corners that open, and let dry again.

Now you can install all of your window and door trims in one piece, with perfect miter joints!