I have the perfect do-it-yourself solution to create the faux wood beams of your dreams. Because if you are like me, you have always loved the look of wood beams that encase the opening between rooms. The weathered and antiqued look from years exposed to nature’s toughest climates always adds the perfect farmhouse touch to any home.
But have you looked at the prices on those beams?! They are pricey.
Our home is a cookie-cutter, builder grade home. Which means, having these beams installed during the building process was not even a question; I mean they barely budged on wrapping our entire house in cement board. So Plan A was a no-go, which meant I would go to Plan B and casually ask the Hubster.
Bad idea! With a quick internet search on his end, there was no way I was going to be able to talk the Hubster into purchasing them with the price tag he saw. But I had another game plan. This game plan would be much easier to talk the Hubster into completing with a fraction of the cost, a.k.a. DIY faux wood beams.
After seeing other three sided faux wood beams, I knew we could do a similar DIY in our home. So I showed the Hubster what I was thinking and got a quick, “Oh we can totally do that!”. The next question I was asked, “Where are you going to do that though?” and I didn’t even hesitate to show him exactly where.
Supplies you’ll need for faux wood beams:
- Whitewood boards
- Circular Saw
- Finishing nailer with 2″ nails
- Tape measure
- Mitter saw
- Liquid nails
- Flathead screwdriver
- Flathead drill bit with Drill
- 3/32 drill bit
- Orbital Sander
- 320 grit sandpaper
- Painter’s tape
- Foam brushes
- Small bristle brushes
- White stain towels
Lowe’s here we come
After measuring out the exact measurements of the casing, we went to our local Lowe’s Improvement Store to purchase some of the supplies we would need to create the faux wood beams.
Because our casing was completely framed in by 2×4’s, we did not have to worry about installing anything else to support the wood we would attach. Tip: When building your home, before they drywall, take a video so that you know framework, electrical, and plumbing! That left us with just finding the wood we would use for the faux beam casing. We measured the width of our casing and found that it was 7 1/4 inches. So we needed to find wood with those same dimensions. I also wanted something that would be able to be easily distressed. Luckily, we were able to find some!
To know how many boards to purchase required some math but the Hubster was able to calculate that really quickly. Me on the other hand, I had to have him explain it to me.
You’ll want to know how high your inside casing needs to be. For us, it was a little under 8′ high, which meant that we needed to buy 8′ whitewood boards. Because I wanted a square look, each side of the casing would have three sides. So our board count was up to 6 boards. Next you’ll want to measure the total length of your casing. Because our total length is 14′, we needed to buy 6 boards so that the top whitewood boards would meet square on both sides of the wall.
Let’s make these faux beams
Our first step to encase the doorway would be to remove the cabinetry trim on the side adjacent to the kitchen cabinets. We did this with a hammer and a crowbar.
Next, we needed to remove the baseboards so that the whitewood would sit flush to the wall. Again, we did this with a hammer and crowbar.
Once the baseboards were removed, we took a whitewood board and placed it next to the inside of the opening. This would allow us to make the appropriate mark for the inside height of the faux wood beam casing. After the cut was made with our HART circular saw, we attached the whitewood board to the wall using our air compressed finishing nailer with 2″ nails. Although, using 2″ wood screws with a HART impact driver would be just as efficient.
After the inside whiteboard was attached, we attached the whitewood to the underneath side of the casing. This allowed us to have an exact height measurements on the surrounding sides of the casing.
Due to our framing situation, we needed to make two long cuts to shorten the overall width of two of the whiteboards. So that these whitewood boards were the exact measurement of the sides of the wall.
The Hubster cut the long cuts of the two whitewood boards with his HART circular saw. He did this by measuring the exact width every few inches on the whitewood board we needed to cut and then using another straight board to draw the cut line. He then used another whitewood board that was clamped to the original whitewood board to act as his guide while cutting (shown below).
The sides of the whitewood boards of the casing were cut to the appropriate width and height. We then attached them to the wall using our finishing nailer with 2″ nails.
And then… Problem
We needed the crown molding of the kitchen cabinets and the whitewood to be flush. Which meant that we would have to cut the crown molding. While I held up a whitewood board, the Hubster roughly marked where we would need to cut the crown molding. We gently removed the crown molding with a crow bar and hammer and then made the cut with our Mitter saw.
We attached the whitewood board to the top part of the wall, making sure it was square to the bottom boards that encased the wall. The Hubster and I attached the crown molding using our finishing nailer. However, if we had liquid nails I would’ve attached the crown molding this way back to the kitchen cabinetry.
After that stressful situation was completed, it was time to encase the entire opening. We attached whitewood boards to the other wall side of the opening. We did this so that we could make the appropriate cuts for the top part of the opening.
Once both sides of the casing were three-sided encased, it was time to encase the top part of the opening. We made sure that the seams were as tight as possible so that it would appear as one beam.
Whitewood becomes Faux Wood Beams
Now that the opening was entirely encased in whitewood, it was time to make it look like a beam. According to the Hubster, this is the fun part of the project! And he isn’t wrong. In order for the whitewood to look like a beam, distressing is a must. There is no wrong or right way to distress the whitewood. That’s what makes this project so nice! This is the process that I found that was the easiest for the size of this opening.
I began by using a hatchet to carve out the edges of the whitewood. I did this so that there weren’t any straight lines on the outside of the boards. Next, I used the HART multi-tool to cut random lines into the whitewood in multiple directions and remove smaller chunks of wood. You’ll want to make sure that you heavily distress the seams on the top of the casing so that the seams aren’t noticeable. Once that was done, I used the end of the crowbar to make small marks randomly throughout the whitewood. Using a hammer, I would randomly hit the whitewood boards. After that was done, I used a flathead screwdriver to scrape lines into the boards.
However, a flathead drill bit and the HART Drill would also work. I used one of the smaller drill bits with the HART Drill to drill random lines into the whitewood. In order to make worm holes, I used the 3/32 HART drill bit with the HART Screwdriver.
After you have heavily distressed your casing, you’ll want to sand your whitewood boards so that it will have a smoother splinter-free feel. Using my HART orbital sander with a 320 grit sandpaper, I lightly sanded the casing.
P.s. you’ll have quite the mess with the previous two steps! However, it is extremely important to heavily distress the wood to achieve the aesthetic of a wood beam.
Stain me away!
Staining the whitewood was by far the worst part of this project. Yes, even with having to clean up after the mess of distressing! In order to find a stain color we liked, we took a remaining scrap piece of whitewood and stained it in stain colors we thought would work well in our home.
However, for our home we did not end up liking just one stain color in and of itself. It was an application of three different stains, in three separate coats that achieved the final desired look.
I began by heavily coating the whitewood in Hazelwood stain with a foam brush. I did this so that it would remove the subtle orange/yellow undertones of the wood and would allow the whitewood to have a warmer gray base.
After allowing the stain to penetrate and dry for a day, I then applied the One-Step Interior Stain from Old Barn Living in the color Weathered. Again, I applied the stain with a foam brush and allowed the stain to penetrate and dry for a day.
It was time to add the final stain color, Jacobean, that would really accentuate all of the distressing we did to the whitewood. I dipped my towel in the Jacobean stain and lightly wiped it over the entire beams. Then, I took a bristle brush and applied the stain in certain areas. You’ll want to have stain towels readily available because you don’t want the stain of the Jacobean to overpower the other two stains you applied. A quick swipe with a towel to remove any excess will do.
Seal it Up!
After allowing the final coat of stain to dry, we reattached, caulked, and added the necessary paint touch-ups to the baseboards that we removed at the beginning of the project.
Once the baseboards were taken care of, I sealed the entire casing to insure lifelong durability. Because in my house, Hazel and Little Miss are sure to run into the wood faux beams. I used Varathane’s Triple Thick Polyurethane in a Satin sheen to match other sheens throughout my house.
Faux Wood Beam Casing Results
We are always working on new things at the Farmhouse. If you want to see snippets of these projects or to see my everyday life, scratch that, craziness, head on over to the 1776 Faux Farmhouse Instagram account. I’ll see you there!
A big thank you to HART tools for providing the tools mentioned throughout this post. Thankfully, these power tools are only available to you at Walmart and for a very affordable price. The worst part of DIY projects are always the added expenses that tools bring…That’s no longer the case because HART tools have the durability of high end products with a price tag that won’t break the bank!
The power tools listed above are dangerous and if not used properly can result in fatal injures or death. If you are not comfortable using these power tools please consult someone who does.