If you know how to paint moldings, you can brighten up the appearance of any room. Painting moldings can protect them from wear and complete your design statement. Getting moldings to look perfectly smooth requires a steady hand and good skills at maneuvering in tight spaces. Molding refers to the larger and typically more ornamental finish strips used to add detail to a room.

You'll need 2-inch blue painter’s tape, trim paint, stir sticks, 2-inch angled sash brush, paint guard, 1-1/2-inch stubby-handled angled sash brush for tight spaces, clean rags, kneepads (optional).

Prep your moldings before painting. Before you can paint you need to follow the basics preparations, including cleaning the moldings, filling any gaps and cracks. If necessary, apply a stain-blocker, prime, and sand to a smooth finish.


Tape the edges of the wall where it meets the moldings.

Use blue painter’s tape to tape the edges of the wall where they meet the edges of the moldings. (If you just taped and primed the moldings, you can skip this step.)


Stir the paint thoroughly with a stir stick.

Never use paint until after you stir it. You'll get bubbles and the color will be uneven.


Dip a 2-inch angled sash brush into the paint can.

Load only the top 1/3 of the bristles with paint.


Remove excess paint from the sash brush.

Tap both sides of the bristles on the can, and then wipe the bristles against the side of the can to remove any excess paint. Remember: If you overload the brush, you’ll lose control of the paint application.


Position the paint guard at the side of a molding piece.

Hold the guard in your nondominant hand, using firm pressure to hold it in place.


Apply the paint in one stroke in one direction on the widest part of the molding.

Press slightly — just enough to flex the bristles — and work slowly to ensure an even application of paint.


Start subsequent strokes of the brush in a dry area, working toward the wet area.

This technique avoids creating lap marks.

Raise the brush slightly and feather the edge. Feathering paint into a previously painted patch keeps the paint even and smooth from one stroke to another.

Reverse the direction of the brush, and lightly stroke back over the coat you just applied. This technique will set the paint.


Apply the paint to the edges of the molding piece.