How to Make Easy DIY Trim

Make DIY trim and save a bundle over store-bought trim. Here's how.


A few hours






Make DIY trim and save a bundle over store-bought trim. Here's how.

Tools Required

  • Circular saw
  • Paint roller
  • Paint tray
  • Router and bits
  • Sawhorses

Materials Required

  • 4x8 x 1/2-in. MDF
  • Primer and paint
  • 3-in. screws

Project step-by-step (6)

Step 1

Sawhorse Setup

  • Set up two sawhorses about six feet apart.
  • Make two four-foot attaching cleats by cutting an eight-foot 2×4 in half. Secure these boards to the top of each sawhorse using 2-1/2-in. screws.
  • Attach an eight-foot 2×4 on top of the two attaching cleats as a cross-support, with a long edge flush with the end of each cleat, joining the two sawhorses together.
  • Attach another eight-foot 2×4 cross support to the attaching cleats about one inch away from the first cross-support.
  • Lay another eight-foot 2×4 on top of the attaching cleats and parallel to the other long 2x4s, as a moveable cross-support.


Step 2

Prime, Then Cut

  • Lay a 4×8 sheet of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) on your sawhorse setup.
  • Priming the 4×8 sheet of MDF before cutting will save you time down the road – you will only have to touch up the edges of the trim after you cut them.


Step 3

Decorative Edge

  • Colonial, ranch, and square trim are a few common profiles available at most building supply stores. You can easily make these trim profiles or create your own profile using a router.
  • Set up your router with a bearing bit to create the decorative edge on your trim.
  • Rout the leading edge of the 4×8 sheet of MDF before every cut you make. (See photo.)
  • For window and door casing with a decorative edge on both sides of the trim, you will have to rout the other edge after it’s been cut. A router table with a fence works well for this.


Step 4

Cutting Setup

  • Install a rip guide onto your circular saw and set it for the desired width of your trim. You’ll keep this in place for all your trim cuts. You can also attach a 1/4-in. piece of plywood with a rip guide to the bottom of your circular saw. (See photo.)
  • Measuring from the leading edge of the 4×8 sheet, make a pencil mark the width of your trim on both ends of the sheet.
  • Align those two marks in the gap between the two cross-support 2x4s; that’s where your saw blade will ride. Secure the sheet to the cross supports using quick-release clamps. (See photo.)
  • If available, attach a vacuum hose to your circular saw.
    • Pro tip: Always wear a dust mask when cutting MDF!


Step 5

 Start Ripping

  • Set the blade depth on your circular saw 1/4-in. to 1/2-in. more than the thickness of your material.
  • Rip your first piece of trim, then measure it to make sure it’s the correct width.
  • Lay the cut piece on top of the sheet as a measurement for the next piece. Pull the sheet toward you and align the edge with the cross-support gap for your next cut.
  • Remember to rout the decorative edge before each cut.

Ripping Trim

Step 6

 Prime and Paint

  • Once you’ve cut all your trim, lay it out with the routed edges facing the same direction. Use a paint roller or paint sprayer to apply primer to the edges.
  • Let the primer dry completely and apply a top coat of paint. You are now ready to start installing your trim.

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