How to Attach Crown Molding to Kitchen Cabinets

Adding crown molding to kitchen cabinets will make the cabinets look custom made.
The crown molding ties all the separate kitchen cabinets together into a single unit. The typical do-it-yourself handyman can add crown molding to a new or existing set of cabinets in a matter of a few hours. .

Step 1

Measure the distance between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling of the kitchen to determine the size of crown molding you'll need. Place a tape measure against the ceiling and measure down to 1/2 inch above the upper cabinet doors. This is the vertical distance that the crown molding needs to cover when it is installed.

Step 2

Mark the upper cabinet with a pencil 1/2 inch above the cabinet doors. This is where the bottom of the crown molding will be located. Use a pencil and a 4-foot carpenter's level to make a straight and level line to set the crown molding to when you nail it into place.

Step 3

Measure the length of the crown molding for the first piece of crown. Write this down on a piece of paper. This will be the inside dimension of the crown molding.

Step 4

Measure the angle of the corner where the crown molding will change direction. Use a digital protractor for this step. The protractor will give you the angle of the corner you are working on. The angle to cut the crown molding will be 1/2 of the total angle on the digital protractor.

Step 5

Place the crown on the miter saw upside down, as it would be on the wall. Use miter saw stops to hold the crown in place as you make your cut. Adjust the saw to the correct angle for the cut and lock it in position. Cut the crown molding slowly to help keep the wood crown molding from splintering.

Step 6

Nail the crown molding to the top of the cabinets with a pneumatic nail gun. Repeat Steps 3 through 5 for each section of crown molding. Use a thin layer of glue on all of the miter joints for the crown molding. Wipe off any excess glue that seeps out after the crown molding has been nailed in space.

Step 7

Sand the miter joint lightly with 100 grit sand paper by hand. This will clean up the miter joint and remove any glue residue.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • 4-foot carpenters level
  • Paper
  • Digital protractor
  • Miter saw
  • Miter saw stops
  • Crown molding
  • Pneumatic trim nail gun
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper, 100-grit


  • Try layering different pieces of trim for a built-up custom crown.
  • Select the crown moldings in the same style as the cabinets so that after the crown is stained it will match.


  • Wear safety glasses when cutting crown molding and installing it with the pneumatic nail gun.
  • Watch where your hands are placed when nailing the crown molding. The nail can shoot through the crown and deflect into your hand if it's too close to the nail gun.

About the Author

Jim Wildman served in the United States Marine Corps as a Communication Chief for 10 years. After his tour of duty in Desert Storm he attended Oklahoma State University receiving his Bachelor of Architecture. He worked as an architect for 10 years before starting his own design/build company. He began writing in 2009 for Demand Studios and published on eHow.