Saturday, May 2, 2015

How We Made Our DIY Wood Beams

How we created wood beams for our french farmhouse living room at From My Front Porch To Yours.
As promised I have put together a step by step guide on how we created our wood beams for our living room. We have wanted to add beams to our living room for years now and after researching all of our options, pricing faux wood beams and seeing wood beams in custom homes in our area we decided we could create our own and have them look just as amazing.
How we created wood beams for our french farmhouse living room at From My Front Porch To Yours.
The first thing we did was to determine just how many beams we wanted and in what direction we wanted them to go. We also had to consider how far apart we wanted them and where the air vents were in the ceiling. For us it was natural to follow the segmentation of the arch ways into the kitchen. We went with two beams that we placed in between the smaller arch ways and the larger middle arch way. 
Creating a supply shopping list for diy wood beams at From My Front Porch To Yours.
We used 1x6 pine boards for the sides of the beams and 1x8 pine boards for the bottom of the beams as well as the boarder around the room. We also used 1x8 boards to attach to the ceiling for the brace of the beams. 
Finish process with heat gun to create wood beams for living room at From My Front Porch To Yours.
The first thing I did was get busy staining each board with Dark Walnut by Minwax. I did not age the boards by beating them up or anything. We wanted them to look rustic but at the same time traditional if that makes sense? To add some age to them I used my heat gun to burn the wood. This is a process I used on our planked dining room table as well as the Farmhouse Bench I built last year. If you choose to burn your wood after you put the stain on make sure you wear a face mask and do it outside because you will be burning off chemicals from the stain which you do not want to be breathing in!!! I always burn mine after staining because I want the stain to soak into the wood. If I burn it first it seals some of the pores of the wood  and the stain does not take the same way. 
Marking Studs with painters tape to install wood beams in living room at From My Front Porch To Yours.
The next thing we did was to go around the room with a stud finder and place painters tape wherever we found a stud so we knew where to nail the boards into place. We ended up having to take down the planked fireplace partially but it went back up quickly.
Adding border wood beams to living room at From My Front Porch To Yours.
We created a border around the entire room with the 1x8 boards. We attached them using dark bronze colored screws so that they would blend in with the stain. We wanted to be able to see them somewhat but not really. Remember we wanted rustic but not too rustic.
How we created wood beams for our french farmhouse living room at From My Front Porch To Yours.
We lived for a week with just the boarder up and even just the boarder gave the room an entirely different feel and made the room feel so much larger.
Using a stud finder to ensure wood beams will be secure when installed on the ceiling at From My Front Porch To Yours.
It was time to get ready for the actually beams so we chalk marked where we wanted the beams to go and then found where the studs/joists were in the ceiling. 
Heavy duty toggle bolts needed to install wood beams securely on ceiling at From My Front Porch To Yours.
As luck would have it the joists ran in the opposite direction we need them to but it ended up not being an issue. Mr. Front Porch ran out and picked up some heavy duty toggle bolts.
1x8 support boards marked and drilled to allow toggle bolts to go thru at From my Front Porch To Yours.
Since we ended up having to use toggle bolts we had to measure and mark the middle of all the 1x8 support boards and drill a hole large enough to get the toggles thru.
Easy install of 1x8 pine boards for living room wood beams at From My Front Porch To Yours.
Putting up the support boards was pretty easy.
Building wood beams from 1x8 and 1x6 pine boards at From My Front Porch To Yours.
Next up we started constructing the beams. We made both beams at once but before we did that we made sure to measure the length of the ceiling after we put up the boarder.
Nail gun needed to install DIY wood beams in living room at From My Front Porch To  Yours.
To construct the beams we only used our nail gun. We did not see a need to use wood glue as well. They were pretty solid.
Dark Walnut stained wood beams at From My Front Porch To Yours.
When constructing the beams we used the 1x8 as the bottom and then lined up the 1x6 boards for the sides. I had them meet seamlessly. To help accomplish the task of keeping them lined up while nailing them together we propped up the sides with boards we were not using. It made it much easier for me to hold the 1x6 board in place while Mr. Front Porch nailed them into place.
Touched up wood beams at From My Front Porch To Yours.
Then I took a little artist brush and filled in all the nail marks. I found using an artist brush enabled the stain to get right into the marks.
First beam installed onto living room ceiling at From My Front Porch To Yours.
So everything was pretty easy up to this point and not to say it was hard after this but it was a tad more challenging. The beams are HEAVY and there was only me and Mr. Front Porch to hold them up and nail them into place. A project like this would be so much easier with three people. Two to hold the beams in place and one to secure them with the nail gun. We managed though.
Gap at end of wood beam at From My Front Porch To Yours.
Even though we measured before constructing the beams we still ended up having to trim two of the ends off so that they would slide into place.
Straps needed to cover up gaps and seams of wood beams at From My Front Porch To Yours.
So we had the gaps at one end of both beams to deal with as well as the middle seam. We looked at ordering straps from the Faux Wood Beam shop but honestly I did not think that they would look good with the style beam we built plus I was not wanting to spend the money on them because they are pretty pricey. We had already spent approximately $300 on this project which is very little compared to the impact it adds and the cost of actual faux wood beams.
Using scraps to create straps for wood beams at From My Front Porch To Yours.
I ended up going out into the garage and found my scrap box.
Using scraps to create straps for DIY wood beams at From My Front Porch To Yours.
I had just enough scraps left over from when I created the Crossbuck Wainscoting in the dining room last spring. Mr. Front Porch fusses at me all the time because I save every little scrap. I always tell him ya never know when they may come in handy!;)
Dark Walnut stained strap pieces for wood beams at From My Front Porch To Yours.
Thankfully they stained up just as pretty as the beams so we cut them to size.
Lactate used to secure wood straps to wood beams at From My Front Porch To Yours.
I used Loctite to secure them to the beam seams.
Lactate added to back of wood strap pieces for wood beams at From My Front Porch To Yours.
I added the bottom piece first then the sides and made sure they lined up. You have to make sure you push the pieces on hard and wait a second or two so they can have a chance to bond. Now you can choose to nail them into place but by this time we had already cleaned up the heavy duty tools and did not feel like getting them back out. Besides the Loctite was not allowing them to go anywhere.
Completed wood straps for wood beams at From My Front Porch To Yours.
This is how the straps look. 
Step by step on how we created our wood beams for the living room- From My Front Porch To Yours.
We really liked how the straps turned out and loved that we didn't have to spend any money on them and very little time creating them.
Excited to be completed with DIY wood beam installation at From My Front Porch To Yours.
This project took us about two weeks to complete from start to finish. The first week we put up one boarder board a night after Mr. Front Porch got home from work. Then by the weekend we were ready to to build and install the beams themselves. The following weekend we created the straps and I touched up the nail marks. We both are very pleased at how straight forward this project was.
Wood beams for our french farmhouse living room at From My Front Porch To Yours.
I shared the reveal earlier in the week so if you have not seen the entire space completed yet be sure to stop on by. They add so much warmth and character to our living room.

**Please note this is just how WE constructed OUR wood beams. YOU need to decide how YOU want to proceed with your installation being sure to follow ALL safety measures! One process may not always work for the next person.It is VERY important for you to research all methods to decided which will work best for your home.**
Sharing at these lovely blogs:
Between Naps on The Porch
Coastal Charm

Refresh Restyle

A Stroll Thru Life
2 Bees In A Pod
Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Confessions of a Plate Addict
Common Ground
Savvy Southern Style
Thoughts From Alice
DIY Showoff


  1. Just amazing, Pamela! I've seen the faux ones, but like your so much better!!! Great job and tutorial!

    1. Thank you so much Doreen! That means a lot to me. I love the faux ones but they just were not quite what we were wanting. Later on down the road we can paint these white if we want to and have a totally different look.

  2. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial! I wanted to do this to my new home, but we have crown molding all around the room.

  3. The detail work is just beautiful, Pamela. I am going to pin this. People are always asking me about the beams in my home, but they were here when we moved in. I am going to direct them to you from now on, because I can't imagine a more thorough tutorial. Amazing.

  4. I love the beams!! Your home is so stylish & charming - LOVE EVERYTHING!! Happy weekend!


  5. These are so awesome Pamela. You and hubby did a great job. They give such character to your room. Great job.

  6. I love your new beams! It's so nice that you were able to do that yourselves too.

  7. Love these beams so very much! You guys did a rockin job!!

  8. Wow! I am totally impressed by the wooden beams and how they transformed this room. Totally worth all that hard work. Excellent tutorial, too.

  9. I’m loving this! I’m always so impressed by your masterpieces. Pinned and tweeted. We appreciate you taking the time to party with us. I hope to see you on tonight at 7. Happy Monday! Lou Lou Girls

  10. What an amazing job you've done! I also built and installed beams in my bedroom, I know all the work is totally worth it. Your tips are spot on! Three people is the perfect number for install. How ingenious the idea for the straps, they look great. ;)
    I love the beams and all the interest they give to the room!

  11. Thank you for this tutorial. I always wanted beams in my house. This is a great starting point for us to make our house a warm home.

  12. I love your window with the short curtain rods and panels. Can you tell me how long each of those short curtain rods are in length?

  13. Replies
    1. Thanks Amber. We certainly do miss not having them in the new house!

  14. Your living room is GORGEOUS! Totally awesome job on the beams.

    1. Thanks! It was a great living room. Cozy and yet beautiful at the same time. It is one of the things I miss about our old home.

  15. I have been searching EVERYWHERE for an affordable, realistic way to add beams into my small condo, it is already cottage like feel and have been longing to have some on the ceilings.
    Thank you thank you for this tutorial !!! I am going to now be able to afford one of my dream!!!

  16. I have been looking everywhere for a realistic and AFFORDABLE way to add beams into my home.
    thank you thank you!!!


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