How to Cope Inside Corners on Crown Molding

Crown molding adds flair to a room much like icing does to a cake. But installing it can be tiring (from having to hold your arms out and over your head) and cutting the angles correctly can be tricky. Unless you do not mind adding lots of putty wood filler to the gaps left in the corners when you try to install molding or sawing/filing edges down to make them fit at least somewhat better, it is a good thing to know how to cope inside corners on crown molding.

Most beginning do-it-yourselfers start out by doing the easy pieces first. This means to install the molding that does not need coping first, merely nailing it to the wall with finish nails and leaving the corners for the last. It is also a good idea to leave the most visible corners, the ones that the eye is drawn to when you enter the room, until you have gotten the process down to where you can cope inside corners on crown molding without making them look amateurish.

Get a Helper

A miter box and a fine-toothed saw, such as a coping saw, make the job do-able, as does a helper, if at all possible. Someone there to hold the molding in place while you measure it, then while you are putting it into position, and finally, as you nail it to the wall can save both time and energy. Otherwise, you will be going up and down your ladder or platform, making the job twice as difficult and that much more tiring. This is particularly important as you cope inside corners on crown molding.

For corners, the first piece goes on simply enough; you just position it tightly into the corner and nail. It is the next piece, the piece that fits into it from the other side of the corner, that you will need to fit.

Using a scrap, place it on top of the piece of molding you are wanting to fit against the first piece that has already been installed on the wall. With a pencil, trace the profile of the molding (from the scrap) onto the piece that is to be cut. Place the piece of molding into the miter box upside down.

The side facing the ceiling will be at the bottom. When you cope inside corners on crown molding, the longest side will be at the bottom of the miter box. Cut the molding a little larger than you think you need, about 1/16 of an inch, and then hold it up to the corner to check the fit. If it is still a little off, use a utility knife or sandpaper to adjust the fit.


When learning how to cope inside corners on crown molding, you may wind up having to use a little wood putty and doing the trial-and-error thing of sawing and filing until you get the process down. But after a while, you will see where you are going wrong, and soon it will become second nature to get the corners exactly right. The main thing is to keep trying and not give up. Once you really know how to do this, you will be downright proud of yourself, besides having taught yourself an invaluable skill for future use.

See Also:
Compound Miter Saws