Making a Tray Ceiling

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated January 25, 2019)

There are several reasons for making a tray ceiling in a room that currently doesn't have one. These reasons can range from wanting to add a bit of elegance to the room, or perhaps giving the room the illusion of extra height, or even adding a bit of architectural details. This isn't really all that difficult of a task, if you follow a few simple steps.

  1. Decide what you want. There are two basic ways that you can go about making a tray ceiling. The first is to make a recess, where you have a raised outer edge. The second is to make the inner part of the ceiling lower than the outside perimeter. Both methods create a tray like look, all you need to do is decide which look you prefer. These instructions assume you go with the raised outer edge.
  2. Make your design. Using a piece of paper, begin creating a blue print of what you are wanting to build. The best way to do this is by measuring your ceiling (which basically means measuring the floor) and adding the dimensions to your design. Keep in mind that the more depth you want, the more crown molding you will need to get. A basic rule of thumb for figuring out the amount of material you will need is to measure the width of the ceiling, and then multiply by two, and then divide by the length of the crown molding pieces you are going to use, and multiply that answer by the number of profiles you want to use.
  3. Get the materials. After you have finished drawing out the blue print, you can begin purchasing and gathering the materials you want. Take your design to your local home improvement store, and talk to a clerk. They should be able to help you purchase the materials you need based off of the design you have. Take those materials home, in addition to miter and coping saws if you don't have them. If you don't have enough to purchase these tools, go ahead and rent them instead.
  4. Miter your joints. Follow the blue prints that you have, and begin mitering all the joints, in addition to using a coping saw to remove anything excess. This will allow you to actually overlap the joints, instead of placing them next to each other. It may be a bit of extra work, but it will help prevent warping and cracking as the seasons change.
  5. Paint the ceiling. Paint your ceiling a lighter color than the rest of your walls, so that it will help draw the eyes towards the center. This will eventually help add to the illusion of depth.
  6. Install the crown molding. Begin adding and installing the crown molding according to your blue prints. Keep in mind that the further you down the wall that you add the crown molding, the deeper the tray will be.

With the crown molding installed, you are now ready to do the finishing touches on the project. The most basic of all these touches is to finish the ceiling as you would a newly installed dry wall. This means that you need to tape and apply drywall mud where the crown molding and ceiling meet. Once you have done that, and allowed the compound to dry, you can lightly sand the area, and then paint it like you would a normal ceiling.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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