Step 1

Purchase Materials

First determine what kind of wood wrap covering is required. If staining the wrapped girder is the final objective, then clear pine will suffice. If painting the beam is in the plans, a less expensive spruce or white board (with some knots) will work.

How much wood is needed? Measure the length (span) of the beam, from wall to wall. Measure its depth (from the ceiling down to the bottom of the beam) and then measure the bottom width, including the two side cuts of the beam (approximately 3/4" thick each side). Review the shopping list above for the remainder of the needed supplies.

Step 2

Prep for the Girder Wrap

The Blog Cabin 2011 kitchen was designed and remodeled with new hanging wall cabinets, therefore, the cabinets were adjusted downward to accommodate the girder wrap (Image 1).

If you are working around cabinetry, allow 1/4" additional space for the construction adhesive. It might be helpful to remove the wall cabinet first, then reinstall it once the girder wrap is painted or stained. Only a handful of wall screws keep the wall cabinet secure, so it's easy to remove.

In preparation to cut the girder wrap wood, accurate measurements are needed for the span (wall to wall), depth (ceiling to bottom of girder) and bottom width measurement (including the outside cuts).

Using a table saw with an assistant, rip the two side cuts to the depth dimension, which, when attached, is flush with the bottom of the girder.

Rip the bottom to width, which, when attached, will be flush with both outside corners. Pre-cut the side and bottom wood to the span lengths using a circular saw or chop saw and bring the three long pieces into the room for installation (Image 2).

Pro Tip

Always wear safety glasses when cutting or using nail guns.

Step 3

Install Side Cuts One and Two

Install Side Cut #1: Bring the full length side piece up to the girder. Adjust the side cut wood, holding it against the end walls. An assistant will be very helpful in holding and aligning the girder wrap pieces in place while they are attached (Images 1, 2 and 3). If cut correctly it will be flush with the girder bottom while touching the ceiling.

Install Side Cut #2: Attach the second side cut, using the nail gun and an assistant for alignment (Image 4).

Pro Tip

Hold a speed square at the bottom of the girder to help keep the side cut flush with the bottom.

Step 4

Install Bottom Cut

The pre-measured bottom cut is applied with heavy-duty construction adhesive (Image 1). If wall cabs are still in place, carefully guide the glue-covered bottom cut into place, sliding it between the wall cab and the bottom of the girder (Image 2). Before finish nailing, assure that the bottom cut is flush on both sides (Image 3). Minor adjustments may be needed as the bottom cut is aligned while moving down the girder (Image 4).

Step 5

Finish Work

Fill nail holes with wood putty and lightly sand them down when dry. If the plan is to paint, apply a thin coat of primer onto the girder wrap. When dry, apply one or two more coats of paint.

If staining, test the stain tone on a piece of scrap wood cut from the girder wrap. Apply as many coats as needed for the desired finish. Almost any girder can be wrapped to create a finished look. It takes careful measurements, an assistant's hand and the desire to make the ceiling girder into a beam of wood-wrapped art.

Pro Tip

Blue painter's tape, applied to the ceiling and wall, may assist the unsteady paintbrush and prevent paint from being applied to unwanted areas.

Step 6


If the plan is to stain, and clear pine was applied to wrap the girder, consider "pickling" or "liming" the wood, instead of staining it. Thin white oil-based paint or stain with a solvent (thinner or mineral spirits) and apply the mixture to the wood surface, then wipe off the solution, allowing the underlying wood grain to show through.