Building Your Own Box Beams

I knew from the beginning of this building journey that I wanted to incorporate beams in our Master Bedroom! I went back and forth about what style beams we would use, but after seeing a very easy DIY tutorial from @plankandpillow, we decided these would be right for us! We altered the design slightly so I will fill you in on how we designed our box beams.Beams can add so much character to a space and this is an inexpensive option to achieve the look of solid beams. We chose to miter the corners of the beams at a 45° angle to have a more seamless look.

Here’s what we used:





Wood Glue

Finish Nailer

Finish Nails (we also used 2” finish nails)

Table Saw

Tape Measure

Framing Nailer or Screw Gun

Framing Nails or 3” screws

Step 1: Measure

We started out by measuring our ceiling and discussed what size we wanted the beams to be. Our ceilings are 9ft high and I have read that you shouldn’t really add box beams with ceilings under 10ft because it can make the room feel smaller. I can happily say for us, we feel the room still looks just as big with them in there! We used 1×6’s for the sides and a 1×8 for the bottom. Our room is roughly 11ft wide for reference, but your material list will need to be made to your rooms measurements.

We only wanted two beams so we marked the center of the room and measured off the center point to see if we could evenly land on a joist on either side. Unfortunately, for us this did not work out as perfectly as we hoped, but the difference is so minimal it will hardly be noticed!

Step 2: Locate Ceiling Joist

Since we are new construction, it was very easy to mark our ceiling joist to attach the beam to. If you already have a finished ceiling you will need a stud finder to locate the joist. This is a super important step as the beam needs to be attached to a joist for support. If you are unsure where your ceiling joists are, you will need to use a stud finder to locate it!

Step 3: Mount 2×6 to Ceiling

We purchased a 12ft 2×6 and cut it to just over 11ft to fit our room (you will want to have a 2×6 mounted for each beam you want). We then mounted the 2×6 to the ceiling using a framing nailer and framing nails. If you don’t have a framing nailer you can use a screw gun and wood screws to attach to the joist. You see the video portion of this part on my instagram page under the Master Bedroom highlight!

Step 4: Box Beam Cuts

The beams will have three pieces of wood each. Our Home Depot did not have 12ft 1x6s or 1x8s so we purchased 6ft pieces and connected the two boards by cutting a scarf joint (click here for demo). By using a scarf joint, this created a seamless transition where the boards connect. You can also connect the two boards without using a scarf joint and just fill the seam with wood putty.

Pro tip: If you have any gaps where your boards meet you can put a small strip of wood glue over it and throw some saw dust on top and rub it in. This will help hide the gap!

Once our 1×6 boards were cut to length, we used a table saw to cut the sides on a 45° angle. You’ll only want the bottom edge to have an angle cut. The top edge will go flat to your ceiling and attach to the 2×6. For the bottom piece we cut the 1×8 with the 45° angle on both sides as this will meet your angle cuts on the two 1x6s.

The 1×6 will only have one angle cut each
The 1×8 is shown on the right. This will be the
“face” of your beam!

Step 5: Assembly

If you don’t have clamps to use, you can create your own out of duct tape! Cut a long strip of duct tape and lay it across your surface.  Then, lay out all three boards (you should have three: 1×6, 1×8, 1×6) on top of the duct tape. Put wood glue along all of the angle cuts on the 1x6s and 1x8s. Starting on one side, lift up the 1×6 and rest it onto the 1×8. Make sure your seem lines up prior to nailing. Pull the duct tape pretty tight and rest it over the top of the 1×6, this will help hold it in place! Our boards were not perfectly straight so we started nailing (using a finish nailer) from the top and worked our way down. You can manipulate the wood as you go! We nailed every few inches down the side until the end. Repeat this step for the other side. Wipe any excess wood glue after nailing. It is recommended you let the glue dry for at least 30 min! We test also test fit a scrap piece of 2×6 just to make sure it would fit on the 2×6 mounted to the ceiling!

See process below:

You can use a piece of duct tape instead of clamps if you don’t have any!

Once the glue was dry, we mounted the beams to the 2×6 on the ceiling with a finish nailer. See process below:

Using a finish nailer, place finish nails every 6″ or so along the beam to attach to the 2×6.

Step 5: Sanding and Staining

We decided to sand and stain our beams once they were already up on the ceiling. This can obviously be done prior to mounting! Total personal preference. Once your beam is sanded, use a pre stain wood conditioner that has the same base as your stain (oil or water based). We used this Minwax Pre-Stain. After your wood is properly prepped then you can stain! We chose to use a stain that was close to our floor color. We purchased this Olympic stain in Driftwood Gray.

You now have beautiful box beams!

Make sure to tag @thewatsonfarmhouse on Instagram if you make this project! We’d love to see!


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