corbels for doorwayVictorian & Traditional Styles

This is what I call a corbel entablature, and it’s just the thing for an opening that has no room for door trim.

You can use any style corbel (or bracket) you want.  And just think how much fun you’ll have choosing your own because there are so many to choose from!

This page is where I’ll show you what materials you’ll need and how to put DOOR TRIM-115 together.


Posts in This Series

  1. How to Make DOOR TRIM-115 Corbel Entablature Part 1
  2. How to Make DOOR TRIM-115 Corbel Entablature Part 2

The reason I installed a corbel entablature over this archway instead of wrapping moldings around it was the this: If I wrapped the archway in moldings then there wouldn’t be room for an entablature because cabinets on the right would have interfered.

kitchen door moldings

Conversely, installing the entablature meant there would be no room for moldings around the opening.  We wanted something more ornate than just door trim moldings here, so we went with the corbel entablature for a more dramatic effect.

crown molding and corbel over door

This is a very simple yet elegant way to dress up a narrow archway like this one.

Shelf Option

During the time the great Robert Adam was creating some of the most spectacular eighteenth-century interiors, it was not at all uncommon for him to include an urn or some other decorative item on top of doorway entablatures.

You can do the same with this design.  However, you’ll just have to include a flat-stock cornice or abacus on the very top.

Materials Needed to Make This Entablature

[You can find more detail on each molding at my DIY Molding Inventory page.]

You can use any number of different crown moldings or corbels to make this.  I used this design because it’s the same piece in this kitchen’s four-piece crown molding buildup.  [See more of this kitchen here: Before & After: Large Kitchen Crown Molding.]


This crown molding is made from mdf and can be purchased most any place that sells moldings.  Many big box home improvement stores stock this crown molding profile, but not all have nice detail resolution like this one.

If you can’t find one with this level of resolution, then it’s probably better to choose some other crown profile.

More about CM-009 here >>


large mdf Victorian crown molding

$14.24/8′ stick (1 ea.) = $14.24


You won’t need a full sheet of mdf board to make one of these, so take a look at this post to find out where to buy small pieces: Fun With Flat-Stock: MDF Board for Molding Projects.

More about MDF-200 here >>

mdf for baseboard moldings

2′ X 4′ pre-cut board $5.67 ea. (1 ea.) = $5.67

Special Order Corbels

These corbels are made from polymer resin.  They were purchased from an online retailer, though I don’t remember which one.  They cost about $65.00 each.

You of course don’t have to buy expensive corbels like these, you can substitute with whatever corbels fit your budget.  You will have to adjust the soffit projection to fit the corbels you use.

resin corbel for kitchen

About $65.00 ea. (2 ea) = $130.00


How to Make the Entablature Hood

This kind of entablature — one with a soffit and fascia — I call a hooded entablature.

archway moldings

First install the corbels on the wall exactly where you want them.  I used heavy duty construction adhesive and a few 18 gauge brad nails to hold them fast.

Then cut the soffit from 1/2″ thick mdf board.  You have a few things to consider when making your soffit, so read through all of the installation steps before you make your final cuts.

how to install corbels

This archway and surrounding walls were not true in the least, so I built the entablature in situe.

Below  The horizontal surface is the soffit, and the amount of that surface you want exposed after the fascia is installed is called a reveal.

Calculate your reveal so there is an equal amount exposed on the front and outer edges.

corbel for archway

A little Liquid Nails will help.

how to install corbels

This home has large rooms with tall ceilings and it’s built on a steep slope — and that all adds up to lots of stress cracks.  To help keep stress cracks from appearing at the corners of this archway, I’m going overboard on the glue.  It really does help.

moldings for archway

A few 18 gauge brad nails help hold the soffit to the corbels.  When I’m finished, this entablature becomes a structural part of the archway.

how to install archway modlings

Posts in This Series

  1. How to Make a Corbel Entablature Part 1
  2. How to Make a Corbel Entablature Part 2