How To Replace Missing Trim On Furniture

An easy tutorial on how to replace missing trim on furniture by replicating the trim with baking clay! A layman's furniture repair tip that doesn't require fancy tools and woodworking skills.

Knowing this tip will come in handy the next time you're out thrift shopping or at a garage sale and come across the perfect piece of furniture but it's damaged. Instead of walking away, take it home to give it a makeover so it looks like new, and I'll show you how.

A tutorial on how to replace missing trim on furniture with clay.

Replicate Missing Furniture Trim With Clay

I'll be demonstrating just how to replace missing trim on a mid-century modern sewing table that I purchased for a dime because it had a chunk missing on one of the doors. Sewing tables with a drop-down leaf are hard to find these days and so I didn't let the damage scare me from purchasing it.

Pictured below is the sewing cabinet before replacing the missing trim. For those of you who collect mid-century modern furniture, you may be wondering if it's a Broyhill Brasilia. While it certainly looks similar, it is not and so I don't feel guilty about taking a paintbrush to it.

A mid-century modern sewing cabinet with damaged and missing trim on one door before furniture repair.

Let's take a closer look at the damage. You can see that the trim isn't solid wood but that's not a problem.

Close up of damaged missing trim on an MCM sewing cabinet door before the furniture repair.

What You'll Need To Make It

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommended for this project. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from any qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

Supply List

Sculpey Oven Bake Clay
Tin Foil
Cornstarch or Baby Powder
Craft Knife
80 - 150 Grit Sandpaper
E6000 Glue
Furniture Clamps
Non-Shrinking Filler or Paintable Caulk

How To Replace Missing Furniture Trim

We'll begin by making a mould from another piece of undamaged trim to replicate the missing trim on the furniture.

Step 1 - Making A Mould Of Missing Trim

First, we need to make a mould from the undamaged trim on another part of the furniture piece using Sculpey baking clay. The clay comes in multiple colors so try and match the color with the furniture piece you are repairing.

Making a mould with oven bake clay to replace missing trim on a sewing cabinet door.

  1. Soften a piece of Sculpey Baking Clay by rolling it in your hands. If it's still too hard, here's a Sculpey clay softening tip you might find helpful.
  2. Place the clay over an undamaged piece of trim that matches the one you're trying to replicate.
  3. Press it firmly to get a good impression of the clay.
  4. Carefully stuff the cavity with tin foil so it won't flatten during the baking process (as pictured above).
  5. Preheat oven to 275°F.
  6. Set the mould on a small baking tray and bake for 30-minutes.
  7. Remove the tray from the oven and let the mould cool completely.

Step 2 - Making A Cast Of Missing Trim

  1. Once cool, remove the foil from the mould and sprinkle the cavity with either cornstarch or baby powder. This will prevent the clay from sticking to the mould.
  2. Gently fill the mould completely with baking clay and check that there are no empty voids.
  3. Set it back onto the small baking sheet and bake at 275°F for 30-minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and let it cool.
  5. Remove the clay cast from the mould.

You can see in the picture below that it comes out far from perfect. No worries, we'll clean it up in the next step.

Missing Furniture Trim made with Polymer Clay on MCM Sewing Cabinet Door

Step 3 - Prepping New Clay Trim

  1. Remove any extra dollops of clay with a craft knife.
  2. Smooth any ridges with either 80 or 150-grit sandpaper.
  3. Hold the clay trim up to the furniture and note where it makes contact.
  4. Working in small sections, carve the trim with sandpaper until you have a tight fit.
  5. Don't be alarmed if it isn't perfect, any small gaps can be filled later.
  6. Once you're happy with the fit, wipe off any dust with a lint-free rag.

Step 4 - Attaching New Clay Trim

  1. Apply E6000 glue onto both the trim and the furniture.
  2. Hold the new clay trim firmly in place to ensure a good bond. Note that the glue takes about 2-minutes to get tacky.
  3. Hold the trim in place with either strong painter's tape or furniture clamps as pictured below.
  4. Depending on the climate, the glue can take anywhere between 24-72 hours to cure.
  5. Wait at least 24 hours before removing the clamps.

Gluing and clamping a new piece of missing furniture trim made with oven bake clay on a piece of furniture.

Step 5 - Prepping New Clay Trim For Paint

  1. Fill any gaps with a non-shrinking paintable filler and use your finger to smooth it out. My preference is Dynamic Dyna Patch filler but you could also use a non-shrinking paintable caulk.
  2. Once dry, smooth out any imperfections with fine-grit sandpaper so it matches perfectly with the original trim.

Paint the furniture piece as planned and you'll never know it was missing a piece of trim when you're finished.

Broken trim on a sewing cabinet door repaired with baking clay replacement.

I painted my sewing cabinet with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in a Graphite color. Can you tell which door had the missing trim in the photo below?

Missing Trim Replicated with clay and chalk painted on MCM Sewing Cabinet Door

Step 6 - Protecting The Finish

Normally I protect chalk paint with clear wax but because this sewing cabinet will be getting a lot of abuse use, I protected it with three coats of matte polyacrylic.

That wasn't too difficult, was it? And the best part about replacing missing trim is that no power tools or woodworking skills were required! This same furniture repair can be used to replicate missing appliques and carved details on furniture pieces as well.

You may be wondering what I plan on doing with the unpainted recessed parts of the sewing cabinet doors. Rather than metallic paint, I tried my first attempt at doing silver leaf.

It was surprisingly easy and I quite enjoyed the process. I will write a tutorial on how to silver leaf in an upcoming post.

Missing furniture trim repair on MCM sewing cabinet painted charcoal gray with silver leaf highlights.

It's hard to tell by looking at the finished mid-century modern sewing table that it was missing a chunk of trim.

Mid-century modern sewing cabinet makeover after replacing missing trim on cabinet door with baking clay.

Thanks for stopping by the Interior Frugalista today! I hope you were inspired by this furniture repair tutorial.

Almost all of our DIY ideas have step-by-step tutorials so why not get your budget DIY on and subscribe. You can also find us on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below or the Contact Me tab at the top to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!

If you enjoyed this tutorial on how to replace missing trim on furniture, I'd be so thankful if you shared it with a friend and pinned it to your favorite board on Pinterest.

An easy tutorial on how to replace missing trim on furniture by replicating the trim with baking clay. No special tools or woodworking skills are required! #furniturerepair #furnituretrimideas #diytutorial

I share my projects at these inspiring link parties.