I’ve made cornice boards many times over the years, from both kits that you can purchase at craft stores (for upwards of $30) as well as DIY versions. They are truly quite easy to make, but sometimes hanging them can be a pain in the patootie.
I looked around for hanging options, and in the end I came up with a solution on my own that alleviates the need for a piece of wood across the top of the board (I always found it difficult to hang cornices on L-brackets from those top boards!) This board is basically a wide-U shape without a top piece.
10″ Wood Board (length depends on size of your window)
Drill holes for the screws to prevent splitting, and then attach sides to front with 2 or 3 screws per side.
I don’t have photos of covering the board, but really it’s very easy. Keep in mind that the inside of the front piece will not be visible when hung, but the inside of the side pieces WILL be visible, so pay attention to detail there.
Lay the batting on a table, counter or floor and then place the cornice board on top, front side down. Pull the batting to the back and staple, trimming the excess as you go.
Next iron your fabric then lay it out on your work surface and place the board on top of it. Pull the fabric to the back and pick up the board to inspect and make sure it is well positioned. If your fabric has a pattern make sure it is lined up properly. You may want to use chalk on the back of the fabric to mark where the pattern is.
After inspecting and adjusting the fabric, place the board back down on your flat surface. From the long top of the board, pull the fabric to the back and staple in the middle of the board. Continue to pull the fabric and staple every 1″ or so across the top, being conscious of the pattern as you go.
Pull the fabric firmly up from the long bottom of the cornice, and staple in the middle of the back, then continue pulling fairly tightly and stapling, checking frequently that your fabric is still lined up where you want it to be and is smooth on the front. Don’t pull the fabric extremely taut or you will have weird rippling on the front of your cornice board. If any part goes amiss just pull staples out and reposition. Cut excess fabric neatly because you will need it in a bit.
After the long top and bottom have been pulled and stapled, pull your side fabric to the back, starting with the center of one side. Take care at the bottom corners to fold the fabric so that it is not bunched up here. The corners can take a bit of trial and error, just play with one a bit until you get a tidy little fold and then staple on the inside of the board. Don’t worry too much about your top corners, but the bottom corners will be visible once the board is hung so take care with making them neat and inconspicuous.
Next up, take scrap fabric and cut it an inch or two longer and wider than the inside side panels. Fold the edges over and hot glue or iron so the fabric piece has finished edges, then use hot glue to attach to the inside side panels neatly. This will cover staples and give the final board a finished look.
If you have any extra scraps you can use this to cover the inside front of the board but it’s not really necessary.
Now the important part!
HOW TO HANG THE CORNICE BOARD
As I mentioned, I have tried different hanging techniques over the years including using D rings on the back of the side pieces. The problem with this: the cornice board does not hang flush with the wall and the D-ring is visible. (Yuck…..I strongly dislike visible hanging hardware! See how I fixed that problem on roll up bamboo shades here.)
I decided to add a small recessed wood block on which to place the D-ring. This way, when the board is hung the end panel is flush with the wall and the finished presentation is much neater. This hanging method worked great!!
To add the “hanging block”:
The block will sit above the trim of the window, so make sure that with the block installed the cornice board can still fit over the window in the right position (see photo above). You may have to trim your block to fit. The block should be recessed at least a half inch from the back of the side panel.
Screw the blocks into the side panels, taking care to use screws that are not longer than the two pieces of wood together, otherwise the screws will poke through the side fabric.
Next, install a D-ring on the recessed blocks.
Measure the distance from the D-rings and transfer this measurement to the wall above the window. Place screws on the wall and hang the D-rings on the screws. (You may need to use an anchor if you don’t hit studs.)
I like the top of the cornice to be in line with the top of the actual window, so it doesn’t block any light and comes down a few inches over the trim on either side.