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Fabric Covered Cornice Board (& How To Hang It!)

 DIY Cornice Board
I’ve been working with a client to bring a new color palette to her house, steering away from muted greens, golds and reds in favor of the grey beiges and blues of the ocean.

{via Popsugar}

 

 I recently painted their powder room Ben Moore’s Ashley Gray (HC-87), an easy on the eyes warm grey. It looks so pretty with the existing white beadboard and trim. The window already had custom fit wood shutters which are great for privacy as needed, and so easy for kids to open and close. To soften the window and bring in a little pattern, I made a fabric covered cornice board.

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.

You can make a fabric covered cornice board out of styrofoam, foam insulation or wood. I opted for wood because the least expensive 10″ pine board (8′) was around the same price as the other options ($10). I had the store cut the wood to my dimensions and then I screwed it together – the building of the board couldn’t have been easier. Affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience. Read more about affiliate links here.

SUPPLIES

10″ Wood Board (length depends on size of your window)
Wood screws 
Batting
Fabric – this is one of my favorite places for fabric!
Drill
Staple gun & staples
Staple remover
Glue gun & glue sticks
D-rings and screws

one
BUILDING THE CORNICE BOARD
Measure the width of the window from the outside edges of the trim and then add 4″ (2″ allowance per side.)
Cut front of board to desired length (window & trim width + 4″).
Cut 2 side pieces, 5″ wide each
Cut 2 wood blocks, 5″ x 3.5″ each (used for hanging the board) (I used lumber scraps for this)
Preassemble the sides and front piece.

Drill holes for the screws to prevent splitting, and then attach sides to front with 2 or 3 screws per side.

two
COVERING THE CORNICE BOARD

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!

three

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!!

These blocks could also be covered with fabric but because they are so high they are not visible once hung.

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.

The finished product……
(It is insanely hard to get a good shot of a window in a small powder room!!)
 I love the bit of pattern the cornice board brings to the room without blocking any natural light.
Hope you are having an excellent day.
xo

 

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Letti

Friday 14th of October 2016

You are awesome, Lisa! Thanks for sharing your expertise with us! I'm doing my kitchen windows today! LOVE the D-ring improvement--way to think outside the box!

Lisa

Sunday 16th of October 2016

So happy you found something useful here Letti! Thank you for your very kind comment! :)

Julie Ann

Wednesday 10th of August 2016

I just made one of these for my bathroom window using these directions and it came out beautifully! I already had some wood so the whole thing only cost me $21 to make. I wish the corner folding instructions were a little more detailed because that was the most difficult part to get right. Too bad there isn't a way to post photos in the comments - I'd love to share my results to show other just how easy and beautiful this is!

Lisa

Tuesday 23rd of August 2016

Glad your cornice came out well Julie Ann!

Lisa hect

Wednesday 6th of July 2016

Hi there, my window is quite long. A d ring on either end will not suffice. It's 15 feet long! Suggestions for mounting?!!

Lisa

Wednesday 6th of July 2016

Hi Lisa, in that case I think running a board across the top, fitting it between the sides like a box that is open on the bottom and back might work. You could recess it a bit and use small D-rings on the sides and in a couple spots across the top.

Lou Ann spedoske

Wednesday 8th of June 2016

I would like to know where to get that material that you made the cornice valance that was a geometric dark beige and white? I love it !

Lisa

Friday 10th of June 2016

Hi Lou Ann! That fabric is Waverly Ellis and I found it at Jo-Ann Fabric. My local one still has it in stock but I couldn't find this color online to share a link with you. There is a color called "Hemp" that is a warmer gold/beige - this one is definitely more taupe/grey. Hope you can find it! :)

Allie

Tuesday 22nd of March 2016

Great idea using d-ring for hanging. Can I ask, using d-ring will cornice lay flat to wall. Thanks

Lisa

Tuesday 22nd of March 2016

Hi Allie, yes! Because the little piece that the D-ring is attached to is recessed a little bit, it allows the side of the cornice board to lay flat to the wall!