Cornice Valances

Customize your shades with this simple diy project.
Customize your shades with this simple diy project.

Custom cornice board valances are so easy to make, it's almost a sin to pay for them. A cornice valance effectively covers a window's pull shades, creating a tailored look and providing a more permanent window dressing. The look is high end, but it takes little time and effort to make.

For this project you'll need plywood, batting, fabric, a staple gun, a drill, a table saw, wood screws, wood glue, hot glue, decorative fringe and flush mount hangers.


  1. Cut the plywood to form a frame. It should be the width of the window plus 6 to 12 inches. The extra amount will provide room for the stack back of curtains. Each window is different. When in doubt, add a couple of inches — it's easier to cut it down than make it larger. The frame should have a top, a front and two sides. There is no back or bottom. Remember, it needs to only cover a portion of the top of the window. A good depth from the wall is 8 inches and a good length is 12 inches from the top to the bottom edge.
  2. Assemble the frame using carpenter's glue and wood screws. Don't worry about creating the perfect joint. It will be covered by lots of batting and fabric.
  3. Next, upholster the frame with batting and fabric. Place the wooden box so the front is facing the table and the top is facing away from you. Line the fabric up going away from you, good side down, along the bottom edge of the valance. Staple the fabric in place near the edge of the valance and fabric. Then do the same to the batting.
  4. To continue, draw a line 3 inches from the bottom edge of the valance on the batting with a black marker. Staple the fabric and batting along this line with the staples running parallel and directly on the line.
  5. Now, pull the fabric toward you. Notice how the rough edges are hidden, creating a perfectly tailored look. Continue to wrap the valance. On the top of the valance (hidden from view), cut the remainder of the fabric and staple it in place.
  6. To add a decorative element, hot-glue or hand-tack fringe along the edges. Another, more advanced, solution is to sew a cozy for the valance with the trim sewn into the pattern.
  7. Hang the valances over windows using flush mounting brackets.