Thursday, February 7, 2013

How to Make a Cornice

Windows look very plain with just blinds, so I decided to make a cornice for this little window. It will be the first of a few changes to this bathroom. It involves two main steps--making the cornice box, and upholstering it:

First, go to your local lumber store, or to a construction site where you can beg for some scraps of 1/2" plywood. My friend Betsy actually found the wood for me--and talked the construction worker into cutting the wood the right sizes for me! Of course, Betsy could talk the hind leg off a mule, so I am sure this was no major feat for her. Of course, if you need to have all the measurements calculated before hand. Remember to include the 1/2" thickness in your calculations.

The sides were 4" x 12" and the front piece was 12" x 28," so the top was 4 1/2" x 28". I used Liquid Nails in my calking gun to adhere the sides to the front piece before I used finish nails to secure it. I did the same with the top piece. (I tried screws, but they started to split the plywood, so I opted for the nails instead.)

The next step will be to pad the box. I used Fairfield's wonderful Tru-Foam to pad the outside. I used 
a heavy-duty stapler to attach the foam--I thought about hot glue, but thought staples would be better. 

Once the outside is covered with Tru-Foam, it is then covered with a thin batting--I used Fairfield's bamboo batting. 

The fabric will be applied in the same way as the batting--but make sure you press the fabric to remove all the wrinkles! 

Center the cornice box onto the fabric, then start in the center at the bottom, overlap the fabric over the batting, and staple. 

Stretch the fabric slightly over the top of the box and staple. Go back and forth, working out from the center until the fabric is almost to the corners. 

Wrap the corners like you would a package, staple inside the cornice box. 

Prepare the lining by pressing under 1" of one long edge. This will go along the lower edge of the inside of the cornice. Put in place, and pin the fold on the lining to the main fabric and batting. Fold back and staple inside the folded edge.

Press under 1" of lining, then staple to lower edge, from the inside of the lining. photo IMG_4055_zpsc98ad713.jpg

Fold the lining upward, use your finger to crease the fabric at the top so you can trim it. 

Trim sides so you can fold under 1" and staple in place. Staple along top as well.

Just need to get a small L-bracket to attach to each side of the window. Hold the finished cornice up and have someone help you pencil the wall at the desired height. That will help you place the L-brackets. 

Measure and install the L-shaped bracket to the wall, above the window. photo IMG_4061_zpsbb791597.jpg

Hang the cornice on the brackets, and use a small screw on each side to secure the cornice to the L-bracket on the inside of the cornice.


  1. Wonderful tutorial, I have shades on all my windows, so I need to make toppers.


  2. Nice paisley print! But, I don't think it matches the overall look of your bathroom. It seems a bit off somehow, well that's my opinion. It's just that the whole room is filled with items that are colored blue. I guess the red fabric made it not to look cohesive to the rest of the room. Tiffany Larsen