Smashed Peas and Carrots

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

TUTORIAL: How to Make a Cornice Board

Today let's talk DIY Cornice Boards today, shall we?  These are seriously so easy to make and install...I know! I always assumed these were so hard to make...but they're not, trust me! 

I have seen lots of them made all crazy weird using plywood or MDF but the way I decided to make these takes the cake (my secret ingredient?  Styrofoam panels!)  so they are nice and lightweight and it's a breeze to take them down to change the color of your fabric when you want a new look!

You will remember (from this post here) I made the cornice boards/valances in my girls' room as well as Noah's bedroom too (seen here).  In this stage of my life, I am really loving cornice boards over curtains to spice up windows.  It seems my little ones love to use curtains as napkins and tarzan-like swinging ropes. So this way I can get pretty color infused into our decor without the insanity of someone pulling a curtain rod on top of their head. Oh, and we have room darkening roller shades underneath the cornice boards for those of you who are wondering just how we cover our windows at night!

DIY Cornice Boards (for one window covering)

One 3/4"x14"x48" panel of Styrofoam (cellofoam poly panel brand)
1 yard of fabric
bread knife
hot glue
straight pins
trim nails

This is the brand of styrofoam paneling I bought for this project.  I found them at Home Depot as a package of 6 for less than $10.  You can also use them as insulation between studs apparently ;-) 

First thing you need to do is measure your window from one outer edge of the trim to the other.  Cut your paneling, using your bread knife as a saw, to this measurement.  I found that using a bread knife made cutting the styrofoam so much less messy, I hardly had any weird styrofoam static ball thingys thanks to my good 'ol bread knife, who knew! 

Cut two more smaller pieces of the styrofoam panel for the sides of your cornice board.  This measurement will depend on how far you would like your cornice board to come out from the wall, I cut mine to be about 5 inches wide. Then hot glue the outer short edges of your long piece and press the shorter pieces to it like in the picture above!

Then grab your trim nails...these are what mine looked like!

Push a few trim nails into the edge of the styrofoam panels where you just hot glued the two pieces together to doubly secure the cornice board sides into place.

Easy, right!  You can just push them in with your fingers.

Now it's time to cover the cornice board with fabric.  Lay the cornice board over top of the wrong side of the fabric (pictured above) If you have a patterned piece you may want to cut your yard of fabric in half lengthwise so it is less bulky and the folded layer of fabric doesn't show through.  If your fabric is one color you may want to leave it doubled up if you feel it is pretty sheer. 

PS. Make sure you iron your fabric first so you don't have any odd lines on the front of your finished cornice board.

Grab your straight pins...

And fold up one side, pin it, and then do the next, making sure you have nice and tight edges the whole way through.

The sides are a bit tricky but if you go slowly and fold tightly they work themselves out :-)  I used a lot of pins in those corners!

And Voila! Here is what the backside of my cornice board looks like.

To hang it up, you will need two people.  One to hold the cornice board in the correct position and the other to hammer the trim nails into the trim.  Since these styrofoam cornice boards are so light we only used two nails per side...easy peasy!

And there you have easy DIY project to give a nice pop of color to your windows!

Let me know if you have any questions about these cornice boards and I will answer them in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by today!


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Blogger Allison said...

This is exactly what I need for my kitchen!!

How well does the hot glue gun work with the styrofoam, though? I'll be interested to see how these hold up! I always seem to have problems with the glue melting styrofoam.

January 16, 2013 at 8:20 AM  
Blogger Ashley @ LocalPostcards said...

I love these! They're definitely on my "things to try" list!

January 16, 2013 at 8:25 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

The Styrofoam is holding up so well! I made the one in Noah's room back in June and it's still there and looking good! I only put a strip of hot glue down the edge (why I extra secured it with the trim nails!) and I didn't have any noticeable melting. Maybe trying the lower temperature glue sticks if your glue gun melts like crazy? Good luck and have fun!!

January 16, 2013 at 8:55 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

YAY! I hope you have fun with these!!

January 16, 2013 at 8:55 AM  
Blogger Netty Schneider said...

I'm SO EXCITED about these...we were just talking about re-decorating my daughters room. She is 10 and wanted something with purple colors. Your room idea and the cornice board with some FUN fabric will be AWESOME for her room. I can't wait to show her when she getshome from school. We will for sure be shopping for some paint and fabric this weekend. THANKS so much. I just found your site and LOVE IT.

January 16, 2013 at 9:51 AM  
Blogger Penny said...

These are great! Thanks for sharing. It took me a minute to figure out what you meant about installing them but I've got it now.

January 16, 2013 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

I will definitely be trying this someday. Who knew it could be so easy with styrofoam?

January 16, 2013 at 7:21 PM  
Blogger Lynn Walder said...

This really inspires me to try these. I've always loved the look but didn't know how to go about hanging them easily. The styrofoam makes it a bit less worrisome(cheaper too). Thanks for taking the time to share your talents and creativity.

January 16, 2013 at 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Netty said...

I couldn't believe how easy this was to make. They look AWESOME in my daughters room. I sent you an e-mail so you could see the before and after. THANKS SO MUCH. :)

February 18, 2013 at 6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi these look great. Do you know how they'll hold up if I wanted to put curtains under them, I'm not sure they'll hold up with closing curtains under them every night

March 31, 2013 at 6:42 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...


April 1, 2013 at 7:23 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Oh, good...I hope it wasn't too vague!!

April 1, 2013 at 7:23 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

I know, right!!

April 1, 2013 at 7:24 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Anytime Lynn! I hope you give it a whirl sometime soon!

April 1, 2013 at 7:24 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

I got your email!! You did such an amazing job on your daughter's room...she must be in heaven!!!

April 1, 2013 at 7:25 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

These cornice boards get installed on the outside of the window trim so I don't think curtains would be much of a problem especially if you installed your curtains first and then made your cornice board so that it was wider than the curtains footprint as well as extended further outward to make up for the fact that the curtains will bunch a bit once they are pulled open. Have fun!!!

April 1, 2013 at 7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever made them really long? Wondering if styrofoam will be too flimsy if they're 86" long. Thoughts?

April 3, 2013 at 8:32 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

If you are making this to 86" I would add a small piece of styrofoam (maybe 2?) in the middle to keep it stable!

April 3, 2013 at 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved your ideas. My question is my window is 90 inches wide, how would I connect the panels together. Thank you

April 7, 2013 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

I would just duct tape two pieces together and then do like I commented above! Good luck!

April 7, 2013 at 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the idea? I recently put up shades that are sheer with a leaf pattern that I absolutely love - and wanted a wood window topper of some sort - but this I can easily do myself and change out the fabric periodically. super!

May 11, 2013 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger Chris Patti said...

Love your way of thinking of using CelloFoam board.
There is a store on line that sells detailed Styrofoam cornices which is ten times more expensive then cellofoam.
FYI- for longer windows - hot glue the pieces together and then tape to secure.

My question is this, I have vertical blinds that stick out from wall. Like to cover them with a cornice. Not sure how to extend beyond the verticals. What would you suggest???

June 12, 2013 at 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Barb said...

I have material for my three kitchen windows, and my daughter wants me to make a cornice for her kitchen, but wasn't sure how to make a one. Thank you for the simple instructions. Can't wait to get started!

June 18, 2013 at 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think these will work in an RV?

June 19, 2013 at 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont see why it would be any different than regular windows...

June 20, 2013 at 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, do you nail it directly to the wall?

July 16, 2013 at 4:34 PM  
Blogger Nicole Sykes said...

That's what I want to know! Where are you nailing it and it looks like he's nailing it in kind of at an angle...

July 17, 2013 at 12:35 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

You nail the trim nails into the trim of the window...there is a picture above in the post that shows you!

July 17, 2013 at 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, duh ... thanks, that makes sense now that you point it out & I look at the picture again. I was looking at my windows and didn't put it all together because none of mine have trim all around like that. I just have sills. Hmmmm....

July 17, 2013 at 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My window does not have any window frame moulding to nail the cornice into. How would you hang the cornice into the wall. I thought about hook and loop tape??

August 28, 2013 at 11:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you nail straight into the wall with a nail that has a large head and then put some gorilla glue on it, cut a slit though the fabric where the nail head will go into it and push it through the foam?

September 2, 2013 at 7:27 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

I just picked up supplies today to try this. Can you tell me if one yard of fabric (unfolded) covered one or two boards/windows? Thanks!!

September 19, 2013 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

I was able to use one yard of unfolded fabric to cover two cornice boards. This will mainly depend on the size of your window though!!

September 19, 2013 at 8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just given a quote of ~$100 PER window to do a cornice for our place at the beach. I was hesitate to pay that much since this is a vacation home and I like to change things fairly often, so glad I waited! I absolutely LOVE this idea!!! Thank you so much for the detailed instructions. I cannot wait to give this a try!! :-)

October 23, 2013 at 12:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same question as 8/28/13: My window does not have frame moulding. How would you hang the cornice on the wall?

December 20, 2013 at 8:40 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Hmm, good question! You could just nail it into the wall but you may want to try and hit a stud or it may fall depending on the size and weight of your cornice board. Good luck!

December 20, 2013 at 9:07 PM  

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