February 03, 2016

DIY Cornice Board

I'll be the first to admit, when it comes to DIY projects, if it doesn't include a paint brush, it usually doesn't include me. I know my limits. Maybe the better way of putting it is I know what I like, and if I don't like it, I don't do it. If you remember back to my whole pillow fiasco, you may also remember if it requires a needle, I DEFINITELY shouldn't be attempting it. So, at least this time around I stuck with a DIY project that is 100% sewing-free! 


One of our guest bedrooms at the lake house has been soooo close to being complete for quite some time. The last detail that has seemed to just linger on has been the window treatments. On several occasions I started the task and quickly learned window treatments can get pricey...real quick. Basically, if I wanted to afford new window treatments I'd have to switch back to boxed wine. I'm sorry, but those days are over. (Oh college, how I miss you.)  It's a guest bedroom after all. I mean, I love hosting guests and I want them to be comfortable during their stay with us, but not too comfortable. You know what I mean, right?! Yeah, I thought you did. I'm not running a Bed & Breakfast over here!  

As most projects start, I spent a solid 10 hours on Pinterest doing 'research'. After reading about a million different ways to create a cornice board, I decided not one method was really perfect for me, and ended up taking bits and pieces from each of the different versions.

Below is the list of items needed for MY method of making a DIY cornice board:

  • Plywood 
  • (4) L Brackets
  • Screws
  • (2) Small pieces of scrap wood
  • (2) D Rings 
  • Batting
  • Fabric
  • Iron
  • Staple gun & staples
  • Stitch Witchery
  • Trim

The first step is measuring out your window and deciding how big you want your board to be. I decided to make mine two inches wider than the window (and trim) on each side, two inches deep, and 18 inches long. So, for one window, you'll need three pieces of plywood, the front and the two sides. If you're prepared with your measurements like I was, you can have the friendly guy at Home Depot cut the pieces for you. And if you smile extra big and bat your eyelashes, he may even waive the $0.25/cut charge. For all you men out there reading this, I don't suggest you trying this tactic. You may just get a weird look back instead.

Once you have the boards cut to the size you want, you'll need to assemble them at a 90° angle using your L brackets and screws.

Next cover the board with batting and secure it using your staple gun. It's totally up to you on how thick of batting to use. It just depends on the look you're going for. 

It was about this time that I realized the plywood was pretty thin, and nailing something into it to hang the board may be a bit challenging. We had some scrap wood lying around, so I cut two small squares to attach to the inside corners. This gave me a large enough area to drill in the D rings. I then glued a bit more batting over the sides to cover up the screws.

At this point, you'll get a pretty good idea of what the cornice board is going to look like, and it's time to start focusing on the details. I wanted to keep a simple, classy feel. For the fabric, I chose a white linen material. To give it a bit of color, I picked out a Greek Key patterned trim from M&J Trimming .

First, make sure your fabric is wrinkle-free. You'll probably need to iron out any creases.

Cut the fabric to a size that covers the cornice board and allows for extra along the edges. Once I had the proper shape and size cut, it was time to assemble the trim onto the fabric. Remember, I said this project is completely sewing free, and thanks to Stitch Witchery, I wasn't lying. So here is my two cents on this product. The actual product - awesome. The directions - garbage. After several failed attempts at getting my trim to stay, I turned to the internet where I found helpful reviews from people who had the same issues I did. Bottom line, turn the iron up to high (not medium), use a wet (not damp) cloth, and hold the iron for 20-30 (not 10) seconds. Here is how my fabric turned out.

Next, it is time to assemble the fabric onto the board. I used the same technique as the batting, but had to be more careful about the placement in order to keep the trim even. To be honest, the larger one isn't 100% even. It works for the moment, but I'm planning on adjusting the trim to make it perfect. Just because I saved a couple bucks making my own window treatments doesn't mean I want them to scream DIY. Just be sure to keep a tight pull as you secure the fabric and create tight creases along the edges.

Here is how the finished product turned out.

I hung them one inch off the ceiling. Hanging them high helps to create height and makes the windows appear larger.

We secured the boards to the wall using drywall screws. It was a pretty painless process.

Although you may not need to, I ended up covering the backs of the board with fabric as well. Since the one window faces the front of our house, I didn't want to have the plywood exposed.

We plan on installing roll-down black-out shades as well. These boards will be perfect for keeping them hidden during the day.

Although they are a simple design, they really help to complete the room. I think they add an element of warmth.

Now that I can check window treatments off the list, I guess that means we're due for a full room renovation reveal soon. I'm telling you now...it's going to be a big one!