I love the windows in this house. I rarely turn on lights during the day because it’s so bright and happy. But the windows are so plain. I did not want to sew drapes mainly because of all the messy fingers around here, yet I really wanted COLOR. So I thought I’d try a cornice box. Cornice boxes are an easy way to add color, make windows look bigger, and make the windows look done. This was so easy, so fun, and so inexpensive. Try one with the tutorial below!
Living room Cornice Boxes (yes, big windows that you can see the whole backyard from):
Boring family room with boring windows without cornice boxes:
- drapery backing
- Batting (cheaper when you buy by the foot, not in a bag)
- Staple gun or upholstery gun
- 1×2 wood
- 1/2″ plywood
- glue gun
- jig saw
- paper to make patterns
1. Choose size and shape of cornice box. Many people just do straight boxes. I have arches in this house house so I created an arch. I decided size and shape simply by trial and error, just use butcher paper or newspaper to cut a pattern and mended it to my liking. My windows 5’x6′ are and my cornice boxes are 16″x6.5′ with an arch in the middle. Allow 3 extra inches on each side of the width for hanging.
2. Lay pattern onto plywood, trace to wood and cut out (nope, I don’t have a workbench. Just food storage buckets. It works.)
3. Cut two pieces of 1×3 wood for the height of the border, 16″ for these boxes, and screw onto plywood. Then, lay wood on batting.
4. Cut batting to size. Allow 4″ extra around each edge so you can wrap around the frame. Remember on the ends to give extra batting in addition to the 1×3 wood you will use to attach to the wall. Additional batting makes the fabric look better and more importantly, keeps the fabric from eventually ripping around the sharp wood edges underneath. Glue gun the fabric to the wood to hold it into place for the next step.
5. Wrap your fabric around the board before cutting. Make sure there is enough room on all sides. You can mark cut lines by a fabric pencil, or normal pencil if the lines won’t show through.
6. The fun part! Use your upholstery gun, or staple gun, to attach the fabric to the back of the cornice box. Have you ever put up a trampoline? It’s kinda like that… you want to start with anchors to make sure you don’t get creases or wrinkles. Image the box is a clock, you want to start with one staple at 12, then 6, then 3, then 9, pulling tightly on the anchors and smoothing the fabric as you go. Once you have so some anchors you can go side to side. The arches were the hardest part. You will need to cut some lines in the fabric so it lays smoothly, but don’t ever cut past your staples.
7. Once the fabric is attaches you can trim the excess and make a patter for the back. Use paper to trace a pattern, or if you’re a mathematical genius I’m sure there is a way to figure it out… but given I completely bombed geometry, I made a pattern. To cut out the drapery backing material fold the pattern and fabric in half to get a symmetrical pattern. Make sure the middle of the pattern is along the fold.
8. Place backing along the back and staple into place. viola!
I will do a different post on how to hang your cornice boxes, because that is a different dragon all together. Here are the after shots:
I love this alternative to curtains or drapes. Go make one!!!