How to Make Fancy Cornice Boards

So overdue with this post, but between my lack of photographic ability, my inability to find my camera (!!!), my little imps requiring my attention, my suspicion that my imps may have had something to do with the loss of the camera and life in general, it has been a difficult post!

If you remember, I created these cornices for my daughter’s room:

It’s an easy do it yourself project that I think anyone can do.

I broke down the directions in a few steps and what you will need in each step. That way, if time is not your friend, you can do one step, stop, then pick up at the next.

For the Template:

  • Poster board (or cardboard)
  • 3 round items, different sizes
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors

For the Frame:

  • Tape measure
  • 1/2″ Plywood, spare wood, boards
  • Jigsaw
  • Hammer and nails/nail gun
  • L brackets/screws

For the Covering:

  • Fabric
  • Trim
  • Batting
  • Staple gun
  • Glue gun
  • Spray adhesive (not essential, but makes it easier)
  • Paint (optional if you want to paint the inside)

And of course:

  • Curtain rod (no finial)
  • Curtains


Measurements are crucial in this project. The cornice will consist of a front face, 2 sides and a top. The front face has to be wide enough to accommodate the width of the window, the width of the trim on both sides, the curtain rod and the width of the side pieces of wood of the cornice boards.

I hung the curtains first and made sure that the curtains would push back outside of the window, so as to let the maximum amount of light in. This will also help in making sure the measurement for the face is accurate. (You will still need to add the width of the side pieces though.) I used inexpensive, low profile rods to hang the drapes, because no one will see them, so why bother with anything beyond basic.

So measure the projection, which will tell you how wide your side pieces need to be, and the width…

The Template

To ensure perfect symmetry, which will make the difference between an obvious DIY project and one that looks professionally done, the template that you will make is only going to be half of the design. So it goes from one end to half of the point and when traced onto the plywood, you flip your template over to do the other half.

I think I used a coffee can, a large bowl and a huge pot alternating for the curves going in and going out. I placed them on the piece of poster board and snaked around one side of one and then came around the other side of the other to make an “S”. Using a pencil helped because I went back in and free-handed in to clean up the line to make sure it was fluid.

I had placed the large pot at the edge of the poster board so it ended in a peak, which was actually the middle of my design.

The Frame

I cut the design out of the poster board, then traced in onto the plywood, flipped it to get the mirror image and other half (so it was perfectly symmetrical) and my husband jigsawed it out. He then put the box together by placing the two side pieces and top piece underneath and nailing them on. With an ornate design, it’s easier to cut it out of plywood, which is better to nail onto the block sides and top since it is thinner.

The Covering

The wood frame is then covered with batting, which is where the spray adhesive comes in handy. Depending on your preference, you can do one or two layers of batting. Do the face and sides – doing the top is unnecessary.

Cut off excess either to the edge.

You are now ready to start stapling the fabric, being very careful not to have any wrinkles! You wrap the top, the sides and the face. Gently pull the fabric taunt before stapling.

This was the hard part! In order to get the fabric to wrap around the board, you will need to cut “v”s into it, then wrap around and staple.

If you like, you can add muslin to the inside to line it. To attach this to the wall, you will need to add L brackets to the top of the cornice, which you will then screw into the wall when you are ready to hang. Now you can flip it over and hot glue on trim.

Note: if your cornice is very heavy because you made one for a huge window, you can also attach a piece of long wood into you wall in the studs, place the cornice on that, and screw/nail the cornice from the top onto it. It will be secure.

Some Thoughts

Some things that I want to mention. I believe strongly in hanging curtains high! It gives a grand appearance regardless of the size of the room. The beauty with these is that you don’t actually have to have long curtains; just make the cornices high! This is what I did as the curtains I wanted didn’t come in anything longer that 96″, which just barely covered my daughter’s windows. I accommodated it by adjusting the valance.

You can also finish the inside painting the inside prior to starting. You can also leave it unfinished if you like. No one will notice unless you made the sides deep.

I had never done this project before and it turned out well. Although I did this for a little girl’s room, it really can be done for any room.

Now that we delved into this, the possibilities are endless! My next post will show you exactly what I mean! Please let me know if you have questions – I may have glossed over things unwittingly!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

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