A DIY Cornice

Over a year ago, I picked up some fabric I ran across for $3 per yard and knew that I wanted to do something with it on the 2 single windows in our master bathroom.  So, I finally got inspired to get it done, after saving an inspiration post from Jenny, at Little Green Notebook.  She has lots of great ideas and this one was perfect for what I wanted in my space.

See how pretty and simple this pelmet or cornice board is?  You can click over to Jenny’s blog to see how she did it, but I’ll share my method here too.  And the good thing is this:  it’s made from foamcore board and duct tape!  Yeah, I knew you’d like that too.

Come on in and I’ll show you my version.

DIY cornice using foamcore and fabricI”m really loving this cornice board and how easy it was to put together too.  Well, relatively easy. DIY cornice using foamcore and fabricOne thing I can mention on this project is, you may not want to use a stripe, because it’s impossible to keep them straight when you have curves and angles.  But, I’m pretty happy with the way this turned out in spite of the wavy stripes.

The hardest part is getting your fabric to lay taut around this little curve, but I’ll show you the back of it down below in my how-to and you can see that you have to clip the fabric with scissors to get it around the curve.  I still have a slight pucker on the fabric, but most of that is covered by the trim and button.  I found this pretty braided blue trim at Hancocks and I covered the buttons myself from other fabric I had. Just a shot of the white nightstand I painted last year, along with some storage boxes in my paisley blue fabric. The cornice is simple, but adds a lot, I think.  I kept this space to blue, gold-yellow, and white.

DIY cornice using foamcore and fabric

The same treatment goes in the toilet room too. You can read all about the beadboard wallpaper I did here in this post.  That really added a big punch to this little room. Buttons and trim add lots of interest to this simple treatment.

Another peek at the DIY subway tile I added in here earlier this year too.  I think I can now say that the master bathroom is done! 🙂

So, if you’d like to read all about how these cornices were put together, keep on reading.

I made a simple pattern out of packing paper.  You may have to work on this, it took me 2 attempts to get my angles and curves the way I wanted them.  Once you have one side drawn, it helps to fold the paper in half, so that both sides match.

Then, just place it on your foam board and trace.

Cut along the lines and you have this.  I used an Exacto knife to cut mine. Remember those?

My box needed a little extra on each side, so I cut out 1″ strips to go on either side to make it a little wider.  I duct taped both sides, front and back to keep it steady.

I decided to have my board sit 2 1/2 inches out from the window, so I cut 4 pieces that were 2 1/2″ wide and taped those on each side of my 2 boxes.  Now you have a box that needs to be covered.  Who would know that underneath your pretty fabric is THIS. 🙂  No one but YOU!

Be sure and iron your fabric well before you start.

I roughly cut my fabric into 2 pieces and left extra on each, just to be sure I had enough.  Luckily, no one will see behind your board so you don’t have to worry about the backside.  Lay down some batting first, then your fabric on top.  I used a staple gun with 3/8″ staples to adhere all the fabric.  Start in one spot and pull taut, moving all the way around.

The toughest spots, as I mentioned were right there on the curve insets.  You can see that I cut the fabric all the way down to the board to be able to pull the fabric as tight as I could here.  Lots of staples! The batting helps keep the fabric smooth too, so don’t skip that step.  I had to work on this curved part longer than all the rest, but just keep going until you get all the fabric adhered.

And here they are, both covered with fabric. 

I wanted that little extra pizazz, so added some pretty braided flat trim that I found at Hancock’s Fabrics.  It was my lucky week and it was all 30% off.   I glued on all the trim with fabric glue.  My favorite fabric glue is Fabri-Tac, but I’ve been out of it for awhile. I picked up some fabric glue from Hobby Lobby, called Crafter’s Pick and I hate it.  It doesn’t stick worth a darn and it won’t squeeze out the small hole in the top, so I definitely would tell you to stay away from that one.  Fabri-Tac is the BEST!

Hot glued a ring onto the back top corner of the board on either side.  This thing is so lightweight, it doesn’t take much to hang it.  Just 2 small nails will do it. And that’s how to make a cornice board out of foamcore.

I hope this inspires you to try this project.  It just takes a little time and patience to get the fabric stretched over it, but I’m so happy with how it came out.

What do you think?  Do you have a window to try this one on?


And the giveaway winner for the 2 Tea books is:  Georgia from Grandma G’s.  Congrats, enjoy those books!

- Rhoda


  1. FABULOUS!!!!!!! I wish I would have know this foamcore trick before I spend an entire weekend cutting and sanding plywood cornices!!!!!!!!!!!


  2. What a great idea and how nice it looks. You did a wonderful job. I am trying to decide on a window treatment for my bedroom, I bet even I could do this one.

  3. WONDERFUL! I would have never guessed that this was made from foam. Going in my “to try” file. Thanks for sharing and great pics!

  4. Oh my goodness, Rhoda! It looks fabulous…so professional! Who would have guessed that it’s so do-able!! I love this idea! Thanks!…hugs…Debbie

  5. Great idea and beautiful execution. You did a wonderful job with the stripes…they are always less forgiving.

  6. It looks lovely Rhoda. I am going to be changing out the fabric on my dining room chairs and I am kind of dreading it. I did pick out a fabric that I hope will be easy to use. Thanks for all your tutorials!!

  7. These really look great!! I especially like the fact that they’re so lightweight and easy to hang. I may actually be able to do this.

  8. Rhoda, I LOVE this! I was with you on the tutorial all the way to the part where you cut 4 2 1/2″ strips. I got lost right there, (I am a little slow). I know two strips would go on either side, but where do the other two go? And is there a top on it?

    Thank you for this, I am definitely going to do it in my study!

    Lou Cinda 🙂

    • Hey, Lou Cinda,

      I have 2 windows, so that’s why I needed 4 pieces. There is no top to this at all.

      It really is easy, just don’t use a stripe & you’ll be better off.

  9. Where do you get the Foamcore board? I love it.

  10. Mary, the foamcore board is available at any of the craft stores. I got mine at Hobby Lobby, picked it up for 1/2 price. Michaels will have it too.

  11. I did that once with foam core board, batting and hot glue, but mine wasn’t as elaborate as yours it was a simple oblong. I bought my foam core at the local Wal-Mart in the poster section.

  12. LOVE it! I’m getting ready to add a little pizzaz to my mom’s house and this is perfect…and affordable!! Thanks!

  13. Thanks for the tutorial, I actually believe I can do this! Great fabric–love it.

  14. I like this idea Rhoda. I want to try incorporating something like this in the upstairs pass thru bathroom, over the tub/shower.

    I enjoyed the video series!

  15. Nice job, Rhoda! You have indeed inspired me to give this a shot and I believe I have everything at home already. I had bought a grey and white toile to do something simple in our upstairs hall bathroom {main bathroom really}, but the window is so narrow it is difficult to do something that doesn’t wind up covering the whole window. I believe this type of cornice will work. I’ll let you know! ; )

  16. Totally and utterly and absolutely fabulous !!! My favorite kind of DIY, inexpensive and oh so pretty. Fantastic Rhoda !

  17. I love it, Rhoda!! It’s clean, simple, and pretty. You did a great job. 🙂

  18. Great Idea! I have been looking for something to do with my 6 year olds room! Thanks for sharing!

    Michelle @ One Crafty Chick’s Creations

  19. Gorgeous!!! You did a fabulous job Rhoda. The cornice completes the room. Thanks so much for sharing.

  20. I will try this. I have a tiny window in our living room in a little alcove. Has always been so hard to do curtain or blind. This just might be perfect. Great job!

  21. Love it, Rhoda. I’m gonna have to steal that idea!


  22. You had me fooled! 🙂 They look great. I was thinking of doing cornices above the windows in my bedroom, but Scott has insisted that I make changes to the office first – so … that’s at the TOP of my to do list, and it starts FRIDAY! WOW!

    I’ll let you know how it goes … who knows, I might end up doing this in there! Thanks for the inspiration, Rhoda – as always!

  23. I must be missing something, but I don’t understand how the staples don’t show through on the other side of the fabric???

    • Trisha, there’s a layer of batting & that along with the foamcore which is pretty thick, hides the staples. They are only 3/8″ thick, so don’t go thru to the other side. It works!

  24. Love it, Rhoda! All thing DYI catch my interest! I finally updated my dining room, by the way!

  25. That looks great! Thank you for sharing! I need something for my kitchen window and this may be it! The staples do not show through because the foamcore is so thick, right?

  26. Renee Sofge says:

    I Love the cornices. I’ve always been a fan of cornice boards and this looks fabulous. I’ll keep this in mind for future. You did a great job.

  27. I love your bath and the cornice is fabulous. I did not know about the foam core and will give it a try.
    I have been following you since we were on a private decorating board…way back. I was AnnettefromSC. I mostly lurked as I was not retired then and time was more limited.

    As always you are on the cutting edge of new decorating trends but I love the way you always include and blend the traditional.
    Thanks for sharing your talent. Annette

  28. Rhoda, your cornices look lovely! Foamcore and duct tape? Brilliant!

    I just love the use of yellow and blue in your master bed and bath. I’m delighted to see blue making a comeback in home decor. It never really went out of style, as far as I’m concerned, but for awhile it was very difficult to find fabrics that featured blue. Your stripe is lovely!

  29. What a great idea! I’ve always been scared off of attempting cornices by sawing and nailing wood. But this I’m sure I can do!

  30. Wow, Rhoda, that looks great! I’m completely amazed that you can do that with some paper and duct tape. You inspire me! And that bathroom is fantastic, I’ve always loved it.
    ~Angela 🙂

  31. Rhoda,
    Those turned out perfectly! I love blues and yellows.
    Great job!

  32. Thanks for the tutorial. I plan to pass it on to my daughter. She will be very interested. You did a great job. She will love the duct tape idea!

    Your blue bathroom is similar to my blue and I enjoy it.

  33. That was ingenious! I would have NEVER thought of using foam core in that way. I definitely gotta try that!

  34. LOVE this. I would not have thought to use the 3/8″ inch staples on the foam core. I would think the ends would pop through. You are so smart. Very chic, easy and repeatable ….thank you for the Hancock mention!

  35. Thanks for linking to me Rhoda! Your cornice boxes turned out lovely! Fantastic job, as always.


  36. Thank you for the great tutorial! I think I will try this above my kitchen window. I knew I didn’t want shades/blinds but this might be just what the doctor ordered. Thanks again!

  37. Hi Rhoda!
    These are fantastic, and I’m totally doing this!! One question – about how “tall” were each of your cornices? Thanks! Mindy

  38. Nice!! I have a window that needs something, so this might be my solution!

  39. Wowsers….great job and I think you did just fine with your stripes!

  40. Nice job Rhoda. I made one many years ago ( and it is still hanging) by stiffening fabric with iron on interfacing and hanging it from a cheap rod. Reminds me if probably needs to come down for a good vacuuming.

  41. Hi Rhoda! Thanks for your inspiration and tutorial! I tried it, and posted about it. I made sure to give you a shout out! 🙂 Come over and see if you get a chance!

  42. wow, you would never know that was a home made foam core cornice! it looks very designer/professional! great job!

  43. Hey Rhoda!
    I have a question that is window covering related…I am wanting to put up curtains in my bedroom. We have a window that is 41 w and a set of french doors that are 79.25 w. They both measure about 96′ from the floor (we have tall ceilings). Because of the height, store-bought panels of 95′ inches will be too short, right? Or is it OK to have the bottom 3-4′ of the door showing?

  44. I love it! I am going to try it this weekend.

  45. Cassandra says:

    Got here from a google search on how to make cornice boards. I was not looking forward to telling my husband that he had yet another project….this means he doesn’t!! Thanks!

  46. I’m making one of these now from your tutorial – I’m so excited to finish the project and see what it adds to our kitchen. Thanks for the tute!

  47. Thank you soooooooooooo much!I always wanted cornice on my windows but dreaded the price tag it came with.Now I will start on this new project soon.Thanks again.

  48. Saw this on Pinterest & boy am I glad I followed the link! Redoing my house on a tight budget and this is a GORGEOUS tutorial that I’ll definitely be using. Thanks so much!

  49. I’m so going to do this project and I’m pinning you too! <3 Lesli

  50. This is exactly what my little boy needs in his room and the kids need in their bathroom. Weekend project idea here I come! Thank you so much for this tutorial. Who knew foam board would be such an inexpensive way to really dress up a window. Jenny

  51. Gonna try this one!!

  52. These are just what I was looking for, to decorate our new home inexpensively and to add a fresh pop of color!!!
    I do have a question though. How long were your cornices, at the front part of the window at the curve?
    Thanks so much for posting this DYI. I’m tackling it tomorrow !!

  53. Omg!!! I love it…I needed a simple way to do this for my daughters bedroom. These are going up as a headbord…thank you!!!!!

  54. I just did this project and have a word of advice: DON’T USE A PATTERN!! I have a 43″ window, and the pattern on the fabric I bought goes horizontally from salvage to salvage edge, which made this seemingly easy project quite a headache! Also, if you don’t mind the look of a simple rectangle cornice box, I would recommend doing that. I tried an arched box and ended up not being able to get the fabric pulled tight, so it has some bunching around the arch (which I actually love for my baby girl nursery…but it was not the look I was expecting!) Don’t mean to discourage people from trying this project…but for me it was a lot more involved than it seemed! But aren’t all DIY projects that way? Haha. Good luck, all!

  55. great idea! thanks i will use this for my windows in the den!

  56. Fantastic idea….I have a question..my window is 40″ long and will be using an outside mount,what would be a good length for the cornice? I will be hanging the cornice at the top of the window.

    • Gail, I think you’ll have to play around with it, but generally 15 to 18″ might be a starting point. You can eyeball the length before you commit, but that’s what I’d do.

  57. Rhonda,
    I understood everything except how to hang them. Could you send a clearer picture or explain it again to me? Thank you so much!!! These are wonderful!

    • HI, Ann, I don’t have these hung in my new house, but it’s just a small D-bracket glued on the backside and hung on a nail. Very simple!

  58. OMG! I happened to stumble upon your posts, and I absolutely LOVE my new cornices in my dining room! I used stripes also, because it was the fabric that I had, and they look wonderful for the price! Thank you for posting your creative tips! My house will only improve with with your wonderful ideas! Thanks again!!

  59. I love this! I was trying to talk my husband into making me some wooden ones this morning, but this is so smart and so easy. Thanks–

  60. Ms. Rhoda — I stumbled across this through a Google search, and I’m so glad that I did. Neither my wife nor I have the “creative eye”, but this is just the type of thing I’ve been looking for to add some life/color/style to all the bare windows in our home (we’ve been in our new house for 4 years and the windows only have shutters or shades… if that tells you anything). Anyway, this would be a great DIY project that my wife and I could actually do together… maybe even without killing each other! I can’t wait to show her this post when she gets home from Xmas shopping. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


  61. Stephanie says:

    Hi Rhoda,

    I wanted to thank you for this great diy cornice. I have since taken down the heavy wood cornice boards in 2 bedrooms, absolutely love my new treatments.
    I sent this link to a friend, she used the same foam board and made a king size headboard, it looks great!

    Best from NY !

  62. Did hot gluing the hooks to the balance work long term? I made foam valances and am having a VERY hard time keeping them up. Velcro and 3M strips, hot glue and super glue aren’t cutting it.

  63. Elisabeth says:

    What a great tutorial, thank you! I am about to start doing one for my kitchen window! Can’t wait to see the results!


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