How To: Make Your Own Upholstered Cornices for Cheap!

created at: 09/28/2011

It's no secret: custom window treatments are EXPENSIVE.  Excessively so, it seems.  That's why I flipped my lid when I spotted this tutorial for making your own DIY cornices (those fancy box-like things at the top) for about $15 a piece.  Yes, fifteen dollars.  


created at: 09/28/2011

It's almost unbelievable, but I've seen the tutorial and the photos and the cost break-down... and I can tell you this is for real!  Erin from Domestic Adventure created these cheerful yellow cornices for a new nursery (now finished - check out the big reveal right here).  We love the final outcome!

But, back to those cornices.  To make your own, you will need:

  • pine boards or plywood
  • L-brackets
  • batting
  • fabric

When you're ready, check out Erin's post for tips and tricks to making your own DIY cornices!

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CarolAnn on Apr 22, 2015:

sorry that should have been PINE wood not pin

CarolAnn on Apr 22, 2015:

Technically both are correct.




Architecture. any prominent, continuous, horizontally projecting feature surmounting a wall or other construction, or dividing it horizontally for compositional purposes.

the uppermost member of a classical entablature, consisting of a bed molding, a corona, and a cymatium, with rows of dentils, modillions, etc., often placed between the bed molding and the corona.

2.any of various other ornamental horizontal moldings or bands, as for concealing hooks or rods from which curtains are hung or for supporting picture hooks.

3.a mass of snow, ice, etc., projecting over a mountain ridge.

verb (used with object), corniced, cornicing.

4.to furnish or finish with a cornice.


a decorative cornice or valance at the head of a window or doorway, used to cover the fastenings from which curtains are hung.

Was curious so had to look them up. Cornice is a Greek derived word as Pelmit is French. Learn something new everyday!

FYI I tried making the cornice/pelmit for a large 87" double window span with the light weight insulation board and it was a disaster! Since I am using heavy Cow hide and faux leather with stud trim. I am now opting for the light weight pin wood. Leave the light weight to smaller windows.

Thanks for the tutorial


milja on Feb 27, 2015:

Finlayson Fabric?

JUDY on Sep 18, 2014:


Loretta on Jul 28, 2013:

Quick question. These ideas are awesome, BTW, but I was curious about using the "builders' insulation foam." Isn't this made w/fiberglass and is therefore potentially toxic to breathe? Thanks for clearing this up for me ('cause I really want to do this!).

Danielle D on Feb 26, 2013:

According to the 'Singer sewing for Home reference book', they are called cornices.
Pelmut works too probably but cornice is the preferred nomanclature.
BTW-this is a Nice tutorial too! Beautiful cornices!

rebecca on Feb 22, 2013:

the  cornices look great, but i would make them a bit bigger in relation to the window size, these look a little small for the window

Thimbles on Feb 27, 2012:

These can be made out of builder's insulation foam! I just completed 2 in my son's home. Easy to form into any shape...and VERY light to hang. pcs. can be glued with a special calking for foam..or low temp hot glue. You can pin batting & fabric to these foam forms...makes it easy to reposition & change out at a later date!!

CapreeK on Sep 29, 2011:

Agreed--I love the look!  Though I might start referring to them as pelmets now, because that word just makes me smile. :D

Laura on Sep 29, 2011:

My bad then, I have never heard them referred to as such.  Love them though, very clean way of not having to see a curtain rod!

CapreeK on Sep 29, 2011:

Erin - Thanks for the great inspiration! You did a wonderful job.

Laura - You're right, a cornice is indeed an architectural element, though this style of window treatment is also commonly referred to as a cornice--or a pelmet if you're fancy. ;)

Laura on Sep 29, 2011:

Not to be a snot or anything, just an FYI, these are actually called "pelmets".  Cornices are the decorative elements near the roof of a building.

erin @ domestic adventure on Sep 29, 2011:

Thanks so much for featuring my cornices!

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