Cornice Boards from Foam Board Insulation
So, you can make cornice boards out of foam board… who knew?
(Apparently tons of people cuz there were lots of examples on the interwebs). So when I decided to redo our master bedroom I started with the idea of adding cornice board window treatments. I did some research and found lots of examples of people using everything from craft foam board (which was way to flimsy for my taste), to styrofoam (which we’re getting better as far as stability), then foam insulation board.. NOW you’re onto something! Now I know some people don’t like the cornice board and think they are outdated… but I say, whatever you love, you should do it!
Well the Mean Man had a source for some free 2″ foam board (that had been used for shipping) so he grabbed up a couple of big pieces. I told him I think I needed at least 17 deep and, to be safe, about 50″ wide (I hadn’t really done any serious measuring at that point and I was knee-deep in winging it). He got a couple of nice big pieces so we were in business!
This is a CHEAP project even if you have to buy the board- it’s around $8 for a huge sheet. I got my fabric at Hobby Lobby for a total of $25.18 (because it was 30% off), the fringe was $17.98 (because I had a 40% off coupon) and the batting was $5.98 (cuz it’s just cheap) so for under $55 after tax, I got two beautiful windows treatments!
Now, I fortunately have a very capable assistant (actually he’s my partner in crime) who helped with the measuring. This was very dicey as we didn’t have just a ton of clearance between the window and the wall. The fact that the foam board was almost 2″ thick also came into play. I also had fluffy curtain panels we had to take into consideration. I’m going to answer all of the questions I had when I started researching so I hope this isn’t a beat down of info.
1. Measure for your width. Our window was 35″ wide. We then had to determine how far past the window we wanted the boards to go. To do this, we added 4″ to each side off the width measurement. We took into consideration the width of the curtain rod and the fluff of the curtains. The rod went just past the frame.
2. Then for depth: Now, if you hang curtains under your board you need to figure for the rod. We used a 2″ curtain rod (it comes off the wall 2″). I had to consider the fluff of the curtains as well (this is to determine how deep to make the cornice). I wanted about 1″ clearance past the rod then I added 1″ for the curtains. So to add it all up 2″ rod + 1″ curtain + 1″ clearance past that = 4″ for the depth of my boards (for the returns, legs, or whatever you wanna call the side pieces).
3. Determine how long you want your boards to be. The standard seems to be to take the length of your window or window coverings in my case, divide that amount by 5 and take 1/5 as the length of your boards. My window coverings were 82″ so I came up with a little over 16″ and decided on 17″.
It’s now time to transfer your measurements to the boards for cutting. Be sure your boards are in square! Marty added the measurements we wanted to the boards, used a straight edge to draw the cut lines, then cut with a jigsaw.
Time to glue up all of the pieces. Our side pieces are 4″ x 17″ (4″ is the depth we wanted the board and 17″ is the length). Then we cut the top piece that is glued between the two side pieces. We wanted our boards as secure as possible so instead of using hot glue as lots of sites suggested, we used Loctite to hold the pieces in place.
After we had everything put together and glued up… we waited… OVERNIGHT. It’s just not worth risking that the glue isn’t all dried and tight.
Before we added the batting, we covered all edges in duct tape. Our board had a nice paper covering over all of the foam except for what was exposed after we made our cuts. We wanted all of the foam covered, plus this further firmed up the boxes. You can see we used very thin batting. We didn’t want our boards to appear heavily upholstered. (Also- it looks like the Mean Man is doing all of the work- FALSE, I just had to stop to take pics so you guys can see how we did it).
We used an electric stapler to attach the batting and the fabric to the board. We used long staples (17/32″). I purchased 1.5 yards of batting and two yards of fabric. I used home decor fabric that is 54″ wide. This was BARELY wide enough to cover the board and sides. If you’re doing a really wide window take this into consideration. You may need to buy lots more fabric to get the width. Consider how your patter runs also. For our plaid, this wouldn’t have been an issue but you may have to do some sewing if you have an upright pattern.
You can see we barely cleared the side pieces. Of course we finished the edges with, what else? Duct tape.
I happen to like fancy things (or as I like to say, ferncy) so I added fringe. I considered using hot glue to attach but I hate the strings that happen with hot glue, so I used small flat head straight pins. They worked GREAT- they attached the fringe and just disappeared essentially.
To determine exact placement of the boards we hung the curtains, then held the boards up by hand to get the height right. Marty reached under with the 3″ bracket until it abutted the cornice board header. I took the board from him and he made his marks for the first bracket. Once it was secured, he held the next bracket up and put a level on it. He then attached the second bracket.
This is a view from the underside of the bracket after it was installed on the wall. The bracket is screwed to the wall and then to the cornice board header. We actually added some duct tape over the brackets just for extra support.
These boards look great and are super easy to handle because they hardly weigh anything at all. I think they look beautiful in the space. Of course, I’m a bit of a romantic.