Cornices All Around the Room

This "around the room" cornice has a number of firsts about it.

  • It is a 3 bend bay.
  • It is a slider window on the right side.
  • It is our first tri-color decorated cornice.

Francis and Marsha's kitchen/dining area is definitely a different design. It is the combination of a traditional two bend bay window that starts from the left of the room, but at the end it extends with an additional bend and then goes across a standard slider window. They decided upon a 12" high cornice and used fabric they had and some new they purchased.

The room has a theme of plants and a general "growing area." So the flower pattern fabric seems appropriate with different solid colors on the top and bottom. The different colors bring out different tones from the flower center. Francis did a great job on covering this long length. I was not there when they actually put it on the brackets but I am sure it prompted a neighborhood get together. This size cornice is definitely not heavy, but the three bends pretty much demands at least three sets of hands if not four.

This window combination could have been two separate window cornices but it was a relatively small distance from the end of the bay window to the slider so I recommended they go with one. The result was right for the space but it did making taking one picture of the whole thing just about impossible!

To see more bay windows:

To see more sliding windows:

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Calculating Your Fabric Yardage

This is probably the most often asked question and one that has a very simple answer and a not so simple answer. So I will take it in stages. When you read the one that covers your situation, and then don’t read any farther. No need to complicate things if you can make it simple.

For our purposes lets say you are making a cornice for your slider window that has verticals on it. The rod the verticals are on is 109” long. So at the very least your cornice needs to be 110” providing a half inch space on either side.

Here is the simplest answer: Add 25” to the 110” = 135” divide that by 36 = 3.75. You will need to purchase 3.75 yards of the fabric for the center and the top/bottom contours if you want to just cut one long strip that will cover from end to end.

You might be asking yourself, why add 25”. The straight part of the cornice is 110” but when you attach the end cap the length of the front of your cornice will expand by 2.5” on each side, the thickness of the end cap in that center contour. Then to cover down the length of the end cap is another 7.5” if using the standard 5” bracket, only 5.5” if using the 3” brackets, so a maximum 7.5 + 2.5 + 7.5 + 2.5 = 20” and 5” for insurance. You will use about an inch on each side to turn under at the end of the end cap.

If your fabric is a solid color, or the pattern is random or a pattern that runs down the length of the bolt, this is generally referred to as a railroad direction.

Now let’s say your fabric has a gorgeous pattern that you want to feature in the center contour but it runs across the width of the bolt. This requires a bit more math. Let’s say the width of the fabric is 54”. For your cornice you need a total of 135”, 135 divided by 54 = 2.5. So for the center section you need to cut 3 strips of that pattern. But that has not quite got us the yardage.

You also need to get the repeat distance for the pattern. Does the pattern repeat every 10”, every 17” every 23”, what is it? If it is not written on the fabric label, then lay it out on the cutting table and measure it. In our example we need 3 repeats, but since you cannot guarantee that your starting yardage is at the very beginning of the pattern, get one more repeat for insurance, get 4. For our example, I am going to say the pattern repeats every 21”—so 4 times 21 = 84” and that divided by 36 = 2.33 or 2.5 yards. Most fabric stores will cut in ¼ yard increments, some in as small as 1/8th.

Various methods of joining the fabric strips are covered in the next blog post.


Joining Your Fabric Strips

When that “to die for” fabric requires you to join multiple pieces together there are a number of methods you can use. Which method is usually determined by the type of fabric, the thickness of the fabric, the pattern on the fabric or any combination of the three! As I describe each method, I will give examples that I have used.

Method 1: Joining the strips for a gathered look is definitely the easiest. As you complete the first gathered strip, leave ½” from the end and tuck it flat on the cornice form. On the next strip fold under the raw edge and tuck it up tight next to the last gathered area. It will overlap that flat piece and no one will ever know.

Method 2: The iron-on fusing tape is your friend when joining. This is great for vertical or horizontal strips or even a pattern that has a spot where you can cut down the side of an object or design. The key here is to make a nice clean cut, and handle the fabric as little as possible so the edge does not fray. On the ironing board lay one side down that has the “extra” bit of fabric from the area the next strip is to match to, lay the fusing tape on the edge. Now take the piece with the clean cut edge and lay it in place over the fusing tape matching up at your marked spot for the join. Iron well and it will become “invisible” once up on the cornice.

This method works well on cottons thru medium weight fabrics. Thicker fabrics are better using the next method.

Method 3: If your fabric is very thick, or even an upholstery fabric, or maybe one of those really knobby fabrics, this method might be better. Select the “joining” area of the pattern if applicable, then on an ironing board, place a 2” wide strip of a really thin, lining type of fabric on the board, and lay the fusing tape down on top of the lining material. Next lay each of the two strips together on top of the fusing tape. I recommend using some pins to hold it down, but the key here is to create a tight fit between the two edges. Press and steam to melt the fusing tape.

One note here, some fabrics especially upholstery fabrics will melt under such hot and steaming conditions, so test your fabric before doing this.

Method 4: If your fabric will melt under the heat and steam of the above method, then likely as not it will be just fine if you tuck the one piece down on the cornice and then tuck the joining piece pushing it very tightly next to the edge of the other one but without making it pucker. Again once it is up you will find it hard to see the join.

Method 5: Another perfectly acceptable method is just to fold over the end of the fabric and lay it down over the spot you have marked in the pattern that matches and looks good. In this method, I would strongly suggest that you make this type of join in a symmetrical fashion. Let’s say it is going to take two strips to cover your cornice. Center the first strip on the cornice and tuck it down. Then cut the second strip and do the fold over at the ends of the centered strip. I would not recommend putting the join in the center of the cornice. The other hint I would give is make sure the join happens either just before the corner, no closer than 1” before the edge or at least 3.5 inches after the edge going down the end cap. Any closer to the edge of the end cap makes it a bit trickier to tuck down nicely.

Method 6: This is my last method. If the other methods are not really acceptable to you or your fabric is such that no matter what you do it is going to show and you do not want it to, then simply create a “design feature” that covers it up. Here are a few examples, including some pins from Wal-Mart and the kokopellis from a mobile that had broken on my back patio. Think creatively for this one—any goes.


Sheers & Your Cornice

Sheers can often be a great touch to your room. Using the 5” brackets you can easily mount a rod or perhaps even use a tension rod in the window frame to hang them on. Using the rod you will have the ability to move the sheers open and closed.

However, in many cases I come across the sheers will simply be stationary behind the cornice board. Save yourself the cost of the rod and tuck the sheers into the back tuck groove of your cornice! It really works well. The pictures of Sharon’s home are a great example.

Sharon’s living room as you can see has a lot of dark heavy furniture, the tables have a rotiron frame and the walls are all a light color. Even the shades on the windows are light. What the room needs is some dark on the walls and even in the cornice to balance her d├ęcor.
She also wanted the room to have a bit more of a formal look. It took several weeks to come to all the right decisions but I have to say it all turned out spectacular.

The top/bottom of the cornice is in a chocolate brown, crinkle fabric with just a bit of shine. The center fabric is a raised traditional design but also has just a bit of the same crinkled chocolate fabric throughout. Then we come to the sheers. The two cornices in the living room span 3 windows each. Between each window is just 6” of wall space.

Penney’s had some chocolate strip sheer panels on sale and good thing—we used a total of 8 on the two living room and two more on the dining room. All of the sheers are actually tucked into the back tuck of the cornice boards. The panels were each 54” wide so rather than “manually” gather them. I had a friend sew a basting stitch across about 1” down from where I needed to cut them off. Then for the side ones I gathered each down to 13” wide and the ones in the center over the 6” wall were gathered down to 9”. The result in the room was perfect!

I cannot say enough about being creative. Let your mind go and set no limits on what you think you can do. The results will compliment your room and WOW your friends. Se more homes in our Gallery of Homes.

13 Yr Search for the Perfect Window Treatment

Kingman Arizona home of the famous Route 66 and also Dan & Anne. They decided to visit the Kingman Home and Garden Show this last April. We were only 1 of several copies offering window treatment ideas, but they took a look at my samples and it was love at first site. This Arizona design was their inspiration. Several days after the show, I was out at their home to measure for cornices.

They had a slider in the transition area between the living room and the kitchen/dining area. Then also have two windows in the living room upstairs. This upstairs area turned out to be the challenge. A long slider gave entrance to a patio deck and then a large picture window over a couch, both providing a beautiful view to the golf course they live on. After measuring and much discussion it was decided to do a single cornice spanning the two windows. That made the cornice only an inch shy of 20 feet! They decided on the 12” high cornice for both areas.

Now they had to choose fabric. It was a bit of an ordeal as they picked out one that would have made a very bold statement in the room but we later found out that the pattern did not flow down the bolt as we had thought.
Anne wanted all three contours done in the same fabric with no breaks—so back to the fabric store again. They were only looking for Southwest designs and we had pretty much looked at all of them. But Connie at Alice’s Fabrics in Kingman managed to find 5 more that we had missed.
In the 5 was the one that seemed to outshine all the rest and match with their rooms perfectly. I was happy and relieved, I could get to work now. Generally speaking unless you have a semi, there is no way to transport a 20 ft cornice fully constructed, so I assembled it into the longest piece we could carry safely in our pickup truck and then two more long pieces that I would have to glue together and finish tucking in their actual room.

Dave & I arrived with the cornices at about 1:45 pm. The downstairs slider went up immediately and I set out my supports all across the living room. I even had to use their pool table at one end. It took another 2 hours to finish the 20’ cornice, but we did a lot of talking. My husband, Dave, had the brackets up so all four of us held it up while Dave moved across and pushed the cornice on to the brackets.
As I walked away into the room and turned around to look, it literally took my breath away. The colorations in the design were perfect and the room really came to life. I have not been so impressed and Dan and Alice were speechless. I got hugs from both of them.

The pictures do not do it justice but I tried to get the full effect of the room. They told me they had been searching 13 years to find the right window treatment! I love this job!

See me building the cornice in their living room in the Living Room Gallery:

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We started with our own home and have made many for our customers, we not only sell the kits, but we make them for our local area customers as well. You can be confident that we really know how to use and create with our product.

Since we have this experience we also know all the tricks and can advise you in any area concerning the assembly, decoration and hanging of your cornices.

We provide a quality do-it-yourself Window Cornice Kit to create your dream windows or we can make them for you. (Providing you are local to either the Lake Havasu City, AZ / Mohave Valley / Anaheim, CA / Orange County areas.)

Just give us your ideas and we can work through the project together for perfect results. Satisfaction guaranteed

For the ultimate in technical help, each order comes with our unique FREE instructional video (25 min. DVD for PC/TV). This DVD is a great “security blanket”. Watch and stop the action during each phase of your assembly, decoration and hanging. Review the corner technique as your are doing your own corners.

But just so you know, emails and even phone calls are gladly accepted. To exemplify how easy it is, we have had no returns or reported complaints to date. Order today and start to transform your dream windows into reality.

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Attaching the Cornice Creatively

The standard Window Bonnets cornice kit comes with 5” brackets. Well over 75% use this bracket and all is well. Another 20% or so use the 3” brackets. This number seems to be growing.

If your window has verticals mounted on the outside, or a drapery rod with sheers or drapes, then the 5” bracket is a must to clear the verticals and drapes so they are not crushed behind the cornice. If there is nothing over your window or the mount of blinds or verticals is inside the window well, then you might want to consider the 3” bracket for your cornice.

But for some a more creative mount is required. Several times I have been asked about mounting at 7” and even here recently at 4”. For both my best suggestion is to mount a piece of wood to the wall that is the thickness you need then mount the bracket to the piece of wood. Just remember to cut the end cap or add to it an appropriate amount so the end cap hits the wall once the cornice is pushed on the bracket.

And then there is Anne. She lives in a nice park model on the outer edge of a golf course. She was adamant about have them mounted directly to the wall. The only thing is that just around the window was trim piece that stuck out ¼”. Just laying the cornice form on the wall would have it sitting at an angle. That’s when I took a stroll through Lowes and found a quarter inch thick by 2” wide wall board strip and some industrial strength Velcro. Yes, I said Velcro.

We came back and mounted the board above the window about 1” down from where the top of the cornice was to hit. Then we mounted one side of the Velcro to the board. The other side we used our low temp glue gun to mount it to the back of the cornice. The typical sticky back of the Velcro does not hold well to Styrofoam but using just a bit of the low temp glue and it was on to stay. Once the cornice was decorated, it was pressed to the Velcro strip and Wal…la the cornice was on the wall and level from top to down over the window edge.


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