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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

{DIY} Building a Window Pelmet

You guys have been so sweet...not to mention I muddle through post after post of trying to figure out the window situation in Babygirl's Room. Since I have no design experience, I am so grateful to have bloggers and opinionated readers as my sounding board!

So after much debate, and many Photoshop renderings, I finally decided on the plan for her window!! I just finished and I am thrilled with the outcome...and so excited to show it to you guys! Today I'll walk you through how I built (using this term very loosely) the pelmet, or cornice...whichever you prefer to call it.

There are several great How-To's on the internet, including the one that started it all, Jenny at Little Green Notebook. But I found myself still extremely fairly confused after reading them, so I'll be as boringly specific as possible with my tutorial.

First, gather your supplies: foam core board, batting, fabric, duct tape, trim and fabric glue.


Actually, the first thing you want to do is measure. Because I didn't, and I ended up with twice as much foam core (I was sure I'd botch my first attempt), and not enough batting and fabric!!!!! Gee, that's not frustrating.

I measured to either side of my curtain rod for the width; and from just above the curtain rod to just below the top of the window for the height. I chose to make my pelmet cover the swatch of wall so the window would appear taller. And since I added the mucho-necessary darkening shade, I wanted to cover it as well.


If you're blonde like me, it's also really helpful to sketch it out so you don't get confused with all the cutting and taping. I wanted my pelmet to fit pretty snug against the curtains, so it's 7" deep. TWSS  I didn't think to take the finials off the ends of my curtain rods, so my pelmet is even more of a mammoth than it needed to be (since the curtains are already hung much wider than the actual window).


Using a box cutter, I cut two pieces of board to equal my 53" width, then used duct tape to
hold them together.


I then cut the height of the adjoined piece down to 19". For the sides, I cut two pieces of board that were 19" tall and 7" wide. Lay a strip of duct tape down and place the large front panel over half of it:


Then prop a side piece up and wrap the tape around the seam. Repeat on the other end and add strips of duct tape until the panel feels fairly stable.


I thought my center seam needed more reinforcement to prevent bowing, so I taped another piece of foam board over it. If your pelmet isn't the size of a city bus like mine, this step most likely isn't necessary.


Wrap the front of the box with batting:


And then your (ironed) fabric.


I started out stapling it all into place, but it wasn't holding very well, so I just duct taped the thing within an inch of it's life. It's not pretty, but it won't show! And it's foam core board for Pete's sake!! Clearly we're cutting corners here!


I wrapped the side pieces just like a present, holding everything in place with the gorgeous duct tape.


Now, as to how we were going to mount this beast to the wall, Mr. Sugarplum and I had several conversations and strolled many aisles at Home Depot. I think his solution is the best, especially for a larger pelmet like this one; two light-as-a-feather L brackets!


First I Gorilla Glued them on the side panels...then reinforced them with more duct tape. It still wasn't very stable, so I actually screwed them into the fabric and a little bit of the board (careful not to poke through the other side) TWSS I think the duct tape also helps to give the screws something to grip.


Here's a really poor picture of how she looks from the front:


Using Fabri-Tac, I glued a border of white grosgrain ribbon around the perimeter.

(Yes, it's larger than my kitchen table!)

Remember The Ribbon Retreat I posted about here? After no luck finding a radish-colored ribbon in stores, I ordered several samples from them and found the perfect match!


I used the Sorbet grosgrain to trim the white drapes...I love how it ties the drapes and pelmet together. But this post has gone on long enough, so you'll have to wait to see it!

Have you attempted a pelmet of your own? Or does this verbose tutorial motivate you to make one? Are you even still awake?

Update: See the final window with pelmet in place here!


  1. Yes! That was my problem--making it was easy, hanging it was not that easy. I also went with the staple and duct tape route.

    The one I did in my mother in law's house is over thirteen feet long and I ended up NAILING it in place with tiny finishing nails (lucky there was a pattern so its not that noticeable.)

    Can't wait to see it!

  2. Love all of the gorgeous duct tape :-) No really, I'm adding it to my "list of projects" to tackle at some point. I really like it...maybe for our dining room. Can't wait to see it with the drapes!

  3. ooh i can't wait to see it hanging on the window!!

  4. It looks great! I did this too and was a little confused but it turned out well! I'm thinking of adding some ribbon trim as well:)

  5. Designing with duct tape. I love you, I really do. Can't wait to see it!!!

  6. I'm tackling this very project right now... I ended up using cardboard instead of foam core, so duct taping was pretty much mandatory.

  7. What a great tutorial! Can't wait to see the final result.

  8. Oh...I see where the monogram is going. This is going to be good. My pelmet was a pistol to get to stay up, but finally I think I just hot glued it. Looking forward to seeing the finished project :)

  9. Morning my love. You rock. I can't believe you cheated a little bit on the back of it. Who would do that? ;) It looks great and the white ribbon is such a great contrast. Can't wait to see it up on her wall.

  10. I think I can actually make this! Thanks for the great tutorial! I wonder if you double up the foam core if it would be more stable?

  11. Love it, I can't wait to see it with the trimmed drapery!

  12. my mother makes cornice boxes. She made two for my kitchen. I love them!

  13. You are hilarious - love the duct tape! My dad helped me do 2 of these for an apt I lived in after college and they were a BEAST! We used wood and those things were heavy!! I like your version much better :)

  14. It's going to look fantastic! You are inspiring me to get crafty...(c:

  15. I love the you did it using foam core!! That means I could do it too (if anything requires cutting of wood, I have to involve my hubby, which makes it difficult to get him onboard somedays!). I also love how you cross words out. It adds some hilarity to the post!

  16. I am dying to see this up - can't wait!!! Looks fabulous so far Cassie.

  17. Your handiness amazes me. I can't wait to see it up and running!!

  18. Your handiness amazes me. I can't wait to see it up and running!!

  19. Where there's a will, there's a way! Especially when you, duct tape and creativity are involved...know it will be as terrific as everything else you've FEARLESSLY tackled! xox Ali

  20. Cassie from Primitive and Proper told me about you. I did a post about favorite PINK bloggers.

    You should enter this into next months-- the DIY project contest.


  21. I love the color you chose. Also, I'm your newest follower!

  22. Can't wait to see the final product - I'm such a sucker for a monogram!

  23. This is interesting, I've never seen one done with foam board. I've done several for my house with plywood. This looks like it may be a little easier to work with. Can't wait to see the finished product.

  24. I love it when a project looks all crazy on the back side and amazing on the front side. Can't wait to see it hanging up :)

  25. Cassie, you need to write a book! I love your ingenuity!! Looks great!!

  26. You are seriously a genius (and a tease). Love the generous use of duct tape. And is that a monogram I spy on the drawing? Glad you were able to find a ribbon color that worked! Can't wait to see the big reveal!

  27. Oh my gosh, you're totally leaving us hanging . . .!!! I can't wait to see - it looks like it turned out really well!! :)

  28. Can't wait to see it! It's sure to look amazing after all the elbow grease that's gone into this bad boy! :)

  29. AMAZING! Love the color. Also, props to you for sneaking in 2 that's what she said's (: hahaa!

  30. Wow!! Can't wait to see it finished Cassie!! Your projects are always so genius!

  31. Can I just tell you that I *love* how crazy messy this looks from the underside, and how great it looks from the outside! It just goes to prove that things can end up looking great if you just play around with them long enough.

  32. Love it Cassie! You did a fabulous job on the pelmet. I might just have to give up the idea of making one in wood and go your route.


  33. Love Love, Love your window!! You should check out the banded drapes I scored at walmart. I should add a pelmet to the top like you did.. My husband helped me build one when we were first married about 20 years ago, but it was a little thicker and made out of wood and padded. I didn't have a monogram...I like that preppy touch and I like your build version.... seems like it would be a lot lighter weight. Thank you for sharing your info and for the great inspiration! Your daughter's room is beautiful!

  34. The idea of adding the matching ribbon to the sheers made it special, and I love the monogram. Very classy & elegant look!

  35. Great tutorial you've posted, thanks! I've got this linked to my pelmet boxes post too today, for inspiration!

  36. Cool! I've been creating these for years not knowing the proper name, so thanks for that! How about some unsolicited advice? Everyone loves that, right? Home improvement stores sell 1/2"x4'x8' sheets of foam core insulation for around $10. It is thicker and sturdier with very minimal added weight, and the thickness of it allows for the use of a staple gun without fear of poking through.

    Hanging is far easier when you're working with 4 sides instead of 3. If you attempt this again, attach and cover a top. Simple 2ish" "L" brackets for hanging are perfect.

    Happy window dressing! Love the blog!

  37. Very nice project. I'm building one for my bathroom. You may want to try using a 1/4" wood as the backing instead of only the foamboard. This will make it much more rigid, and allows screws and staples.

  38. Thank you so much! This was very helpful!

  39. Dear Cassie, You are so human,I love you! :-) I mean look at all the duct tapes, I'm sure that's how I'll end up too. Keep posting and keep chatting, love your never give up spirit ;-D

  40. Hi, looks great! Just thought I'd let you guys that I saw somewhere to only score the ends and then bend it for better supported sides. This way it probably needs less reinforcing.

  41. i finished one today . i used crisp boxes from the shop and a remnant piece of wallpaper made extra ince at ends ,folded them in then stapled these bits to the wall. i wonder if it will still be up tomorrow,, time will tell

  42. Hello ... I realize there has been a lot of time since you finished this project but I just found your blog and have stalked nearly all your projects! They are fabulous and I am already working on some new ideas ... thanks to you. Soooo, also .... could you tell me what size ribbon you used for your daughter's drapes? I'm pretty much copying you and don't want to pick the wrong size. ;) Thanks so very much and keep up the great work!

    1. Hi Amy! The ribbon trim is either 1 or don't want it too thin or it will get lost in all the fabric of the drapes. Hope this helps...and good luck with your project!! xo


Your comments are like crack, or popcorn with milk duds, I just can't quit them. xoxo, cass

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