Project – Constructing a Cornice

by Ashley Horne

Let’s construct a cornice! What’s a cornice, you ask? Definition: A decorative framework to conceal curtain fixtures at the top of a window casing. Still confused? We’ve all seen these, they’re cute, upholstered boxes that stick out just a bit at the top of a window. Their purpose is to cover up all those ugly brackets and metal rods that your curtains hang on to make your window treatments more serene. So, it is time to tackle this simple project to remake the look of any room in your house.

Safety GirlThe first thing you will need to do is measure the width of your window using a tape measurer. You will be purchasing a piece of plywood that is a foot larger than the width of the window.


  • Plywood (you can opt to use a sturdy, thick piece of Styrofoam instead)
  • Batting
  • Fabric (enough to cover all of the plywood)
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun
  • 8 Small L-brackets with short screws


  • Circular Saw
  • Drill and drill bit
  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measurer

Okay, once you have your supplies and tools ready to go you will need to cut your wood. You will want to cut the wood so that it will be longer than the window by about 2” on either side (4” total). You should use a circular saw to do this. Of the remaining wood you will want to cut two (2) 6” pieces – these will be the pieces which connect the wall to the largest portion of the cornice. Be sure to wear safety glasses and ear protection while making your cuts!

The next step will be to wrap the three pieces of the cornice. To do this, you will need to cut your fabric. You want the fabric to go all the way around the plywood so cut the fabric and batting to be about six inches more than you think you’d need. Place the fabric down first, the batting on top and then the plywood. Wrap the plywood like a gift. Use your staple gun to staple the fabric tightly to the plywood. Trim off any extra as necessary.

Once all three pieces are wrapped you will use you four of the L-brackets to attach the side panels to the front piece of the cornice. Use your drill and drill bit to pre-drill holes – one bracket at the top and one at the bottom. Use your screwdriver to tighten the screws if necessary.

The remaining four L-brackets will be used to attach the cornice to the wall. Start by attaching the L-brackets to the side pieces of the cornice where the cornice will touch the wall. Then use a pencil to mark the location on the wall where you will need to drill holes – this can be done by holding the cornice above the window, finding the desired location, and making marks thorough the holes in the bracket. Have a friend hold the cornice in place while you screw the brackets to the wall.

Step back and enjoy your window’s new look!

Note: If you are working with a larger window (and thus, a heavier piece of wood) you may need to add a support in the middle of the cornice. To do this, you will want to get an additional eight small L-brackets. Attach the brace by screwing in four brackets (two at the top and bottom) where the brace meets the cornice and then four into the wall. Your cornice won’t be going anywhere!

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