Decorating windows adds the finishing touch to a room. Whether you choose traditional drapes or contemporary shades, topping them with a cornice brings another dimension to windows. A cardboard valance is an upholstered three-sided box that sits just below the ceiling and covers the top trim of the window. Drapes or shades flow from beneath the cornice. Although valances can be expensive when they are custom-made, you easily can handcraft a valance from cardboard, polyester batting and fabric with professional results.
Measure from the outside edge of the window trim on the left side of the window to the outside edge of the trim on the right side. Add eight inches to this measurement to determine the width of the cardboard. Decide how far down you want the valance to hang from the ceiling; the valance should cover the window's top trim. This will be the height of the valance. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit the measurements.
Measure four inches in from both ends of the cardboard and score it from the top to bottom edge of the cornice. Do not cut completely through the cardboard.
Fold the scored cardboard edges toward the back, forming a "U" shape that will create the basic form of the valance.
Cover the front side of the valance with batting, making certain it is smooth and free of wrinkles.
Pull the batting over the edges of the valance to the back side, and staple the batting onto the back at 6-inch intervals.
Cut fabric so it leaves a 4-inch border all the way around the valance. Place the fabric on the work surface, wrong side up. Place the valance, batting side down, on top of the fabric.
Pull the fabric over the edges of the valance and staple it onto the back at 6-inch intervals, smoothing the fabric as you work. Check the front of the valance to ensure no wrinkles exist. The fabric on the front of the valance should look perfectly smooth and taut.
Cut a piece of plain liner fabric that is one inch shorter and one inch narrower than the valance.
Staple the fabric at 6-inch intervals to the back of the valance to cover the raw edges of the batting and upholstered fabric. The back of the valance should appear finished when you view it from the street.
Place the valance with the lined back facing up on the work surface. Press the sticky self-adhesive side of 4-inch strips of Velcro to the top edge of the valance. Space the strips about six inches apart.
Hang a curtain rod that has a 4-inch extension from the wall. Place the rod just below the ceiling. The ends should be be even with the outside edges of the window trim.
Press the sticky self-adhesive side of 4-inch Velcro strips to the curtain rod, spacing them six inches apart. Attach the valance to the curtain rod by matching the Velcro strips and applying firm pressure to them.
Glue braided trim to the bottom edge of the valance for a more finished look.