How to Make a Valance Board

Traditionally, valances were soft fabric treatments used over the top of a window and hung on curtain rods that projected out over drapes or shades.

Plan, Gather Supplies, Measure, Assemble and Install Dramatic Window Coverings

Make a Valance BoardMake a Valance Board
This article demonstrates a way to affix and mount your soft fabric topper creation---whether it's scalloped, puffed or pleated---to a firm board, which is then mounted above the window and held out from the wall with the aid of L-brackets. This is called an "outside mount.
illustration Castec Inc.

Begin your measurements by finding the width of the top window frame. The box-type board that you are creating must be at least 2 inches wider on each side of the frame. Then L-brackets, (also referred to as "angle irons") will be mounted above the window molding to support the mounting board and the valance treatment, which will be stapled to the board. In addition, if there are drapery treatments below, the mounting box must project out far enough from the wall so that the curtains below can move with ease. So start with a depth away from the wall at approximately 4 inches or even as far out as 6 inches for very full or multiple drapes. You can make a cardboard template first if you are unsure of the exact dimensions. Next, measure the length of your ready-made valance treatment with a tape measure. If it has a drop of 10 inches, for example, the side boards for the mount need to be at least two inches less in length. So, in essence, you have the width: larger than the window frame on top; you have the depth: at least 4 inches out, far enough for the curtains to clear; and you have the length of the mounting board---long enough to support the fabric but still short enough that it won't be seen.

After purchasing supplies, you are ready to make the board frame cuts. Similar to a padded cornice board construction, you will be building a U-shaped frame and fitting the mounting board onto the frame. With a circular saw cut the 1-by-4-inch wood to the width measurement you've taken as in Step 1. Cut two pieces from the same board that will be the sides (or legs) of the U-shaped frame. Remember, make sure that they are a couple inches shorter than the valance length so they will not be seen. Cut a piece of luan the same width as the board and the same length as the legs.

You will attach the top board to the sides using 2d-nails and a hammer. Glue the pieces first to help with the hold, and then assemble and hammer together. Wait for the glue to dry and attach the lighter-weight front luan piece with glue and finishing nails. With this last piece attached, the three-sided frame should be secure.

It is optional now to apply batting to your frame. If you have a pleated valance, it might be preferable to not choose batting, as the drape will fall straight down without it. For a simple triangle style, the batting might add texture and depth. It's your choice. Now, technically, you are going to upholster the frame with your valance. The top edge of your valance can be wrapped over the top frame piece and stapled, and you can wrap the sides with extra fabric. Staple every 3 inches or so, coaxing the fabric to lay straight and smooth. With a pleated valance you can actually staple your fabric right to the front mounting board because when the pleats close, the staples will not be seen.

Affix the two L-brackets to the wall above the window frame, making sure they are level. On a 30-inch wide window, for example, you might have one bracket 4 inches from each edge of the frame. Attach the L-brackets now above the window by one of two methods: finding a stud and, after making a small pilot hole, drilling in screws, or, for a wall mount with no stud, securing the brackets with either a hollow wall anchor or molly bolts.

illustration Castec Inc.

Place the valance board over the L-brackets and attach underneath the boxed frame with screws. You may also need a helping hand to hold up the other side while working.

Things You Will Need

  • Pencil Tape measure Level Ladder Power drill Drill bits Phillips head screwdriver 1-by-4-inch board, either fir, pine or plywood Luan plywood for mounting board surface, 3/4-inch is fine Circular saw Wood glue Hammer 2d Nails Stud finder 2 L-brackets (typical size is 2 inches or larger) Hex screws for L-brackets (match size at store) Optional: hollow wall anchor or molly bolt Heavy-duty staple gun 3/8-inch staples Finished valance treatment with extra length and width for attaching to the frame Optional: Batting and Velcro

Tip

  • If you are worried about the staples being seen anywhere on the mounting board you can use a glue gun to place trims or braid over those areas. • The option to apply Velcro to the mounting board and then the sister tape to the actual valance will make it easier to remove the top treatment for cleaning. If it is fixed, it needs to be vacuumed regularly, and the surface can be lightly dusted. • This entire box can be installed inside the window for an "inside mount"---the depth of the box will be the depth of the window (no drapes would work with this method). • For a more dramatic traditional look, staple a draped swag in the middle, and add jabots to the sides.

About the Author

Andrea Campbell is the author of 12 nonfiction books on a variety of topics. She is also an e-instructor, editor and columnist who has been writing professionally since 1991. Campbell, the daughter of a builder, writes frequently about home improvement. She uses her degree in criminal justice to write about forensic science and criminal law.