Covering Window Cornices with Fabric

Fabric covered window cornices add interest to rooms with texture, color, and pattern. Cornices can effectively coordinate window coverings and pull the look of an entire room together. Covering a newly constructed window cornice or an old, outdated set is a simple process that will breathe new life into your home.

Before you begin, inspect the cornices to be sure they are in good repair. Reinforce loose joints as needed. If you will be recovering an old set of window cornices, inspect the existing materials. If they are intact and can be easily stapled through, you may be able to simply cover over the existing fabric, but if doing so will cause puckering and unsightly wrinkles, pull out the old staples and remove the fabric.

If your project begins with a completely uncovered wood surface, begin by cutting a piece of 1/4 inch thick polyester batting the size of the cornice front. If a less padded look is desired, skip this step. Cut a second piece of batting large enough to cover the entire outer cornice surface, adding three additional inches all around.

Then mix white glue with water and paint a thin layer over the front of the box. Alternatively, you may choose to hot-glue the batting in place, but be sure to keep the hot glue thin so as not to leave large balls of glue pushing through and showing on the finished cornice. Press the small piece of batting into place over the glue and let it sit until dry.

Place the batting topped cornice face down on the large piece of batting, centering the box on the section. Wrap batting around to the back of the box. Tack with pins or tacks. Start in the middle of the bottom edge and staple the batting in place using a staple gun.

Next, pull the sides of the batting over and staple them inside the cornice box. Pull the batting over the top. Cut diagonally where the top edge and corners meet, and staple the batting inside. Trim away any excess batting.

Cut a section of fabric to cover the cornice, adding four inches to the entire piece all around. Wrap and staple the fabric as you did for the batting. Work from the center out as you secure the fabric, and be sure to keep lines and patterns smooth and in place. Tuck extra fabric into corners inside the box as you go, rather than cutting a raw edge into the cloth. Fold fabric like an envelope over the top and sides to create a flat finished surface.

You may choose to press under 1/4 inch of the fabric before applying to the cornice so a raw edge is not exposed, if you are concerned that the fabric may fray easily. As an alternative to staples, upholstery tacks can be used to secure the edge of the fabric for a more finished look, although the inside of the cornice will not be seen once the cornice is hung.

With that, your newly covered cornice is complete and ready for hanging. Keep in mind when covering subsequent window cornices that patterns and lines need to run together around the room, so fabric should be placed on each cornice accordingly.