Recycled Cardboard Window Valance

by Diane Henkler on 02/01/2010


I thoroughly enjoy finding new uses for things that would normally end up in the trash. The window valance on my studioffice window in the above photo is made from cardboard from a large appliance box.

Re-cycle, Re-Use, Re-Purpose = Re-Decorate is my favorite equation.

When I think of all the decorating projects I have made for my home, this is by far -

the thriftiest.

This window treatment is not only inexpensive because it only requires the purchase of a 1-2 yards of fabric and quilt batting, but it is so easy to make and install, gathering the supplies will probably take longer.

The cardboard is cut to the desired width and scored and folded and covered with batting and fabric. It then is simply stapled onto each side of the window molding.In my studioffice the valance is 8” high.

I added decorative brass tacks to attach the valance instead of staples and used a quilted fabric that adds texture to the monochromatic color scheme of the room.

Cardboard Window Valance

This photo is from my book, Instant Decorating.   The valance is 15” high.  I covered the cardboard in fire-engine-red corduroy.  To hide the staples when the valance was mounted, I painted the top of a row of staples red and let them dry, before loading them into the staple gun.

Cardboard Window Valance and Dalmation blinds

I have attached a pdf. with full instructions for you to download.

Just click on the link below.

Step-by-step instructions:  Cardboard Valance




{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dawnll February 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm

I tried the link for the pdf, it doesn’t work. Would love to have a copy. Thanks for the great pictures and idea.


2 Melissa February 2, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Very cute!


3 Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality February 2, 2010 at 4:56 pm

That’s a cute project, Diane!!


4 Diane at InMyOwnStyle February 2, 2010 at 5:03 pm

I fixed the link, so you can download the instructions now.


5 Condo Blues February 2, 2010 at 5:33 pm

I used cardboard to make the valances in my office and master bedroom. You can’t tell that they are made out of cardboard. Better yet, they hide my not so attractive but functional curtain rods.


6 Tiffany H February 3, 2010 at 12:38 am

Thanks for linking and for sharing my button, I love this! I am sharing with my readers this fantastic idea tomorrow!
Come see! :)


7 Beach Vintage February 3, 2010 at 1:51 am

Wow, I would never have noticed it was cardboard backing. It look amazing. I like the way you think! Thanks for dropping by Beach Vintage.


8 patti February 3, 2010 at 10:05 pm

That is a great use of something that would otherwise be going in the dump. Way to go, recycling.

And you can’t even tell. It was very tastefully done. The tacks were a nice touch too.

thanks for showing it


9 Diana @ The Girl Creative February 4, 2010 at 9:25 pm

So creative. I’m way jealous! :)


10 Jenny July 3, 2010 at 1:32 am

I want to make these but I don’t have framed windows like that and I’m not sure how to attach them. Any ideas?


11 Diane July 3, 2010 at 10:43 am

Hi Jenny-

Thanks for leaving me the nice comment. Yes, there is a way to attach the valance without having trim around your windows.
The first way would be to add 2 angle brackets to each side of the window – they look like the letter “L”. You can buy them at any hardware store for a few dollars.
1. Figure out the height of your valance. Then place the angle irons (open side ot the “L” facing the window) along the edge of the window one on top and the other on the bottom of the height measurement. You can place the bottom one up a bit so that when the valance is hung you won’t see the angle iron.

2. Once these are in place – measure the width of the window from the outer edge of each bracket. That would be your window width now. To attach the valance: angle irons have two holes in them, you can put a flat head screw thru the valance going from the outside in and thru the angle iron. One screw thru each angle iron would do the trick. Secure with a wing nut on the inside of the valance. Paint the screw heads the color of the fabric to hide.

Or, if the valance is not large you can simply hot glue the valance to the angle brackets. Hold in place until the hot glue is cold.

Another way to attach would be to add about 4 inches to your total window width. 2″ for each side. Make the valance in the same way but you will add one more step. Where you normally would just staple the end of the valance to the window trim you will now make another score line two inches from each end. Turn these “Flaps” to the inside of the valance. To attach to the wall – Butt the flap on one side to the edge of the window opening and staple it right to the wall. You will need longer staples. Repeat on the other side -which will be a bit trickier as you will have to get up underneath the valance with your hand and staple gun. You may need an extra set of hands to help you. Just keep in mind to make sure it is level before you staple in onto the wall.

Hope this helps – Good Luck
My best – Diane


12 Maggie M April 20, 2011 at 10:20 pm

OK, this is a fantastic idea!!! I’m gonna try this in our home office…thanks so much for the inspiration!!!


13 Diane April 21, 2011 at 9:10 am

Hi Maggie-

The cardboard valance is one of those projects that is so easy to do and timeless as well. I currently have the one you see in the post andanother in a bathroom. I recently took the wood blinds off the windows in my studioffice and I love the way the valance looks even more against the bare window.


14 Amy @ Positively Splendid April 21, 2011 at 8:25 pm

What a smart, thrifty decorating solution! I’ll be sharing this in my Saturday Seven lineup this weekend!


15 Diane April 22, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Hi Amy-

Thanks so much. It is a very thrifty project, but doesn’t look it at all.


16 L2L April 21, 2011 at 9:05 pm

love this idea, going to download that pdf, this just might be what we need for our livingroom. btw I love the spots on the blinds, too cute!!!!


17 Diane April 22, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Hi L2L-

That photo of the spotted blinds was from my book, Instant Decorating. I needed a boys room and my friend Pam let me decorate her son Jacks room for the book back in 1994. He is graduating from college this May. It is a pretty timeless decorating idea and very easy and inexpensive to execute.


18 Suze April 22, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Alas…I have no window moldings to staple these to…at least not on the windows that I would WANT to make them for…I guess I would have to attach a block of wood on each side of the window …


19 Diane April 23, 2011 at 10:16 am

Hi Suze-

You could attach the valance using metal angle irons that they sell at hardware stores. One on each side. You would screw the angle iron into the wall and hot glue the valance on. I have done this for a client and it works, although I like your idea of using two strips of wood the height of your valance and nailed them to the wall around the window you would have equal success.


20 Barb April 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm

What a wonderful idea..I have been wanting to make something to accent my room and this is just what I’m going to do…This is my first time on your site and am so impressed. Bookmarked for sure.


21 Sally August 19, 2011 at 12:18 am

Hi there,
Just cut the cardboard box my sink arrived in and went to cut, only to find the cardboard with ‘wings’ on end is just the right size!
Off now to get the fabric – yay!
Thanks for great and easy idea.


22 Denise Keesee December 5, 2011 at 2:02 am

Thank you so much for all of your fabulous and inexpensive ideals! I can’t wait to give my house a facelift!

God Bless,

Denise Keesee


23 Kate February 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I really love the brass tacks you added as well. Its amazing to see what can be done with recycled cardboard! :) You are very talented.


24 Betty Tyler March 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I made valance like this out of lots of comments on it, loved it


25 Betty Tyler March 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm

got the styrofoam cheap at hardware store…a sheet for about $5.00 made several from one sheet.


26 Diane March 18, 2012 at 10:55 am

Hi Betty – I am a firm believer of what you can’t see can easily be faked. Kudos on using the foam insulation. Makes the DIY part of decorating much easier :)


27 Dara March 29, 2012 at 8:12 am

Love it, and did it yesterday! My living room looks so much better now. This is an awesome (I repeat with enthusiasm: AWESOME!) solution for horribly-crumbly-repeatedly-patched-absolutely-will-not-allow-another-nail-or-screw-to-be-mounted plaster walls in our rented house. Thanks SO much for the idea!


28 hair feathers April 4, 2012 at 3:00 am

I wish my room is the same as this..


29 beth April 29, 2012 at 7:02 am

looks so chic and so deceptive the way it is made. Glad I got here somehow.


30 linda May 12, 2012 at 11:12 am

hi diane , what fantastic ideas you have amazing, i am not very good at sewing, and you have so many no sew ideas FANTASTIC ,you are also very real, the things you think off are for a beautiful home and not a palace , things the ordinary person can do . keep up the brilliat work. i live in england so i dont know your currancy but it all seems so affordable thank you once again x lin


31 Lori January 1, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Hi, What do you think about using 3m command products for attaching to the wall? I wonder if they work with fabric so that you can press them onto the wall and put the tabs on the inside of the cornice. They would have to be short ones.


32 Diane Henkler January 1, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Hi Lori – They would work fine. Depending on the depth of the molding around your window, you may need to cut the 3M Command Strip vertically to the same width. When I first made this window treatment -it was a project in my book, Instant Decorating back in the early 90′s. 3M Command Strips were not around then :) They are a wonderful invention and good for so many things. It is funny that you brought them up as I will be working with 3M over the next few months creating projects for them. I will be posting one a month. Happy New Year.


33 Margaret Blair July 24, 2013 at 9:04 am

What a great idea ! . I have just discovered your page. For a long time I have been looking for a simple way to attach a pelmet above my curtains to keep out the cold. Thankyou ,you have solved my problem.


34 Margaret Blair July 24, 2013 at 9:05 am

Just realised the email address was wrong in my last reply ,sorry about that !


35 Curran August 8, 2013 at 11:27 pm


And now my sons sleep in it. Built like a rock.


36 Betty H. August 9, 2013 at 3:55 pm

I have 2 sets of triple windows in my sun room that I would love to add valances like this. Any ideas on what to use to span 108 inches? Absolutely love the look.


37 Tina August 26, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Love this idea. I have a couple questions. If I use foam board, can it be bent like the cardboard? Will this work on a double window that is about 70″ wide?


38 missteree March 30, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Not washable??? They get full of dust & dust mites :/


39 Diane Henkler March 30, 2014 at 1:48 pm

If you want to wash the valance, it is quite easy to take it down to clean. It is only up with staples or small nails. Once you clean it, just pop it back up. No harder then removing drapes from a rod, washing them, and having to press them before hanging. :)


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