Recycled Cardboard Window Valance


I thoroughly enjoy finding new uses for things that would normally end up in the trash. This window valance used to be on the windows in my studioffice. I made it using the cardboard from a large appliance box.

Re-cycle, Re-Use, Re-Purpose = Re-Decorate is my house.

When I think of all the decorating projects I have made for my home, this is by far… the thriftiest.  I no longer have it hanging since the room got a makeover. You can see that, here.

This window treatment is inexpensive to make because it only requires the purchase of a 1-2 yards of fabric and quilt batting. 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, then covered with batting and fabric. It  simply stapled onto each side of the window molding. This valance is 8” high.

Easy to make window valance using a cardboard box

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 and Dalmation blinds

This photo is from my book, Instant Decorating.  It is no longer in print, but I like to post a project from here on my blog once in awhile. 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.

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

Just click on the link below.

Step-by-step instructions:  Cardboard Valance


To see another way to make a similar valance using Styrofoam, check out this post: How to Make a Window Valance Using Styrofoam

How to make a window valance using the cardboard from boxes. Budget friendly window treatments for your decor


  1. says

    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.

  2. says

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

  3. patti says

    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

  4. Jenny says

    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?

    • says

      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

    • says

      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.

  5. says

    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!!!!

    • says

      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.

  6. Suze says

    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 …

    • says

      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.

  7. Barb says

    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.

  8. Sally says

    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.

  9. Denise Keesee says

    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

  10. says

    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.

    • says

      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 :)

  11. Dara says

    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!

  12. linda says

    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

  13. Lori says

    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.

    • says

      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.

  14. Margaret Blair says

    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.

  15. Betty H. says

    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.

  16. Tina says

    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?

    • says

      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. :)

  17. JoAnn says

    After you screw the L bracKet to wall attach a piece of Velcro to top of bracket the the other piece to cornice then put cornice on L bracket connecting the two pieces of velcro

  18. says

    I would LOVE to do this but I have a double window and no idea where to get the cardboard…any ideas?
    Please leave reply, if one, on my blog…
    as I may not be this way again. :)

    • says

      Hi Bj- Head to your local appliance store and ask them to save the boxes from big appliances like refrigerator boxes. They are big enough to cut to fit any window to make the valance.

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