Quick and Easy No Sew Window Valance

Finally after all the hard work I have been doing in my hall bathroom, I have been rewarded – it is all coming together just as I had envisioned.  No snafus or problems.  Yes!  I love it when that happens – which usually is NEVER – as in DIY decorating land there is always a glitch.  I have seen more than my share of them – this room is the exception.

I am so excited to be actually showing you the icing on the cake – no more construction photos. Now I get to show you the fun, pretty, and colorful stuff like the

Easy No Sew Window Valance I made.

 It only took me an hour to make. I have made a few of them in the past, so I can get one completed pretty quickly since I know what I am doing.  I made one of these Polystyrene Valances as a project in my book. This is an updated version.  I didn’t use batting, only a liner fabric to soften the edges of the valance.  It is very lightweight not at all heavy like a wood valance.

Before

I made the green valance you see here from cardboard. 

Girls-Bathroom-Before

After

All updated!!!  I love it.  I showed you how I added the wood panel and molding above the wimpy window in my last post.  It really made a huge difference in how the window looks now.

Easy-No-Sew-Window-Valance

To make the valance I used one Polystyrene Insulation  panel that I got at Lowes. They sell the package of them in the Building Supply area. They are wrapped in clear plastic.   You get 6 – 13” x 48” pieces for about $10.  You can make one for every room, your best friend, your mom… it is so easy to make and install you will be wanting to make them for everybody.

Polystyrene-Panels-to-make-

Materials Needed:

Polystyrene Panel
Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
Straight Pins
T-Square or straight edge (yardstick)
Craft Knife
Decorative Fabric
White Fabric or Quilt Batting
Hammer
 

1.  Determine the height of your valance. Mine is 12” high.  The width is determined by the width of your window (outside molding to outside molding) measurement.  Add 1- 1/2” to that width measurement.   This will be your front piece.  Cut a board to that size using a T-square or straight edge and a craft knife.

Make sure the blade is sharp and use an up and down motion as you cut instead of one long gliding motion. This will help keep the Polystyrene edge sharper and less little pieces of Polystyrene all over the place.

2. You will need three pieces – front and two sides. My side pieces were 2” deep and 12” high.

How-to-cut-Styrofoam-insulaCut-styrofoam-insulation-fo

3.  Attach the side pieces to the back edge along each side of the front piece. Use hot glue. I know hot glue melts the Polystyrene, but only a little and it really doesn’t matter as you are not going to see it.  If you have a cool melt gun then you can use that.

My motto – What you can’t see can easily be faked!

3-sections-of-styrofoam-neeHow-to-construct-an-easy-no

4. For added support – push a few straight pins in the front along the edge that will go through the side pieces. I used 3 – top, middle, and bottom on each side.

How-to-make-a-no-sew-valancNo-Sew-Valance-How-to-Make

5.  Your valance should look like this now.

How-to-make-a-styrofoam-win

6.  Cut your fabric and lining large enough so that you have enough to wrap around to the back of the valance.  Place the decorative fabric right side down and then the lining on top of that.  Then place the valance – front side down onto the fabric. Make sure pattern is straight and then wrap excess fabric to the back of the panel. Pull taut and use straight pins to attach to the valance.  The straight pins need to go in on an angle so they don’t go through the front of the valance.   Work your way around the valance attaching the fabric with pins. Leave the sides alone for now.

Pin-placement

They will look like this when pushed all the way in on an angle.

How-to-attach-fabric-to-win

7.  For the sides and corners –pull the side fabric up and around and attach with pins.

How-to-fold-the-corners-on-

Fold and/or tuck the excess in.

Steps-to-fold-corners-on-no

8.  Tuck the corner fabric in and then fold over the excess and attach with pins. Pretend you are wrapping a gift.  Pull excess fabric to the back to keep the front and edge smooth.

It will end up looking like this.  Re-pin if necessary to keep the fabric taut around the valance.  I found my pretty beaded pins at the dollar store.

How-to-pin-corners-of-no-se

9. If you have a very long window you can brace the back of the valance with another piece of Polystyrene. Use hot glue to attach.  Wait to add this piece after you have the fabric on.  If you put it on before – the side fabric wrapping is harder to do.

Brace-back-of-no-sew-valanc

I use straight, bank, or T pins for so many projects. They are one of the basic items I used when I worked in display and they are my go-to for easy adhering and attaching.  To attach the valance to the window I used the straight pins you see below.

Straight-pins-I-use-when-DI

10. To attach the valance to the wall you will need an extra set of hands.  “Honey, I need you xo” Once you have your helper hands – position the valance where you want it and use a straight pin to attach the valance to the edge of the window molding.  Right into the valance and  side of the window molding.  Repeat on other side.   Bye, honey I don’t need you anymore- xo.”  You can add an extra pin or two to each side to secure.  (No molding around your window?  See instructions at the end of this post.)

How-to-attach-the-now-sew-v

All done!  My valance cost me under $10 as I found the fun fabric for $6 a yard.  I had the lining fabric and the Polystyrene from another project.

No-Sew-Wiindow-Treament-mad

This bathroom makeover all started when I found the brown and white damask print shower curtain at HomeGoods.   I loved it and it was only $14.99 so I went home with it.  It has been sitting in its package for weeks!  I got it out this morning and had to steam it to get all folded wrinkles out.  – Not a glitch , but ironing is not my idea of a good time.

It is going to be my Fall/Winter shower curtain. I also found a White Nautica one when thrifting – I plan to use that one in Summer/Spring.  I know it is summer now, but I was too excited to see how the brown damask one was going to look that I had to put it up early.

How-to-make-a-no-sew-window treatment

Here is the name of the fabric I used for the valance.

Waverly-Fabric-Sweet-Spot-f

How to Mount the Valance when you don’t have molding around your Window

You will need a 2 – inch  “L” bracket, 2 screws, and 2 brass fasteners for each side.  Note when figuring out the measurement for how wide your valance should be.  Add 4″ inches to the total measurement 2″ inches for each L bracket. you should mount them on the wall first and then figure out the width the valance should be.

Figure out where on the wall your valance is going to go.  Place the L bracket where the center of the valance will be.  Screw the L bracket into the wall as shown below with 2 screws.  Once the L bracket is in place hold up the valance against it and push a brass fastener through the holes and then spread them open. Repeat on the other side.  You can paint the heads of the brass fasteners the color of your fabric to hide them.

Note: This photo shows the L bracket  at the bottom of the valance but that is just to show you how to mount it.  It should be centered in the valance.

How to make a no sew window valance using foam insulation

If you would like to know how to:

Make a No-sew window valance using cardboard – click – here.

Make a wimpy window look bigger –click – here.

I have lots more to show you – accessories, floor, and a few more details.  So much to do – so little time.  :)

I am working on the floor – it is coming out better than I expected. I will post about that next time.

 

Comments

  1. says

    absolutely brilliant!!!
    love this – thanks so much for sharing online.
    (love your blog and all your hints as well!)
    cheryl xox.

    • says

      Hi Cheryl-
      Thanks so much. I love easy, quick, and inexpensive decorating ideas and projects. Why spend tons of time and money on some things when you can make them yourself at a fraction of the cost. I was the kid who always picked up things in stores and would say – “that is so easy to make” and then I would go home and try. I enjoy the challenge of asking “What If ?”

    • says

      Hi Colleen-

      Thanks – The found the fabric at my fav dollar a yard fabric store .I only bought one yard – wish I had gotten more. I have a scrap leftover and will probably end up using it for some detail in the room.

  2. says

    Diane…..I am all for the no sew projects! I too made a beautiful cornice board for my dining room but used pink core insulation board from Home Depot ($8). It worked perfectly and looks just gorgeous!

    • says

      Hi Susan -
      Thanks for sharing. any of the foam insulation boards will work. It is all basically the same stuff . A plus for the pink or blue foam boards is less pebbleing and little pieces of foam getting everywhere. A plus for the white foam boards is they are white and are better to use if you have a light colored fabric.

  3. says

    I love your new cornice board..looks really nice.
    I am thinking now about doing one for MY bath. :))
    I was trying to see if, with all your remodeling, you kept that amazing floor…?
    xo bj

    • says

      Hi Bj – Thanks – The floor is in great shape, but those little squares are green and don’t go with the new colors. I am working on a fix and will post it in my next post.

  4. says

    I love these no-sew projects! This is great! Have you ever made one with trim on the bottom (ex: pompoms or tassels or whatever)?

    • says

      Hi Vicki-

      No, I haven’t made one with trim, but the one in my book I wrapped with fabric and then put a coordinating wall paper on the center of the valance. (Borders were very popular in the early 90′s) If you want to add trim, I would use hot glue to attach it to the valance.

    • says

      Hi Heather-

      Great question. It can be done. I just added the directions at the end of the post on how to attach the valance to a window with no molding. If you need any clarification, just leave me a comment.

  5. says

    You have done such a great job in this bathroom. What a huge difference. I especially loved how you extended the window with molding. I even loved it just like that! But the fabric is cute and a nice bit of color. Can’t wait to see what you do with the floor!

  6. says

    This post comes along at a great time for me; I’ve been thinking lately about doing something, *anything,* to improve the window treatments in my house. By the way, where’d you find the brown-and-white damask? Is it a Waverly fabric just like that on the valance? Is it machine washable? Inquiring minds want to know. :-)

    • says

      Hi Miss Kitty-

      The brown damask fabric is a shower curtain I found at HomeGoods. It was made by a company called Splash-ol-ogy. It was a great deal at $14.99.

  7. says

    This is an answer to prayer!!!!!
    My livingroom window has been “bald” for 6 months.
    This will be the remedy.
    Again, that you for your design solutions, for my dilemmas.

  8. says

    I just came over from the stories of a to z and wanted to say thanks for sharing! No sew is perfect for me and this is adorable!

    darlingdoodles.blogspot.com

  9. says

    Oh my goodness! That’s brillant!!!

    ps…I just noticed I never added you to my blog roll:(
    You’re on there now!!!!

    and you asked about my camera….I just got a fancy one that i’ve just started practicing with! A Nikon D90….I have a lot to learn but I figured I could just grow with it as I learn:):)

    • says

      Hi Heather -
      Thanks for the blogroll listing. I would love a D90. The price is going down too, maybe soon. The Pioneer Woman was giving one away yesterday – I always enter when she has camera giveaways, but I will never win something that great.. It is fun to wish though. I can tell you had a new camera as your photos look so sharp.

    • says

      Hi Michael -

      I wish I could twinkle my nose and appear – that would be so much fun to be able to connect with you and other readers right in their own homes.

  10. says

    Hi Diane, I featured your bathroom make over on my blog today! I love it- you did such a beautiful job! And with a husband who’s getting ready to start law school and a budget that is tightening like crazy, it’s so inspiring to me to see projects like yours that are done so well and so affordably. It gives me hope that I can always have a pretty house no matter what our financial situation is. thanks for inspiring!

    http://inside-outdesign.blogspot.com/2011/08/before-after-thursday_11.html

  11. says

    This is a great idea! I am totally going to use this in our new house- we need window treatments everywhere. Thanks for the great idea!

  12. Aspiring DIYer says

    This is a great tutorial and I just finished my first “sewing” attempt! :) It went perfectly. Thanks for your help!

  13. says

    This is most awesome. I found this via Pinterest. My conundrum is a triple set of windows that need… something. Desperately. I can’t do this all the way across, can i? Do you have a recommendation?

  14. Allison says

    Hi Diane!

    Thanks so much for such a brilliant idea! I am currently in the process of making this across a triple set of windows in our new nursery. I have a quick question regarding hanging when you don’t have moulding around your window. Now that I’ve already covered it with my batting and fabric, what is the best way to get those brass fasteners into the side of the window treatment without ruining it? Or did I do this all wrong? Help!!

    Thanks Again,
    Allison

  15. carol says

    I want to do this in my bonus room where there are 3 dormer windows. The molding butts right up into the wall on each side so I can’t attach it to the side. What can you suggest? Thanks!!

    • says

      Hi Carol –
      Is there anything at the top of each window?
      I am thinking you could skip the side pieces of foam and just have a piece of “front” foam cut to fit snuggly in between the two walls on either side of the dormer window. You could add a foam piece to the top of the front foam board and use that to attach the valance to the wall above the window. Does that make sense? The foam pieces would be joined in a “L” shape. The long part of the “L” would be the front of the valance – the short side of the “L” would be the top that could be attached by stapling on the top of the window molding or if you want to place the valance higher on each window – use angle brackets to attach the valance to the wall above the window. The sides of the valance would be just butted against the wall.

  16. carol says

    Thank you so much for your reply. I followed your directions and it worked!! I am not the least bit “crafty” and so I am amazed that I actually made 3 of these! Because I already had a rod above the window I just propped them up on them. Thanks so much for such great instructions and idea!!!

  17. Armida says

    I have a window that is 89 inches wide. Do you think the Polysterene board method will be supportive enough. The fabric I intend to use is cotton.
    Thanks
    I love your idea.

    • says

      Hi Armida –
      When my book Instant Decorating came out back in the mid 90′s I made two long ones for a client -Over a bank of windows and sliding doors. It worked fine, but you need to add a top to the valance. The top is just a piece of foam that will lay right over the front and side pieces after they are constructed. Use the pins and glue to attach it to the top edges of the valance.

      To create a long valance you will need to butt two or more pieces of Polystrene together so they are flush. To hold them together I used 2″ wide pieces of cut foam and glued them to the back across the seams. (Where the two pieces of board meet is what I call a seam) and let them dry before moving them. It is always better for support to have two seams instead of one in the center. I used one piece of foam for the center and added two other pieces to each side.

      Attach it to the wall the same way as I describe in the post, but add two or three angle irons across the top wall to place the valance top on. Use the pins and glue to attach the top to the angle irons. This will give it the support it needs. You can also attach the top across the top of the window molding, but this may not offer enough support if it is a deep valance. It will also place the valance lower on the window.

  18. says

    I am in the process of making 2 of these right now, but I have a question- your side pieces were 2″ x 12″? That seems so small and in the photos, they look wider than 2″, even just compared to the markings on the cutting mat. Maybe my eyes are playing tricks on me, but I thought I would ask to double check!

    • says

      HI Laura – I just went up to the room to measure to make sure – yes the sides pieces are 2″ in depth. You can make them deeper if needed and the front board will add about an inch to the final depth of the valance when it is put together. An example – If you were going to place the valance over a rod with curtains on a window – you would need to make the valance sides much deeper to accommodate the depth of the curtains. There is nothing on the window I made my valance for so the side depth needed was minimal. The side section measurement can be whatever you need it to be. It will not change how the valance is mounted at all – It will just bring the front section of the valance further from the window. I have made them up to 5″ deep.

  19. Jennifer S says

    I’m just starting to redecorate my living room (really, decorate it for the first time) within a VERY small budget, and I am SO excited to try this out! Thanks for sharing :)

  20. Allison says

    Hi Diane,
    Just wanted to check back in and let everyone know that this is the best and easiest idea ever! I made one for my son’s nursery, and then after that my bedroom, and then the kitchen! It is so easy and looks so professional if you use the right fabric! Everyone who comes over comments on how nice my window treatments are. Thank you SO much for such a brilliant and afforable idea!
    PS – I’ve discovered that if you hot glue a strong piece of cardboard to the back edges of the fabric where it would meet the wall you can use strong command strips or something of that nature to hang them! :)

  21. Jennifer says

    Hi Diane,

    LOVE your blog!!! I was wondering about the measurements for the no molding option … would I add the 1 1/2″ as mentioned in the original instructions, as well as 4″ to make room for the L-brackets? It would seem to make the most sense, but I want to make sure before I start cutting! Thanks!

  22. Nadia says

    I was saving to get a valance professional done. They can be so expensive. I am sooooooo excited about this project. It will be completed this month for sure. I will send pictures.

  23. Lara says

    Hi Diane.

    I’m inspired to do this for my living room! My question is the same as Allison’s above. Once the valance is already covered with batting and fabric, what is the best way to get those brass fasteners into the side of the window treatment without ruining it? Thanks!

    • says

      HI Lara -

      The best way is to use an awl or something pointy to make a small hole in the fabric where the brass fastener is going to go. Once that is made the fastener will go right through the foam easily. It is getting the tips through the fabric that is hard.

  24. Stacy says

    Diane- you’re my hero! This is a fabulous idea and perfect for my daughters room which I am in the process of re-decorating! I’ll try to post a pic when I’m finished…..yay!!

  25. Lauren says

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I created one yesterday for the nursery for our son, who will be born in July, and it turned out wonderfully! I used duct tape to reinforce the joints, and attached it to the wall with two small nails. Thank you again!

  26. Sarah says

    I am so glad that I found your page! I was recently laid off, and now am starting to pay attention to the little projects in my home, trying to become a DIY’er! This is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks so much cant wait to try it.

  27. Stacey G says

    What size are the brass fasteners that you used? And where did you get them? I have searched all over and the biggest ones that I have found are 1/2″ and these aren’t long enough. Please help!! :) Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Stacey – I used 2″ long brass fasteners. I got them at either Staples or Office Max. If you don’t have an office supply store in your area, you can order them online at staples.com They have up to 3″ long ones.

  28. Nina says

    Love your blog!! I’m so thankful I stumbled across it today. You inspired me to go ahead and try making this box valance. It was so easy!! Well, I’m not exactly done, still have to put the fabric on. Thanks for the inspiration.

  29. Elizabeth says

    Hi Diane,
    Thank you so much for your wondeful blog. It’s the best DIY home decor blog in my opinion. I’ve learned tons from you. Finally found some affordable fabric and I’m ready to make my two valances. Both will be 17″ long by 124″ wide. Huge! I read your response to Armida above and wondered if I might be able to get away without a top to my valance by doing the following: using 1 inch thick foam, using two L brackets at each end piece, and adding two more vertical support pieces with brackets near where the foam “seams” will be. I wouldn’t have thought of having two seams instead of one so thank you for that.
    In appreciation,
    Elizabeth

    • says

      Hi Elizabeth – I have hung the valances I have made in many different ways with and without tops depending on size and wall space. I think oyur way will work fine. Adding the vertical supports will help the valance stay rigid and you can get away without a top.

  30. Melanie says

    Brilliant!!!!
    I made these for my kitchen and bathroom and now my friends are all making me do them in their houses! So easy and look really expensive!!! I bought curtains at home goods for $30 and hung the panels flanking my sliding doors and then used the other panels for 3 of these valances….I had leftover to cover a bench cushion and a cork board in the same fabric in my kitchen….love it! thanks!!!

  31. lisa eifolla says

    Hi Diane,

    My window is 62 wide so how would I piece together for the valance? I love your idea and want to try it myself. I am going to the store today to get the materials needed. Thank you!!

  32. lisa eifolla says

    Diane,

    I read your response to Armida. The supports will not be covered with fabric then, is that correct? Also, when the supports over the seams are attached, the valance will just “rest” on the angle irons that are mounted at the top? Do I have that correct? My hubby will have a fit when asked to add 2 to 3 angle irons at the top besides the side ones. He hates making holes in newly painted walls. Ugh! But I am thrilled to have found the perfect decor for my windows. Thanks so much Diane!!!!!!

  33. suzie says

    Great idea!!

    Just wondering……if my window is 52inches…will I need to install support brackets? I will be using cotton Mat’l.

    • says

      Hi Suzie – You may, but probably not. The foam boards are 48″ and still rigid at that length. You only have to add a few inches to it and it should not need the extra support. As long as you glue a piece of cut foam board behind the seam where the two piece join, it should be OK. If you were adding more than 4 – 5 inches, then I would suggest you add an extra support.

  34. Holly says

    I found your site and was so happy. I am a sewer but my machine is broken so this was so so easy for me to make. I did add a bit of beaded trim along the bottom of the valance with a hot glue gun. Looks great and gave it a little sparkle. No more sewing for me anymore, this is easier, quicker and looks just as nice.

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  37. Ashley Korn says

    I love you!!! I’ve just made the most beautiful valenances… Thanks to you!! I would of spent five times as much having someone. Make them for me. I can’t thank you enough

  38. Jami Smith says

    What a great idea. My living room window consists of three-36″ windows that abut. Could I make a valence as wide as that? I guess I would need to find a way to secure the valence a few times. Any ideas for doing this?

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