How to Make an Instant No Sew Window Treatment

by Diane Henkler on 10/10/2011

Once upon a time… after I graduated from college and before I was married is when I started working in retail display. It was in my first few years of  working in the field that I learned  the many tricks and tips on how to fake out decorating treatments.  This was back in the day when sheets began to come in lots of colorful patterns instead of solid colors and were perfect to use just like decorator fabrics.

One of my weekly duties was to make room vignettes in the home department to showcase the linens.  I used sheets and safety pins to create the no sew window treatments for these display rooms.  I constantly was asked by customers how I made the treatments and would literally write the direction on their shopping bags so they could do it themselves in their homes.    Fast forward to today and the method I used all those years ago to make these treatments can still be used to create fast and fun window treatments in your home.  I recently did just that to create new affordable valances in my bedroom.


I removed my summer tablecloth valance that used to cover up the conventional rod and the tabs on the curtain panels that I bought at Target. I needed to come up with something pretty, yet simple that would cover the rod and tabs again.



I made this no-sew valance that only requires a small amount of fabric yardage which keeps it just my style – very affordable.


All I needed to create it was a rectangular piece of fabric that is 1 3/4″ the width of my window, 2 large safety pins, 2 medium safety pins, a straight pin,  and two vintage clip-on earrings. No sewing required. My valance measures 65″ x 22″.  This might be a better way to figure out how much fabric you will need. Width of window + projection of rod x   2 + depth you desire = width of fabric needed. Example of my measurements: 37 + 6 + 22 = 65″ width.


You can use any rectangular piece of fabric to create this valance –with unfinished edges,  unlined, or lined.  You are the designer.


To create a no sew lined panel or valance:

Cut the fabric and lining to the same size.  Press all edges over 1-inch.  Use fabric glue or iron on-adhesive to attach the two pieces.



To hang the no-sew valance:

1.  Find the center along top edge of fabric and pin it over the center part of the rod.  (This pin will be removed later)



2. Spread the fabric to each side and use a safety pin to attach each end of the valance to the last tab or section of the curtain panel that is closest to the wall.


3. Once it is pinned on, let the fabric hang from the rod making sure it is centered.


4.  With your hands gather the fabric on each side and use the medium size safety pin to secure.



5. Open a clip-on earring and slide the clip through the safety pin.



6. Snap it shut and you have an instant decorative way to hide the pin.  Repeat on other side of valance.


7. Remove the straight pin on the center front.



Depending on your window and size of your fabric you can create many different looks by the way you drape and gather the fabric on the rod.



How-to-make-a-curtain-rod-fHere is the same rectangular shape of fabric where the length is 2 1/2 times the width of the window which allows for more draping. This was one of the projects in my book, Instant Decorating. It was the window treatment I made for my daughter’s room.  Instead of using safety pins to gather the fabric, I painted clothespins to match the fabric and clipped them on the rod. The fabric valance is simply gathered behind each clothespin to hold in in place. The clothespins have matching fabric bows hot glued on. At the end of the rod on each side is where I pinned the valance to the curtain panel underneath.



A little peek…

For those of you who have asked me what I keep in all the little drawers in my craft armoire – here is what is in a few. Lots of vintage clip-on earrings and buttons.  I love and collect them.  I use them in many different ways, but never on my ears.



Related Posts

 How to Make a No Sew Drapery Panel

 How to Make an Easy No Sew Autumn Window Treatment

How to Make a Window Treatment Using a Tablecloth





{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Beverly @ The Buzz October 10, 2011 at 9:37 pm

I did something like this in my kitchen using lace tablecloths. Easy and stylish. I don’t have nearly the number of earrings you do, but love to collect them as well. At Christmas, I use them to bling up the wreath and garland on my mantle.


2 Diane October 10, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Hi Beverly -
I love using them to bling up just about everything – they add the perfect finishing touch. I bet they look very pretty on your Chirstmas greenery.


3 Mel October 10, 2011 at 9:53 pm

The ol’ pin and tuck method :) It looks so pretty and the earrings are the perfect finishing touch.

What a fabulous earring/button collection you have!


4 Diane October 10, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Thanks Mel-
I admit – I am a vintage earring junkie. I can’t pass them up when I see them for sale at flea markets and thrift shops.


5 Linsey @ The Famrhouse porch October 10, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Love,Love,LOVE. I’m a no-sew girl all the way…this is for me and just what I need in my new house right now. Gonna try this above the master bath jetted tub! I’ll post pics when I do. THANKS so much!


6 Diane October 10, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Hi Linsey-
It is so easy and fun to make as you can customize it in so many different ways. Looking forward to seeing your pictures.


7 Vanessa October 10, 2011 at 10:29 pm


I LOVE your vintage jewelry’s. Just lovely. I especially love your new valances.



8 NanaDiana October 10, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Great idea. I am a pinner from way back too! I can remember the first set of “drapes” I made out of floral sheets-a Laura Ashley set that I found on clearance. Love the idea of the clip on earrings though- I always hid my pins behind and fussed to get them to not show. xo Diana


9 Athena at Minerva's Garden October 10, 2011 at 11:52 pm

This is so pretty, and I love the use of the earrings–I’m going to have to try this in our bathroom!


10 Lesley October 11, 2011 at 8:11 am

I am pinning this tutorial!! I am sure it will be re-pinned. Super duper idea! Thanks so much for sharing this! I have a ton of vintage clip on too, btw! lol


11 Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions October 11, 2011 at 8:19 am

Such a great idea, Diane! I love how the earrings you chose work so well with that fabric. Love your stash, too. Whenever I made a trip to Goodwill I would look for some earrings or brooches; just to use as embellishments on projects. I’ll have to start doing that again.


12 Sue October 11, 2011 at 8:29 am

Thank you so much for posting these ideas!! I have 3 teenagers who want their rooms changed at least twice a year. This is going to save me tons of headaches and some cash! Love your collection of clip ons and buttons. I miss going to antique stores, flea markets and garage sales; i used to get tons of ideas and items for projects. Thanks again for sparking memories and imaginations.


13 Coastal femme October 11, 2011 at 9:03 am


These are great- so easy and yet such an impact!


14 Sheryll & Critters. October 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

This is so perfect. I love these tips/wonderful ideas/instructions. You are the most clever woman I know (internet wise). Actually, I take that back, I think you are the very mostest, cleverest of all I know anytime, how or where.

Sunshine added the mostest….. grin…. my little darling fur baby (one of them anyway).

Sheryll & Critters.
Galahad, Sunshine, Shadow, Sugar, Sapphire, Sadie Lady, Siara & Shaymus!


15 Andrea @Oasis Accents October 11, 2011 at 10:47 am

Hi Diane! Always love to see what you are up to. No-sew and simple, love it! And the earring collection is gorgeous. =)


16 Britt October 11, 2011 at 12:19 pm

What a cool use of beads and safty pins! Always something crafty, creative and lovely with you! :)


17 Jenna, SAS Interiors October 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Beautiful valance and I love that you don’t need to drag out the sewing machine. I am also IN LOVE with your pins and earrings – what an amazing collection!!

xo Jenna


18 Theresa October 11, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I love the fabric that you picked! I love the simple projects that give areas that pop of color. Theresa


19 Rita October 11, 2011 at 11:30 pm

I love this idea. It’s a great way to use some of my vintage clip on earrings too.


20 Kim October 12, 2011 at 8:30 am

Great window treatment, Diane. Love the fabric. Please add my link please. Thanks


21 Kim {ShopKim on Etsy} October 12, 2011 at 10:00 am

They look great!! I’m going to have to keep this in mind for my room.

And can I just say that I am completely coveting your collection of buttons and earrings. I would stare at it all day!


22 Kirkland's Home Decor Accessories October 12, 2011 at 11:41 am

Easy enough! Just the perfect amount of color, I love it!


23 Mary October 12, 2011 at 11:55 am

Love this idea! However, I’m a bit confused on the measurements.
You say that the width of the valence needs to be twice the width of the window. So, am I correct in saying that if my window is 50″ wide, that I’d need the fabric to be 100″ wide? It seems to me that that would give me a gathered look, but I don’t see that in the photos. Instead I see the fabric laying flat against the window (no gathering). So, I’m feeling confused here.
Thanks so much. I admire your creativity and appreciate your willingness to share it with the rest of us.


24 Diane October 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Hi Mary-

Sorry if I confused you. The actual width of my fabric is just a bit short of 2 times the width of my window. My window is 37″ wide. My valance measures 65″ x 22″. 1 3/4 times the width of your window would be sufficient. The reason you need to have the fabric wider than your window is so that when the fabric is gathered along the bottom edge and pinned you will still have fabric framing the sides of the window. If you only use the width of your window and gather the bottom and pin, the outer edges of the fabric that frames the window on either side will be pulled in. Which is ok, but would give your valance a different look. It would look like triangles or pointed ends on either side. You also have to add in the fact that the rod projects from the wall a few inches. I pinned the fabric to the last drapery panel tab. Doing this wraps the top of the valance around the rod and the excess fabric on either side drapes down nicely. My rod projects 3 inches from the wall. This adds 6 more inches to the width of my window.

This might be a better way to figure out how much fabric you will need. Width of window + projection of rod x 2 + depth you desire = width of fabric needed. Example of my measurements: 37 + 6 + 22 = 65″ width. So if you have a 50″ wide window + 6″ projection + 22 = 78″ width of fabric needed.

The nice thing about creating this valance is that you can create a few different looks just by the size of your fabric. The one with the clothespins is a much wider piece.
I hope this helps.


25 Mary October 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Thanks so much for clarifying. That helps immensely!


26 Kahli October 12, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Very cute idea and such lovely fabric!


27 RStephensArt October 13, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Wow, that looks great. It’s very creative, I would never have thought of that. I have been trying to come up with something but now I know how to fix up my windows! Thanks for sharing this.


28 Holly L October 14, 2011 at 2:00 am

This is gorgeous…especially since I am window treatment challenged!


29 abeachcottage October 14, 2011 at 9:57 am

This is a great solution for many window dilemmas! Thanks so much for sharing it at Beach Cottage Good Life Wednesdays.


30 Lisa October 14, 2011 at 12:47 pm

This looks so perfectly done and I love the repurposing of the earrings. The fabric is so pretty. Thank you for sharing!


31 Rosemary October 14, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Nice tutorial. I really like the jewel touch. No sew works for me.


32 Farmer's Wyfe October 15, 2011 at 2:59 am

Well, now, that’s super helpful!! Thankyou!!! And your earring collection is soooo making me envious!! WOW!!


33 Diane @ home sweet homemade October 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm

fabulous idea and the results are perfectly lovely! especially the sparkly touch in the corners with the costume jewelry. love your style!


34 Maryann @ Domestically Speaking October 15, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Love the window treatment & your great directions.


35 Heather October 17, 2011 at 10:11 am

What a wonderful idea! And so simple! (One of those ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ moments ;)

Thanks for sharing.


36 Katharine October 17, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I went to FIDM in Los Angeles and my funnest class was the Visual Merchandising class. I love all your clips and buttons. What a treasure! Thanks for the tutorial. Now if I can figure out how to use iron adhesive (I always mess up) I’d be doing good. I guess I could just sew it. lol


37 {oc cottage} October 19, 2011 at 11:21 pm

How very, very cool!

m ^..^


38 Erin Spain February 4, 2012 at 10:41 am

Love these! Just wanted to let you know I featured these on my blog today, in an article about the many different types and techniques of “no-sew” window treatments.



39 Julie April 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm

You’re so good! Thanks for all your fabulous ideas!


40 Diane April 11, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Thanks Julie – I love affordable and easy to do DIY. It is my passion :)


41 Rachelle August 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I love this idea! I’d like to do this in my kitchen bay windows. I don’t have a curtain panel to pin the fabric to a tab. I just want to add a valance. Any ideas on how to make it stay without a tab on a curtain panel?


42 Diane August 13, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Hi Rachelle – You could just pin the valance to itself. Take the top edge on one side near the end of the fabric and wrap it around the rod and pin to the back of the valance fabric that is falling to the front of the rod. Repeat on the other side. You may have to play with it a little to get it to hang right. I did this in my very first house using a cafe style rod that sits in two brackets. I didn’t even use a pin for that – I just wrapped the top edge of the valance around the rod and then squeezed the wrapped section of the rod right into the bracket. Do the same on the other side. Since it was snug it stayed in place – the end of the valance hung down from each bracket. You might want to use some string to determine how long your valance should be. Drape the string over the brackets and rod as you would want the fabric to lay. This will give you a good idea on how how much fabric you will need.


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