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Recycled Cardboard Window Cornice Valance

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Updated: 8/17/2019 – How to make a window cornice using cardboard instead of wood. It is a very easy home decorating window treatment to make that requires no power tools. It can be made in under an hour and will last for years!


I thoroughly enjoy finding new uses for things that would normally end up in the trash.

Re-cycle, Re-Use, Re-Purpose is how is a very budget friendly way to decorate a home.

When I think of all the window treatments I have made for my home, this is by far… the thriftiest.

How to Make a Window Cornice Using Cardboard

This window cornice or valance uses cardboard from large appliance boxes that is cut to size, scored and folded and then covered with fabric and then stapled to the window molding. It will not work on a window that does not have wood molding or trim around it.

The cardboard cornice is lightweight and a very inexpensive way of adding color to a window when you don’t want a cleaner more minimal look.

Making the cornice is inexpensive 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.

Easy to make window valance using a cardboard box.

My cornice in this photo is 8” high.

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

DIY Red corduroy cardboard window cornice with Dalmatian blinds.

This photo is from my book, Instant Decorating.  It is no longer in print, but I like to post a project from the book on my blog once in awhile. I made this cornice 15” high.

I covered the cardboard in fire-engine-red corduroy.  To hide the staples when the cornice was mounted, I painted the top of a row of staples red and let them dry, before loading them into the staple gun.

To learn how I added the Dalmatian spots to the mini blinds head over to this post: How to Make Dalmatian Spotted Window Blinds for Kid’s rooms.

Step-by-step Instructions:  Cardboard Cornice Valance

supplies needed:

  • Fabric
  • Cardboard from large appliance boxes or foam board bought at a craft or art supply store
  • Utility knife
  • Yardstick or T-square
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Wide Masking Tape or duct tape
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Optional:  Paint to paint staples same color as fabric, decorative tacks instead of staples, and fabric batting if you want a padded look for your cornice.

Time needed: 45 minutes.

How to Make a Window Cornice Using Cardboard
Instructions are for a single window cornice.

  1. Determine Fabric Yardage

    Measure window width from outside edge of trim to outside edge of trim. Measure depth of projection from wall and multiply by 2; add to window width measurement and use this width for cornice.  Use 15 inches for height or whatever you would like the height of your cornice to be. Add 4 inches to both width and height measurements so you will be able to wrap fabric around the back of the cornice. ( If there are blinds or curtains, allow enough projection or clearance from wall to clear the existing rod, hardware, or curtains; 4 to 5 inches is usually sufficient).

  2. Cut Cardboard

    Cut cardboard with utility knife using these measurements.

  3. Score Cardboard

    With yardstick or t-square, mark the projection measurement on the back of the cardboard cornice on each side. Draw a line from the top to the bottom with pencil. Using the point of a closed pair of scissors, score lines using edge of yardstick as a straight edge guide.  Bend cardboard back at each scored line.

  4. Cover with Fabric

    Lay fabric right side down. Center cardboard scored side up on fabric. Raw edges of fabric will be covered with masking or duct tape. Wrap the fabric taut around top and bottom. Use masking tape to secure fabric to cardboard. Fold side sections over, making sure fabric on front and side sections are smooth.

  5. Attach to Window

    Paint a row of staples the color of your fabric and let dry. Nail polish will work also. :-) Load staple gun with staples. Hold covered cornice up to window with one edge against outer edge of window molding. Put two staples into cardboard and molding, one at the top and one at the bottom. Repeat on other side, making sure cornice is level and straight across window.

To see another way to make a similar cornice or rigid valance using Styrofoam instead of cardboard, check out this post: How to Make a Window Valance Using Styrofoam

Window cornices made using cardboard and fabric. Budget home decor.

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  1. 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.