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How-To Make a Fabric Valance

This post is a tutorial on the box pleat valance that I made for my master bathroom makeover three years ago.  I’ve received many emails asking about a tutorial and after the recent post on the roundup of all my handmade window treatments + the feature of the bathroom in the current KBMO, a dedicated post was needed.  Better later than never, right?

So here we go.  The details on how I made this super easy loose-style (no pleats) box valance with a stylish greek key design…

Box Pleat Valance with Greek Key Design {Tutorial}

>>> how-to make a box (loose, no pleat) valance

Note: for this part of the tutorial, I am sharing another valance I made using a printed flower fabric

1. For a loose box-style valance, I often like to have them sit as close to the ceiling as possible and position them about 1/2″ wider than the edge of the moulding.  It’s best to mount the rod first (before making the valance) so you can measure the total width of the rod from end to end.

2. Once you know the total width, cut your fabric to that same size + add 1″. Then measure the length you want the valance to hang + add 4″.

Box Pleat Valance with Greek Key Design {Tutorial}

Box Pleat Valance with Greek Key Design {Tutorial}

So you have your fabric cut…

3. Position the fabric so right sides are together.  One side will be folded.  Sew the two shorter sides using a 1/2″ inseam. Leave the other long edge unsewn.

Box Pleat Valance with Greek Key Design {Tutorial}

4. Once sewn, turn the fabric right side out and iron the newly sewn edges.  Then taking the unsewn side, fold it over 4″ to create the rod pocket.

Box Pleat Valance with Greek Key Design {Tutorial}

5. And sew at the 3.5″ mark – this will leave you a nice large pocket to feed the metal rod through.

Box Pleat Valance with Greek Key Design {Tutorial}

Iron and it’s done!  Super simple loose box valance.  I could have added pleats at the corners, but that is beyond my skill-set.  And anyway, I like the more tailored look better.  Don’t you?  Or do you prefer pleats?

>>> creating a greek key design

Jumping back to the valance for my bathroom, once the valance was made (using drop cloth by the way – I forgot to mention that), I hung it up and marked it for the positioning of the greek key design.

Box Pleat Valance with Greek Key Design {Tutorial}

Box Pleat Valance with Greek Key Design {Tutorial}

1. Once I made the markings on the valance, I used 3m painters tape to lay out my greek key design.

The pink tabs mark where the valance turns to the side, so from that point + the top and bottom, I marked 2″ in for the design to start.

Box Pleat Valance with Greek Key Design {Tutorial}

2. Once the overall design was made, I cleaned up the tape.

Box Pleat Valance with Greek Key Design {Tutorial}

It’s looking like something…  The part that was taped would soon be the part for the greek key design.

3. Then using a pencil, I outlined the edges of the tape.

Box Pleat Valance with Greek Key Design {Tutorial}

4. I then pulled the tape off and filled in the areas that I didn’t pencil in.

Box Pleat Valance with Greek Key Design {Tutorial}

Box Pleat Valance with Greek Key Design {Tutorial}

5. The best and last part was filling it in!  Using a light blue fabric pen (that matches almost exactly to the other blue hues in the space), I colored in the design.

Box Pleat Valance with Greek Key Design {Tutorial}

And that’s a wrap.  From start to finish, the project took about an hour.  And finally after three years, I’m sharing the tutorial.

This is the overall master bathroom space with the greek key valance…

Box Pleat Valance with Greek Key Design {Tutorial}If you haven’t seen the before & after of this once horrid space, you have to check it out!

You also might see it in the current issue of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine

My master bathroom featured in KBMO

One more look at the finished valance…  Layered with a simple bamboo roman shade, this valance is perfect for the bathroom space.

Box Pleat Valance with Greek Key Design {Tutorial}

Box Pleat Valance with Greek Key Design {Tutorial}

Want to see more DIY window treatment ideas?  Check out this post of mine…

 9 Ideas for DIY window treatments

What DIY window treatments have you created?  Do you like to make your own window treatments or would you rather buy them done/totally complete from a store?

9 Ideas for DIY Window Treatments

Since the older kids have been back in school, I’ve been cleaning + organizing like a mad woman!  It’s bittersweet not to have them home throughout the day, but it’s been nice getting the house back in order.  As I’ve been making my way room by room, for some reason I’ve been paying extra attention to the window treatments and realized that almost every window “dressing” (with the exception of 2) have been DIY projects.  Either I made them from scratch or partly DIYed them making them truly one-of-a-kind.

I’m a big believer that window treatments make (and break if not done right) a room and that something is needed on every window in the home. Whether a roman shade, a long panel, or a sheer, dressing up a window will truly bring everything in a room together and complete the overall look.

Since I have created so many one-of-a-kind treatments (most I have shared tutorials for, some I haven’t and will in this post), I thought I’d document them all in one place… alas this post on 9 Ideas for DIY Window Treatments.

9 Ideas for DIY window treaments. Unique & Creative ideas for making your own window treatments and/or customizing store bought curtains. This is a must see post. All these window treatments are in ONE HOME!


tutorial: Add stripes to a curtain using paint

Many of the DIY window treatments that I’ve created have been inspired by spaces I’ve seen + loved.  Instead of going custom which is typically big $$$ bucks, I try to figure out a way to get the look but for MUCH LESS.  First up, are my fabulous living room/office panels.  I was inspired by this space…

love this room & the windoe treatments, but instead of paying big bucks, I DIYed the panels myself!

The thin-line striped panels were quite unique and I loved how they added a pop of color, yet didn’t overwhelm the space.  To make my own panels, I took a simple white panel (from Ikea) and painted the stripes using the same color as the walls.

Here is the result…

9 Ideas for DIY window treaments. Use paint to create the look for less!

9 Ideas for DIY window treaments. Use paint to get the look for less!


tutorial: Add decorative trim to store-bought curtain panels

Another idea to creating a designer-looking window treatment at a fraction of the cost is to add a leading edge.  For this window, I sewed on a fun fabric to the panel edges (top, side, and bottom). Not only does the new fabric draw the eye in, but I was able to make the panel longer so the rod can sit higher on the wall.  Remember high and wide is best —> read more about that in this post!

9 Ideas for DIY window treaments. Adding a leading edge fabric to store-bought panels (super easy to create a designer look)!


tutorial: Drop cloth panels with a leading edge detail

Sometimes I jazz up window panels that I buy at the store and sometimes I make them from scratch.  One of my favorite fabrics to work with is drop cloth.  Yes, painters use it for covering floors and furniture, but I use it to make things… like window treatments.  For this DIY window panel, I made a panel (no need for lining it because drop cloth has good weight), then added a leading edge detail on top of the drop cloth fabric (instead of adding it to the edge like the pink panel above).

9 Ideas for DIY window treaments. Adding a leading edge to drop cloth curtain panels (all homemade and super easy)

This is a close-up of the edging detail…

9 Ideas for DIY window treaments.


tutorial: Lined window panels using drop cloth material

Since we’re on the topic of making panels from scratch, these DIY window treatments are lined panels I had originally made for the master bedroom, but recently moved to the dining room.  Again, I used drop cloth, but this time I used it to line the back of the panels so they are heavier and block the sun.

9 Ideas for DIY window treaments. Lined drapery panels using drop cloth to provide weight and light from filterng through

These drop cloth-lined panels now “dress” the dining room windows…

DIY: How-To Reupholster a bench (+ tips on keeping the original bench in tack without ruining it).


tutorial: Drop cloth box valance with greek key detail

Another drop cloth window treatment (i heart drop cloth), but this time instead of a long panel I created a box-style valance for my master bathroom.

9 Ideas for DIY window treaments.

{This bathroom was recently featured in Kitchen + Bath Makeovers magazine}


tutorial: Faux roman shades

ONE MORE drop cloth DIY window treatment I created are the faux roman shades that are also in my dining room.  I love the look of layered window treatments, so the roman shades I created look beautiful with the handmade window panels.

9 Ideas for DIY window treaments. Faux Roman Shade using drop cloth material


tutorial: Adding a leading edge

This DIY window treatment is similar to the project I shared above (#2), but the leading edge is only on the front edge of the store-bought panel.  Why? Because the rod could only be hung at a specific place because of the window configuration, so if I had added a leading edge to the top and bottom as well, it would have been too long!  These custom (for me) panels were a recent project for the master bedroom refresh that I tackled earlier in the year.

9 Ideas for DIY window treaments. Add a leading edge detail to custom any store bought curtain panel


Adding a leading edge using woven trim (instead of fabric)

Another DIY window treatment that I didn’t share a tutorial for, but is super easy to do, are the panels I made for more my boys bedroom makeover (which I just finished).  For these window treatments, I used white cotton Ikea panels (same panels as #1 above) and added a 1″ wide woven trim to the edge.

9 Ideas for DIY window treaments.

Using black thread (to match the woven trim), I sewed the trim on directly to the edge of the panel and this is the result…

9 Ideas for DIY window treaments.So simple and the perfect way to dress up a plain ole’ curtain!


Two tone window panels with decorative trim detail

Last, but not least, new curtain panels that I’ve NEVER shown on the blog.  These DIY window panels are the most recent I’ve made for my daughters’ bedroom.  They replaced the fuschia panels (#2 above) when we recently created the nursery nook for baby #3.  I haven’t put together a final reveal of the room changes, but promise to do so very soon – be on the look out. Anyway, to create the nursery nook, we removed the 3-in-1 play tent and when doing so I was left with lots of fabric. So I did some altering + sewing, and created new panels.

These panels are super cute and perfect for a girls room!  I used a sheer fabric (with a pretty design) for the top section, then a solid cotton fabric for the bottom section.  At the point where the two fabrics meet, I added decorative trim using a combination of a 1/2″ wide ribbon + white pom-pom trim.

9 Ideas for DIY window treaments.

9 Ideas for DIY window treaments.

So there you have it.  9 different DIY window treatments.  All in my home.

My designer advice:  Don’t leave your windows “undressed”.  Choosing a window treatment can sometimes be a bit daunting, but use inspiration to guide you.  And never be afraid of updating a store-bought window treatment to achieve a custom, designer look.  The smallest change is sometimes all that is needed.  Lastly, if you can’t find it, DIY it!

Create a Layered Window Treatment

Whether they are dainty wood blinds or over-the-top dramatic drapery panels, something is needed on every window!   And without, it’s like going to a party wearing a gorgeous dress and  jewelry, but forgetting your shoes. That being said, I’m also a big fan of layering window treatments which means having a combination of functional parts and pretty parts. By adding different layers, the window(s) will have added depth and dimension, plus offer energy efficiency and privacy. To begin, ask yourself a few questions which will help determine the type and amount of layers that you want and need for your window(s).

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Desire privacy for your space?  If so, you may want to consider something that can is functional and can open & close.


  • Desire complete darkness in your space?  If so, you may want to consider black out shades.



  • Desire texture, color, and height? If so, you might consider long drapery panels that are hung high close to the ceiling, plus a bamboo shades.




These are MANY options and those are just a few questions to start the process in deciding what’s right for your situation.  Let’s move on and discuss layering window treatments.

Aesthetics Only (Layer 1)

In many rooms of the home there may be no need for privacy, so a window treatment for an aesthetically pleasing look will be just enough.  Window treatment ideas could include:

  • Long drapery panels that are stationary


  • Roman Shade that is stationary



  • Cornice or Valance (above the window)




The following images show examples of window treatments that are one layer and for mere aesthetic purposes only.


Summer Thornton Design


Little Green Notebook


Amoroso Design




Privacy (Layer 2)

There are different degrees of privacy that you may want to achieve from your window treatments. You may still desire some light, so a light filtering shade may be the solution in a kitchen or living room, but a shade that completely blocks the light (and your naked silhouette) is better for a bathroom or bedroom. Window Treatments for privacy include:

  • Long drapery panels that are functional and can be pulled across the window (consider blackout lining and/or insulated interlining)


  • Roman shade that is functional (some are light filtering that allow sunlight into the space, while others can be completely room darkening and energy efficient)



  • Woven Wooden Shades (add texture to a space; some are light filtering and some are room darkening)



  • Roller Shades (inexpensive and can almost “disappear” when fully rolled up)



  • Real or Faux Wood Blinds (available in different wood tones which add comfort and character to a space)



  • Cellular Shades (light filtering or room darkening and energy efficient)




The following images show examples of window treatments that have two layers – a functional layer and a pretty layer.






Southern Hospitality




Sheers (Layer 3)

This layer is optional and usually not needed, but in some cases may be.  Depending on the window treatment design, you may want stationary panels (or a cornice), functional blinds or shades for room darkening / privacy, as well as a third layer for semi-privacy (perhaps for during the day hours).  I actually had this scenario years ago when I lived in the city and my apartment faced a busy street.  I obviously didn’t want people looking in, but I also wanted light to enter during the day, so the solution was to include a sheer in front of the functional blinds which I put down at night and darkened the room.

The following images show examples of window treatments that have three layers – a functional layer, a pretty layer, AND a sheer layer.


The Lettered Cottage


Apartment Therapy

There are many different styles and designs for window treatments, but adding numerous layers truly makes a huge impact in a room.  Imagine your window as a piece of artwork… It would look so blah and boring without the perfect frame to surround it. 

DIY: How to Make Simple Lined Window Drapery Panels

For the past few months, I’ve been thinking about doing some updates to my bedroom.  There’s nothing “wrong” with it, but some of the elements – window treatments, pillows, pictures – have been around for a while and you know me, I always need something to change or update!

First thing on the list?  Window Treatments.

The ‘before’ window panels were from our previous home and the length has always been an issue since I repurposed them in this space.  They are beautifully lined panels from Pottery Barn (with matching pillow covers), but I was just ready for a change!

This is how they looked before~

Well actually the window treatments were the second on the list, first came the fabrics.

After having a concept in my head, I was on the search for new fabrics.  I was stuck on the color of dusty-gray-blue.  Because my interiors are mostly on the warm side, I wanted to bring in some cooler tones.   I combed the net, searched in fabric stores, and found nothing that appealed to me.  Then I made a random trip to Joanne Fabrics one day, and found this fabric which was very inspiring, but totally not the dusty-blue that I had desired.

O well, I loved it and a few fabrics later, I was out the door and ready to start my transformation.

Before I begin the step-by-step tutorial,  I wanted to mention that I decided to line the window treatments, but it isn’t a must for drapery panels.  Even though they were not going to be functional, meaning I wasn’t planning on moving them each day/night to block the light, I still wanted them to have a more substantial feel and heavier weight.  I decided to use drop cloth material because it was the least expensive and I knew from my other projects that drop cloth would really give the panels more substance and hang better.

Making Lined Drapery Panels

1. I started off by measuring the height from the floor to my existing drapery rod.  Once the height was determined, I added about 12″ of additional fabric which gave me some “play” for alterations in later steps.  I layed out the fabric and using my cutting board, clear ruler, and fabric cutter, to measure the length of fabric needed for three panels.

FYI: At this point, measuring does not need to be perfect, because it will be altered later.  That’s the beauty of these panels!

The measurement from my floor to the drapery rod was: 78″, but to allow for enough fabric I made each panel 90″

2. Once the main fabric is cut, lay the right side of your main fabric onto the right side of the lining fabric (in my case, I used drop cloth material because it was the least expensive.  For $16, I got one piece of drop cloth that was 9′ x 12′).

Before cutting, make sure ALL YOUR FABRICS ARE IRONED!  Once ironed, use your main fabric as a template and cut the lining fabric to the same size.

3. Once both fabrics are IRONED and CUT, pin around the edge of the entire panel.

4. Similar to making a pillow, sew around the 4 sides, except leave a 6-8″ opening at one of the shorter ends, so you can pull the right sided fabric through.

After sewing around, pull the fabric through to the right side.

5.  Once pulled through to the right side,  iron all the edges and seams so the panel is nice and crisp! Now that the main part of the lined drapery panel is complete, they are ready to be hung and altered.  There are numerous ways to hang window panels, but I decided to use a basic rod and hang the panels using clip rings.

6. To determine the height for the window panel, measure from the floor to the top of the clip (not to the top of the ring).  Take the unfinished side of your panel and clip the rings to it.  Then adjust the height of the panel up or down, so the panel either just hits / skims the floor OR leaves a slight puddle on the floor (I decided to have them just hit the floor).

The one side of the panel is still unfinished (that’s okay), and here’s how it will look from the back.

Now let’s finish this up…

7. It’s time to trim and finish the top.  Measure down about 4-5″ from the crease where the rings are clipped to.  Trim the rest.

8. (a) With the rings left on, remove the panel from your rod and head back to the ironing board. (b) First, iron in between the rings to get a crisp line.  Then remove the rings and iron the entire crease.  (c) Open the crease and fold over the top edge twice creating a finished edge. (d) Close the crease, iron and pin edge so it can be sewn.

8. Then sew along the bottom edge of the “flap”.

Reinstall the drapery rings and the lined window panels are complete and ready to hang.

The wall of windows and the entire view of the three lined window panels…

One more time…here is the before and after~

And if you didn’t notice, I got rid of the sheers and replaced them with functional wood roman shades – such a better look!

I’m still in the midst of this master bedroom makeover and I’ll be sharing more soon, so stay tuned!

I link my projects to some of these parties: Skip to My Lou, Dittle Dattle, Between Naps on the Porch, Today’s Creative Blog, Stories of A to Z, All Things Heart & Home, Savvy Southern Style, House of Hepworths, Finding Fabulous, Creation Corner, The Shabby Nest, Tatertots and Jello, Funky Junk, Under the Table & Dreaming

DIY: Kitchen Window Valance

For the past week my world has been filled with shredding, decluttering, organizing, and the start of new projects for 2011.  My mind has been going non-stop about all the things that I want to tackle…of course, I’d love to snap my fingers and it all be done like Barbara Eden in I Dream of Jeannie, but that’s not reality.  SO…where to begin… I’ve been working on multiple projects and gave you a sneak peek of one yesterday….here’s my latest….

Since moving into our home almost a year ago, I’ve been wanting to install a valance at the kitchen window.  The window is almost 90″ wide, so I envisioned creating a treatment that was unique, yet one that didn’t compromise the entering light.

{Kitchen Window ~ COMPLETE}



I chose a cotton material that has a WHITE background with taupe accents; It has a casual look and complements my taupe-colored, silk dining room draperies.  Not handy on a sewing machine (like me)? Stitch Witch is your answer…create anything using this fusible tape and your iron! Depending on the fabric, this project could cost less than $20.

Supply breakdown:
  • 3 yds of fabric (my window is 89″ wide & I used about 2.5 yards ) = $3.99/yd = $11.97
  • Stitch Witch fusible tape (heavy duty) = $3 +/-
  • Ribbon (18 feet long ~ I used 4 feet) = $3.99
  • 1 x 2 wood strip = $2.99
  • ‘L’ Brackets = $3 +/-
  • Screws (I already had)
  • Iron (hopefully you already have this)
My Project Total:  $25
Depending on the materials you  already have on hand, the project total could be even less!


Determine the length (drop) of the valance and double it, so the fabric is two layers.  (Hint: I used my wood floor to ‘assist’ in keeping the fabric and wood strip aligned). Once the fabric is positioned at the right length, but the wood strip underneath and pin the fabric to it (so it doesn’t move while stapling).  Then STEP TWO!
STAPLE! Using your staple gun, afix the fabric to the top of the wood strip.
Remove the pins.
Wrap the fabric around to the back of the wood strip, and STAPLE.
Once that’s complete, trim the fabric.
The CORNER! Since the top edge of the wood strip would be against the ceiling, I wasn’t concerned to make it look “pretty”.  I wrapped the fabric around the side to create a boxed corner to hide the side / return of the wood strip.
HANGING TIME! Install the ‘L’ brackets to the underside of the valance.  Then it’s ready to hang.  My window condition was a little tricky and I had to install the valance on the window casing, but it would be best to install it on the wall or against the ceiling. (Hint: Position your window treatment as high as possible on the wall ~ it makes the room feel taller, and also provides close to the same amount of light to enter)
For my valance, I wanted the ribbon to align with the window mullion, so I measured in from the side and stapled one side of the ribbon to the top of the wood strip (This step was done BEFORE installing the valance).
Once I determined the desired ‘swag’ length, I stapled the ribbon on the underside of the wood strip.
{Simple & Sophisticated}
Thanks for checking out my new window valance!  This was a fairly easy project, but it’s always best to have a helping hand, especially with a window that’s almost 8′ long, like mine!
Do you have any windows that need updating with new treatments?


You can find my projected linked up to:


WhisperWood Cottage
As well as these linky parties