Does your view from home need an upgrade? If you’ve ever stared blankly at your naked window and wondered, what the heck do I do with you? Know you are not alone, my friend, and a box valance may be the perfect answer.

I asked myself that very question when we first moved into our house three years ago.

My husband and I came up with a way to make these window treatments ourselves for a bit of time and not a lot of money.

Today, I’ll share our guide to DIY box valances. I think this treatment works so well, I have box valances all over my house.

In my kitchen:

Photo of DIY window treatment in kitchen

In the family room:

floral box valance shown completed


In our baby’s nursery:

gray striped window treatment

My husband and I even made one for his parents’ condo:

wide shot of kitchen including window above the sink

OK, so here’s how you get started…your “ingredient list” if you will:

  • Plywood for front of box frames
  • 4″ strapping for framing the box
  • Batting material
  • Liquid adhesive
  • Fabric of your choice
  • Muslin – for backing
  • Staple gun with both short and long staples
  • Patience 

STEP 1:

The first step, which should be obvious, is to measure your windows.

a woman measuring window dimensions at home

Our valances extend three inches beyond our windows on either side.

STEP 2:

Purchase wood for the “box” part of the box valances. We got some generic plywood for the front surface and generic 4″ strapping for the frame.

purchasing lumber for DIY project

here’s the wood we picked up before…

plywood boards ready to be cut for project

…and after we had it custom cut

Essential info: Our box valances are 16″ tall, 4″ away from the wall on three sides and a total of 6″ wider than our window. Home Depot will cut your plywood and strapping to measure for free. That will save you some time – and a lot of expense if you don’t have the proper tools to do that yourself.

STEP 3:

Put together your wooden frame. This step is as unique as the size of your box valance. Just take the plywood section you’ve already had custom cut and outline it with the strapping boards.

homeowner screws together frame for box valance

Strapping boards provide the frame…

man building frame for window treatment project

Screw together strapping and attach to plywood with sheetrock screws.

STEP 4:

Spray the liquid adhesive (preferably outside) to all four sides of the wood that will face out—and pat on the batting material. Let dry for 24 hours.

STEP 5:

While that’s drying, you can get your fabric ready. Home fabric is typically 54″ wide.  So, if your windows are smaller than that, you can skip this step. If they’re wider, you’ll need to match the fabric’s pattern on either side. This just takes a careful eye and precise pinning.

It’s also handy to iron in the seam where you’ll be sewing, then trace that line with a pencil (on the underside of the fabric)…

close up of sewing machine with curtains pinned

…that helps provide a line to follow.

detail shot of seam line on fabric

Hopefully, the end result is hard to spot!

STEP 6:

lining main fabric with inexpensive muslin

Line the back of your fabric with an inexpensive muslin.

That will provide a finished look and help prevent the cellulite-like bumps of the batting material from showing through.

STEP 7:

Once your fabric is sewn and your box valance frames are dry, it’s time for fun with staples!

placing fabric on completed box valance frame

Line the fabric/muslin seam up to the inside top of your frame.

 woman using staple gun to attach fabric to wood

Make sure the fabric’s pattern falls correctly and staple away!

 detail shot showing fabric folded at corners on frame

We wanted our sides to not show a fold…

 detail shot of fabric attached to corner of box valance frame

…so we put the fold on top and stapled accordingly.

staple gun with long staples work well

Use the long staples when stapling through the batting and strapping boards.

 use short staples on the back side of the main valance piece

Use the short staples when stapling the back of the front panel

 STEP 8:

This is it!  Time to hang your box valance! We used L-brackets, measured, and leveled to make sure they were just right…

Homeowner placing completed window treatment above window

…put them in place… and…

You’re done!

wide shot of kitchen showing two DIY box valances installed on windows

Here’s how two of our finished box valances look in our kitchen.

What do you think? Is this box valance a doable DIY for your home?

Thanks to Michelle Fortin @Our Dream Foreclosure for this post!

Michelle Fortin

Michelle Fortin and her husband, Jason blog about their DIY home improvement adventures on their site, Making Our Dream. That’s where you’ll also hear more about her life as a part-time SAHM to Kenton (born 5/2011) and baby #2 – due to arrive in October 2012. In addition to being a wife and mom, Michelle also teaches broadcast journalism at Arizona State University, is actively involved in her local MOPS group, dabbles in photography, and is a self-confessed social media addict. Currently, she lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she and Jason bought their first home in 2009. It was a foreclosure that’s needed quite a bit of work! If Michelle looks familiar, that may be because you remember her as Michelle Frey – when she anchored the weekend newscasts on NTV a few years ago. She also taught a few classes at UNK. The years she spent in central Nebraska produced some of the best memories and dearest friends a girl could ask for – which is why she’s thrilled to be a part of the Her View From Home team.