DIY window valance

by | Sep 24, 2016 | All Things Home, Boy's Bedroom, My House, Sewing, Tutorials | 31 comments

Good evening from New York!  I spent the better part of the day driving through the rolling hills and small towns of PA and NY and even got to stop in at an antique store and eat dinner at an amazing restaurant, so I can’t complain.

Anyway, earlier this week I worked on a valance for the dormer window in Calvin’s room and I thought I would share how to make this simple window treatment…

(I’m still figuring out the cord situation in this desk area, so don’t judge!)

I started out by cutting a board the width I wanted the valance.  In my case, it was the width from one wall to the other, since it’s a dormer window.  I just used a scrap board, but a 1 x 2 would be perfect.

I then cut a piece of fabric about 3″ longer than the height of the window and the width of the board, plus the measurement of the two sides, so it could wrap around the board, as well as an extra 3″ for a double hem on both sides.  (The pictures should help that sentence actually make sense!)

I folded, ironed, and sewed a double hem on both sides and the bottom of the fabric.

And then stapled the top edge of the fabric to the board, folding over the sides like a present.

The side with the staples is the top side of the board.  Since my ceilings are low, I’m going to screw the board straight into the ceiling, but if you’re ceilings are higher, you can use L brackets on the underside of the board to attach it to the wall.

I added ties to the valance to gather up the excess fabric.  I used twill tape, but ribbon would work nicely, too.  I cut four lengths of twill tape to about 24″ long.  To prevent fraying, we brushed the ends with Tough Coat.

I stapled the twill tape to the top of the board, one directed to the front and one to the back on each side.  This way, they can tie together under the piece of fabric.

I screwed the board directly into the ceiling with a couple of screws.  Since our walls are plaster, I didn’t need anchors, but you may consider that if you’re screwing into drywall.

I cinched up the fabric and tied the twill tape to hold it in place.

It’s a super simple curtain idea that takes about 30 minutes to make and requires minimal materials, so it’s a great DIY window treatment option.

Calvin now wants a curtain that makes the dormer a “secret hideout”, so I’m going to get an inexpensive tension rod to put at the “door” of the dormer and make a simple curtain out of a sheet or something.

To be continued…


  1. Brenda

    Nice valance and super simple! Dormers are so hard to decorate because they are so small. Have you thought about a shallow bookcase hidden door? My Kids would have loved a secret door to their secret hideout! Have a great day in New York!

  2. TinaLou

    Very cute!! His room is coming along nicely. I’d suggest a jacquard weave tablecloth for the soft ‘door’ treatment; I think they’ve got a bit more heft so hang better. Mahogany makes some nice ones.

    PS- You could totally make a killing selling your star wars art!!!

    • Kim Wagner

      The one you are seeing in this post Calvin painted!!! I think he has talent. Proud Oma

      • Carla

        You should be proud Kim! I think he has a ton of talent.

  3. Sue

    Can I tell you as soon as I saw this I thought – darn, I love this but I can’t sew. But upon further thought, I can use my tried-and-true pinking shears-instead-of-hemming trick. Or even look for a tablecloth like TinaLou suggested for the door project. Love this!

    • seabluelee

      You could also use fabric glue or iron-on hemming tape. No sewing required!

      • Marybeth Longstreth

        Stitch witchery is a DREAM for non-sewers!! Just an iron is required!!

  4. SHeila

    Love the buffalo check. I had blue buffalo heck curtains for years in my family room, until we wore out the blue couch I bought them to match. Question: What color blue did you use on the dresser that is in your dining room, under Eulalie? I’ve tried searching your site for the post about when you painted it, but searching dining room dresser brought up pages of posts!

    • Sheila

      Ahah! I found it. I searched the Annie Sloan colors by name and found it, way back in 3/11. Louis Blue and Old White. Considering how often you change out your furniture, that buffet has been there quite a while.

  5. Teresa

    I love LOVE that blue check fabric. I loved the raspberry check you had in there before too. And Calvin’s desk is perfect. Seems I remember you posting about looking for one. Can you give us the details? You could always make a half door shallow bookcase in the dormer. That would still let light come in from the window.

  6. Mary W.

    As a kid, I was a huge maker-of-hideouts. Once I figured out that my twin bed was an inch narrower than the dormer in my room, I parked it in there. And any secret hideout worth its salt needs a bean bag chair and an adjustable arm lamp!

  7. Kathleen Law

    Marian…You are an amazing little woman…God has gifted you with so many talents…I do not even know anyone my age that has so may talents and I am old enough to be yo mama. Thanks for all the encouraging and interesting blogs that i have been reading for a few years. Also…love the new look of your livingroom…I have been with you through all the changes you have blogged…Different season of life now and you have done it WELL…Blessings to you precious one…

  8. Alison

    Oh man! I wish I knew you were in NY. Would have totally told you where to go. What place did you end up eating at?
    I love this look. Beautiful job as always.
    All my best,

    • Marian Parsons

      We ate at the Warfield Restaurant and Bakery in Cool Springs and it was absolutely amazing.

  9. Nancy

    Who wouldn’t want a secret hide out?

  10. Leasa Hodges

    In regards to comments left on yesterdays post…..

    It hurts my heart whenever you are criticized. As another person posted, spending time on your blog is like spending time with a friend. I could not imagine opening my home up and people respond with negativity. BUT that is the nature of the business you are in. I am so impressed that you do not “react” but try to see the good in it and try to meet the needs of your readers. You have a beautiful and forgiving heart!

  11. Joan

    Dear Marian!
    OHHHH I LOVE YOUR BOYS ! Secret hideout, THAT is SO SO precious! Everyone needs one of those! <3
    BEAUTIFUL curtain, and entire room ! ! !
    I have 3 boys, sure do identify! ( you now have 3 too, with Sebastian !
    who is also ADORABLE 🙂
    ty so much Marian for sharing all you do….sweet giving girl !

  12. Elizabeth A. Snead

    I would build a window seat in the dormer. Provide a lap desk. Cozy space encourages reading…

  13. Grace

    You should use painter drop cloths to make the curtains. They come in tons of sizes and already hemmed. You won’t believe the prices of them and they are a nice weight. Good Luck!!

  14. Elizabeth

    Marian, that valance is darling. You were good to do a tutorial for fans like me. I’m sure your instructions are clear to everyone except me, but I got lost starting at the third instruction:

    “And then stapled the top edge of the fabric to the board, folding over the sides like a present.”

    The part about folding over the sides like a present? I don’t get it. Admittedly, I am an extremely literal person, which sometimes makes it tough for me to follow instructions that fall short of complete hand-holding.

    If another reader does understand that part of the instructions, I’d appreciate any clarification. If no explanation is forthcoming, then I don’t expect you to add more photos or text, Marian, since you are already a very busy lady.

    PS I meant to comment on your post about the Ashley Furniture shopping spree. The pieces you chose for the living room were as perfect as they were unexpected. Great job!

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha, sorry! I mean that you fold the corners over the way you would fold the corners when you’re wrapping a present. I hope if you look at the picture, that will make sense. 🙂

  15. Ej

    What an awesome place to study!

    And instead of 4 pieces of ribbon, I’d just use 2 long ones, with a couple of staples at top to hold them in place.

  16. Marlene Stephenson

    Thanks i can use this, it came at just the right time. And now he wants a place to hide,cute! I have sons and grandsons so i know at times they can be as demanding as girls! lol !

  17. Kathy

    Love that nook and the blind looks terrific! Would you mind sharing where you got your buffalo check fabric? Looking for some in red at a reasonable price. Thank!

  18. Rick S

    Great valance, I bet your son is loving his own room. and the mom that made it happen.

    the idea I have for the cord is by CordMate available at Home Depot. it is a plastic cord cover and right angle pieces that come in ivory that may blend into the wall or can be spray painted bronze or other metal colors to match wall fixture. I did antique brass for mine and the look great. They have a double face adhesive strip on the back to make it so easy to put up. They are a good price too.


  19. mazuryk Vermeulen

    I love your style! Where would I be able to buy buffalo check?

  20. karen hines

    how long did you make your valance to get it that full? looks great!

  21. Rose

    Instead of cutting the twill tape into 4 lengths of 24″ and stapling them together on the back wouldn’t it be easier to cut two 48″ lengths and staple in the middle? Then you only have two ends per tie to treat against fraying. (Hope that made sense)

  22. Donna

    Love the balance and material. Really cute! Your whole house looks great and you are so creative.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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