Cornices rate high as one of the classiest ways to jazz up your windows. One way you can get this look at a fraction of the cost a professional would charge you is with do-it-yourself window cornices.
You can find fairly pricey kits that come pre-measured with the materials pre-cut that you simply put together, but who’s to say how closely you’ll come to actually getting what you want for your own particular décor scheme? And considering that pros charge up to $7.50 per inch to make custom window cornices, doing it yourself can save you a serious chunk of change by applying a little know-how along with your own time, tools, and materials.
To keep things in perspective and not get overwhelmed, you’re basically building a simple, three-sided box, then adding trim to dress it up. You’ll need 1”x6” boards, crown and cap molding for top and bottom ornamentation, a miter saw, brads in one inch and one-and-a-half inch lengths, wood glue, sandpaper, a rasp, primer, and paint.
Begin by measuring the window with the curtains open and allowing for an extra inch for the width and depth of the cornice box. Use 1”x6” boards, cutting one as a front panel and two as end panels. Make 45-degree bevels using your miter saw – one at the end of each end panel and two for each end of the front panel.
Attach one end panel to an end of the front panel with wood glue, and then reinforce the bond by tacking the two pieces together with three, one-inch brads spaced equally apart beginning one-half inch away from the edge. Repeat this procedure with the remaining end panel onto the other end of the front panel.
Measure (always twice!) and cut another 1”x6” board to fit the length of the three joined pieces above. This board will be fitting flush with the outside of the front panel and sides, so take that into account when measuring. Glue and attach one-and-a-half-inch brads, one every six inches down the length of the front panel.
Crown and Cap Molding
Take measurements on the box you’ve just built and cut the crown molding you’ve selected for the decoration at the top of the box, making it one inch longer. Mark and miter cut the ends at opposing 45-degree angles and do the same for the crown molding on the ends.
Glue cut molding pieces together, following up with one-inch brads to keep everything firmly together. Attach the now-one-piece molding to the box with glue and then brads. Turn the box upside down, measure, cut, and attach the bottom cap molding using the same techniques as for the top crown molding.
Using wood putty, fill any holes left from the brads and/or any gaps in the joints between miter cuts. Sand down smooth and file with a rasp if necessary to remove any rough spots. Prime the wood, sand it lightly, and paint. That’s it! You’ve now got a window cornice to rival that of the priciest carpenter.