Cornice boards and Lambrequins save on heating costs

Several years ago our Public Service company sent out a flyer attached to their bill showing a picture of a cornice board with a dust cover.  They said the dust cover (the top board on the cornice) prevented air circulation behind the drapes and thus prevented drafts around your windows.  A further reduction in airflow could be achieved with the use of a Lambrequin which has side pieces that can extend to the bottom of your window sill or even to the floor.

Covering the lip of a rope welt

Apply 3/4″ Millennium tape to the wrong side of the fabric and press it down to make a sharp creaseimg0001.jpgHot glue the folded fabric to the rope welt lip  

   After we have hot glued rope welt to the edge of the cornice we need to cover the exposed lip of the cord.  The easiest no-sew way to do this is to make a sharp crease in the fabric by pressing it together with our fingers using 3/4″ Millennium tape.

Matching those pesky stripes

The finished corniceThe back side of the fabric with masking tape applied to keep the foot from getting stuck under the bulky threads of the stripesThe finished seam from the front

   Every once in a while someone will give me a workroom tip that saves a lot of frustration and results in a much nicer finished product.  This suggestion came from Catherine who managed one of the Calico Corners stores and her suggestion involves matching horizontal stripes on a cornice board .  Even with a walking foot sewing machine it is sometimes difficult to match all the horizontal stripes without tearing the seam apart over and over again.  The matching is not so critical on soft treatments like valances and drapes because of the folds in the fabric.  But on a cornice board the fabric is stretched tight and shows every imperfect match.

   We begin by pressing down about an inch and a half of the edge of the fabric to a place where the matching would give the most pleasing appearance.   Today’s fabric is a little difficult because of the bulky threads that make up the stripes.  So after pressing we lay a piece of masking tape to within a quarter inch of where we will sew.  Next we match the two pieces of fabric and begin sewing as close to the edge as possible (perhaps less than 1/16th inch).  As we work our way down the seam we can make very small adjustments at each stripe to make sure they match.   Pull off the masking tape before applying the fabric over the batting on the cornice board.

Let’s make a mock roman shade cornice board

Make plywood box, attach batting, cover with muslin and mark lines 2 3/4″ apartSee if Millennium tape will stick to this fabric.  It doesn’t because of a teflon coating so we will use glue.Glue folds with fringe adhesive so they lay perfectly straightLay out center foldLay out the top and bottom foldsSee how the folds look on the corniceGlue on the strip of fabric that covers the bottom edge and then continue attaching the foldsWrap the folds around to the inside of the returnsUse cardboard tack strip to position liningStaple lining in placeFinished !!    To make a mock roman shade cornice board with matching pattern we first staple batting to the plywood box and cover the batting with muslin.  On this board which is 8 1/4″ high we want three folds so mark the muslin with lines 2 3/4″ apart.  Now let’s lay out the fabric loosely to see which part of the  pattern we want centered and begin by laying out the center fold.  Now we will lay out the top and bottom folds to match the pattern of the center fold and start cutting the fabric.   After the pieces are cut we try Millennium tape to see if it will stick and it won’t (probably a teflon coating on this fabric) so we use fringe adhesive to glue the folded fabric together.  This will keep the fold perfectly straight when it is applied to the cornice board. 

    We first apply the piece of fabric that will wrap around the bottom edge and then  the three folds making sure they are each 2 3/4″  and the pattern of each fold matches above and below.   The folds are wrapped around the inside of the returns and a lining fabric is attached using cardboard tack strip and staples.  Now stand it up on its bottom edge to make sure the folds hang evenly and we are finished.

Edge joining plywood to make a long cornice board strong

The finished cornice board is very stiff even though very longedge-joining-plywood-2127.jpgStaple the boards together with alternating joints and then hammer in ‘dog ears’

   When interior designers ask us to build upholstered cornice boards that are over 110″ long we need a way to make them strong so they won’t break while being transported to the customer’s home.  Plywood comes in 96″ long sheets so if we have an order for a cornice board 185″ long and 12″ high we could just edge join two boards-one 96″x12″ board to another board 89″x12″  with a joint roughly in the center.  But that would be the weakest point of the board if two people each lifted an end.  A much stronger solution is to cut five boards 2@96″x6″, 2@ 44.5″x6″ and one at 89″x6″.  The two 44.5″ pieces would be attached at each end of a 96″ piece producing a board 185″x6″ and this would be used for the bottom half of the face.  The other 96″ piece would be joined to the 89″ piece producing another 185″x6″ piece which would be used for the top half of the face.  Then the two 6″ sections would be joined together to make a 185″x12″ board.   Most cornice boards have a dust cap or top board that lays on L-brackets for when the cornice is installed.  The joint(s) in the dust cap boards would be located at least a foot away from the joints in the top face board.   By alternating our joints this way we can build cornice boards up to 20 feet long with very little loss of strength. 

   The five boards are laid out on a table to make sure we have made the bottom three  6″ boards the same length as the top two 6″ boards.  Next we measure to make sure they add up to 185″.  There is a good old saying “measure twice and cut once”.  When we are sure the five boards will make one board 185″x12″ we lay a long straightedge on top of the boards at the long edge to make sure the joined boards will be nice and straight (we can’t just assume we made  perfect 90 degree cuts so the straightedge shows us where we have to adjust the lineup).  We will first staple all the boards together on one side, then flip the whole thing over and staple them together on the other side.  Then we hammer in aluminum edge joiners (dog ears) every two to three feet along the horizontal middle joint and spaced every two to three inches along the vertical joints since these joints will have the most stress.

Ceramic Medallions on the face of a cornice board

The bolt is pushed through the back side of the board and fastened with a nut and lock washer on the face side of the boardThere is a nut and lock washer on the face side of the board under the batting holding the bolt securely in placeApply Milennium double sided tape to the bottom edge of the cornice board by pressing down on the attached paperPull the paper backing off and expose the sticky tapePress the welt cord onto the Millennium tape with your fingers and smooth it outStaple the welt fabric to the inside of the boxCut off all but two inches of excess weltOpen up the welt fabric to expose the cordCut off the excess cordAfter cutting the cord pull back the inside return fabric and wrap the welt fabric underFold the welt cord fabric and staple it under the fabric for the inside of the returnFold the fabric in and pull downStaple the inside return fabric down tightFold the corner of the welt cord fabric over the fabric on the inside of the return and staple in placeStaple the ultrasuede lining  to the inside of the board using a cardboard tack stripFold the fabric over the tack strip to fit the inside widthStretch the lining taut from side to side and stapleThe fabric supplied was just barely enough to wrap around the backside of the top boardBolt extender attaches to both the medallion bolt and the bolt coming through the boardBolt extender attached to the double ended bolt in the medallionWith the bolt extenders we have up to an inch and a half space behind the medallionsThe finished cornice with medallions attached

   Today we are building an upholstered cornice board that would be placed in the Elaborate Treatments of the Quality Cornices Website because we will be bolting ceramic medallions on the face of the board to support swags.  After our board is built and the location of the medallions is marked we drill holes through the plywood and insert bolts through the back side of the board that will screw into the back side of the medallions.  The bolts have nuts and washers on the front side of the cornice board to hold them securely in place. Batting is stapled to the board and finally the batting is covered with muslin because the finish fabric is a shiny polyester that would show the irregularities of the batting if we didn’t first cover in muslin.  Now we apply the finish fabric and cut slits for the bolts to poke through.  Since I don’t know how much swag fabric must be placed behind the medallions I’m going to use what I call ‘bolt extenders’.  They are female/female threaded couplers that will have one end screwed onto the protruding bolt.  Another bolt will have its head cut off so it can be screwed into both the medallion and the other end of the bolt extender.  This fabric is ideal for using Millennium Tape to make the welt and to fasten the welt to the bottom edge of the cornice board because the tape sticks tightly and won’t show any goofs that might show  if we used hot glue or fringe adhesive. If you put your cursor over a photo you will see an explanation pop up.

Finishing the upholstered headboard

Use a cardboard tack strip to hold the bottom of the lining fabric in placePull the lining toward the top and pin in placeMark a line to the shape about 3/4″ in from the edgeCut off the excessStaple every couple of inchesUse fringe adhesive to glue on the scroll gimpFinished back sideThe completed headboard

   Now that we have built the frame, glued on the 2″ foam, covered the foam with batting and upholstered the headboard with muslin we can apply the finish fabric.  The fabric is first pinned in place and stretched tight so we can take a look to see if it is positioned properly before we begin stapling to the back side.  After the fabric is stapled in place we cover the legs with pieces that match the pattern.  Then with the face completely finished we flip the headboard over and apply lining fabric to the back.  I like to use an ultrasuede lining because you can’t see any of the knots in the plywood through it.  We start at the bottom of the back side and use a cardboard tack strip to hold the lining in place.  Then we pull the lining toward the top of the headboard, use pins to stretch it tight and then fasten it in place with staples every two inches or so.  The shape of the top is marked on the lining fabric by running a finger along the edge while holding a pen or pencil to make a mark about 3/4″ in from the shaped edge.  After the excess has been cut off we staple the top shaped edge of the lining fabric in place and then glue a piece of scroll gimp over the raw edge.  I like to use ‘Fringe Adhesive’ from R.W. Rowley because it has a nice, thick consistency and holds the gimp in place very well.  So that’s it.  Our headboard is done and someone can enjoy a good night’s sleep in a beautiful bed.