Bendable materials for an arched top cornice board

arch-top-shaped-bottom0001.jpgimgp1809.jpgimgp1810.jpgWhen a shaped dust cover is required for a cornice board there are several alternatives.  We could use bendable plywood (wiggle board) which is about 1/4″ thick and not suitable for today’s application.  Another choice might be FirmaFlex, a bendable fibre board which can be ordered in six foot lengths and edge joined for longer pieces.  If you are building your own cornice and cost of materials is not a big issue this could be a good choice but for the average workroom it would be a little too pricy.  Next you could buy dimensional lumber such as a 1″ x 4″ board and cut hundreds of slots (kerfs) across the width of the board until it can be bent to the shape you want.  Once again for the average workroom time is money so the time involved would rule this out.  My choice of material for today is Homasote, a recycled newspaper material.   They put the old newspapers in a huge vat, add water or other liquids and stir until the mixture becomes a mess of sludge.   Then the sludge has most of the liquid removed, it is poured onto a flat surface and highly compressed to get the remaining liquids out.  The finished product is cut into 4′ x 8′ sheets that are 1/2″ thick and similar to plywood although the cost is about twice as much.  Homasote is easy to cut with a circular saw but very, very dusty so it is best to use a dust mask while cutting.  For our arched top cornice we need 3 1/2″ returns so we cut strips of homasote 3″ wide.  Since the cornice board will have a finished width of 111″ and the homasote comes in 96″ long sheets we will need to cut two strips and join them end to end with aluminum or steel edge joiners (sometimes called ‘dog ears’ because of their shape).  Once the ends are joined we cut the strip about six inches longer than needed, stand it up on one edge, and lay the cutout plywood on top of the other edge.  Then we start the process of stapling and bending, stapling and bending with the staples about three inches apart all along the top edge of the cornice.  With a little extra beyond each end we can now cut down through the homasote at an angle to match where the curved top meets the straight top of the returns.  You can either staple through the top board (homasote) into the top of the return board or staple through the top of the return board into the edge of the top board.  The first way seems to be the most simple.

No sew welt cord part two

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   On most fabrics a better solution than glue for making welt cord is Millennium Tape from Sacks Industries.  They claim that the bond gets stronger over time but you must test the tape on your fabrics first to make sure the initial bond is a good one.  It won’t work on chenile, faux suede, rubberized upholstery fabric backing, and teflon coated fabrics to name a few.  In the photos I show two rows of  3/8″ Millennium tape, one at the edge and the second about an inch and a quarter below the edge for  1/4″ cord.  Now I find that a single piece of  1/2″ tape placed an inch and a quarter to an inch an a half below the edge is quite sufficient.  In this application pin the ends of your fabric to stretch it somewhat taut.   Apply the tape but leave the paper coating on.  Pin your cord taut and just above the tape.  Since I am right handed it is easier for me to start at the right end of the fabric where I pull off a foot or two of the backing paper and wrap the fabric over the cord.  Then just keep working your way toward the left- pull off more backing paper, wrap more fabric, pull off more backing paper, wrap more fabric until you have reached the other end.  Then go over the whole strip a couple more times pressing the fabric down on to the tape to make sure everything is smooth and bonded well.  With the  lighter weight fabrics such as silk and most polished cottons you can attach the finished cord to the edge of the cornice board with the same Millennium tape and feel confident it will hold forever.

No sew welt cord

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      If you are not fond of sewing there are several ways  of making welt cord using glue and tape.  The glue I use comes from R.W. Rowley and is called fringe adhesive.  It can best be used on an upholstery weight fabric that has a rubberized type of backing to prevent the glue from bleeding through but can also be used if applied sparingly to fabrics with teflon coatings that double sided tape won’t stick to.  In the photo showing the glue technique I’m using 1/4″ cord and run two glue lines with the cord in between.  The first glue line is at the edge of the fabric and the second is about an inch an a quarter to an inch and a half below the edge.  Place pins at the ends of your piece of fabric to make the fabric taut,  spread the glue out with your finger and then pin the ends of the cord taut.  Wrap the fabric over the cord and run your fingers along the overlap.  Initally the glue may let loose but as it starts drying eventually it will bond.  A quicker way to make it set is to press the overlap with a warm iron but be careful to remove all the glue residue from your iron before using it to press other fabric.

Estimating your fabric requirements

The pages for estimating your fabric requirements are currently under construction.  Check the Fabric Estimating Guides on our Quality Cornices website for updates.

Padded banding

Most of the time banding will be a flat piece of fabric applied to the face of the cornice board such as in this photo:

Flat banding applied to the face of a cornice

However, there are times when you might want a rounded banding to achieve a different look such as in this example:

Rounded banding at the top and bottom of a cornice.

An Example of Welt Cord

Welt cord is applied to the edge of the cornice.  Here’s an example:

Cornice board with welt applied to back edge of returns

Welcome to the new Quality Cornices Blog

Welcome to Quality Cornices, a site devoted to interior designers and home owners who are searching for decorating ideas.  This site offers photos of upholstered cornice boards, lambrequins, folding screens, headboards and mirror frames, with useful guides for estimating your fabric requirements. Since 1977 I’ve been building these products with great care and treating each customer with courtesy and friendliness.  I’m looking forward to hearing from you so we can talk about your design needs.-Burt Revell