How to make a PELMET {tutorial}

Pelmet?! What the heck is a pelmet?!

This, my friends, is a pelmet. Who knew that is what it is called?! It can also be called a cornice board. It's very similar to a valance...but a pelmet is solid; basically a box that is open across the bottom (usually made from wood and is covered in fabric...but I'll get into that later.)

Way back before Pinterest, I had seen an image that stuck in my head, I thought it was awesome and I figured with the right fabric it might be something worth replicating one day. 

{via, via Decorpad}
It's actually funny that my son's dresser is actually almost the same color. 

The DIY Drapes/Valance (made from sheets) that gave me the idea looked like this: 

Seriously, how cute is that nursery? So January 2011, I saw this and loved it...I've been thinking about it ever since.  Instead of using sheets, although I did look for a while, I used curtains that I had purchased at Ikea and monogrammed before using the fabric...

This is how I made my pelmet: {sorry for all of the pictures}

  • curtain rod
  • Push-in saw tooth hangers (3)
  • Photo-hanging hooks (3)
  • large box/foam board/light weight wood
  • hot glue gun or strong tape 
  • spray glue
  • batting (I used leftover high loft)
  • curtains/fabric (my windows are very long and narrow, so I used one panel to cover the pelmet, and cut one panel in half to create two curtains that touch the floor.)
  • Good scissors (I also used a rotary cutter/ruler/self healing mat)
  • Measuring tape
1. To start, I rehung a new curtain rod. The previous rod was large, white, and wooden, it was very nice, but I knew I was going to need to hide this sucker, so I chose the smallest, shortest, saddest little rod in my collection (I hate to admit how many I have!)

2. Once I had installed the new curtain rod, I carefully measured my wall and drew up my plans. Nothing fancy: 
I have 8' ceilings. Although, I did not label everything, I used black pen on my initial drawing, and pencilled in any notes or additional reference information for when I was sewing/cutting. I ultimately decided I wanted my pelmet to be 50" long (my curtain rod was 49") x 3" deep (enough to cover the depth of the curtain rod, plus some) x 16" high (to cover the curtain rod plus the shades!) 

*because the pelmet measures 50" wide, I added 3" per side for the depth. The final width of my fabric & batting needed to be 56" PLUS a few extra inches to fold over the fabric!! My IKEA curtain was only 53" wide, so I opened the seams along the two side edges to be able to have enough fabric. 

3. I used an old moving box, cut open. You can also use light-weight foam boards, or actual light-weight wood. I also hung a new curtain rod, because the previous rod was very long...the pelmet hides the rod. The example above used one of the inexpensive brackets/rods. I didn't have any...I used what I had.

4. Prepare the box: Trim the bottom edge and one side edge of box. I used a rotary cutter for this:

5. Cut box to necessary dimensions: Using the measurements from step 2 determine the final size of the box, adding a 2" back piece along the top edge for hanging. Draw cut/fold lines onto the box. I used a quilting ruler to draw my plans on the box.

Carefully trim the other two sides: {50" long (my curtain rod was 49") x 3" deep (enough to cover the depth of the curtain rod, plus some) x 16" high (to cover the curtain rod plus the shades!)}

I cut the box 56" wide (because of the 3" depth) and 21" high.

6. Score the box along any folds (scoring is just gently cutting the top layer without cutting through) to give a clean fold line.
{about to score the box using a quilting ruler}
7. Check that box has been cut properly:
{trim excess corner where 2" back piece and 3" side pieces overlap}
{cut a 3"-depending on the depth-straight line along fold where top of pelmet and sides meet}

{use claw hands to check that folds are all clean, and that corners neatly fold up}
8. Prepare fabric & batting:
{monogram fabric}
::My fancy sewing machine does this for me; fabric paint & freezer paper is another great option for monogramming fabric!

{lay out batting making certain it covers entire box, including sides}

{Once I found pieces that were large enough to cover the entire box, I layed the two pieces of batting next to each other and sewed a wide zig zag seam carefully catching both pieces.}

{because I used an old moving box, I decided to use some extra box scraps to cover folds and hopefully give a little extra stability to the box.}
9. Pick your poison: I used hot glue. I'm assuming really strong tape would work, too. I will add, for the longest time I've been using this pitiful little tiny blue glue gun, I've probably had it for a year or two. It works fine, gets the job done. I'd bought the big glue gun that is a high/low temp glue gun forever ago (using a 50% off coupon at JoAnns) and never used it. This is the first time I took it out of the plastic and I don't know WHAT I was waiting for. This new guy is AMAZING! It is even cordless as helpful!
10. Take a deep breath. Admire my little helper:
{my "helper"}
11. Assemble pelmet:
{Lay fabric right-side down, top with batting}
{Make sure fabric is nice and smooth}

{Use hot glue gun to glue down batting along the bottom edge of the box}

{Glue down sides}

{Glue fabric down, covering batting and making sure glue is directly on the box}

{Once I had the bottom side fully glued, I used spray glue on top of the batting and carefully smoothed the fabric down on top of the batting/box}

{Flip box over, make sure everything is hanging on}

{Admire your hard work}
12. Glue sides/top to create dimension of the pelmet. Carefully fold back the side and top pieces. Where box intersects, use hot glue to adhere side pieces to the top. (Sorry I didn't take a picture of this, I was so excited to have everything in once piece!)

13. Glue down fabric/batting along top and sides. Be certain to neatly fold fabric along the top corner. It may be necessary to smooth out batting along the fold in the top piece. This should not be visible once hanging.
{Glue down side fabric, making sure bottom/side corners are neatly folded}
13. Prepare pelmet for hanging (using push in saw tooth hangers}
{I placed one in the center, and two 12" from the center}
{Use hot glue along the push-in points}

14. Make sure everything is ready to hang.

15. Place hangers in wall (notice the three marks about 3" above the curtain rod)

And there you have it:

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  1. I have never heard the word pelmet in my entire life! Great tutorial, Danielle. And your blog is looking fabulous :)


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