Slipcover Basics Video
Upholstered Cornice Video
Merv's Upholstery Videos
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- Make an
Elegant Upholstered Cornice -
Part one: Cutting
Judy demonstrates the methods
she uses to make an upholstered cornice board. For this customer,
Judy made two matching cornice boards. Though they were different
lengths, she maintained the shape and scale between the two.
She determines the length of the cornice by measuring the window.
Most cornices will be going over draperies, so she adds 10"
to the width of the outside casing measurement so the draperies
will open beyond the window. For a cornice without draperies,
she just adds 4".
For depth, she uses 6"
for windows that will have draperies (to allow clearance for
the rod) or 4" for a plain window. The height of the cornice
will depend on a number of factors.
First, how tall is your
room? The taller
and larger the room, the larger the cornice.
How big is your window? The bigger the window, the bigger
Do you have a built
in bookcases or other considerations that will determine the
size of the cornice?
Take a look at the overall wall that you'll be adding to. You
might try several sizes out of cardboard first to get the look
and scale that you want. Judy usually uses 14" or 16",
as these seem to cover most rooms.
To ensure this, she made
a template out of muslin to allow her to perfect the profile.
She folded the template in half and laid out the shape in pencil.
Then she cut both halves at the same time. This balances the
profile with a perfectly mirrored shape. Because she has made
many of these with various shapes, she just picked one off of
We use 3/8" plywood,
usually A-C (this denotes the quality of finish on the two faces)
for the front panel. Number two pine will work fine for the tops
and ends. We used 1 X 4's for these cornices (1 x 6's for cornices
with draperies). We strip the plywood, for these cornices, at
14", and cut them to length. If the cornice is going to
be longer than 8', then we join an extra piece to the panel by
cutting another backing piece of plywood at about 10" wide
and 4" less than the height of the panel.. in this case,
10"(14" - 4"). More on that later.
After the plywood is stripped
to width and cut to length, Judy centers the pattern and transfers
the design to the plywood.
If the cornice is to be longer than 8' (the length of the plywood),
the 10" square gets glued to the back of the butted strips,
clamped lightly and fastened with brads, short screws or longer
staples. Be sure to leave 1" clear at the top to allow for
your 1 X 4 top plate. The bottom of the glue plate shouldn't
show. Some shops use a corrugated nail for this. They're wavy
strips of metal that pull the faces together. If you plan on
using these, then be sure to nail from the back so that they
won't show if you can't nail them all of the way in.
She then cuts the pattern
with a jig saw, being careful of her lines. If this is done carefully,
no further finishing of the profile is necessary. This is not
finished cabinetry and it will be covered with welt, gimp or
a decorative rope, so it's not that fussy. Just try to keep rounded
lines smooth and round and straight lines straight.
We cut the 1 X 4 pine
top piece to the same length as the plywood. The side pieces
to the same width as the plywood minus the thickness of the pine.
In this example, the side pieces would be 13 1/4" each (14"
- 3/4"). She glues and nails the tops to the sides using
1 1/2" ringed nails. Then she glues the edges of the frame
and nails the plywood panel to the face.
From there, we leave the
wood shop, and head over to Judy's shop for the sewing and upholstering.
plus $4.00 S&H
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