How to Make an Elegant Cornice and Drape for a Home Library

As with almost every project, my client was presented with 3 original 1/2 scale sketches.    Since this was a round  top window, two of the cornice designs were round top.  The one that was not round topped was designed so that the bottom had the same line as the actual window top.  We settled on the flat topped one.  Having done three round tops in the dining room, this was a nice change.

Round top option  1
Flat top  option 3
Round top  option 2

Once the final design was decided, the fabrics and trims were selected, noted on the sketch and the quotes done.

The quote was accepted and I started to work.

Marked up sketch  ready to start

Often when I do the sketches I'm not certain how to actually make what I've drawn.  The cornice was the biggest part of the challenge.  I decided to use 3/8" plyboard  for the main part of the cornice.  If the plyboad had been too thick, it would have been too heavy both physically and visually.

I used plastic molding to trim the cut outs.  With the use of a hair dryer, I was able to bend them to fit the shape.  Cutting the proper angle to fit the bottom corner was the hardest thing to get.   Luckily I didn,t have much trouble.

Paper pattern of cornice
Sides of cornice cut to fit over existing crown molding

Heating plastic moldinmgs into place


Main part of cornice is padded
Main part of cornice is covered in black velvet

Plastic moldings are gold leafed
1/4"ply board is cut to be attached inside

After the main part of the cornice was constructed, it was padded
and covered in black velvet.

Insert being prepared to go inside

To make the padded part behind the cut outs I cut a piece of 1/4"
plyboard with the same bottom shape and marked where the cut
outs were on the board.

Only the area of the cut outs was padded so that the two parts
would fit together tightly.

Finished cornice board
Next I cut the plastic moldings to the sizes and aqngles I needed.  They were primed and painted  an orangish color and gold leaf was applied.  After they were lacquered they were carefully fit into the cut outs and secured with finish nails.  The bracket element at the top was purchased, gold leafed and attached.

The Swag and Jabot were made of black silk and trimmed with  black and gold tassel fringe.  The tie
back drapes were made of the same silk.  Using a stripe from the neoclassic setee fabric, I added a
black and gold stripe trim.  The actual tieback merits close attention.  I made them to echo the design
of the cornice board.

Take a closer look at the tie backs

Stop by the studio and as always please tell your friends about my blog.

Bill Gantt
Starting October 20 , my blog will be dedicated to Holiday decorating.    How to make ribbon roses and wrap gift boxes like these.     How to decorate a Christmas tree.    How to make a 1/2 upside down tree .    How to make beautiful decorations from roadside weeds .    On and on.