Rustic wood window valances: Make your own

Hey everyone!  It's time to share this genius idea my husband and I came up with.    Well, we think it's genius, and it has worked out beautifully in our home.  With the long weekend approaching, maybe this could be your next home project?  In any case, we hope you like the idea as much as we do! 

Good-bye long window rods

If you have curtains or panels on your windows, you are probably using a window rod to hang them.  You probably also have a bare window rod hovering over the entire length of your window.  Have a room full of 8 smaller windows?  Then you've got the "rod hover" syndrome on every single one of your windows.  

Do you have a giant window that spans the whole length of your wall?  It's time to get rid of that long bare rod rubbish, and tackle it for good.....

The Solution:  Wood valances

This tutorial will eliminate that annoying window rod. It will leave you with rustic stained wood awesomeness above your windows, not to mention a VERY simple way to adjust your curtains (especially if you're a non-sewer!) 

I wish I had more detailed step by step pictures to share with you today, but this will at least get you pointed in the right direction.   ( I took zero pictures when we constructed these window valances.  What was I thinking?) 

Karl and Kate's awesome all-in-one curtain hanging system and valance

Materials:

  • Wood boards.  Measurements:  1x6 foot, or 1x8 foot. We used pine. Cheap and stains nicely. 
  • Saw to cut your wood (or ask Menards or Home Depot to do it for you)
  • Stain and foam brush or T-shirt (the cheap-o foam brushes)
  • Drill (for drilling L-brackets into the wall, and to the boards)
  • L-brackets (they come with screws). The amount you use per valance depends on your window/valance size. We used 6 per valance. 

The width of your boards depends on how wide (thick) you want your valances to be.  So, when you look at your window, do you want your wood valance to be big and wide, or small and on the narrower side?  

We used 1x6 foot boards.  This width was perfect for the room. 

How to make them:

  • Measure your window width.   Then decide how long your want your board to span across the top of your window.  Cut your board so it is at least 4 inches beyond your window width.  Example: window width: 48 inches.  Board length: 56 inches.   

Extending this board allows room for your curtains/panels to hang down on each side of the window without blocking the actual window/daylight.  (this technique makes your windows look bigger too) 

TIP: If you have thicker curtains, extend your board at least 6 inches beyond the window width.

  • Now measure and cut two small boards for each side of your valance. This measurement will depend on how far you want your valance to jut out from your window.   Our smaller boards are 6" in length.  They don't stick out a bunch, but enough to allow room for the curtain panels. 
  • Now you have 3 pieces of pine board
  • Stain or paint them. Let dry.  
  • Attach the 3 pieces using L-brackets (see picture). If drills scare you, enlist hubby, friend, dad, or anyone who knows how to use a drill. The brackets will need to be drilled into your valance, and into the wall.  We used two L-brackets on each corner of the valance as you see below:  (so a total of 4 L-brackets for one valance) 
The picture above is a look from the inside of the window valance. You can see the wood isn't stained on that side. NO ONE will ever see that so you don't have to worry about it

The picture above is a look from the inside of the window valance. You can see the wood isn't stained on that side. NO ONE will ever see that so you don't have to worry about it

We used two smaller L-brackets to attach the three wood pieces in each corner of the valance, and one larger L-bracket on each end to attach the whole valance unit to the wall.  

We used two smaller L-brackets to attach the three wood pieces in each corner of the valance, and one larger L-bracket on each end to attach the whole valance unit to the wall.  

Once your three pieces of wood are drilled together, you are done making the valance. Now, drill your bigger L-bracket to the end of the valance.  (so you will have 1 large L-brackets screwed into each said of one valance (on the back, as pictured above)

Now, you're ready to determine where you will position the valance in relation to your window. Make sure the valance is centered over your window (each side equally extends beyond your window frame).  Use a level to help ensure your valance is straight.  

When it's positioned where you want it, your bigger L-brackets will be flush against your wall.  (see picture below).   Make pencil marks onto the wall, inside the L-brackets drill holes. (this is helpful if you need to stop at this point, then later you'll know exactly where to line up your valance for the final drilling).  

When you're ready, you will drill your screws through the bracket holes and into your wall.  See in the picture below: 

Now your wood valance is hung.   Awesome! 

Last step.....hanging your curtain panels!  The best part about this method, is that you don't need to drill any more holes into your wall to secure a curtain rod. All you need now, is a...... 

Tension rod!

Tension rods are not as sturdy as "real" curtain rods, but if your curtains don't weigh 20 pounds, (and most don't) you can totally get away with this method.   The tension rod will span the length of your new wood valance, on the inside of it (see picture above). The rod will be completely out of sight.  Place your curtain panels onto the tension rod, and stick your tension rod into your window valance. 

Hey non-sewers!   You're going to love this.....

You can adjust the height of your curtains by changing the position of your tension rod inside your valance.  For example, if your curtains are too "high water", just move your tension rod to the bottom of your valance, until your panels are touching the floor appropriately.

If your curtains are too long and you don't want them dragging on the floor, just move your tension rod to the top end of your valance.   Out of sight out of mind.  And great looking windows! 

Are your curtains STILL too long even after moving your tension rod all the way to the top of the valance?   TRY THIS:

This was our problem too.   My remedy:   I folded over the top of each panel until I had the length I wanted.  Then I attached rings clips to the "new" panel top edge (see picture below:)

I ALSO had to place the window rod as far up on the inside of the valance as possible.  THAT'S how long our curtains were (108" to be exact). Now they hang beautifully, and just touch the floor. Perfect length. 

Poor picture quality (difficulty capturing the panel beside the daylight).  You can hopefully see the general idea of how the panel hangs down nicely from behind the valance

Poor picture quality (difficulty capturing the panel beside the daylight).  You can hopefully see the general idea of how the panel hangs down nicely from behind the valance

Benefits of the wood window valance: 

These wood window valances are a simple way to dress up your windows, while adding a rustic touch. to any room.  You can easily change out your curtains because the tension rod comes off so quickly, and easily.  No screws to tighten the rod ends (like  traditional window rods). Additionally, you are not limited to a particular panel length when you're out shopping, because this wood valance allows for so much flexibility!    If you see panels on sale that aren't the right length for your windows, think about the methods I shared with you today!    

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Make this valance work in your favor (and your room's!).  Why not give it a try?! 

See more tutorials for your Memorial Day weekend to-do lists below!!!