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Conceal a curtain rod inside this traditional-style cornice for window treatments with a formal touch.
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To determine what width to build your cornice, measure the width of the window between the outside edges of the trim. You can either add 2 inches to that measurement for a cornice that hugs the window or increase the length to provide spaces on both sides to pull the curtains away from the window. From a 1 x 6 pine board, cut the front (A) to the desired length. (For the 36-inch-wide window shown, we cut the front 48 inches long.) Then cut the sides (B) to length from the same board (Cornice Curtain Rod Holder Project Diagram). Sand the outside faces of the front and sides with 120-grit sandpaper.
Using a carpenter’s square or straightedge, draw diagonal lines on the inside faces of the sides (B) from corner to corner. Where the lines intersect, drill a 1/16-inch pilot hole about 5/8-inch deep. (Take care to avoid drilling completely through the wood.) Screw the rod holder in place and repeat for the other cornice end.
Drill countersunk 1/8-inch pilot holes in the front and sides, all positioned so they’ll be hidden by the moulding to be added later. Glue and screw the ends to the front and check that they’re square. Measure between the inside faces of the sides and cut the back mounting cleat (C) to length from the 1 x 4 board. Glue and screw the cleat to the ends.
Before adding the moulding, hold the cornice in place over your window and mark the mounting screw locations on the back mounting cleat. Drill 1/8-inch countersunk holes at each location.
You may have to angle the holes slightly for the drill and bit to clear the front of the cornice. That will also make the cornice easier to install later.
From the 2-3/4-inch colonial casing, cut the front top trim (D) oversize with a 45-degree miter on one end. With the cornice frame upside down on a flat surface, align the mitered edge with one corner of the frame. Mark the moulding at the other corner and miter-cut to length. Glue and nail the moulding to the frame.
Cut an oversize piece of colonial casing for the top side trim (E) and miter one end to match the front trim. Hold the moulding in place and mark it along the end of the side. Then cut the side moulding to length. Repeat for the opposite end.
Glue and nail the top side moulding pieces to the frame ends.
Turn the cornice frame right side up and repeat the previous three steps to install the front bottom trim (F) and side bottom trim (G) cut from PVC base cap.
Measure between the curtain rod supports on the ends and cut the 1-1/8-inch dowel 1/16 inch shorter than that distance. Sand smooth and check the fit within the supports.
Fill the nail holes with wood putty, let dry, and sand smooth as needed. Wipe clean and apply two coats of the paint of your choice (Ultra White shown) to the cornice and dowel.
Center the cornice over your window and screw in place with #8 x 3-in wood screws. If necessary, add wall anchors and fasten in place with the screws provided. Thread the curtain rings or grommets through the curtain rod and hang it from the supports inside the cornice.