DIY No Sew Rolled Window Valance

No Sew DIY Rolled Window Valance

In our newly appointed home office space (which is almost finished and soon to be shared!) there’s a floor to ceiling double sliding windowed door (as briefly blogged about here). The natural light it affords the space is lovely. The blinding summer sun and frosty winter coolness which occasionally penetrates the glass…ummm, not so lovely. This was never an issue previously as the room was used as little more than a walkway, though now that it’s actually a functioning area there was need to install some sort of practical window treatment.

My usual solution in this type of scenario is a simple, off-the-shelf, black-out roller blind. They are cheap, effective, light blocking, climate controlling, easy to use and readily available, though on the unfortunate down-side, they are not particularly pretty. The blind itself I find discreet enough – a neat roll when up, a neat panel when down – though the visible plastic end caps, mechanism and chain kinda burn my eyes.

Roller Blind Plastic Mechanism and Chain

Previously, I have simply hung curtain panels to hide the ugly ends of my roller blinds though this particular window-slash-door isn’t really suited for drapery. However, it is easy enough to install some kind of pretty valance to conceal them instead. Though, of course, you don’t need the excuse of concealment to install a window valance, they are a lovely way to dress-up any window regardless.

I’ve called this a ‘no sew’ valance though it’s entirely up to you whether you choose to use fusible webbing (hemming tape) or a sewing machine – either will work equally well.

Note: the following tutorial is based on my particular requirements and the specific materials I used for my standard window (180cm wide x 210cm drop). Depending on several factors (window size, fabric weight, desired appearance, etc, etc) you may need/want to tweak the process slightly.
Measurements provided are predominately metric. If needed, for quick and easy conversion you can go here.

No Sew Window Valance Supplies

1. A roller blind (if applicable).
If you don’t actually require a usable window covering as I did, then this rolled valance can be effectively used purely for decorative purposes. I used a standard off-the-shelf block-out blind.
2. A length of timber to form the pelmet.
I used a 2.5 meter (8 foot) piece of 70mm (2.7″) wide x 18mm (6/8″) deep pine. Ensure your timber is longer than your window frame and slightly wider than your roller blind (if you are using a roller blind).
3. ‘L’ brackets.
4. Fabric.
I used a lovely mid-weight charcoal ticking I found online here at No Chintz, which I was fortunate to purchase at 50% off. The fabric was 137cm wide and I purchased 2 meters.
5. Fusible webbing (for the no sew method) or cotton thread (for sewing).
6. A fine dowel rod.
I used a piece of 2 meter (6.5 foot) long x 5mm diameter dowel.
7. Ribbon (or similar).
I used around five meters (5.5 yards) of 16mm (5/8″) wide natural linen herringbone I found here on Etsy.
8. Buttons (or similar).
I used rustic timber buttons.

DIY No Sew Window Valance

1. Mount your roller blind (if you are using one) according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Position it inside, on or above your window frame as desired. This will form your guide for pelmet depth. If you are not using your valance to conceal anything then the window frame itself will be your depth guide.

DIY No Sew Rolled Window Valance

2. Cut your pelmet to length.
To get the length for your pelmet, measure your window at its widest point (frame to frame) then add around 5cm. This will ensure you have a slight overhang at either end.

Because my window sits on an intersecting wall…

Floor Plan

…the side of it (at the kitchen end) is clearly visible from elsewhere in the house so I also used a small off-cut of timber to form a little cap at this end to hide the roller blind when viewed from the side (this does create a nice finish though I wouldn’t have bothered with it if the side of the window wasn’t easily viewed).

DIY Rolled Window Valance Pelmet

I simply attached my end cap with some wood glue and two counter-sunk screws. I then filled the screw holes and painted it, along with the center of my pelmet where the two valances would meet, to co-ordinate with my existing architraves (of course you could choose to paint your entire pelmet though most of it will be covered by fabric).

Easy No Sew Rolled Window Valance

3. Measure and cut your fabric to size.
Basically, you’re simply after a panel (or two) of square or rectangular fabric. For my window I created two individual valances, hence I needed two identical panels. My pelmet was around 190cm long so each piece of my fabric needed to be about 95cm wide (once hemmed) to cover the pelmet entirely and, as I decided, around 100cm long to allow for ample ‘roll’ (though the length is not crucial). I allowed 5cm at each side for hemming so both of my un-hemmed pieces of fabric measured 105cm wide x 100cm long. Of course the size of your fabric panel/s is dependant on the width of your window and your desired amount of ‘roll’ (which can easily be experimented with). If your fabric is particularly thin or flimsy you may want to back it first for some added rigidity and opacity.

Easy No Sew Rolled Window Valance

4. Hem your fabric.
As already mentioned, you can do this with fusible webbing or with a sewing machine. Fold each side under twice (so the cut edge is concealed) in a straight line at the hem width you allowed for then press your hems into place with a hot iron to create firm creases. Pressing them in first not only gives you a distinct line to follow when actually sewing or fusing, it also allows you to double check that all is fine dimension wise prior. Once both sides are pressed, measure your fabric width and if you’re happy it is correct, actually fuse or sew your hems into place. Finish by hemming the bottom (this should naturally ensure you create a narrow pocket which is needed for step 5 – refer to photo above) then iron your valance panel/s so they are wrinkle-free and ready for hanging.

DIY Rolled Window Valance Dowel

5. Trim and insert dowel.
Cut your dowel slightly shorter than your panel/s and thread it inside the pocket you created in the bottom hem (as mentioned in step 4). I found that dowel was rigid enough to help give a nice, neat finish (and counter any floppiness, particularly at the ends) though also flexible enough to allow for some softness. Depending on many factors (the weight of your fabric, amount of roll, thickness of hems, look you’re after) you may not need it. Adversely, you may choose to use something larger and/or stiffer to create a more defined roll. It’s all just a matter of experimentation.

Easy No Sew Window Valance

6. Attach your valance to the top of the pelmet.
Place your pelmet on a solid surface (I just used the floor), position your fabric panel/s in place on top and attach away! You can use a staple gun or upholstery tacks or, for a less permanent solution, something removable such as velcro strips, double sided tape or even masking tape (I used double sided tape). This may be handy if you have plans to take the valance down frequently (for washing etc.) or if you like the idea of creating additional valance panels in different fabrics which can be easily interchanged! Although it’s not visible, for a neat finish I folded the raw top edge under before attaching it.

Rolled Window Valance Ribbon Loops

7. Create your ribbon loops.
Determine how long you want your valance to hang down, double the length then cut your lengths of ribbon a few cm’s longer. I wanted my valance to hang down around 35cm, so I cut my lengths of ribbon to 80cm each, which allowed for hemming the ends and overlapping the join. I hemmed my ribbon with a sewing machine though you could use fusible webbing. I joined my ribbon lengths to create the loops using rustic timber buttons which I simply hand-stitched on.

DIY Rolled Window Valance

8. Roll up your fabric and slip the loops over.
Place your pelmet with the fabric right side down on a large clear surface (I just used the floor) then roll up your panel/s, reasonably tightly, almost to the top. I rolled my fabric to the back though you could certainly choose to have your roll/s at the front (though just make sure you adapt the method for creating your panels so they are reversible – you could even use different complimentary fabrics front and back!). Slip your loops over the pelmet and rolled fabric then shimmy them roughly into place then. If desired, you can pick up your pelmet at this point to see how it will look once mounted. The fabric rolls should fall to rest within the ribbon loops. If needed the position of the loops and neatness of the fabric can be adjusted later.

Easy No Sew Rolled Window Valance Brackets

9. Attach your ‘L’ brackets to your wall.
Your pelmet should be reasonably lightweight though it’s best if you can position your brackets in wall studs. If not, plaster plugs are fine. I used two ‘L’ brackets which I positioned just above and inside each end of my roller blind.

No Sew Rolled Window Valance Underside

10. Place your pelmet on top of your brackets and screw it in from the underside.
You should have clear enough access if you lift the fabric valance/s out of the way (though you may need to dismount your roller blind). My soft pine pelmet required no pre-drilled holes and was easy to attach in situ. You may need to mark and pre-drill if you have difficulty. In the above photo you can clearly see how everything ‘goes’ together. The roller blind sits in under the pelmet and behind the fabric panels though can be easily lowered or raised without effecting the valance.

11. Done! If needed, re-mount your roller blind, smooth your valance/s and neaten your ribbons, then stand back and admire you new window dressing.

DIY Rolled Window Valance

I’m really happy with how this ‘experiment’ turned out and I especially like the informal, cottagey look of it. As mentioned above, the now concealed roller blind sits under the pelmet and behind the fabric panels so can be easily lowered or raised without effecting the valance one bit.

DIY No Sew Rolled Window Valance

I think the combination of timeless ticking fabric, natural linen ribbon and rustic timber buttons helps with the overall unpretentious feel, and the subtle curves seem to impart a gentle softness.

DIY No Sew Rolled Window Valance

Oh, and about the plastic chain (which can be seen in the photo for step 1 hanging down the left side of the window)…I completely hid it by anchoring it alongside the window frame using two small screws – one screwed into the side of the frame toward the top (which I tuck the chain behind) and one screwed into the side of the frame near the center where the chain ends (which I loop the chain around). Sorry, though it’s pretty much impossible to get a decent photo of this given it’s hidden behind a bookcase so I hope my explanation is clear enough.

DIY No Sew Rolled Window Valance to Conceal a Black-out Roller Blind

Roller Blind – Spotlight ($35 on sale)
Ticking Fabric – No Chintz ($22 a meter on sale)
Linen Herringbone Ribbon – Etsy ($7 for six yards)
Rustic Timber Buttons – Spotlight ($5 for six)


DIY Fabric Bunting Flags Tutorial

DIY Fabric Bunting Flags

One of my closest friends recently had her second baby – another girl (which, for whatever illogical reason, makes me think I’m going to have another girl too!). Of course with a new baby comes the bestowing of gifts, which is sweet, though does anyone else find it difficult to buy for newborns who already have a gender equivalent older sibling? I mean, when the family already has at least three of everything (likely in twenty various shades of pink, or blue), what can you offer that is special, unique and, from the perspective of the possibly storage-deprived parents, actually wanted?

Well, something personalised of course (at least that’s the conclusion I came to).

For a while now I have admired bunting flags. There are just so many different and creative variations, from whimsical to sophisticated, and they seem to add such a playful and interesting touch, plus they are compact and lightweight which makes them easy to hang, reposition and store as needed. I thought it’s something my friend would hopefully appreciate too, so I decided to create a hand-made customised bunting for her new baby girl, Ariana.

How To Make Customised Bunting Flags

There are about a gazillion different ways you can make a bunting, most of which are super simple (even for an amateur sewer like me) and some of which are incredibly easy (and involve absolutely no sewing at all). As mine was to be a gift, I opted for a reasonably professional-looking finish though I’ve provided some variations in the steps outlined below if you’re after a slightly simpler method. That said, I have tried to make this tutorial as simple as possible regardless. As a ‘learner’ sewer who appreciates layman’s terms and furrows her brow at technical jargon, I wanted to appeal to fellow novices like me with clear and concise instructions. If you’re an accomplished sewer I hope you don’t find it too condescending :-)

How To Make Customised Bunting Flags

1. Cardboard or paper (to create a triangle template).

2. Fabric.
Of course you can use anything. Plain, patterned or textured, vintage remnants or brand new fat quarters. I used simple cotton (a contemporary floral along with a flat yellow) plus calico.

3. Bias binding.
I used around 2.5 meters of 2.5cm (1 inch) cream coloured binding. You can also get some really pretty patterned bindings. You could use ribbon instead though it will not curve as nicely as bias binding which is cut on the cross.

4. Cotton thread.
I used cream to co-ordinate with my binding though you could use a contrasting colour.

5. T-shirt transfer paper.
There are loads of different brands. I used an inexpensive generic paper I found on eBay. Ensure you choose the right paper for your needs – either laser or inkjet to suit your printer and either light or dark to suit your fabric.

You’ll also need the following equipment…scissors, pencil, ruler, fabric marker, pinking shears, pins, sewing machine, computer and printer, iron.

 How To Make Fabric Bunting Flags

1. Cut a triangle template from cardboard or paper. I used a 16cm x 22cm triangle for my bunting.

2. Line up your front and backing fabrics wrong sides together and lay them on a flat surface (so, right sides are up and down).
I like to press my fabrics with a hot iron at this stage which not only removes wrinkles though, for whatever reason, also seems to help keep them ‘stuck’ together.
You don’t need to use a backing fabric though it does provide a little more rigidity and gives a nice finish, it also allows you to make the bunting reversible if different fabrics are used front and back (though do bear in mind that depending on the weight of your fabric if hung in front of a light source the flags may be slightly transparent).

DIY Fabric Bunting Flags

3. Using your template as a guide mark triangles on your fabric. Alternate triangles up and down to minimise fabric wastage.

4. Cut out your flags as marked, from the front and backing fabrics in unison, with sharp pinking sheers. Pinking sheers minimise fraying and create a nicely patterned edge.

How To Make Fabric Bunting Flags

5. Pin the front and backing of each flag together (just to help hold them in place) then sew along both long sides. I used a small straight stitch and sewed around 1cm from the edge.
For a no-sew alternative you could join the fabrics with fusible webbing (if you do intend to use this no-sew option, implement it during step 2).

DIY Personalised Fabric Bunting Flags

6. On a large clear surface, place all sewn flags right side down in a straight line at your desired distance apart then position binding right side down on top and pin it in position (as shown – don’t place binding in line with the top of the flags, instead leave a small gap approximately the same width as the binding fold).
Ensure you leave ample binding either side of the flags to create the ties. I left around 40cm at each end.

7. Unfold the top edge of the binding, so it is in line with the top edge of your first flag, then sew along the visible crease line, continuing to unfold and sew the binding to the flags as you go (remember, you are sewing through both the front and backing fabrics though along the back of the flags at this stage). Begin sewing a few cm’s before your first flag and continue through until just after your final flag (there is no need to sew the entire width of the binding at this stage). Of course, you could choose to unfold and press the binding gently into place with a warm iron first though I found it just as easy to simply unfold it as I sewed.

DIY Fabric Bunting Flags Tutorial

8. Remove the pins and place the flags right side up. Fold the binding up from the back (so it is visible from the front and ready to be folded over the top of the flags) then starting at one extreme end pinch the binding in half (as shown – so the folds are concealed on the inside) and begin sewing it together, continuing right through all of the flags to the other end of the binding, folding it in half over the top of the flags as you go (refer to photos for a visual guide). You could pin it in place if desired though I found it was easier to manipulate it as I went. Sew as closely as possible to the bottom edge of the binding and take care to conceal the previous stitch line (from attaching the binding to the back of the flags).

Note: Regarding the method for attaching the binding; my Mum advised me it was among one of the more ‘proper’ ways to do it. My Mum is a ‘proper’ sewer. I am not a ‘proper’ sewer, and had she not mentioned anything I would probably just have stuck the flags in the binding fold and sewn them in. Of course it’s up to you how you’d like to attach it. If you’re interested in a no-sew option, try using narrow hemming tape or even fabric glue.

How To Make Customised Bunting

9. Use a publishing or editing program (such as Word or Photoshop) to create a document with your chosen letters in your desired font and size, flip the image (it is important to ‘mirror’ the font prior to printing as it is applied right side down) then print it onto the side of your transfer paper as indicated in the manufacturers instructions.
The font I used is Saloon Girl (Inline).
Of course, aside from t-shirt transfers, there are loads of different methods to personalise a bunting. You could; stencil, free-hand, stamp, embroider, appliqué, use ready-to-apply iron-on letters, print directly onto the fabric, use a gel-transfer or chemical-transfer method, even custom design your fabric and have it printed especially by a company like Spoonflower.

10. Trim closely around your letters.
Iron-on transfer paper for light-coloured fabrics uses a clear carrier film to transfer the image to the fabric. This film appears shiny and slightly opaque where any unprinted area has been left so it is best to remove as much remaining white space as possible.

11. Place your first letter in position ink side down on your flag then press with a hot iron for around 30 seconds. Lift and jiggle the iron every now and again to ensure it doesn’t scorch the fabric. Allow the transfer to cool then very carefully lift and peel the backing paper off. Repeat as required with your remaining letters.

12. Done! Hang you bunting on the wall, from the ceiling, in front of a window or on a piece of furniture. You can tie it, hook it, pin it or tack it as desired.

 DIY Fabric Bunting Tutorial

On a different note, I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas and happy New Year! May 2013 be a fantabulous year for you all. Sorry I kinda went AWOL over the festive period. Amongst time spent with family and friends I was working on lots of little – and some biggish – projects, so with any luck I’ll have a smattering of new posts to share over the coming months.

Also, I just want to extend a humongous (hmmm, I don’t think I’ve written or typed ‘humongous’ before, it looks kinda weird) THANK YOU to everyone who visited me here during 2012. Your readership is what propels me to keep bloggin’ away, so really, THANK YOU…and BIG virtual hugs :-)


Living Room Mini Makeover and Photo Shoot

As briefly mentioned in my last post, recently I spent a few days hurrying around the house replacing most of Charlotte’s strewn toys with pretty décor accents instead to shoot some of my rooms for inclusion in an upcoming blogger design book!

Cottage Country Living Room with Brown Leather Sofas | The Painted Hive

I loved having the excuse to dress-up the house with, what is now, the otherwise completely impractical placement and use of accessories; for obvious reasons, clusters of delicate real roses and stacks of fragile vintage books not being my usual choice for the current adornment of any low-lying surfaces! Though, that said, they did manage to stay rather safely in place for a good few days.

Country Cottage Living Room | The Painted Hive

Along with styling the spaces, I also updated a few of the more permanent features. In my living room I’ve added a new throw, some new scatter cushions and a new ceramic drum stool.

Cottage Country Living Room with Brown Leather Sofas | The Painted Hive

I made the cushion covers myself. The long bold striped one is a repurposed $5 IKEA door mat (I bought the mat about a year ago and think they are now discontinued). Being a door mat, it is quite heavily woven so has a lovely knobby texture and visibly dense appearance though it is still surprisingly soft. The cable knit throw was found on sale at Spotlight for $25.

Cottage Country Living Room with Brown Leather Sofas | The Painted Hive

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you may have seen back in August that I mentioned picking-up some new ceramic drum stools from eBay. They were around $40 each (a great price for here in Oz where they usually retail for well over $100) though were only available in red or black – not my colours of choice. Though, being such a bargain, rather than pass them up based on colour alone, I opted to buy black stools (one for me and one for Mum) and have a go at re-finishing one in my own custom shade.

Cottage Country Living Room with Brown Leather Sofas | The Painted Hive

I was super pleased with how it turned out and now, around a month on, even with Charlotte’s ‘road-testing’, it still looks great and has absolutely no signs of chips or wear. I’ll post the tutorial shortly!

I hope everyone’s enjoying a happy, albeit hectic, Christmas lead up! Sorry for my absence of seasonal related posts. To be honest, although I love Christmas time, donning the synthetic tree with pretty fairy lights is, for the moment, about as Christmasy as it gets around here décor wise. I’m sure once Charlotte, and the ‘soon-to-be’, are a little older there’ll be plenty of seasonal crafting and decorating going on.


Chair Revamp with Metal Seat Plates

Phew, it has been a busy few weeks around here!

Aside from all the regular hoo-hah, I spent a few whirlwind days updating, cleaning, styling and shooting a few of my rooms for inclusion in an upcoming home blogger’s book! I don’t want to say too much yet, just in case something falls through, though will be sure to divulge more details when things are a little more concrete (however, I should clarify that the book is not by me or all about me – by no means am I important or interesting enough for that – I’m simply contributing). In the mean time at least I now have some some tizzied-up spaces, complete with spanking new photos, which I can share over the coming weeks.

In other news, I finally finished refurbishing a set of six chairs I bought waaaay back in the Cretaceous period. Okay, so maybe not quite that long ago, though you get the idea.

Pressed Back Cottage Dining Chairs Before

I originally found these chairs on eBay and picked them up for just $5.50! Yes, for ALL of them! They were in pretty rough shape, many of them with missing or loose dowel supports and most of them with badly broken or sagging rattan seat inserts.

Cottage Chair Revamp with Metal Seat Plate

Being completely ill-equipped in the (to me, complex) art of re-caning, I decided to remove all of the rattan and cover the inevitable holes with padded seats instead. Though then, me being me, I had an idea (don’t worry, it didn’t hurt too much :-) What if, instead of conventional upholstered pads, I used metal plates? They could off-set some of the sweet cottage style with a subtle industrial edge and give the chairs that little point of distinction. Sure, they might not be as plush as cushioned pads, though we have some metal chairs and they are surprisingly comfy, plus they are super easy to clean (and the addition of topical seat pads is still always an option).

Anyhoo, firstly I re-glued and braced any loose joints. This included replacing a few of the missing and broken horizontal leg dowels completely. Once set, I gave the chairs a light all-over sand (I wanted to distress the chairs once painted so didn’t worry about sanding too thoroughly). I did kinda like the original timber finish though considering I had to replace some of the dowels the wood was no longer completely consistent so I decided to paint the chairs in a soft blue-grey (sorry, though as usual I made the colour up using paint remnants so can’t disclose an actual colour). With all their intricate spindles, to save time and frustration, I sprayed the chairs using my trusty air compressor.

Cottage Chair Revamp with Metal Seat Plates

I’m lucky to have a brother-in-law in the metal industry so he machined the seat plates for me (thanks Joshy!) though I could have purchased some metal sheeting and cut them myself easily enough. I attached them to the chairs using simple little dome head screws. I then distressed the frames, rather heavily, by hand using a medium grit hard sanding block. I contemplated glazing the chairs to bring out some extra detail in the carvings though decided they were just right as is.

Cottage Chair After Details

I have the chairs in my dining room temporarily and do really love them though will probably end up on-selling them. After all, how many sets of six dining chairs does a small family with one four seater dining table really need?

Cottage Dining Chair Before and After


Spray Paint Door Hardware Update

Hey all! Just chiming in with an easy, non-earth shattering, little spray paint project…

As with our two built-in robes (one in the master bedroom and one in the nursery) which were originally fitted with ugly beige metal tracks and surrounds, we also have an external sliding door complete with the same unsightly hardware with the added bonus of a clunky, though kinda necessary, locking handle. The sliding door forms what is technically a side access-way (into our soon-to-be-finished home office space) though due to logistics, more often than not, it’s actually used as the house’s main entrance.

Sliding Door Update Before

Sorry I don’t have a shot of the door in its entirety – at the moment it’s kinda tricky to photograph though when I reveal my home office I’ll include some better ‘whole’ images. Anyhoo, as you can see, along with wearing messy remnants of timber stain and paint from the previous home owners, the beige track and handle are clearly old, tired and just plain yuk. In the future I might consider replacing the sliding door completely with some lovely french double doors though for now I’m simply after a quick, affordable freshen-up.

When I first decorated our master bedroom I transformed the metal robe surrounds with some white spray paint…

Barn Style Wardrobe Door Makeover

I did the same thing in the nursery with black spray paint…

Chalkboard Alphabet Wardrobe Door Makeover

So again, rather than fork out unnecessary cashola to replace our perfectly functional sliding door track and handle, I decided to make the most of what we already had and opt for an easy, budget cosmetic update.

I considered using a metal effects paint (like antique bronze or iron black) though instead decided to camouflage the handle and track by spraying them white to match the existing door frame. This made the painting process relatively easy as over-spray wasn’t too much of a concern. I simply cleaned the metal thoroughly, taped-up the nearby carpeted areas, put down an old towel and carefully painted everything in situ.

I applied around four or five fine coats of gloss enamel spray paint from all attainable angles until the coverage was even and thorough. And, no, the spray paint wasn’t colour matched to the existing door frame. Using an aerosol is pretty forgiving so I just bought an off-the-shelf white and it blends in seamlessly.

Simple DIY Sliding Door Hardware Update

It’s a subtle change, and whilst the door isn’t suddenly beautiful, it’s no longer an out-dated eyesore. Finishing the hardware to match the surrounding architraves makes for a much more cohesive and clean overall look, with the previously prominent handle and track now ‘disappearing’ into the woodwork (at least I like to think so).

I completed this project around a month ago now. We use the door frequently and so far the new paintwork is holding up great with absolutely no signs of chips or wear. As a cheap and easy temporary fix I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Gotta love spray paint!

Like I mentioned earlier, it’s certainly not an earth shattering project (well, hey, I guess I can’t be super fabtabulous all the time :-) though it is a very do-able, simple yet effective one.