Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Jack Valance


Recently, I added new pictures to my website of a re-design job that I recently completed.  My client had great stuff and I made her things work better for her space and lifestyle.

I did, however, buy her a few items to add to her already great pieces, including some pillows, fun and unexpected storage items, and old military file cabinets for her desk area.  She also had previously hung matchstick blinds in her windows, and I made her some super easy valances to layer on them. The valances helped to cover the hanging mechanisms and make the room appear taller!

I have since been getting asked about said valances since I added the pix to my site (and how to make them). If you are someone who does DIY things on the reg', you may just have all the stuff needed for this project, in which case you could spruce up a window-in-need for free!

If you need to shop for these materials, no worries, doing this on the cheap is the point.  If you are frou-frou, then ask your butler to do it for you.  Adding a valance close to the ceiling lends a verticality to a room and therefore makes it feel larger, regardless if the material is muted or multicolored and it doesn't have to be silk, pleated or paisley. The design is in the details, and the details don't need to cost a fortune.

So here's the super-easy-scoop if you wanna make some valances for your place:

1. Find a table runner and cut to the length you want/need given the width of your window.
(In my client's case, I bought her a brand new burlap one to mirror the texture of her existing rug. I cut the runner in half to make two. But maybe you or someone you know has one that'll work for your space just laying around in a buffet cabinet drawer somewhere.  Or maybe you can score some rad retro table runner at Goodwill for a coupla' bucks.)

2. Find ribbon at least 1-inch wide (+),  and cut to the ribbon to lengths for all four sides of your valance fabric.
(Again, I bought my client the green ribbon because she asked for green.  Maybe you have ribbon at home lying around, at that'd be free! The satiny quality of the ribbon I used was a nice juxtaposition to the rugged burlap, and I like juxtapositions for pretty much anything in life.)

3. Burn the cut edges of the ribbon lengths so they don't fray.  This means lightly pass the ends over a flame quickly for 1-3 seconds.
(Don't go burning your project, or your place down.  Use your head.)

4. Fold the accent ribbon in half lengthwise/horizontally.  Iron it down flat.  Now this is the lil pocket to place the fabric in, so there's no fighting the laws of physics.

5. Lay a thin bead of fabric glue in the entire iron crease of the ribbon. Close the ribbon on itself and glide it between your fingers so the glue dispenses itself nicely on both sides & the whole way down the ribbon length.

6. Open up the gluey-treated ribbon on your work table so the glue is exposed (don't do this on schmancy furniture or anything). Lay your valance/table runner fabric down so the edge of it sits inside the ironed crease of the ribbon.  This way, there is equal ribbon shown on the front and back of the valance piece. Get it?

7. Repeat ribbon deal on all four sides.  Go assembly-line-style if you ask me, especially if you're making two or more, like I did.

8. Let them dry according to the glue directions.

9. Cut 2 lengths of whatever you want to hang the valances with. The length of your material should be at least 20 inches long for "play" room (you can always cut the ends if they end up being too long).  Fold the rope length (or whatever you chose to use to hang the valance with), and pinch in half. Now, hand tack the middle of that length (where it was pinched together), to each of the top 2 corners of the valance.  Make a few solid stitches with an old fashioned needle and thread to secure the rope/hanger to the valance. Obviously use thread that matches your project if you don't want it seen, or contrasting thread if you do! Embroidery floss would be a nice option too.
(I used 1/4" natural jute rope for my client's project and did an easy open knot to hang the valance from.  You could use whatever you want as a "hanger" though: more ribbon...carabiners...chain...bead garland...vintage necklaces...yarn...belts...!)

10. Hang them above your window frames, on the wall.  Hooks? nails? Use something you like and that will work in your wall.  Maybe you need a masonry bit, maybe you don't, but know what your wall is made of to hang this project or any project, be it heavy or light, big or small. The point is to add height. (FYI: 'heighth' is NOT a word!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's just not. Can we please at least try to speak the English language the way it was intended? I certainly am not perfect, I make mistakes ALL the time...there's probably a million typos here, but...I digress...)

*11. Enjoy that feeling of extra height that this easy valance brings to your space.