Aug 23, 2012

Pelmet Box Tutorial

I’m an organized person, so when I start with a project, there are sketches and measurements taken several times before even the first piece of material is purchased. To start on the Pelmet box for London’s new room, I took the measurements of the window. Here they are:
From there, I came up with a design for the pelmet box, resulting in:
Also before I can start a project, I like to have all the necessary materials available and ready – in some cases purchased. This time around it involved:
  • 2 foam core science project boards
  • Masking or duct tape
  • ½” square wood dowel, 1 yard in length
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Batting
  • Fabric
  • Trim
  • Ruler
  • Exacto Knife
  • Pen
  • Cutting Board
  • Stapler and staples
  • Measuring tape

Step 1: Measuring and Cutting

Starting with one piece of the science board, foam core board, I turned it side ways and measured my widths and lengths for half of the overall pelmet box. I always measure twice, to avoid miscuts. I use what I call a quilter’s ruler to measure, draw straight lines with a pen as well as to make the straight cuts. I also always place the ruler on the side of board I will be using so any miscut goes on to the spare. It’s also key to cut slowly, and with foam core board, you need to make several passes with the Exacto knife to get through completely. If you try to force the board apart, you end up with ragged or worse, torn edges. Always start with a new blade on the Exacto knife as well.

The first of two foam core science boards

The clear ruler is what I call a quilter's ruler. Note the cutting board underneath - don't want to risk cutting the carpet.
Step 2: Measuring & Cutting the Arch

To make the arch that reflects the arch in London’s actual window, I tied a piece of string to a pencil, measured it to be 1 1/2 feet and holding the end of the string at the lower corner of my foam core piece, drew my quarter circle. I made several passes with the pencil to get a defined arch. Then I cut very, very slowly.
 
You can see my faint pencil line that created the arch
Safely cut out
The blue tape is where the foam core science board had a slit cut into it so it could stand up. I didn't want this one to move so the tape is to secure it and take away its flexibility.
Step 3: Mirroring my first piece
This is where the measuring went out the window. For the second piece for the front, I simply flipped the first piece over, drew the necessary cut lines and then used the quilting ruler to cut straight lines. Viola, the two front pieces are done.
Given the second piece was just a mirror image of the first, I flipped the first over and traced its outline for the second
See?
Step 4: Sides
Given the sides of the box are simple rectangles, it was pretty easy, following my measurements again.

Step 5: Back panels.
The back panels were also rectangles. I originally planned to have the back panels only 1” wide, but decided this was too thin so I went with 1 ½” wide. Sometimes plans need to be deviated once you start to see it visually. The only reason for this panel is to affix the box to the wall.
The front, side and back pieces
Step 6: Connecting the pieces
While on Sydney’s Pelment box, I used duct tape to connect all the pieces together, I couldn’t find it this time. But I did have a new roll of painters tape on hand after having taped off the windows in the new office so Cameron could get painting started. Excluding scotch tape, any thick width, strong tape will work as the connections will further be strengthened by the wood dowel pieces, batting and fabric. One thing I learned later in the project is it may be better to consider using thick masking tape if you have a light colored fabric.
All together now
So you can see some of the securing of the inside
And more of the outside
Step 7: Strengthening 90 degree angles
With the wood dowel, I used a hand saw to cut the yard length down to about 2” pieces. I then used my glue gun to secure these small pieces to the various 90 degree angles on the inside of the pelmet box to strengthen the connections and angles.


The wood dowels in the inside 90-degree angles
Step 8: Batting
I laid the batting out flat on the floor and placed the pelmet box front side face down and cut a size of batting that would cover the front and the sides only. No need for it on top, as no one will see it. I then used the glue gun again to affix the batting to the front of the pelmet box, pulling it tight as I went. The key is to work one end to the next and in small portions. Then I cut any excess batting off.
  
First I cut a piece just over the size I would need

Gluing time
Then cut off the excess.
Step 9: Covering the box with Fabric
Being that I needed to purchase the fabric in advance of this project, I already knew I needed a piece that was 80” long. The fabric was 43” wide, which would cover top to bottom of the box. The 80” length would go from side to side, starting from the inside, so that the back/wall panel was covered as well. The total length to cover the box this way was 78”, but I like to add a little extra just to be on the safe side, so that’s how I came up with the 80” number.


I like using foam core board because to adhere the fabric I can use your run-of-the-mill desk stapler. Laying the fabric facedown on the floor, I then put the pelmet box facedown over the fabric. I stapled on one side, pulled the fabric tight and stapled the other side. Then I did the bottom, pulled tight again and did the top.


For the arch, there was cutting involved. First, I cut out the bulk of the middle, then every 3 to 4 inches cut a slat so I could fold the fabric to the back easily. Just make sure not to cut the slat up to the board.


Just when I thought I was done and was getting ready to take a picture, I discovered why thick masking tape may have been better to use than blue painters tape or duct tape, at least when using light colored fabric. I could see the blue painters tape!


I undid all my staples (all I had to do was get a finger nail under it and pull – love foam core board!) except for the staples that lined the fabric around the arch. I added another layer of batting and for added protection, a layer of masking tape! Then I restapled!
  
Lay the fabric flat on the floor, face down.
Then staple tight

Fabric is on - now just the trim
Step 10: Trim Time!
As an added finishing touch, I wanted to add some trim. Thinking I was going to find a trim that could go up into the arch, I ended up going to Joanns for 5 1/2 yards of whatever I found. When I found this sparkly trim I loved it but walked away a few times because I wasn't sure how it would do in the arch. But, it was all I liked or could find, so I bought the 5 1/2 yards. By the time I got home (I bought it on my trip to Chico) I knew I wouldn't need the full 5 1/2 yards, as I decided not to try it in the arch and just line the top and bottom of the pelmet box.
I have plans for the extra, though, so it won't go to waste. As for adhering the trim, it was done quickly with my trusty glue gun. Even Cameron mentioned how it added a little something extra.
 
The final product from afar - if you look closely you can still see tape. Maybe white duct tape next time?

Close-up of the trim
 So there you have it, my DIY Pelmet Box. Now to just get the room ready for decorating!
~ Sarah

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