If you are creating a rustic glam look, these pallet valences are a really nice touch and pretty easy to make. We used them in the lobby of our business with red velvet like curtains and really like the look.
Step 1: Prep Work
Measure the area for your valence. Decide how close to the ceiling and the best mounting method (we used 2x4s and metal brackets attached to the metal window panes between large office windows). Once you know your measurements choose your backboard (we used hardboard because we had it handy, but you could use even heavy cardboard for a small valence) and as many straight pallet boards as you might need. Cut your hardboard to be one inch shorter than the height of your valence so it will not be visible from the bottom.
Step 2: Arrange and Attach Wood to Backer
For this step, I simply lay down the hardboard backer and arranged the pallet wood on it (being sure to overhang an inch at the bottom of the backboard). We trimmed some pieces and created some shims to fill any large gaps to achieve the look we wanted. Then, I moved the arranged wood from the hardboard and placed it on the floor in the same order above the hardboard backer. We now used a heavy duty all purpose adhesive on the hardboard. Next we quickly laid the boards back on the hardboard in the predetermined arrangement and weighted each section for at least 24 hours (we were super fancy with kettle bells and propane tanks and other official weight devices). When the glue was dry, we flipped the whole thing over and added a lot of staples. Now the valences are ready to mount in the wall/window unless you want to make some cosmetic alterations.
At this point, I also applied a little stain to a few of the boards that looked a little to clean to be called rustic. I used our go-to "rusticating" agent, "Black Magic". Black Magic is a little mixture my husband came up with of about a teaspoon of cheap acrylic black paint squirted into a water bottle with about 12 ounces of water in it. Shake the mixture, poor into a paper bowl and apply with a paintbrush, sponge brush or rag and immediately rub off with a rag or shop towel. Voilà, old, rustic looking wood!
Step 3: If Building a Very Long Valence
We had a section of valence that was over ten feet long. This would be very heavy and difficult to mount all in one piece. So, we made two hardboard segments (of about four and six feet each) and, when arranging the wood, we made overlaps so there would not be a distinct line in the middle of the valence. Some wood from each piece of the long valence fit into the other piece like a puzzle. We did this by putting the two pieces of hardboard on the floor next to each other (just like they would be when hung) and arranging the pallet wood on top. Then, when glueing we just made sure we didn't glue the overlapping pieces to the other board (I still glued a couple to the adjacent board because I'm awesome like that). We separated the sections for the drying/weighting process. This also created more stability for the intersection of the two pieces. We had a little trouble with fitting together when mounting, but nothing that a rubber mallet and our sweet dremel, Dremeline couldn't fix.
Step 4: If Integrating a Curtain Hanging System
At this point, if you are hanging a regular size valence on a regular size window, I recommend to hang your curtain with a traditional rod that will fit behind the valence. Valence mounting instructions to follow in the next step.
We needed to create a system to hang our curtains since the only surfaces we had were metal panes and floor to ceiling Windows. The easiest solution we came up with was to use the 2x4s that comprised our valence mounting system to also hold the curtain. We drilled holes in the 2x4s with a 1.5 inch spade bit (we used both a drill and a drill press, both worked well). Once we attached the 2x4s to the metal panes (using a straight bracket screwed to the 2x4 and 2 inch self tapping screws for the metal), the holes all lined up exactly 9 inches from the ceiling (our valence was 14 inches and we used 10 inch lengths of 2x4s so they would not be visible from below. The hole was drilled one inch from the bottom end of the 2x4 and 2x4 was mounted an inch from the ceiling). We threaded lengths of one inch schedule 40 PVC pipe through the holes and attached our curtain with hooks. We used two lengths of pipe and a connector for the ten foot section. A two inch screw was drilled into the end of the pipe to keep it from sliding out of the holes. At this point, it was none-too-pretty, but ready for the valence.
Step 5: Mounting the Valence
If you are mounting your valence to a regular sheet rock wall over a traditional curtain rod, I recommend that you mount a 2x4 to the wall about an inch from each end of your valence (use a couple of L brackets facing inward toward the window). The 2x4 would ideally be a couple of inches shorter than your valence and mounted so the top of your valence is flush (but not visible) with the top of your 2x4 and you have at least a couple inches of clearance at the bottom so the 2x4 is not visible. Once the 2x4s are secured, use a staple/nail gun to fix the valence to the 2x4s. You may also want to finish off your valence by adding a piece of pallet wood cut to size as an end cap on each edge. This should finish you up!
We took our ten inch lengths of 2x4 with the pre-drilled curtain rod holes and affixed a straight bracket using screws. We then used self tapping screws to attach the bracket and 2x4 to the metal window panes. Next we lifted the completed valence (or for the ten foot section, the valence segments) and held in place while using one inch nails from a pneumonic nail gun to secure the valence to the 2x4. I then cut end caps to fit the exposed ends and used the nail gun to attach. Finally I blew the smoke from my nail gun and flourished it like a gunslinger. This last step is optional.
We also created a small corner valence that we mounted by fabricating a cross beam with the 2x4s attached. We then mounted the valence to the cross beam and pre-drilled curtain mount 2x4s. This is when we coincidentally discovered that our corners are not actually 90 degree angles and I demonstrated my sweet sawstress skills to the amazement of my dad and husband.
Step 6: Finishing Up
During the process of mounting the valences, regardless of all the glueing and stapling that we did, a few of our boards came loose or, in the case of the two part long valence, had to be trimmed with a skill saw or Dremeline. For the boards that came loose, I reapplied the multipurpose adhesive and used clamps directly on the valence and left for a couple of days. The boards have stayed attached with no problem for several months at this point.
For inquiring minds, these are the measurements of our valances:
All valences were 14 inches high with a 13 inch backboard. We made two three foot valences (for the cross corner curtains), one valence a little more than ten feet long with two sections of approximately four and six feet, and a four foot valence.
The 2x4s used to hang the window valences were ten inches long. They were mounted one inch from the ceiling and the curtain rod hole was drilled with the bottom of the hole one inch from the bottom of the 2x4.
Our curtains are 98 inches hung on floor to ceiling nine foot Windows.
I hope you enjoyed this instructable and found it helpful. Please feel free to message us with any questions!