So we’re finally ready to do the big “reveal” of our past week’s work. This is by far the most ambitious RV mod we’ve done solo so far, especially given we had zero experience with fabrics before this. Most of our steps were derived from reverse-engineering our existing valances and asking around on forums and at fabric shops. Overall, once we got the hang of it, it was a straightforward project, and the result is (if I say so myself) stunning. A total updated interior look for under $100!
We completed the valence re-wrapping in ~3 days of work scattered over the space of a week. One full day to remove all the old material (including about 3000 staples…argh!), and two days to saw the wood edges (we went from curved to straight), re-wrap and re-assemble. Some folks will wrap over old coverings, but I feel you get a neater and more professional look by removing all material down to the original wood and starting from scratch. This is a longer mod post, but hopefully it will inspire and guide those of you who decide to do it for yourselves.
1/ Materials List
The entire project for our living room (4 windows) was done for under $100, including the purchase of a new staple gun. Here is the full materials list
- Upholstery Fabric – Finding the right fabric is the biggest challenge of this project. I highly recommend a thicker or upholstery-type material rather than a thin cotton so that it does not stretch or deform as you’re wrapping. Thicker material will also give a cleaner look. Our project took 3 yards of fabric ($36)
- Quilt Batting – We used a 6-oz quilt batting behind the fabric to give it a smooth and upholstered look. You can also use foam, but we found the quilt batting was a tad more “squishy” and gave a cleaner finish. Batting is optional, but it’s cheap and I feel it gives a nice touch to the project. Our project took 3 yards ($9)
- Fabric Glue – We used Fabri-Tac Glue to attach our base and cover. The glue is a little pricey ($15 for a large bottle), but totally worth it. It’s safe for all types of fabric and backing, dries clear and has a little “give” which will alow you to work the material (and correct alignment mistakes) for a few minutes before it sets. Once it sets, it is rock-hard.
- Staple Gun – We bought a DeWalt Heavy Duty Staple Gun ($20) which was just fabulous. This is the highest-rated staple gun we could find and fired true everytime. It can do nails too. We also bought 5000 pieces of 5/16″ staples, 8mm wide ($10).
- Miscellaneous – A good pair of scissors and measuring tape, iron & ironing board, cat and dog (the latter two being optional)
2/ Applying The Batting Material
We decided to use 6 oz quilt batting on all our valances. It gives them a pleasing rounded, smooth look. This is optional, but it’s a cheap step and I highly recommend it. Here are the basic steps:
- Apply fabric glue to your base
- Press on the quilt batting
- Trim the edges
- And voilà…the base is done!
3/ Wrapping the Outer Valence
Wrapping the valence is actually really easy. The trick is to secure one side first and then firmly stretch and smooth your material around the valence before you secure the other side. Also it helps to cut darts into the corners before you wrap them so that the corners are not overly plump and fold cleanly. Once again, here are the steps:
- Cut your material to size
- Apply fabric glue to one edge
- Wrap the edge around one side of the valence. This is the time to make sure your alignment is right. You’ll have a few minutes to work the edge before the glue sets.
- Staple your edge
- Apply fabric glue to the remainder of the fabric
- Stretch and wrap the fabric around the valence. You’ll want to put some force behind the stretch to get a tight look.
- Work and smooth out any wrinkles before the glue sets
- Staple the remaining side in place
- Cut darts into the corners of the valence to remove excess material
- Glue and fold the corner like a Christmas present
- Staple and secure
- And voilà….the outer valence is done!
Note/ We did not hem our fabric edges since we felt the glue was enough, but those of you with sewing machines (and the extra gumption) could decide to add this as an extra step before wrapping.
4/ Finishing The Inside Of The Valence
Because of the unique circle pattern of our fabric we decided to finish the inside of our valence with some recovered material from our old wrappings, just to make the look more harmonious. This is purely a cosmetic step and you could easily skip it by simply deciding to leave the inside bare, or wrapping your outer material the whole way around. If you decide to do this extra step here it is:
- Cut your inner piece to size and iron a thin fold along all 4 sides to create a clean edge
- Glue the inner piece into the inside of the valence
- Staple along the edges
- And voilà….the valences are finished!
That’s pretty much it. Once all our valances were wrapped we simply re-assembled and clipped in our new MCD shades (separate post coming on that). So far we’ve only redone our front (living room) windows, but have enjoyed the project and results so much that we’re out hunting for fabric for our bedroom too. Pretty neat mod, and if we can do it anyone can!
Got a cool RV mod of your own? Feel free to e-mail me with photos and details and I’ll highlight it on the blog in a future post. Full credit will be yours!
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