Types of Curtain Hooks

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Many different types of curtain hooks attach to rings
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With the variety of curtain hooks available, you can find a way to hang any curtain for almost any look you want to achieve. For example, pinch-pleats and ripple-fold systems create elegant, formal windows, while clip rings and stationary hooks lend themselves to casual styles. Once you've determined the type of curtain, curtain header and rod you'll use, choose the appropriate hooks to hang your curtains.

Pin-On Hooks

Curtains with pin-on hooks aften hang from rings
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Also known as drapery pins, these hooks have a sharp pin that points up vertically toward the top of the hook. Pin-on hooks are used to hang pinch-pleated draperies from a traverse rod or from tabbed rings on a decorative round rod. There are several types:

Round pin-on hooks have a rounded top that slides on a cafe or sash rod, allowing pinch-pleated curtains to be used without the standard traverse or rod and rings hardware. Pointed-top pin-on hooks have a top that narrows into an inverted "V" shape. The point settles into the tab hole on a traverse rod or sliding rings. It's the most common hook used to hang pinch-pleat draperies. Heavy-duty and long-neck pin-on hooks are used for draperies with deep headers or those made from heavy material.

To install pin-on drapery hooks:

  • Measure the distance from the top of the curtain header to the needed placement of the hook top. If you're hanging your curtain from sliding rings that will be visible, this distance is typically about 1/2 inch. If you have a plain traverse rod that you want to conceal behind the curtain header, the distance will be greater.

  • Measure the distance from the top of the hook to the base of the pin. Add this distance to the previous measurement.

  • Locate the pleat stitching lines on the reverse side of the curtain header. At each stitching line, measure down from the top of the curtain header to the distance you determined in the previous step. Insert the pin of one hook at this spot on the header material, pointing to the top of the header, and pull the pin upward as far as it will go. The pin part of the hook should be hidden within the fabric so it isn't visible from the curtain front. Install a hook at each pleat, plus one hook at each side edge of the curtain panel.

  • Hang the curtain panel by fitting the hooks into corresponding tabs of your curtain rings or traverse rod.

Pleater Hooks

Curtains with pleater hooks can be hung on a curtain rod with a track
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Also known as slip-on hooks or prong hooks, these devices work with pleater tape sewn into the heading of the panel. The pleater tape has narrow, vertical pockets that open at the lower edge of the tape. When you insert the prongs into the pockets at regular intervals, you create pleats in the front of the curtain header. You can then hang the curtain from the track or ring tabs in the same manner as pin-on hooks. Pleater hooks are available with two, three or four prongs so you can create single, double or triple pleats.

Other Hook Types

Shower curtains commonly use S-hooks
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S-hooks are commonly used to hang shower curtains; the top part of the hook goes over the rod and the bottom part fits the grommets in the curtain. S-hooks could also be used to hang an informal tie-top curtain from a cafe rod. Stationary hooks are used decoratively; hooks or knobs, such as coat hooks or vintage door knobs, are mounted above the window and curtain ties or tabs are placed over the hooks. The curtain panel remains stationary, but the curtain can be opened and closed with a tie-back at the side of the window.

Curtains Without Hooks

Curtains with grommet headers slide directly onto the curtain rod
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Curtains with tabs, ties, rod-pocket or grommet headers slide directly over the curtain rod and do not require hooks. Except for rod-pocket headers, which cover the rod, a decorative rod is needed because it remains visible whether the curtains are open or closed.

Clip rings use clips rather than hooks to attach a fabric panel to rings that slide on a curtain rod. Easy to use, clip rings can be attached to any hemmed, flat piece of fabric -- for example, a scarf or kitchen towel -- to make a casual cafe curtain.

Ripple-fold systems use snaps that are evenly spaced on a tape sewn to the top of the curtain panel and attached to corresponding snap tabs on a draw rod. This creates soft but precise folds in the curtain fabric. Ripple-fold systems are proprietary, so each manufacturer's system stands alone. To ensure compatibility, you should use only components from the same system

references & resources

Jan Burch

Jan Burch

Jan Burch has written about home, garden, wellness and other topics since 1992. Her articles have appeared in ByLine, Living Natural and New Mexico Woman. Based in Albuquerque, Burch is a Feng Shui consultant and Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner. A life-long crafting enthusiast, she holds a master's degree from the University of California.