Lets start right at the beginning:
Step ladders: Make sure you have a steady pair of steps not to short so you over reach. Your arms will drop of before you have taken your first lesson in how to hang curtains. Not to tall that you cannot reach the window comfortably without leaning out to the side to hang curtains throwing you off balance.
Curtain hooks for standard pencil pleat curtain tape
Curtain hooks Again make sure before you start that you have enough of the right kind of curtain hooks
Light curtains will be fine with standard plastic hooks.
Medium weight curtains use nylon hooks, stronger than plastic. They will flex without breaking.
Heavy curtains use metal nickel hooks, they are bit fiddly to handle they all stick together the box. Just like the Chinese puzzles I had as a child.
Curtain hooks for bucram headed curtains
You will need what are called “pin hooks” simply because they have a sharp pin which pierces through the fabric and bucram on the back of the curtain header. This kind of heading makes for the best looking curtains. As always the best all ways costs that bit more.
An extra pair of hands
When you are learning how to hang curtains large or heavy it is very useful to have someone standing at ground level holding the curtain taking the weight. This enables you to hang the curtain onto your track or rod with ease.
How many hooks will you need?
Well for curtains with standard pencil pleat tape you will need a hook every 4th pocket.
For bucram headed curtains you will need 1 for every pleat or goblet and one for each end.
Preparing your bucram headed curtains prior to hanging.
The good news other than putting in the pin hooks setting them down 1/2 inch from the top of your curtain. there is no more prepping to do. You just have to learn how to hang curtains and dress them properly.
prepping your pencil pleat curtains prior to hanging:
Standard pencil pleat curtains to start you will need to gather the tape on the top of your curtains. You do this by pulling out the 3 cords in the back of the curtain tape. To start pull the cords out of both ends of the curtain tape and tie them together in a firm knot.
There are 2 reasons for this
1. It stops you pulling the cords completely out of the tape (not a good start when learning how to hang curtains).
2. It keeps the cords together on the end that you pull the cords out to gather your curtain.
Then continue to pull the cords out. Simple tip on gathering your curtains. Take one set of knotted cords and hook over a door handle or some other fixed object. Then use one hand to hold the curtain tape and with the other hand start to pull the tape away from the door handle. You will see the heading on your curtain start to pleat.
How wide do you curtains need to be?
Next check what half the width of your track or rod measures. Lets say your track is 100 inches long. You half this to 50 inches, then add on 2 inches to allow your curtains to comfortably meet in the middle when hanging. So the finished width that you want to gather each of your pair of curtains is 52 inches. The more you learn how to hang curtains, the more this becomes second nature.
Before you hang curtains…stop and check!
Before you start to hang your curtain you need to lay your curtain down on a table or the floor and check the gathered width is about right. Then if to narrow then pull out the tape a little. If to wide then gather in the tape a little more.
what about the surplus cord?
Finally sorting out all that surplus cord and evening up the pleats in the tape. DO NOT CUT THE CORDS! The best solution is to bundle the cords up by wrapping them around all your fingers then tie a slip knot around the bundle. This allows you in the future to alter the header tape should you want to.
Once the cords are sorted out turn the curtain over. You need to look at the pleats and try and even them out. Just do it roughly at this time because when you come to hang them the pleats will move a little.
Last job before hanging your curtains
All most there, before you can hang your curtain you have to put the curtain hooks into the pockets on the back of the tape. On most standard pencil pleat tape there are 3 pockets top, middle and bottom.
How to hang curtains from a rod or pole
If hanging under a rod or pole put your curtain hooks in the top pocket. Also note the number of rings on your rod or pole. This determines the number of hooks you put in the curtain tape. As a rule of thumb you use less hooks on a rod or pole than on a curtain track. On a track put a hook ever 4th pocket and on a ror or pole every 6 to 8 pockets.
Hanging from a track?
If hanging from a curtain track then put your curtain hooks in the center or bottom pocket pocket. this allows the curtain to cover the track when closed. To decide which pocket to use try one and see what your curtain looks like hanging. If your happy then great do the other curtain. If not happy move the curtain hooks up or down to suit.
The 1st step when hanging
A lot of people say you should always start hanging your curtains from the ends of the track or rod and work towards the middle. I Disagree, I say you should always start from the middle and work outwards towards the ends. The reason I advise you do it this way is because if you have
too many gliders on your track or too many rings on your rod you can easily remove them from the ends of your track or rod. Where if you start from the outside in to the middle the surplus gliders or rings are locked in the middle of your track or rod. Meaning you have to unhang your curtains to remove them. Not much more now and you will have the basics on how to hang curtains.
Why do some advise to start from the middle?
The reason is on some tracks and rods, but mostly the corded kind. They have what are called overlap arms. These are short arms made of metal or platic with holes in for the last couple of curtain hooks on each leading edge of your pair of curtains (edges that meet at center of your window). Theses overlap arms allow one curtain to pass and overlap the other curtain by 2 or 3 inches. Thus giving you total privacy.
So what’s the big problem?
So where’s the problem? the problem is that these arms are not very strong. This means when you start to hang a medium to heavy curtain. Especially without someone carrying the weight they sag and twist or break completely.
Avoiding the problem!
So how do we avoid that when hanging from the center of the track or rod and working outwards. Very simple really, if you need 2 hooks to go in the overlap arm then count in to the 3rd hook and hook this into the first real glider or ring. Leaving the 1st and 2nd curtain hooks to just hang in space. continue hanging your curtain working from the middle outwards. That’s how to hang curtains my way (the best way obviously “wink”)
Then once you have reached the ends of your track or rod (removing any surplus gliders or rings). You go back to the middle and hook in the last couple of curtain hooks into the overlap arms. So avoiding putting to much weight on them.