Help me get my curtains off my desk and onto the windows
February 18, 2012 9:54 PM   Subscribe

I am confused about curtains. Please unconfuse me.

I just bought a bunch of (inverted pleat) curtains for my living room and dining room. I have Ikea Vaagen curtain rods to put them on. I should have gone ahead and bought the curtain rings too when I was at Ikea, only I wasn't sure how many I'd need, and they seemed kind of expensive. In hindsight, they are not at all expensive compared to everything else I am seeing now.

So I need some curtain rings, and hooks, or curtain rings with clips, or something. I calculated that I need 120 of them, in fact. This is where I am a little aghast at prices. At the place I bought the curtains, they sell curtain rings at $8 for 10, and that's without even clips or hooks. I figured I could find them cheaper online, but when I started looking, (a) they are hard to find and (b) there seem to be many different kinds, and it confuses me.

1. What are split rings for? Is that what I want? Or do I want non-split rings? How do you attach split rings anyway? Why do they say "only for pencil pleat curtains"?

2. Why is it that searches for curtain rings are mainly turning up shower curtain rings? Is there really a difference? I'm finding metal shower curtain rings as well as plastic, so I don't think it's that.

3. Is there a reason to prefer attaching the curtain to the ring with clips or hooks? I imagine clips might hang more nicely, as I have had problems before with curtains sort of kipping forward when there's a hook in the back. Are clips sturdy enough for heavy drapes?

4. Where can I buy rings and clips or hooks cheaply in bulk? I am in Australia. I would prefer to pay $50 or less per 100. If I could get back to Ikea, I could do it for that, but the nearest Ikea is a 7 hour round trip drive, and the only shipping services I've found are around $300, so it's not exactly an option. I'm looking for a matte silvery colour, by the way, to match the Vaagen rods. I've checked ebay, but it seems only to have international sellers who want to charge me $30-40 shipping on top of the rings themselves, and/or who are selling the Ikea rings marked up from $5 for a 10 pack to $15.
posted by lollusc to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
To address part of 3: If you anticipate having to clean/wash your curtains frequently (maybe because of pets, kids, etc), clips are handy because you won't have to take the whole curtain rod down.
posted by illenion at 10:01 PM on February 18, 2012

Curious - How did you reach the 120 number? I have hung a lot of drapes lately and usually space my rings 7-8" apart. That's 7 rings on a 50" panel. You could hang a lot of 50" panels with 120 rings!
posted by cecic at 10:26 PM on February 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I just installed new curtains and I needed 12 clips per 50" panel. It cost me about $45 for Ikea clips.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 10:44 PM on February 18, 2012

Best answer: 1. Split rings are literally split rings - like a key ring. You slip them through the loops on your curtain tape. They probably say 'only for pencil pleat curtains' because pinch pleat curtains don't have tape, so they need a completely different kind of hook. (Don't buy those).

2. No idea. Shower curtain rings might be okay but only if they're designed to work with curtain tape. (Most shower curtains just have holes that the rings go through. Shower curtain rings could be too thick to go through the loops on your curtain tape).

3. If by clips you mean a bulldog-type clip like this, yeah, I probably wouldn't use those for heavy drapes. Your options are probably split rings, or this kind of hook combined with this kind of ring, with the little eyelet at the bottom. If you use split rings looped through the tape, the rings and the pole will be partially hidden behind the curtain. If you use the hooks and rings with eyelets, the curtains might hang better but there'll be a gap at the top.

4. Lincraft has 100 metal split rings available by mail order, within Australia, for $9.23. They don't seem to have the rings with eyelets, though. You could also try Spotlight if there's one near you.
posted by embrangled at 11:00 PM on February 18, 2012

Huh, I've just searched double checked and it looks like inverted pleats are actually more similar similar to pinch pleats than pencil pleats. So, if your curtains don't have curtain tape, you actually want the hooks I just told you not to buy, along with the kind of ring that has eyelets. If your curtains do have curtain tape, my advice stands.
posted by embrangled at 11:12 PM on February 18, 2012

Ikea sells a box of clips, hooks and what-not for about $10. It should have everything you want, but you'll need a few boxes.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 11:40 PM on February 18, 2012

Response by poster: Yes, my curtains do NOT have tape. I saw the lincraft ones, which is what prompted this question, because I was hoping I could use the split rings. Guess not.

I have 10 metres of curtains (three walls of my lounge/dining room are solid wall-to-wall windows, which is a nice problem to have!) So that's 32 feet of curtains, for the non-metric of you. The rule of thumb I have seen is to space them every 10 cm apart, but anyway, that's kind of moot, because I just had to count the pleats, of which there are 120.

I was just at spotlight, and their cheapest rings were the ones I mentioned above: $8 for 10 rings.

Thanks for your suggestions, embrangled. They are helpful for clearing things up. But now I still need to find a reasonably priced option for the rings. The ebay ones you link to work out to $13 for 10 once I include the shipping price.

For the people suggesting Ikea, please note that I can't get to an Ikea without a 7 hour drive and the shipping options to my town are super expensive (like $300 expensive, which is fine if buying furniture, but not so much for curtain rings!)
posted by lollusc at 11:43 PM on February 18, 2012

Response by poster: (If necessary, I will resign myself to paying $100 for rings, or to waiting until I can next go to Ikea - probably six months from now - before hanging my curtains, but I'd really rather not. It seems like if Ikea can do it for less than $50 per hundred rings, there should be other options out there in that price range too!)
posted by lollusc at 11:45 PM on February 18, 2012

Best answer: What about these ones? With postage they work out to about $47 for 100.
posted by embrangled at 12:26 AM on February 19, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks, embrangled! That looks like a reasonable option. I can't say I like the idea of plastic as much as metal options, but they probably look fine at a distance, and no one is going to be getting their face all up in my curtains, anyway. I'll have to see if they can do me 20 extra, or if I can skimp on putting them on a little to make 100 suffice.

I've also had a mefite offer very kindly via memail to bring me some from Ikea in a month or so if I haven't sorted something out before that, so I'll consider both options.

Thanks, all!
posted by lollusc at 1:27 AM on February 19, 2012

I see these all the time at thrift stores, usually in big plastic bags and very cheap (like a big bag for $3 or $4). I'm in the US but if you have similar places near by, you might try there first.
posted by BoscosMom at 2:23 AM on February 19, 2012

You can get [at least some] IKEA products at Amazon now; I don't know how much shipping will add to these, but 24 for $6.
posted by bah213 at 6:32 AM on February 19, 2012

Honestly, what you wanted with your pinch-pleat drapes were traverse rods, not the Ikea one you bought.

Traverse rods let you open and close your drapes with a string or baton, and are preferred with pinch-pleats because they drape so well whether open or closed.

Then you would still need your hooks, but not extra rings, too, and also the hooks would actually sefve a purpose. It might be a lot cheaper to go with different rods than all those rings!
posted by misha at 1:39 PM on February 19, 2012

Response by poster: The problem with traverse rods was twofold: we couldn't find them in large enough sizes for our windows, and my husband thinks they look tacky. In his worldview, the only curtains that look okay are ones with rods and rings. I've seen quite a few pictures of pinch pleat drapes on rods and rings that look nice, so I'm okay with it (though I personally would have been fine with traverse rods if we had been able to find long enough ones too).

Thanks for the tip bah213, but unfortunately Amazon's homewares and hardware don't ship to Australia at all, even when it's a third party seller like that one.
posted by lollusc at 1:04 AM on February 20, 2012

« Older Should I excercise my damaged knee or should I...   |   13 years? Challenge accepted Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.