How to Hang Curtains With Thumb Tacks

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With proper planning, you can hang curtains with thumb tacks so they mimic the look of a curtain rod.
With proper planning, you can hang curtains with thumb tacks so they mimic the look of a curtain rod. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Hanging curtains with thumbtacks often evokes visions of college dorms and first apartments. Despite this, you can hang your curtains with thumbtacks without making your home look undone. By carefully measuring the window, using flat-head thumb tacks and creating pleats in the curtain, you can make your windows look nearly as well-dressed as you would with rods that are more expensive.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • 2 curtain panels
  • Thumb tacks
  • 2 tieback sets with hardware
  • Drill

Measure the width of your window, and measure from the spot where you want the bottom of your curtains to hit up the length of the curtain. Mark this point with a pencil, and draw a level line across the top of the window where you want the top part of your curtain to rest. This will be your guideline for hanging the curtains with thumb tacks.

Mark the center point of your window, on the guideline you made earlier. This is where the two curtains will meet.

Purchase a package of flat-head thumbtacks in a color similar to that of your curtains. Using colored thumbtacks rather than metallic ones will help minimize the look of the tacks against the curtain. Remove the thumbtacks from the package and place them in bowl for easy access while arranging the curtains.

Place the edge of the curtain at the edge of your guideline. Secure the corner of the curtain to the wall with a thumbtack slightly below the top of the curtain at the middle point of the window. Do this on the opposite side at the edge of the window, making sure not to pull the fabric taut; the excess fabric in the middle will allow you to create pleats.

Evenly place thumbtacks between the two tacks on the corners of the curtain, securing the curtain above the window. Let the fabric bunch slightly between each tack to create the illusion of pleats, adding visual interest to the window. Once the curtain is secured to the wall, step back and look at the curtain carefully, making sure the pleats are even.

Repeat this process on the other side, pinning the outer corners up first and then creating pleats in the remaining fabric. Once you’re finished, step back to make sure the pleats are even in the curtain you just hung, and that they mimic the look of the other curtain. Make any necessary adjustments.

Install tiebacks on either side of the window. Follow the installation instructions on the tieback packaging to secure the hardware to the wall, and use a tape measure to make sure that the tiebacks are even on either side of the window. Hanging curtains with thumbtacks makes it impossible to move the fabric away from the window; installing tiebacks, however, gives you this option, increasing the natural light of the room and adding visual interest to your window treatments.

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