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How to Hang Pencil Pleat Curtains

Updated on July 11, 2013
Curtains with a pencil pleat heading
Curtains with a pencil pleat heading | Source

Pencil Pleat Linen Curtains

What is a pencil pleat curtain? It is a curtain which is has a pleat tape in the heading, which creates folds in the fabric when pulled. These pleats resemble a line of pencils, thus the name, and give the curtains an elegant, airy look and pretty, even folds.

How to hang them, then?

There are several ways to hang this type of curtain, depending on whether you are using a curtain pole or curtain track. The pencil pleated curtain header does not go through a pole, but is hung with drapery hooks that are fastened to curtain rings or track hooks.

After unpacking your new curtains, it is up to your personal preference as to whether or not you would like to press or iron them before hanging them. If you prefer to press them, remember to read any specifics.

Pleating the curtain

On the back side of the curtain you will find three (sometimes two) strings protruding from one side - by pulling these strings simultaneously the curtain becomes pleated. You can adjust the amount of space between each pleat thus creating a pencil pleat finish to your liking.


To avoid the curtains losing their pleat over time tie the curtains tightly back the first time you hang them and keep them there overnight. This prevents the pleats from losing shape over time.

When you have finished pleating your curtain it's useful to tie the pulling strings together to prevent the pleat from slipping. A slipknot is easy to undo if you want to adjust the curtains.

Hooks for pencil pleat curtains

The heading has three (sometimes two) rows of fabric or string which is where you place your hooks. You can adjust the curtain length and the heading style depending on which row you insert the hooks: a casual bunched fabric at the top can be styled by placing the hooks into the lowest row - or when placing the hooks in the top row the curtain pole will become visible above the heading.

For a curtain pole

For hanging a pencil pleat curtain on a pole you will need three components:

  1. Curtain rings
  2. Hooks (or clips)
  3. Joining piece between rings and hooks.

There are several types of hooks that can be used. For light curtains clips will also suffice. For example Ikea's Syrlig includes all three components: Rings, clips and hooks.

For curtain track

For hanging a pencil pleat curtain on a track you will need two components:

  1. Gliders
  2. Hooks (or clips)

The hooks can be fastened directly onto the gliders on the curtain track. For lighter curtains clips will also work. Ikea's Kvartal includes both gliders and hooks.

Curtain Fullness Ratio for Pencil Pleat Curtains

Pencil pleat curtains are usually calculated using twice the fullness - this means that the amount of fabric is twice the length of the curtain pole. This helps the pleats keep their form over time.

Source: Ada & Ina's Curtain Hanging

This is what a curtain with a pencil pleat heading looks like.
This is what a curtain with a pencil pleat heading looks like. | Source


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