How to Hang Silk Curtains

Written by gryphon adams
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How to Hang Silk Curtains
Protect silk curtains by hanging them with a liner such as a blackout curtain. (indigo curtain textured background image by starush from

Silk curtains offer a rich lustre to the home. Though the prospect of hanging silk curtains may seem daunting, the main difference in hanging silk curtains--as opposed to curtains made from other fabrics--is the extra care required to prevent snagging. Plan to use silk panels three to five times the width of the window for a highly gathered effect, or two to three times the width of the window for a more tailored look. Follow basic techniques for hanging silk curtains and you'll be enjoying their soft effect within a couple of hours.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Heavy-duty metal measuring tape
  • Stepstool or ladder, if needed
  • Assistant, if needed
  • Pencil
  • Curtain rod hardware, if needed
  • Phillips screwdriver, if needed
  • Smooth curtain rod, such as metal or finished wood
  • Carpenter's level
  • Masking tape, if needed

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  1. 1

    Measure silk curtains from the top of the curtain rod channel to determine their length. Any fabric above the curtain channel isn't included in the length measurement. Measure tab-top or grommet-top curtains from the top of the tab. Measure the width from one edge of the curtain panel to the other and multiply for the number of panels.

  2. 2

    Measure from the top of the curtain rod to the place you want the silk curtains to end, if the curtain rod is already installed. Silk curtains often extend to floor-length or beyond due to the decorative effect achieved by silk's draping. Create an effect called "puddling" by selecting silk curtains 6 to 10 inches longer than the measurement from the top of the curtain rod to the floor. The long fabric leaves a puddle of silk at the base of each curtain, creating a soft, romantic effect similar to a bridal train. For a common shorter curtain length, measure from the top of the rod to the midway point between the bottom of the window moulding and the floor.

  3. 3

    Install a curtain rod, if necessary. A curtain rod is commonly installed 2 inches above the window's top moulding. It's fine to place the rod higher or lower to achieve a desired effect. For example, to balance a room with a high ceiling, make the windows look taller than they are by mounting the curtain rod as far above the window moulding as desired. Have an assistant steady the ladder when you use it to reach high windows. Make a pencil mark at the desired height for the curtain rod. Mount the hardware 3 inches outside the window moulding on each side. If you have a fixed-length curtain rod, such as a pole, it's fine to adjust the location of the mounting hardware to where you need it. Use a carpenter's level to make sure the rod is level. Mark the location on each side of the window, the same distance from the window moulding.

  4. 4

    Screw the curtain rod hardware in place on each side of the window.

  5. 5

    To hang a silk curtain on a projecting curtain rod--the kind that extends outwards from the top of the window--pull the curtain rod apart. For curtain rods with metal or rough ends, cover one straight end with masking tape to avoid snagging the silk. Put the rod's straight end--not the hooked end--through the curtain channel, tabs or rings. Use the same procedure for hanging silk curtains on other kinds of curtain rods. For poles or other rods that don't come apart, push one end of the pole through the curtain's channel.

  6. 6

    Slide the narrower end of the curtain rod back into the wider end. Mount the ladder and have your assistant hand you the end of the curtain rod, holding the silk curtain to keep it from slipping off the rod.

  7. 7

    Place the rod on the mounting hardware. Adjust the gathers so the silk curtain hangs evenly across the expanse of the rod. Have your assistant help you adjust the silk curtain.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid using unfinished wood dowels or other unfinished wood rods for silk curtains, as any rough texture can snag and damage silk.

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