You might have seen them – sharp, metal pins that have an S-shape and are known as drapery pins (or curtain pins).

But what is the exact use of drapery pins? They’re used to connect a fabric window treatment to a curtain rod. Drapery pins are most commonly used with pleated draperies, although oftentimes they can be used to upgrade a flat drapery to a ring top drapery as well. Drapery pins can also be used for some valances. Although most people hang their drapery pins from standard drapery rings, keep in mind that drapery pins can also hang from traverse rod tracks.

Let’s take a look at what this answer really means.


Drapery Pins Are Most Often Used On Pleated Draperies and Valances

You’ll often come across a pleated drapery, like the pinch pleated drapery below.


This is what the drapery looks like from the front. Notice the rings coming from behind each pleat.


But when you turn the drapery over, you’ll realize that the wooden rings aren’t directly connected to the fabric. Instead, the sharp tip of the metal pin is inserted into the back of the pleat. The dull metal part sticks out, allowing you to push it through the loop on the bottom of the drapery ring. Take a look at the following examples of the Euro pleat drapery.

This style also uses the same method of installation, combining drapery pins and drapery rings.



Drapery pins can be used for pleated valances, too. Take a look at the goblet pleat valance below. It’s hung the same way that a goblet pleat drapery is, using drapery rings and drapery pins.


Casual Valance with Goblet Pleats Custom



This pinch pleat valance is no different than a pinch pleat drapery as far its installation method is concerned. Let’s go back to draperies again and look at some other concepts.


What About Unpleat Draperies and Valances?

Unpleated draperies can also hang from drapery pins. However, be careful here. Pleated draperies usually have a reinforced header, so the sharp metal pin won’t damage the drapery. If you’re trying to turn a standard rod pocket drapery into a ring top drapery, you may wish to sew some extra fabric or tape to reinforce the fabric.

That way, the risk of the sharp pin tearing through the fabric over time will be diminished.


Flat panel drapery.


Again, some unpleated valances can also be hung using metal pins, just like flat panel draperies.




If the Metal Shows, You’ve Done It Wrong

Only the drapery ring should be visible when looking at the drapery from the front. It should look as if the rings float on top of the drapery. Go back and look at the pictures above that show the drapes from the front. You never see the metal part of the ring, which is the right way to do it.

To achieve this, the metal pin should be about half an inch down the drapery. If you insert it too high up on the drapery, the metal loop will start showing. Here’s an illustration that our workroom follows when inserting drapery pins.



Metal Pins Work with Traverse Rods, Too

The silk pinch pleat drapery with buttons was hung on a traverse rod. But where are the rings?


French Style pinch pleat drapery with buttons There are no drapery rings, but the drapery still needed metal pins in the back to connect it to the traverse track. Many clients like their drapery to have an overlap with the traverse rod (which also hides the traverse track hardware). To do this, you’d insert the metal pins a bit lower (about 1 to 1-1/2 inches down from the top of the drapery).


Do I Need Metal Pins For Clip-On Drapery Rings?

The examples I’ve shown you so far use standard drapery rings. The loop at the bottom of the ring goes through the metal pin, so the two pieces work together to hold a drapery up on the rod. But when you have clip-on rings, the metal pins won’t be necessary.


Take a look at the valance below. It was hung using clip-on rings and a simple curtain rod only. Keep in mind that this creates a greater gap between the window treatment and curtain rod, regardless whether it’s a drapery or valance.


Colorful Cuff Top Valance


Next, learn how to measure for your draperies (includes calculator and worksheet).

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