How to Pinch Pleat Ikea Curtains

Learn how to pinch pleat Ikea curtains with this photo and video tutorial. It’s a simple and easy process that will upgrade your Ikea curtains in minutes!

I used to spend a long time thinking about curtains. There are countless posts on this site of me hemming and hawing over my latest curtain DIY, some which were decent, one which was a complete disaster (the drop cloth curtain trend needs to go,) but none which were prefect.

I was about to tell you I don’t know what my problem is, but actually, I know exactly what my problem is. The curtains I want are typically pricier than the $30 I’m willing to pay, so I spent month after month trying to find the perfect budget-friendly curtain option that possibily didn’t exist.

I’m not going to tell you I’ve found it, but I think I’ve come pretty darn close.

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Why Ikea?

If you found this article, you probably don’t need me to sell you on Ikea curtains, but I’m going to take the time to do so anyway. Why? Because Ikea’s curtains are, by far, one of the best things they sell.

I’m not an Ikea girl. In fact, my general Ikea-furniture philosophy is why spend $300 on particleboard when I can go to a thrift store and get something of much higher quality for $30. 

But curtains? Curtains they do well, for a couple reasons:

1. Length – Ikea curtains tend to come in two lengths: 98″ and 118.” This is considerably longer than most off-the-rack curtains. It means that you can hang your curtains high and wide like all the designers tell you to, and still have your curtains reach the floor. Yes, you might have to hem them. I consider that a small price to pay.

2. Selection – Whatever you’re imagining for your curtains, Ikea’s probably got something pretty similar to it.

3. Price – Obviously. If this wasn’t an issue, I’d be buying top-end designer curtains for $500 each. Ikea’s curtains tend to come in reasonably priced pairs, with many options under $30 a pair, and most options under $60 a pair.

4. Flexibility – Many of Ikea’s curtains come with its KRONILL pleating tape already sewn into the back. This gives you multiple options for hanging; with hooks, back-tab style, pinch-pleat style, or with clips. This tape is the absolute best, and one of the primary reasons Ikea’s curtains completely beat out the competition.

Curtains to Buy

In order to easily pinch-pleat your Ikea curtains, you need to purchase curtains that already have the pleating tape sewn into the back.

Learn how to pinch-pleat Ikea Curtains. Super easy and budget-friendly way to upgrade your ikea curtains to the next level. Easy DIY window treatment! #diy #diydecor

While technically, if you purchase curtains without the tape you can go in and sew the tape in yourself, that is a ton of extra work, and not something I recommend.

As a general rule, the Ikea curtains that don’t come with a clear way of hanging (no grommets, no tabs on top, no rod-pocket) have the pleating tape sewn in the back.

At time of posting, this includes the Hilja line, the Ritva line, the Annalouisa line, the Majgull line, and the Sanela line. This is not anywhere near an exhaustive list (they have so many curtains,) so if you want a curtain I didn’t list, check the pictures on its product page to see if the pleating tape is on the back.

If the pleating tape is there, it can be pinch-pleated!

Materials

  • Ikea Curtains with Pleating Tape – See “Curtains to Buy” section above. I used white curtains from Ikea’s Ritva line.
  • Curtain Pleating Hooks – Note that Ikea does not sell these. While they do sell ordinary curtain hooks, the hooks Ikea sells cannot be used for pinch-pleating, because they don’t have enough prongs. Instead, I recommend these hooks from Amazon.
  • (4) Toothpicks – Technically optional, but having them around makes things easier.

How to Pinch-Pleat Ikea Curtains

Step 1: Plan Out the Pleats

Take a look at the pleating tape. You’ll find it has a number of “sections” that are divided by stringy bits that can act as back-tabs in a different life.

Learn how to pinch-pleat Ikea Curtains. Super easy and budget-friendly way to upgrade your ikea curtains to the next level. Easy DIY window treatment! #diy #diydecor

I’m guessing you have 9 main, same-sized sections. This is a guess, because my curtain had 9 sections, and I think most Ikea curtains are around the same width. Don’t shoot me if you have 10 or 8 main sections, that’s possible too.

There are also probably 2 short sections on either end, for 11 sections total.

I put a hook into each of the short end sections, as well as the first main section on either side. Then I space the hooks out every other section. That comes out like this:

Learn how to pinch-pleat Ikea Curtains. Super easy and budget-friendly way to upgrade your ikea curtains to the next level. Easy DIY window treatment! #diy #diydecor

In the above photo, every arrow with no label is an empty section. So there are 11 total sections, 7 sections with hooks, and 4 empty sections.

The two short end sections won’t get pleated, so this configuration will have 5 pleats.

Obviously, if you have a different number of sections, you’ll need to figure out your own spacing.

Step 2: Insert the End Hooks

The two short end sections won’t be pleated, so the hooks there go in slightly differently. I put hooks in these sections anyway, because it allows for a bit more control over the curtain when it gets on the rod.

Basically, insert the hook into the pleating tape so that the fabric lies flat. In my case, that meant the two prongs on either side were in slots right next to each other, with an empty slot in the middle.

Learn how to pinch-pleat Ikea Curtains. Super easy and budget-friendly way to upgrade your ikea curtains to the next level. Easy DIY window treatment! #diy #diydecor

The hook part should be at the top of the curtain.

Funny enough, these end hooks are actually the hardest ones to insert. Getting all four prongs to go through the slots at the same time can be tricky, so this is where the toothpicks come in.

I slip the toothpicks through the slots, which opens them up. Then it’s easier to slide all four prongs into the slots at the same time.

Learn how to pinch-pleat Ikea Curtains. Super easy and budget-friendly way to upgrade your ikea curtains to the next level. Easy DIY window treatment! #diy #diydecor

Once the prongs are in the slots, I remove the toothpicks.

Step 3: Insert Pleating Hooks

For the hooks that will actually form pinch-pleats, the prongs are inserted into slots that are spaced apart. That way, the fabric needs to fold (forming the pleat) to accommodate the hook.

For a four-pronged hook, the prongs are spaced 5 slots apart. It fits perfectly into a section. I’m sure this is intentional on Ikea’s part.

Learn how to pinch-pleat Ikea Curtains. Super easy and budget-friendly way to upgrade your ikea curtains to the next level. Easy DIY window treatment! #diy #diydecor

Insert the prongs into the proper slots. I’ve found it easiest to get all four prongs into the lower part of the slot, then get all four into the middle part, then all four into the top part, rather than get one prong fully inserted before moving to the next.

Because you have more fabric to work with, these prongs are easier to insert than the end hooks were. Regardless, if you’re struggling with a prong, using a toothpick to help it into place works well.

Learn how to pinch-pleat Ikea Curtains. Super easy and budget-friendly way to upgrade your ikea curtains to the next level. Easy DIY window treatment! #diy #diydecor

Straighten out the pleats, then move onto the next hook. Once all the hooks are in place, you’re done, and can hang your curtain!

Learn how to pinch-pleat Ikea Curtains. Super easy and budget-friendly way to upgrade your ikea curtains to the next level. Easy DIY window treatment! #diy #diydecor

Super easy, right?

FAQs

Do I have to use Ikea curtains? Or can I use another brand of curtains?

Any curtains that have pleating tape sewn into the back can probably be pinch-pleated using this method. Give it a try!

If your curtains don’t have pleating tape sewn on, you can sew it in yourself given you have the time and inclination. I’ve never tried it, but they sell the tape for that reason.

I would love to see this process in action. Do you have a video?

Yes, it’s up on Youtube. Go check it out!

Cost Considerations

I think this is a really inexpensive way to get a curtain style that is traditionally considered upscale. However, there are two things to keep in mind:

1. Pinch-Pleating Takes Up Fabric – Pinch-pleating your curtains means they won’t stretch as wide as they would have otherwise. Meaning, if you needed to cover a 110″ window with two 55″ curtains, that’s not going to happen if you pinch pleat them. In some cases, pinch-pleating your curtains may require you to purchase another curtain. Just a heads up.

2. Pleating Hooks Cost Money – At time of posting, the pleating hooks I recommended were around $15 for a 50-pack. Since a 50-pack should cover around 7 curtains, you’re looking at about $2.15 a curtain. Not a lot, but something to remember.

Final Thoughts

Pinch-pleating Ikea curtains has become my favorite cheap and easy window treatment, and I’m so glad I finally found my go-to curtain option.

Learn how to pinch-pleat Ikea Curtains. Super easy and budget-friendly way to upgrade your ikea curtains to the next level. Easy DIY window treatment! #diy #diydecor

And if you think it’s a great idea, but worry that Ikea curtains are too thin, remember that you can always add a liner! I have a super easy method for that too 🙂

Learn how to pinch-pleat Ikea Curtains. Super easy and budget-friendly way to upgrade your ikea curtains to the next level. Easy DIY window treatment! #diy #diydecor

And if you like the roman shades in the photos above, check out how I made them here! (I’ve spent a lot of time on window treatments – can you tell?)

Finally, if you found this useful, be sure to save this post to Pinterest so that you can find it again later!

Learn how to pinch-pleat Ikea Curtains. Super easy and budget-friendly way to upgrade your ikea curtains to the next level. Easy DIY window treatment! #diy #diydecor