Pinch Pleat IKEA Curtains – No Sewing Required

I love the look of pinch pleat curtains. They’re more formal and elegant than the regular rod-pocket style. But, they’re expensive. Even that viral Amazon curtain brand costs $200 per window, which adds up if your home has lots of windows. (We’ve got 25 of ’em).

So, until recently, I settled for tab-back or rod-packet curtains from big box stores. While I was looking on Amazon for hooks to attach curtain rings to a pair of my favorite back-tab curtains from IKEA, I stumbled upon something called a “pinch pleat curtain hook.” Say what?!

I immediately did some searching, and as it turns out … You can pinch pleat IKEA drapes with about $10 worth of Amazon hooks. Mind blown. And how do I wish I’d known this trick sooner.

In case you are also today years old when you learned you could pinch pleat IKEA curtains, I’m going to take you through the couldn’t-be-easier how to, below.

How to pinch pleat IKEA curtains

First of all, let me say that I love IKEA curtains. They’re inexpensive, they come in a ton of sizes and colors, and I think the quality is a lot better for the price than what you get elsewhere.

Something that’s also nice about IKEA curtains is that many styles, including my favorites, the RITVA and the SANELA, come with drapery heading tape installed at the top, which allows you to easily insert drapery hooks to make them look high-end.

BUT! As it turns out, you can also use pinch pleat hooks to create a pleated effect for your curtains, too. It’s super easy (albeit a little frustrating at times), and it requires zero sewing or DIY skills.

Here’s how to do it.

What you’ll need


back of white IKEA ritva curtain

First, lay out your curtain face-down on the floor. You’ll notice that the top has a heading tape with string-y back-tabs. In between each set of tabs, there are rows of fabric slots, which is where your pleating hooks go.

To create a pleat, all you need to do is insert a prong of the pleating hook every few slots to gather the fabric together.

The great thing about IKEA curtains is that they’re basically designed for pinch pleat hooks. Pinch pleat hooks have 4 prongs, and each section of the header tape has 15 slots, which means you insert a prong of the hook every 5 slots. Yay for not having to do math!

To make it easy to stay on track when you’re adding your hooks, I suggest marking off every 5th slot with a light colored pen or marker that won’t show through on the other side, like I did above.

Before you get marker happy: you only need to pinch pleat every other section of the curtains. This will give your drapery a nice fold once you hang it.

At either end of the panel, you’ll notice there are smaller header tape sections. You’ll want to add a drapery hook to these end sections to give ends of your curtains some structure, like I did above. Then, start your pinch pleat in the next section.

It can be a little finicky to get the prongs of the hooks into the tiny holes. A few tips I’ve found helpful are:

  • First, do one row at a time. So, insert your hook into the bottom row of tabs first, then move on to the second row, and finally to the third. (You’ll see what I mean when you start).
  • The other tip is to keep a few toothpicks handy. These are helpful for opening the fabric slots on the header (I found I only needed a toothpick here and there).

Once all of your pinch pleat hooks are in place, hook the drapery rings on, and slide the panel onto your curtain rod. Simple enough, right?

A few final tips:

  • One of the things I noticed after I hung my curtain panels was that the looked a little narrow, which makes sense because you’re pleating the fabric. I may go in and add another panel to each window to create a fuller look. Something to consider if you have large windows!
  • I also steamed my curtains after hanging them, and “trained” the pleats with clothespins for a few days to make sure they hung straight and evenly.
  • IKEA curtains come in a few different lengths, but if you still can’t find a pair that work perfectly for your space, go for a slightly longer version and use iron-on hem tape (AKA Stitch Witchery) to shorten them.

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