Traditionally, curtains are hung with a rod that is installed into the wall via drilling. However, sometimes you might not want to use these clunky rods and suffer the wall damage that comes with them. But is it even possible to hang curtains without a rod?
To hang curtains without a rod, you can use replacements such as curtain wire, rope, pipes, or other devices, such as fishing rods and hockey sticks. Alternatively, you can loop curtains through coat hooks and wooden knobs.
If you want to learn the various methods to hang curtains without a rod, and you want to know which method is best suited for your particular curtain, keep reading. Before proceeding, remember that all of these methods are specifically for curtains and not drapes.
Table of Contents
1. Use a Curtain Wire
A classic way to soften up the appearance of curtains without using cumbersome rods is by using a curtain wire. The curtain wire has the same function as that of the rod, but it requires smaller holes and maintains the integrity of the wall while creating a seamless look.
Here are some of the items that you need if you plan on using a curtain wire:
- Curtain wire. The length of the curtain wire that you buy needs to be at least the same as the width of your window. You can buy this Shappy 3M Curtain Wire on Amazon if you don’t feel like going down to your local hardware shop.
- Hooks. You need to get steel ceiling hooks – you can find them in a shop, or you can buy this KUUQA 75Pcs set on Amazon.
- Eyes. These Wobe 1-Inch Screw Eye (100pcs) can be used for your curtain project.
- Electric drill. It is likely that you already have an electric drill at home, but if you don’t, you can buy this BLACK+DECKER Cordless Drill.
- Wire cutters. This is a tool that you need in order to be able to cut your curtain wire to the required length. You should already have it at home, but in case you don’t, you can buy these IRWIN Cutting Pliers.
- 1.5mm drill bit. The drill bit should have come with your drill set.
These are the steps that you need to take to install your curtains with the curtain wire:
- Twist one of the eye hooks clockwise into the net wire until it is firmly fixed in place.
- Insert the drill bit into the drill while ensuring that only 7mm is outside. This will prevent you from drilling too deeply and permanently damaging your window frame.
- Drill a pilot hole in the top right-hand corner of the window frame.
- Screw in a hook clockwise.
- Repeat steps 3 & 4 with the top left-hand corner of the window frame.
- Loop the eye inserted into the wire through one of the hooks.
- Pull the wire across to the other side towards the other hook in a straight line.
- Cut the wire approximately 5cm (2in) away from the other hook with the wire cutters.
- Twist the other eyelet in the other end of the wire.
- Stretch the remaining end across and loop it in with the other hook.
- For additional support, drill an extra hole in the middle of the window frame and affix a hook in it.
- Put the net wire inside the hook.
Now that you have a stable foundation, take the wire out of the structure, push it through the two rows of stitching in your curtain where a rod is traditionally supposed to go, and then put it back up on the hooks.
Your curtain wire needs to be cut properly so that it will have the right amount of tension to stay in a straight line while simultaneously not being so stretched out that it will snap. If you’re doing this for the first time and are unsure of where you should be cutting, you can try cutting longer pieces and then using trial and error to discover what the optimum length is.
If you want a more heavy-duty wire, you can use aircraft cable. It is a bit more difficult to find than standard wire, but it prevents your curtains from sagging, and you can adjust the tension for this cable using a turnbuckle.
One benefit of using wire instead of rods is that you can easily install curtains for a wide variety of windows, not just the standard square frame window. If your house contains the more classic, sophisticated windows like the circle half top windows, it becomes very easy to install curtains because you do not need to buy any special types of rods to account for the circular shape of the window.
2. Use Coat Hooks
Surprisingly enough, you can use coat hooks to hang curtains. However, this only applies to curtains with eyelets that can easily be hooked on these coat hooks. Using coat hooks is also not very practical because it is very cumbersome to change the position of the curtain. You should only use coat hooks with curtains that are permanently going to stay in a single position as decoration.
For this project, you will only need a number of coat hooks, like these AmazonBasics Robe Hooks (5-Pack). You will need to buy approximately thrice the number of coat hooks to the number of eyelets that your curtain has.
Once you have bought the required number of hooks, install them evenly along the top of the window and loop the eyelets into the hooks.
If you don’t feel like installing individual coat hooks across the window, you can buy a coat rack that has multiple coat hooks within it and attach it to the wall above. On the downside, you might not be able to use a coat rack if the window ends at the very top of the ceiling, and there is not enough wall to install it.
3. Use Wood Knobs
If you have sheer, delicate, lightweight curtains, hanging them up with wooden knobs is the perfect idea.
Here are the items that you need in this installation:
- Wooden knobs
- Tape measure
- Wood screws
You likely won’t have any wooden knobs complete with screws lying about, so you can buy these Wooden Knobs that come with screws.
Now, let’s begin the installation.
- Measure the spacing for your knobs on the width of the window. Ensure that the spacing is even.
- Mark the spacing with a pencil.
- Using an electric drill, drill holes at the markings. Use a drill bit that is smaller than the screw you are using. Otherwise, the screws won’t sit securely on the wall.
- Drill the screw into the holes.
- Attach the wooden knobs on top of the screws.
- Measure the width of the fabric on the curtain where you want your wooden knobs to be located.
- Cut holes in the curtain appropriately that are the size of the knobs.
- If your curtains have tie-backs, you can also install knobs where you want your tie-backs to be and cut holes in the curtain fabric appropriately.
4. Use Rope
Using rope is similar to using curtain wire, except that rope is not as stretchable as wire, and you need to find other ways to generate this tension. Although you can use a rope for curtains without grommets and eyelets, it is more difficult to push the rope through the stitching where a rod is supposed to be, especially as it is thicker than the curtain rod.
On the other hand, if you try using thinner rope, it will not be as strong, and there is a possibility of the rope fraying and breaking if your curtains are too heavy for it. As a result, it is best to stick with curtains that have grommets and eyelets.
You will need the following items:
- Rope. You should look for a rope color and thickness that will best complement the type of curtain that you have. However, a classic would be this Tenn Well Brown Jute Rope.
- Curtain rod brackets. If you don’t have any, use these AmazonBasics Black Curtain Rod Hooks.
To implement the rope, follow these instructions:
- Install the curtain rod brackets at the furthermost left and right side of your window frame. Use a drill to drill a hole in the wall that is smaller than the screw inserted.
- Tie the rope to one of the brackets using a basic bowline knot. Tighten the knot until it is secure.
- Thread the other end of the rope through all of the eyelets and grommets of the curtain that you are using.
- Stretch the rope out until it is taut and tie another bowline to the other curtain rod hook.
As opposed to rope, you can use a wide variety of other types of strings like a fishing line. You can also use a paracord, although you will need to melt the ends off to prevent it from fraying.
If your curtains start to sag when you’re using rope, you need to untie one of the ends, ensure that the rope is fully taut, and then retie the necessary knot.
5. Use a Fishing Rod
If you’re an avid fisherman, you’ll love this next one. If there are any fishing rods that you don’t want to be using, you can use them as a replacement for a curtain rod. Here’s what you need to be doing:
- Tap in a pair of Monos Curtain Rod Brackets at the sides of your window frame. These can be fitted directly on top of your window panel and require no drilling to install – you simply have to tap them into position using a hammer.
- Put the fishing rod on top of the brackets. If it fits securely into position, put it through all of the eyelets and grommets in the curtain and place it back on the brackets.
Before you start with the installation, ensure that your fishing rod has a length of at least the width of the window frame. Otherwise, you will only have curtains on one side of the window, and it will look very odd – unless that’s the conscious stylistic choice that you’ve decided to make.
Instead of a fishing rod, if you’re a young athlete, you can replace your traditional curtain rod with any piece of athletic sports equipment that you think could be used to replace a rod. Some examples would be lacrosse sticks, hockey sticks, and ski poles.
Simply follow the same steps as with the fishing rod, instead of using your instrument of choice, and you’ll be in possession of creative, Instagram-worthy curtains.
6. Use Galvanized Pipes
Pipes might seem one of the least likely items to use as a replacement for a curtain rod, but surprisingly enough, they can give a very modern and classic finish to your apartment.
Here are the tools that you need:
- ½ inch (1.27cm) galvanized floor flange (e.g., Pipe Decor 1/2″ Malleable Cast Iron Floor Flange 10 Pack)
- ½ inch (1.27cm) galvanized 90-degree elbow (e.g., Supply Giant GMNL0012-10 1/2 Inch 90 Degree Elbow)
- ½ inch (1.27cm) close nipple (e.g., Horiznext 1/2″ Male x 1/2″ Male Hex Nipple)
- ½ inch x 60 inch (1.27 x 152.4cm) galvanized pipe (buy a pipe that is longer than the width of your window)
- 8 drywall anchors (e.g., Qualihome Plastic Self Drilling Drywall Anchors with Screws Kit)
- 8 screws
- Metallic gold spray paint
- White spray paint primer
- Clear gloss sealer
- Cordless drill
- Adhesive remover (e.g., Goo Gone Goo & Adhesive Remover)
Here are the steps that you need to take:
- Use the adhesive remover Goo Gone to remove from all of the metal parts.
- Dry all the parts with a towel.
- Apply a coat of white spray paint primer to all of the metal parts. If possible, use Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls’ Eye 1-2-3 Plus Spray Primer. Spray at 8 to 10 inches away in short bursts at all times.
- Let them dry for half an hour.
- Spray paint gold or your preferred color of choice on all of the parts. You can use Rust-Oleum Metallic Gold Spray Paint or the other Rust-Oleum colors available in their spray paint collection.
- If you want, you can apply a sealer gloss. It prevents your paint from chipping and coming off. However, applying a layer of gloss will also dull the color of spray paint. You can use this Rust-Oleum Gloss Clear if needed.
- After everything has dried, assemble the entire set. The flange goes first, then the nipple, then the elbow, and finally the pipe. Repeat this on the other side as well.
- Using the set, create pencil markings on the opposing ends where the flange is to be. Ensure that this is the height that you want your curtains to be from the floor.
- Disassemble the entire set.
- Drill pilot holes for the drywall anchors and screw the flange into place.
- Assemble one side and slide the curtain on.
- Assemble the other side.
If you’re worried about the pipes rusting – don’t be. The pipes that you are using in this project are galvanized, meaning that they have a coating of zinc. Thus, the lifespan of the pipe is extended because the zinc is sacrificed before the metal or alloy that it is coating.
However, this does not mean that the pipes are immune, and you should try to limit their exposure to water as you would with ordinary pipes.
Although you might have grown up believing that a curtain rod was the only way to hang curtains, that’s simply not true. You can pick any one of the wide variety of ways listed here to add a personalized touch to your home. Another benefit is that most of the methods listed here are far cheaper and easier to install than using curtain rods.