Friday, January 15, 2010

Installing Ikea Curtain Rod and Custom Curtains

It's January. It's cold out.

I can't tell you how thankful I am that we sprayed in the foam insulation before we put up the drywall... but there's more you can do to control the heating of your home. Considering that heating costs are on the rise, and we don't have zoned heating, I wanted to keep all the warm air coming from the first floor from rising all the way up to the third floor via the open stairway, especially when it's evening and we're snuggling on the sofa watching a movie.

I purchased some good thick upholstery fabric that matched the carpeting, took a few days over the holiday break, and sewed me up some custom curtains. Figuring out how to sew the curtains was in itself a major project, and if anyone cares, I'll post details on how I did it. Note that I did not say 'how to do it' because, well... I was flying by the seat of my pants on that project. 110" long curtains out of four 60" wide panels that spanned 100" long with pleats. Ugh. That's a lot of thread.

The key to this project was again, my love of all things IKEA. Ina word: Kvartal.
We saw the picture above in the catalog and thought it would work perfectly for us. All we needed was 2 track lengths, some do-hickeys to attach the track to the ceiling at the joists, some sliders to fit in the track, and the hangers.

It's actually a very cool set up, but what isn't from Ikea?

The sliders and the pleat hooks came in a separate box. We bought 2, but really didn't need them all.

So, getting started... finding the joists. You'd think this would be an easy thing, wouldn't you? In a second word: No.

Back in September, 2008, when we were prepping for the drywall, we mentioned that we installed a few hundred 1x3 slats as firring strips perpendicular to the floor joists on the ceiling on the first floor. This was to even out the wobbly joists and give the drywallers more surfaces to nail to. It also helped position the can lights right where we wanted them to be.

This picture above is of the livingroom before the drywall was installed.

So here's the point... using a stud finder... which one of the *@#$^*%! beeps is the real joist and which is a firring strip, eh?

Here's the ceiling area we wanted to run the track on:

And here's how many holes we had to drill in order to locate the real joists:

Looks like someone came in with a tommy gun and shot the place up.

I don't know why it was so difficult. Every time we drilled a new hole and there was just air behind it, we'd look at each other and start mumbling about the insanity of the joists not being evenly spaced apart.

Once we found the real joists and spackled up the holes, we installed the attachments that connect to the track. These little hanger nuggets are just so cute.

The copper part is the part that attaches to the top part of the track.

We went with six hangers, because the fabric is so darned heavy, I didn't want the weight of the fabric to warp or bend the track. Turns out it's a pretty well designed track and I didn't need to worry, but why pass up an opportunity to do a little overkill.

Once the track was cut to length and assembled, it was an easy install with screws to the little hanger-nuggets. Then we installed the sliding hangers into the hanging side of the track, inserted the curtain hangers into the pleats of the fabric curtains, then hung them up.

Now we just pull the curtain closed in the evenings, shut the vents on the third floor, and we're in snuggle city.


Here's the curtains hanging from the inside of the track. What I did is to first fold the fabric down from the top about an inch, and sewed it in place. Then I folded the top down again about 5", and sewed it where the top fold met the fabric, creating a 5" 'loop at the top.

I measured this loop placement very carefully because I wanted the curtain to be right at the top of the ceiling. The whole purpose was to not let hot air rise, so I wanted it as close as possible without rubbing the ceiling paint off. This determined the loop height. I measured from the bottom of the plastic hanger in the track to the ceiling, then added the height of the metal curtain hanger. That was the height of the loop and the location where I needed to sew all the way across.

Your results may vary :-)

Then I measured the width of the wall opening at the stairs, and measured the fabric length (which turned out to be about twice the length of the opening (just lucky I guess as I had this upholstery fabric lying around for a wingback chair reupholstering project that never occurred.)

Fabric length - opening length = folded fabric measurement

Once I knew the folded fabric length it was just a matter of determining what I wanted the folds to look like and how many I wanted. (i.e. if I had 100" of fabric to fold, I could have twenty 5" folds, or forty 2.5" folds.) Then I just spaced out where the folds needed to go and sewed the folds in place.

Then once everything was sewn together, I inserted the hook up into the backing underneath the top fold, and viola: Curtain.

I hope this helps!


Nancy said...

That looks like a lot of hard work but you don't seem to mind that. Good solution!

Elizabeth said...

I happened across your blog while searching for some information on how to attach my own curtains to the Kvartal system. Your home is beautiful and your blog became an instant favorite. I would love to see a close up of how you attached your curtains to the rail! We couldn't quite visualize how to use the drapery hooks while were in the store. Thanks so much!

The Wife said...

I just took some pictures of the hanging curtains from the other side, Elizabeth. I'll get them up ASAP. (Good idea, btw).

Elizabeth said...

Thank you so much!!! That helps a TON, I love what you did. I just couldn't visualize it. :)

The Wife said...

You are very welcome, Elizabeth, I kinda dropped the ball on the full detail and I appreciate the nudge!

Unknown said...

Your post on making curtains for the Kvartal system is so helpful! Thanks! I was struggling with the measurement from the ceiling to the drapery hooks and your pictures were a terrific shortcut/help. While shopping at Ikea I found their gathering tape. In your installation it might have been unsightly on the reverse side of the curtain, but at $2.99 for 122" of 3" gathering tape it's a bargain! THANK YOU!