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How to Tie Back Curtains Cleverly

Add extra style cred to your curtains with original and inventive tiebacks. Traditional silk rope-and-tassel ties are fine but predictable -- and cost you an effortless opportunity to inject a note of surprise into the window treatment. Scavenge the house for discarded bits and bobs, from old doorknobs to hair and hat ornaments, and turn your finds into a little window dressing for your curtains.

Basic + a Twist

The classic tieback method for floor-length curtains is to screw a metal or wood rosette to the wall about one-third of the distance from the bottom of the window frame. Hook a silk -- or shiny/fancy -- rope tie to the rosette, gather the curtain into the rope and cross the end loops of the tie in front to fasten the tie.

Typically the rope will end with a loop and a turban knot or a large tassel that slips through the loop. But you can play with this concept, using everything from strips of burlap or wide grosgrain ribbon, threaded through cup or eye hooks and tied in a bow, to silk flowers tied to ribbons instead of tassels.

Easy and Economical

Hunt for the prettiest, funkiest, most-vintage or oddest doorknobs you can find. Good sources are the attic, salvage yards, flea markets, estate sales, antique shops, or independent hardware and home improvement stores.


In eclectic decor, the knobs don't have to match.

Measure the distance carefully so knobs on either side of the window are perfectly even -- you can't fudge a lopsided installment the way you can with cord tiebacks.

Secure one knob to the window frame on each side at the spot where you want the curtain to catch.

Gather the fabric and hook it behind the protruding doorknob to drape the curtains clear of the window.

Crafty Curtain Ties

Grab four lengths of rawhide or leather cord from a craft store and attach jewelry jump rings and metal rings to an end cap for one end of each piece of leather.

Jam the cord end into the end cap with a dab of strong glue and let it dry while you add a jump ring and end cap to the opposite end of each cord.

Wind silk thread around a stiff piece of cardboard to make a high-volume loop and tie off one end of the loop with elastic thread. Snip the other end of the wound silk to make the tassel and slip a large decorative bead over the elastic so it rests on the tassel.

Add as many beads as you like before tying off the elastic tightly in the jump ring so you have a leather cord with a ring at one end and a tassel at the other.

Tie the tassel ends of two cords in a figure-8 knot. Wrap the cords around the curtain and snag the ring ends on a cup hook screwed into the window frame. Repeat on the other side.

Mix and Match

Save scraps from fab wallpaper or thin fabric from toss pillows, and cut them into wide strips to make a cuff that will wrap around a bunched handful of curtain, and get the strips laminated at a copy shop.

Trim the laminated strips with scalloped craft scissors or just scallop all edges with sharp scissors.

Punch a hole in each short end of a strip -- you can use a grommet punch to put a metal grommet in each hole for longer-wearing tiebacks.

Gather the curtains at the pinch-point, wrap a paper/fabric "cuff" around the curtain, slip a length of color-coordinated ribbon through two holes and tie it in a bow.

Loop the tied ribbon over a hook or nail behind the curtain to hold the tieback in place.

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