I had to bring in the big guns for this project as my own 'power tool' experience leans more towards sewing machines than drills. So, I asked my husband Bob (who is always a good sport and really tall) to bring his years of experience as a builder to the table to show you how to install this very cool cable wire system. It's a great option for hanging lightweight, decorative curtains, which add height and drama to our Pretty Prints Teen Room. This type of system would also work well to create a room divider or even to hang a curtain for an especially long run of windows.
- Human helper
Note: This is NOT a one person project; you definitely will need a helper - and it would be best if your helper was 6'7" or taller .. cuts down on the step-stool-moving!
- Dignitet Curtain Wire
Note: The Dignitet system comes with 196¾" of cable. You may need longer cable. Our installation required more; and found the same size cable in bulk at our local hardware store.
- 2 Dignitet Corner Posts
- 2 sets Dignitet Curtain Rings
- Fasteners and screws
Note: Fasteners shown above used for layout. Due to the high tension of the wire, we do not recommend these simple expansion fasteners. Once we laid out and positioned our posts, we replaced the expansion fasteners with a nylon fastener that expands behind the drywall for a more secure anchor, like the ones shown below.
- Bright colored twine or yarn
- Masking tape: we used the blue painter's tape kind, because it won't pull paint from the ceiling
- Phillips screwdriver
- Ice pick, awl, or large nail to make a marking hole
- Wire cutters
- Measuring tape or ruler
A few things to know and remember before you start
- Layout the post brackets with the posts screwed in to each one. This is important. It is easier to handle the bracket when marking mounting holes, and the position of the hole the cable runs in is critical.
- The Dignitet Corner Posts are marked "R" and "L" to indicate right-hand and left-hand threads. Mount the right posts on the right side of the bed and the left posts on the left side of the bed.
- When mounting the posts, make sure the post holes are aligned in the direction the cable goes.
- As we mentioned above, but it's important so we'll say it again, you need a good anchor that expands behind the drywall. The cable can create a lot of tension, and will pull out simple anchors.
- Take special care to lay out your posts on the ceiling to get as close to a true rectangle as possible.
- Diagonally measuring your marks and getting the same distance between them means you are accurate.
- Unscrew the adjustable cable post to its full extended position. You'll need it this way to tighten the cable.
Determine Your Layout
- We worked with a rather unusual layout. Our bed was king-sized and set into a corner diagonally. This made mounting the wire posts a little more challenging since we could not locate rafters to screw into for a better anchor. Also, our curtain needed to go behind the headboard, because we wanted to hide the tubs and stuffed animals secreted away there.
- You may decide to simply put your headboard against a wall. If this is the case, you may be able to have your posts mount right into a rafter behind the drywall with just some screws, giving you maximum strength when you tighten up the wire. Keep in mind that rafters are 16" to 24" apart; if you can locate one, you can measure against the ceiling to find the others you need. A stud finder can come in handy here.
- Once you determine where you want to place your bed, decide how much curtain you want. Do you want curtains on either side or on three sides? If you decide to have curtains only on either side of the bed, you can delete the two corner posts, and just buy two curtain wire kits.
- We wanted our curtains to fall 4" from the sides of the bed and 2" from the headboard to avoid interference. Once you determine the curtain run, roughly measure the perimeter to see if you will have enough cable. The cable length from the Ikea package is 196¾", which should be plenty for most installations. If you need more, your local hardware store should carry the same diameter wire. Just buy the exact length you need from their large reel.
Layout The Posts
- Working over your head on the ceiling, is a bit difficult. So, now's the time to round up your helper.
- Our layout was made easier thanks to a handy plumb bob we made on site with mason's twine and small weight (we used the mounting plates from the wire kit, but you could also use a washer, thread spool, or spoon ... really anything that will hold the line straight). Make the plum bob line about 12" shorter than the ceiling height, tie on the weight, and get on the ladder.
- Locate your first corner by having your helper lay the measuring tape or ruler out from the edge (or headboard) of the bed. Then hold the string on the ceiling until the string just touches the measuring tape or rule.
- The string is going to want to swing, so take care to calm it down to perfectly still. When you get the correct position, tape the string to the ceiling.
- Now, double check the measurement. When you are satisfied you have the correct position, move on to the other posts and repeat the same process.
- After you complete the last post layout, you should have 4 strings hanging from your ceiling.
- As a double check for accurate placement, measure diagonally between each corner string: top left to bottom right and top right to bottom left. The two diagonal measurements should be the same. If they aren't, something is not positioned correctly. Adjust accordingly. If they are off just a bit, don't worry, but don't accept 2" or more; you'll be able to tell the curtains are not square to the bed.
- Go back to the first post, and put the ice pick/awl/big nail into the ceiling right where the string meets it under the tape.
- This mark will be the center of the post bracket.
- Remove the tape and string.
- Place the bracket base with the center over the hole you just made. Make sure the hole in the post where the cable goes is lined up in the same direction of the next post! If you need to turn the post on its threads a bit to line up, that's okay. But don't loosen too much.
- Mark the first mounting hole.
- Note: Remember as we mentioned above; the posts are designed to have a right and left position, and are marked accordingly.
- The post marked "R" is a standard thread, and it screws in clockwise. The post marked "L" is a left-hand thread and screws in counter-clockwise.
- Drill the first hole and insert the temporary anchor.
- Now, mount the post bracket in the correct position with a screw. (Some folks just mark all at once and drill. I like to do this step, because it makes the layout of the other two holes in the bracket easier, and is very accurate.)
- Once fastened, make sure everything lines up, and mark the other two holes. Then, remove the bracket and the temporary anchor, and install the permanent anchor of your choice.
- Mount the post bracket with post and slide the cover plate over it.
- Complete installation of remaining posts.
Threading and tightening the cable
- Insert and fasten one cable end into the anchor post.
- Thread the cable through the holes in the corner posts.
- Trim the other cable end at the adjustable post, and fasten cable.
- Note: I had already extended the post screw to its furthest position in order to be able to adjust and pull the cable tight. I then put tension on the cable, and trimmed it so it would seat into the holder all the way.
- Attach the cable, and tighten it.
- While tightening, keep an eye on the other posts. It's easy to get carried away and exert too much force on them. I suggest you only get the cable taut to begin with. After your curtains are installed, you can tighten a bit more if you need to.
- Attach the clips to the top your curtains, spacing them evenly. Hook the clips on to the wire.