Pipe and Drape: What is it?

Pipe and drape systems can create seamless wall transitions cover windows, doors, doorways, and unsightly walls or be used to create temporary divisions in an event space. Pipe and Drape can also provide a visually clean backdrop for wedding altars, stages and much more. Strategically placed pipe & drape can transform a large room in to a more intimate and beautiful area. So what is pipe and drape?



The Fundamentals:

1. Base Plate- All strong buildings are built on a solid foundation. The same goes for Pipe and drape displays. A quality pipe and drape display starts with bases ranging from 6 to 62 pounds determined by using a formula based on the height and weight of the drapery used.

2. Telescoping Upright- Uprights are inserted into the bases and will serve as supports for the headers and drapery. By using telescoping uprights, a variety of heights can be utilized to customize the look and feel of your pipe and drape display.

3. Header or Crossbar- The header, also referred to as the crossbar, is the horizontal support pole from which the drapery is suspended. Each header is attached to an upright.

4. Sandbags- If necessary, sandbags or additional weights are placed on the bases to provide extra stability. As a safety precaution, we recommend sand bags for all pipe and drape displays over 7 feet tall.

5. Drape- Evans Audio-Visual offers a wide variety of drape from sheer fabrics to heavy velour. These materials can be used for anything from a traditional pipe and drape rig to elegant entrance-ways, wedding canopies, cabanas and more. All of our fabrics are IFR (Inherently Flame Retardant). This is a requirement in many venues today.

Special Features: “NO MORE BUMPS”

Most pipe and drape displays in use today utilize traditional upright hardware. These old-style units create an unsightly “bump” at each intersection of header and upright. Our modern hardware incorporates an innovative technique that results in your drapery lying flat across the horizontal and upright intersection. This creates an elegant and smooth, straight look. Here is an example of velour drape installed on both traditional and modern hardware.


"How Much Pipe and Drape Do I Need?"

Determining how much pipe and drape is needed for an installation may sound simple, but many forget to take into account fullness when performing their calculations. Fullness is the gathering of drapery material to make it thicker. It is industry standard to refer to fullness as a percentage, most commonly zero fullness, fifty-percent fullness and one-hundred percent fullness. Different levels of fullness result in different visual appeals and offer varying utilitarian benefits including sound absorption. When sewn in, fullness is obtained when additional fabric is added to the drapery via pleats. In most temporary pipe and drape systems, fullness is achieved by gathering the drapery to reach the desired level. When ordering pipe and drape installations for an event, it is absolutely necessary to understand fullness, know what fullness you desire and calculate accordingly.

Flat Drape: On some occasions it is desirable to have the length of the drape equal to the length of desired space. This is known as zero fullness or Flat drape. Flat drape has no texture. It can be useful as a projection and lighting backdrop or simply as camouflage.

50% Fullness: This is a classic pipe and drape effect. A 50% fullness look is attained by adding an additional 50% to the total length of the space to be draped. For example, if the event space is 100ft long, it would require 150ft of drapery.

100% Fullness: For maximum effect you may choose to go with 100% fullness. Simply double the total length of the space to be draped to determine the correct amount of drapery needed. For example, a 100ft length of pipe would require 200ft of drapery.


The importance of pipe and drape systems in the event industry is difficult to deny. Pipe and drape is versatile and can be an integral component in any event design plan. The information provided here should prove helpful and assist you in determining your needs and understanding pipe and drape systems.