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We have some windows with 20+ year old blinds, and the valence clips have broken on several of them. The clip mechanism looks a little funky with 3 parts involved: the valence itself (3" across), a 1" valence clip, and the weird plastic insert in the valence that the clip connects to. See images for back and side views.

My questions are: 1) what are the "weird plastic inserts" actually called, and where can I get replacements, and 2) is there a better way to attach the valences?

Back view with clip Side view

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They're just called "valence clips", but that likely varies by manufacturer. They're proprietary, so you'll either need to contact the manufacturer or do some trial-and-error with parts from other vendors. Chances are they'll often fit the valence, but they may not fit the blind channel as well.

You could also just use double-stick foam tape, self-adhesive hook-and-loop strips, or anything similar.

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