Friday, January 29, 2016

Furniture Fridays: Don't be Afraid of Upholstery Nails

Decorative upholstery tacks can be scary to try out for the first time.  There are even cheat upholster tack strips that are offered to help get that straight line on your finished piece of furniture. 

These look good for a while and are pretty easy to install, but let's look at the real, hardy kind of nailhead tacks.  They can take your chair from mweh, to amazing!  

And it's not as hard as you think, I promise!  Those little puppies are so flexible and able to move around enough to make your finished product pop.

 First of all, to finish this type of chair, remove all the previous tacks, staples, and fabric.
 Cover the area of fluff with paper and painters tape (you'll want to use that kind of tape because it won't stick as much to the fluff as other types of tape).
 Paint with primer.  I also put two coats of paint on, but saved the last coat for after placing the upholstery tacks.
 Start by cutting your fabric to the same size as the seat deck.
Then, at the front of the chair, fold over your fabric (as if you were hemming it) and staple it as close to center as possible.
Next, fold the fabric over on the back-side of the chair and staple it as close to center as possible (directly opposite to the front staple).
Then put two more staples on either side of both the front and back center staples.
After placing the first six staples, do the same thing on both sides of the chair.
Then you can finish by placing the staples center to corner on all sides, pulling taught as you go.

Here are some tips and pointers:

  1. Place your first tack at the front and center of the chair/couch.  This is because subconscieclly, your eye will notice whether or not the most prominent place is symmetrical or not.  
  2. Tap the next tack into place by lining up the center of the tack point with the center of the middle tack.
  3. If you find that you are off track and your line is more like a wave, don't panic!  The hammer can tap the tacks back in line quite easily.
  4. If you find, as I did during this chair upholster, that your very last tack just won't fit into place, try finding a spot close to the last one and see if you can find some dead space (usually there is enough to tap them over a bit to make room for the last one).
  5. Tap all around the tack to place it in line with the tacks previously placed. 
Since that was clear as mud, I made a video:

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