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What are Upholstery Tacks?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Upholstery tacks are specially designed nails that are used to secure upholstery fabric to a frame. These upholstery nails are somewhat similar to the shank nails used to secure building materials to concrete blocks. Upholstery tacks are available in both utility and decorative designs, making them ideal for a wide range of upholstery projects.

The basic upholstery tack is usually made of iron or steel and is configured with a flat head. The point of the knife is sharp pointed, helping the device to drive into wooden frames with ease. Available in several sizes, these plain upholstery tacks are ideal for projects like attaching the protective mesh on the underside of a chair or sofa, as well as securing the upholstery material over the padding and to the back, seat, and arms of the furniture frame.

In most designs, the basic tack is intended to not be visible when the upholstery job is complete. However, there are decorative tacks that not only help to hold the material in place, but also add visual interest to the finished look of the upholstered piece. These upholstery tacks often come with round heads and are made with brass. Other shapes such as squares or diamonds are also relatively common. One of the classic looks for upholstering a chair or sofa involves the use of leather upholstery combined with a series of exposed brass tacks with round heads.

Upholstery tacks are sold in a wide range of sizes, making it possible to use them in all sorts of projects. The tacks work well with many different kinds of upholstery supplies and materials. Smaller upholstery tacks would be ideal for use in a reupholster job on chairs with simple lines or even a hope chest with a padded top. The larger and more decorative nails would be ideal for use with padded doors or large sofas.

Rather than being sold by the unit, upholstery tacks are normally sold by weight. For instance, in the United States, the consumer would purchase the tacks by the pound. The actual number of tacks included in the purchase would depend on the size and design of the tacks. Basic tacks used for attaching protective mesh on the underside of a sofa are small and light, whereas brass tacks with rounded heads would weigh more and of course include fewer units per pound. Hardware stores, home stores, and building supply stores will carry the tacks in a variety of different sizes and usually include scales nearby to help weigh the purchases.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including HomeQuestionsAnswered, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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