How to Use an Upholstery Tack Strip

Written by erin maurer
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Upholstery tack strips are essential tools for reupholstering all types of furniture including sofas and chairs. Flexible tack strips resemble thin strips of metal with metal teeth on one side. Over time, the fabric on chairs, sofas and other pieces of furniture becomes worn or outdated. To update or repair the furniture, homeowners can recover it with new fabric. During the recovering process, there will be seams along the edges of the furniture where it is not ideal to show nails, tacks or staples. Upholstery tack strips provide an invisible way to adhere new upholstery fabric to the furniture.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Flexible tack strip
  • Upholstery staples
  • Tin snips
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Straight pins
  • Chalk
  • Fabric scissors
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Rubber mallet

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  1. 1

    Locate the holes on the upholstery tacking strip. Staple each of the holes on the strip, until it is firmly fastened to the edge of the piece of furniture requiring a seam with no visible hardware. Use tin snips to trim off any excess tack stripping. Position the strip so that if you bend the tabs, the open end is near the seam.

  2. 2

    Push the tabs of the tack strip half-closed, to a 45-degree angle. Hold the fabric over the tacking strip, where it will be located at the completion of the project. Use straight pins to hold the fabric in place. Trace the edge of the furniture on the to fabric with chalk.

  3. 3

    Trim the fabric to 1/2 inch outside the chalk line using fabric scissors.

  4. 4

    Hold the edge of the fabric above the jaws on the tack strip. Tuck the outside edge of the fabric down inside of the metal teeth using a flathead screwdriver. Gently push each tab closed with your hand. Allow the fabric to fall down over the tacking strip, concealing it behind the fabric panel.

  5. 5

    Gently tap along the tacking strip seam with a rubber mallet. This secures the tabs and holds the fabric in place.

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