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How to Use Upholstery Tack Strips

Updated on June 19, 2013

Why Are Upholstery Tack Strips Needed

An outside back of a chair will demonstrate why tacking strips are necessary. Once you have reached the final stage of upholstering and are ready to fix the outside back, you will notice a whole host of staples which you used to fix the inside back, the side panels and the arms of your chair. Now the outside back needs to be fixed it is not possible to reach under it and staple it and still have the back looking smooth and tight. This is where tack strips come in handy so that you can do a neat job and have upholstery that is smooth and taut as it should be. Tacking strips should be flexible so that they can also be used on curved surfaces. A typical tacking strip would have two visible prongs on one tab and a hole punched in the other tab which is to be used to fix the strip to the frame of the chair or furniture. A continuous strip of such tabs make up the tacking strip.

How Do You Use Tack Strips

Wondering how to use upholstery tack strips? You would need to ensure that the inside back is already down and the top of the outside back is made secure with nails or staples. Secure the center of the outside back so that it does not pull on either side when the tacking strip is being inserted.

The tacking strip should be located about a sixteenth of an inch from the edge that is to be finished. The strip should be continued for the entire length that is to be finished and cut so that the ends do not protrude.

All the pronged tabs that are to secure the upholstery should be half closed so that they are at an angle of 45 degrees and facing the right direction. Mark the position of the strip on the fabric to be fixed and make temporary fixing arrangements for the fabric to stay in place and not shift.

Hook the fabric on to the prongs of the tacking strip while keeping the fabric taut at all times. You can prevent the fabric from slipping by pulling it towards the tacking strip and pressing down the tabs where they have already been hooked. You can knock on the tabs with a piece of wood.

Tacking strips can be made of cardboard, about 12 inches wide. The fabric is hooked on to the strip while it is pulled taut. The fabric is then wrapped around the strip so that the tacks are facing downwards. A rubber mallet can then be used to nail down the tacks till they are secured to frame of the chair.

You now have a fully upholstered chair that looks neat and smooth.


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