How To Use Upholstery Tack Strips on Outside Back of Sofa or Chair

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How To Use Upholstery Tack Strips on Outside Back of Sofa or Chair

Upholstery tack strips are a necessary component to creating a clean finish on any new or re-upholstered furniture. We want to show you a few tricks of how to apply it and the tools we used to accomplish that.

Our commercial grade metal upholstery tack strips are great when used on the front edge, outside arm and outside back of sofa's chairs or other applications. 


*Standard straight edge metal tack strip is best used for straight edges, you can find them in 13", 24", and 30" are most common sizes.

*Rubber mallet, or a soft end hammer, sometimes plastic can be used but the preferred method is a rubber mallet as to not bruise or damage the fabric when hammering in the tack strip.


1. Line up your tack strip so it is perfectly vertical and straight making sure the tacks are facing you so that it is just on the outside edge of your chip strip, as seen in the picture below. You also want to make sure the tack strip is sitting right below the chip strip when it does get rolled in.

2. Ensuring your tack strip is straight and is lined up to hit into wood, put the fabric over the first tack at the top. Then pull on the fabric down and out lightly to eliminate any slight wrinkling and push down so the tack pierces through. You will only be pushing through the top tack at this point.

3. Making sure your tack strip is straight and in place repeat step #2 with the bottom tack. See images below:


4. Without overstretching begin pushing the tacks through the fabric on all the remaining tacks in the middle. Once completed it should look like the following image:

5. It is okay to have 1-2" hanging past your tack strip, if there is more than that you may want to consider trimming it so the fabric does not bunch up.

6. Roll your tack strip in away from the edge of the piece, so the tacks are now facing and pushing into your sofa or chair.

7. Pull the fabric and tack strip so it is nice and tight, again lining it up to be straight and making sure the tack will go straight into the wood and not at an angle. This will prevent bending or breaking the tacks.

8. Take your rubber mallet and begin hammering the top tack in place hitting each tack squarely on top, try and aim to hit where the tacks are and not in between them. 


9. Continue hitting the tacks keeping the fabric tight, the tack strips point straight at the piece, and aligned straight moving top to bottom.

Once the last tack is in place you should be complete with installing your tack strips and you have a nice straight finish on your piece. 

ADDITIONAL TIP: If working with a sensitive fabric or leather to prevent the metal edge from ripping through the fabric while installing you can try using our plastic tack strip sleeves. They go over the tack strip and create a straight but softer edge to work with. 

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1 comment

  • Patricia Baker

    Thanks. Very clear, concise pictures.

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