For me, opening a new box of upholstery tacks is just about as exciting as being a child and opening a new box of crayons! My wheels start spinning---my heart races a little---oohhh the possibilities!! Take this pumpkin, for example..
and how about this beauty from Serena and Lily:
I am currently working on a 'tack job' for a client. She has a massive custom made entertainment center that conceals a TV. But, when it is doing it's duty (concealing) it creates a large (large!) amount of creamy cabinetry. So, to jazz it up, we are adding vintage feedsack fabric to the inset panels held in place with tacks.
The texture in the fabric is subtle but really does a great job of adding some interest.
A few years ago, I was struggling with some ideas to jazz up my foyer. One side of the foyer leads to the dining room, the other side to the living room and straight ahead are some massive closet doors. I came across a house in Country Living (sorry--I can't find the issue) that featured a house with a tiny foyer done in wallpaper and upholstery tacks.
I don't know how to wallpaper,but, I knew I could achieve the same look with painters tape and paint. The walls were already a mocha color, so that stayed. I then applied painters tape diagonally in both directions. Then I painted a lighter taupe over the whole thing. When the tape came off the dark lines were revealed.
(They look gray in the pictures but they are really more of of a coffee color)
Then I followed the lines of the moldings-floor, door and ceiling with upholstery tacks. I used a rubber mallet and tapped each one in. I used these:
(Please excuse the flashlight and frog tape!)
It took patience and a few hours for a couple of nights. But, I was super pleased with the results.
After accomplishing this, it's fun to see how others might approach it differently (better!). Recently, at the Cashiers Showhouse, Lynn Monday of Monday's House of Design, designed the sitting room just outside of my bedroom. I was excited to get a first-hand look at her 'tack wall' process. Her space was quite small but filled with tons of angles. She (was smart) hired a furniture maker/restorer to devise a template based on her sketch. He used lathing strips like those used to template a granite countertop. He meausured/marked the spots for each tack on the strip and then drilled a hole. After all the holes were drilled, he placed the strip on the wall and then took a long skinny nail and stuck it through each hole to make a mark in the sheetrock. When he was finished, the walls and ceiling were covered in a 'dotted' pattern. Then each tack was placed in each hole and tapped gently in place.
This is Nancy--Nancy was in charge of the Showhouse and was simply 'helping out' one day and decided to work on the wall.... What a labor of love!!
The finished effect was simply stunning!
It was funny to overhear some of the comments people made while touring the house: 'Oh look, she simply stuck the tacks in the wall......how easy......'