Guest Room: Getting Down to Brass Tacks

As promised, we’re back to share the finishing touches on the headboard we showed you yesterday. One of you guessed the final addition would be nailhead trim, and once again there’s no foolin’ you guys!

Headboard with Trim Ready

This nailhead is the reason it took us so long to finish the headboard.  In an effort to cut costs, I shopped around town for a strip of nailhead trim like in the photo below rather than ordering it online.  I’d seen 20′ rolls of this stuff online for like $20, but after adding $10 in shipping I thought surely we could find a better deal!

Why this particular trim?  Instead of having to hammer individual nails into the headboard to create a boarder, I wanted to use this stuff which actually only needs to be tacked down every 5th nail.  See those holes in the trim where tacks go?  I think the strip-style trim also creates cleaner, straighter lines if you’re an amateur like me.

Nailhead Strip Tack Supplies

I tried craft and fabric stores like Hobby Lobby and Hancock’s with no luck.  By sheer coincidence, one day last week I googled “upholstery” in Fayetteville, AR and came up with a phone number for TS Custom Sales.  I figured maybe it was an upholstery shop and called the number.  Turns out the owner, Tom Simmons, crafts custom motorcycle seats for a living, but just so happens to have been in the custom furniture business years and years ago.  He also just so happened to have a gigantic roll of nailhead trim in exactly the finish I was looking for that – get this – he said he’d sell me AT COST.

Seriously?  If we were into motorcycles, Tom would be our go-to guy for anything motorcycle related.  He was so easy to work with and gave me such a great deal that it’s no wonder he has clients all over the US!

So what did Tom charge me for 30 feet (probably closer to 40, the way he measured it) of trim and tacks?  Ten Bucks Baby!


Fun stories and great deals aside, we still had to attach the trim.  I was nervous I’d mess up all our hard work, but I couldn’t stall any longer – I wanted that headboard done. Luckily the tacks were the perfect depth to secure the trim and not poke through the back of the MDF of our headboard, so that was one step in the right direction!

Tack height

After I decided how far from the edge of the headboard the tacking strip should be (1.5″ in case you’re wondering), it was as easy as adding a tack to the trim every place there was an empty hole.

Adding Tack

Since we didn’t have any special hammers for delicate work like this, I thought I would need a piece of felt to protect the nails from my heavy-duty hammer.  Turns out the felt just got in the way and the hammer didn’t do any damage to the tacks, so after the first tack I just hammered away!

Hammering Tack

The corners were a bit tricky, but the trim was actually very flexible.  Once I knew where the bend in the trim should be, I was able to create the correct angle in the trim just by bending it with my hands.  In this photo I’m pointing to the tack I hammered in place just above the bend in the trim.

Location of tack

Once all the tacks were in, here’s another look at that corner.  Seamless, right?

Closeup of Nailhead corner

I kept working, using my ruler to measure from the edge of the headboard every time I added a tack to make sure my border was the same thickness all the way around.

Adding trim

Another tip I found useful was to bend the trim in the direction it would go several inches ahead of where I was working.  That way I wasn’t fighting the trim as I hammered it into place.

Adding trim to curve

As I finished the last curve, I let out a sigh of relief.  It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I expected it to be!

Nailhead almost done

Here’s a close up of how I finished the trim on the left side.  The next hole for a tack was about 1 tack too far over the edge, so I just bent the trim and nailed the last tack in the bottom edge of the MDF.

Ending nailhead trim

Finally the headboard was done!

Headboard Complete

Although the guest room is far from complete, I couldn’t help but make up the bed once the headboard was in place.  Gotta love that pop of teal!


I love how our brass library lamp works with the brass nailhead trim.

Headboard4 Lamp detail

Like I said, we still have lots of things to do in this room, but it’s getting cozier with every project!

Headboard right

So what do you think of our finished headboard?  Are you a fan of nailhead?  Do you think I’m crazy for choosing brass?  (I’ve been slowly overcoming my fear of brass for awhile now …)

I hope you like it and once again, a huge shout-out to Tom Simmons of TS Custom Sales for the nailhead hookup!  See y’all tomorrow!

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