Thursday, September 18, 2014

Upholstery Nail Heads - The Ultimate Source Guide




Decorative Nail heads are one of the oldest forms of decoration used in the construction of furniture.  Dating back as far as to the Iron Age, craftsman have created a decorative head to the lowly nail to make it beautiful.   Today we are seeing more and more ingenious and elaborate applications of nail heads in all areas of decoration.



From the traditional application


to the sublime


the options are endless.  

The key is to be able to find the right product for your particular application. So we are helping you out by putting together:

The Soft Deign Lab Ultimate Source Guide for Decorative Nail Heads

We have compiled the most complete directory of decorative nail head manufacturers, distributors and sources available to the trade as well as a few retail sources for DYI’ers.


First up is the big player in the Decorative Nail Head biz



There are only a few key players in this industry and D.A.D.S. is one of the largest and well recognized manufacturers. They  have a huge range of style, sizes, finishes, and novelties nail heads available at wholesale.  They are sold by the box at full put up.  If you want small quantities from these manufacturers you can purchase them through to the trade reseller and distributors or retail outlets which we have listed below.



At D.A.D.S. they  have hundreds of styles and most are usually in stock and ready to ship.  There are downloadable catalogs and sample boards available for purchase.


Next up is Heiko Direct.  They are also manufacturer and they have some unique styles available in many finishes styles and sizes.  Their website is a bit hard to navigate but they have catalogs and sample boards available.  If D.A.D.S.doesn’t have what you are looking for chances are that Heiko will have it.



I love this Greek Key design and they have many other unite shapes and finishes.

Raised StarBraided_Anvil_Br_4d2dbee999e3d

One of their specialties are two pronged decorative nails.  These are great for corners and They work great anchor points in your designs that you can connect with less expensive standard round nail heads.  They look particularly good on cornice boards.




D’Kei is a distributor for D.A.D.S to the trade.  If you don’t want to open an account with D.A.D.S. you can purchase through D’Kei.  You still have to purchase by the box though.   However in my experience I have never had a situation where I didn’t need at least a couple of boxes and you always want to have extra on hand.


D’KEI has a great tool that allows the user to attach any nail head directly to loose fabric as a decorative element!  The STARLOCK tool applies a locking washer to the back of the nail head that locks in place allowing you to clip off the nail portion of the head.  This tool and others like it have really expanded the possible uses for decorative nail heads in design.  Now you can use nail heads as trim on draperies, rugs, linens etc.  Imagine the possibilities!Jeweled-Flyer-Webv

They also have a button back application for their Jeweled nail heads which adds a button shank to the back of the nail head. 


Diamond Head

Diamond Head Upholstery tacks where dreamed up by a friend of ours Bree who is as beautiful and sweet as her products.  These fancy tacks can be nailed in, screwed in, or can be fitted with a button shank for a variety of uses.


You can purchase directly from Diamond Head or go through a distributor such as Rowley Co.


Diamond Head Upholstery Tacks



Direct From Mexico is a great source for rustic upholstery tacks and larger sized decorative nail heads that can be used as clavels on doors, cabinets, cornices, etc.


They have a great range of interesting shapes and sizes but they come in a limited selection of colors.  I have used these and painted them with Rustoleum spray paint as a base coat and then finishes them in my desired finish and they have turned out beautifully.  The advance here is that large size.


The clavels with a center hole are a favorite of mine and I have used them for lots of interesting applications. 


On a separate note if you’ve read my books you will know that I LOVE gate hardware as decorative ornament!  This is a great source for flat hinge elements and gate hinges that can be used in a variety of interesting ways.  If you need inspiration check out my books,

The Design Directory of Window Treatments


The Design Directory of Bedding

Nail head Trim By The Yard  is a great way to go if you are doing it yourself.  This great product is just what it claims to be; an endless link of connected nail heads that is sold by the yard that is applied by nailing in individual nail heads at regularly spaced intervals along the yardage.  It takes the guess work and much of the labor out of application. The downfall here is that upon close inspection it is obvious that it is not separate nail heads as the links can be seen.



Beacon Fabrics and Notions is a great source to buy this product at discounted retail. 



This popular post from Design Sponge shows how versatile this product can be when used creatively on this DYI ceiling pattern. 


Beacon Fabrics and Notions also has a few exclusive style of regular nail heads as well.

beacon fabrics

DIY Upholstery Supply LLC  is another great source for nail heads by the yard and D.A.D.S. products at retail and in small quantities for the DIY’er.     




The Rhinestone Guy  is a source for heat set faux nail heads for those applications where you need to apply tight to the surface without nailing in.  This great for soft furnishings such as drapery panels, pillows, table linens, etc.  They are washable but be sure to provide replacement pieces in case they do come loose or fall off in the wash.  They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and designs and there are a lot of other interesting products available on this site as well.





Van Dykes Restorers  is one of my favorite places to go for everything you need to restore or refinish furniture but they also sell this ingenious product. It is a clear plastic track with holes in the center of each circle so you can easily place your nail heads in a straight line without a lot of measuring labor.  The only downside is that it only works for 3/8” nails.  That is the most commonly used size however so chances are that might be just right for you.


Van Dykes offers  Wholesale pricing on their exclusive products.



If you don’t want to open a wholesale account with  the manufacturer and buy your nail heads by the box for the full put up you can buy them in small quantities from these distributors. 


Rowley offers D.A.D.S. nails at wholesale and also sells nail head placement guides and application tools and they offer a free series of instructional videos that show some different techniques of application and how to use there tools.


Chervan offers nail heads along with replacement furniture legs and feet if yours are worn out.


Lees has a huge assortment of goodies and is a source for D.A.D.S. nails in small quantities.


Kast Fabrics  offers the entire line of D.A.D.S. products at wholesale to the trade as well as great fabrics and trims.


Deb and I hope you’ve enjoyed 

The Ultimate Source Guide for Decorative Upholstery Nail Heads


Look for other fantastic industry source guides from Soft Design Lab in the near future.



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