Taking an upholstery class is exciting. You not only learn how to upholster furniture (which is a very useful skill!), but you also get to reupholster something you own that has become tattered and unattractive. You should select your cloth and stock up on clavos now. Wait--you don't know what clavos are? Okay, so here is an explanation, as well how to choose the right clavos for your project.
Clavos, or Decorative Nails
Upholstering furniture involves the use of various nails to keep fabric and foam in place. Furniture tacks are often used on the inside of your project, while clavos are used on the outside of your project. Clavos are decorative nails that have very unusual heads. In most cases, the clavos look like studs from a spiky dog collar. You might use them to decorate the arms or back of a Queen Anne chair, or dress up the arms and bottom edges of a sofa or loveseat. They are hammered into place lightly through the cloth and foam and over the top of the cloth.
Choose the Right Clavos for Your Project
Clavos are made of all kinds of materials: brass, bronze, steel, pewter, etc. Depending on the style of the piece of furniture on which you are working and the color or colors present in the cloth you choose, you might have a preference for which type of metal for your clavos. There are also unique finishes, such as hammered, hand-forged, distressed, and pyramid-shaped.
Buy Lots of Clavos, Just in Case
Figure out where you intend to put the clavos on the piece you are doing. Most of the time, clavos are spaced fairly close together to prevent the cloth from pulling the clavos out every time you sit in the chair or on the sofa. If the clavos are spaced too far apart, you also run the risk of ripping the cloth.
Ergo, buy a big box of the style you like. Chances are there may be a few in the box that are deformed or do not look right with the rest. If you drop or lose any, then you also have some extras left. If you ever need to replace a clavo, you can pull out the old one (if it is not already missing) and use one of the ones you have left in the box.
Find Clavos at Specialty Shops
Buy your clavos from home improvement stores. They typically have a large selection. You may also buy clavos from a store that makes its own furniture for sale and sells upholstery supplies like The Rustic Express.