Operation Ugly Frankie: An Bed Upholstery Project – Pt 5

Woohoo, you’ve made it to Part 5; today, we’re going to tackle covering Ugly Frankie’s legs – she’ll be a knockout in the blink of an eye. If you’ve just joined us and need to catch up with part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4, follow the links and join us back here when you’re ready.

In Part 4 we finished up here; the bedhead apron between the legs was attached to the back and the legs were trimmed and stapled below the line of the bottom of the headboard. Next we need to remove the hardware on the legs. I marked the top of each hardware piece with a sharpie and then put it and its corresponding screws in a zip lock baggie marked for the leg eg. ‘right leg’. I kept each leg’s hardware in its own baggie.

Measure the leg of the bedhead and add about 3″ to the top and the bottom. Measure around the leg starting with the top face, the side face, the bottom face, the side face and then half of the top face again. This will give you enough fabric to attach it fairly seamlessly.

Lay the fabric on the bedhead with a couple of inches of fabric sitting below the bottom of the headboard. Align the long edge of the fabric with the bottom edge of the inside face of the leg.

Add the cardboard tacking strip to the leg. You need to keep the top edge of the tacking strip in line with the bottom edge of of the bedhead where the apron folds under. Bring the tacking strip around to the back but not to the inside face; break it off on the edge that joins at the back face and the inside face. Now, pull the leg fabric down over the leg. Staple the fabric to the inside face, making sure that the staples sit at the bottom of the inside face, not the top.

Carefully grab yourself a strip of nail tack. Lay it on the top face of the leg; butt the top of the strip up to the bottom edge of the headboard and make a cutting mark on the strip at the bottom of the headboard. You don’t want the nail tack strip to go below the bottom of the leg or go over the top of the leg. If you sit it on the inside face of the leg, it should butt up against the bottom of the headboard and not extend below the bottom of the leg. Cut the tack strip to size.



Lay the tack strip, nail side up on the left hand side of the top face; push it right to the edge. Then lay it, with the nail spikes, facing toward left hand side of the leg.

Bring the loose fabric up to the nail spikes and begin to bit by bit hook the fabric on to the spikes. This takes some practice. You’ll need to push the fabric on to the first spike about halfway down and then move on to the next spike; making sure to pull the fabric taut.

Once you have all of the fabric nicely spaced onto the nail spikes, you may need to trim some fabric; you only need about an inch of fabric past the nail spikes.

Once you’ve trimmed the fabric, you will turn the nail heads toward the wood and this movement tucks the end of the fabric into a fold that won’t be seen after you tack the nails down. You’ll have to play with the fabric at the top and make sure it sits neatly. I don’t have any pictures of this process because i ran out of hands! Grap your wooden mallet, and using the fabric covered end, start to tap the nail heads into the wood. This is a frustrating process because you can’t hammer one nail in and then move on to the next; you MUST tack a little bit of each nail in and then go over them again and then repeat. If you hammer one nail completely in at a time, you raise the risk of bending the subsequent nails, which won’t sit properly. You are trying to create a nice tight edge; be patient and take your time through this part.


Now we can move down to the foot and close it up.

First up, i added a some sub staples; these are staples that are inserted so that one end sticks up. They are temporary and are only holding the fabric in place while i fold and play with the fabric.

The staples have been inserted along the bottom edge of the bottom of the leg which i’ll now refer to as the foot.

Trim the excess fabric.

Fold in the sides one at a time and staple; make sure to cut out any excess fabric to reduce bulk.

Finally, fold up the bottom flap and then fold again; if you have excess fabric beyond the two fold, cut some away. You have to reduce the bulk to make sure that the bedhead sits flat. Repeat this process on all other legs.

The covered leg and foot should look something like this. Now it’s time to reapply the hardware.

I used the tip of a regulator to find the four previous screw holes.

The hardware plate was placed so that the holes were visible.

And they were then all screwed in partially before going back around and screwing them in completely.

Here each leg has its hardware put back on.


Okay, upholsterer’s this concludes the leg and foot covering sections of making Ugly Frankie look a million dollars! Next up we’ll be turning her over and taking care of her backside…

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