How to Make an Upholstered Door With Nail-Head Trim

Tired of those basic, builder-grade interior doors? Add some fabric and trim for a sophisticated design detail that's sure to steal the spotlight.
DIY Upholstered Door With Nail-Head Trim

DIY Upholstered Door With Nail-Head Trim

Upholstered doors are a sophisticated design detail, not to mention a surprisingly easy DIY project. With our easy how-to, you can give doors in your home a refreshing new look.

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

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Materials Needed

builder-grade, hollow-core interior door
3 yards cotton batting
fabric of choice (we needed 3 yards)
roll of tacking strip
upholstery nail-head trim 
spray adhesive 
chalk  
yardstick 
staple gun 
scissors 
upholstery tack hammer 
razorblade
paintbrush
latex interior paint (to match fabric)
hammer and nail (to remove hinge pins)
utility knife

Prep Door 

Remove the door from its hinges by gently tapping on the bottom of the hinge pins with a nail and hammer. Then, remove all the hardware. With your fabric color in mind, paint the door edges a matching shade to create a seamless look. Next, staple the tacking strips onto the middle of the door or as your design dictates. (This will be where the nail-head trim will go later.)

Step 1- Prep Door

Step 1- Prep Door

Remove the door from its hinges, then remove all the hardware. With your fabric color in mind, paint the door edges a matching shade to create a seamless look. Next, staple tacking strips onto the middle of the door, or as your design dictates

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

Attach Fabric to Knob Side 

Next, flip the fabric face down. Cut it slightly larger than your door dimensions, leaving about 2 inches on each side. Roll out the tacking strip and trim to the exact height of the door. Mist the strip with spray adhesive, then flip over and secure to the fabric edge (Image 1). Next, line up the strip/fabric along the door knob side of the door (which is most visible) and attach using a staple gun (Image 2). Once the strip is secure all the way down (Image 3), flip the fabric over. Notice how this creates a nice, neat edge and the staples are hidden from view (Image 4).

Add Batting  

Measure then mark the desired dimensions on the batting. Next, cut batting to size (Image 1). Spray with adhesive and place on the door (Image 2). Staple batting along the edges to secure (Image 3).

Attach Fabric to Top and Bottom

Pull the fabric taut across the batting, then secure the fabric to the top side of the door with the staple gun (Image 1). Repeat this along the bottom edge and trim fabric as needed (Image 2).

Prep for Hardware  

Find the opening for the door knob, and staple fabric tightly along the perimeter. Using a utility knife, carefully cut away excess fabric to prepare for hardware re-installation.

Step 5- Prep for Door Hardware

Step 5- Prep for Door Hardware

By feel, locate the opening for the knob and staple fabric tightly along the perimeter. Then, using a sharp blade carefully cut away excess fabric to prepare for hardware re-installation later.

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

Attach Fabric to Hinged Side 

To attach fabric on the hinged side, pull the fabric across the batting and make a chalk line along the edge (Image 1). Cut the fabric 1/2" outside the chalk line to allow for some excess material (Image 2). Then, fold the excess under, and neatly staple along the door edge (Image 3, 4). Keep in mind, you’ll want to avoid staples on any areas of the door that will not eventually feature nail-head trim.

Add Nail-Head Trim and Finish

Use chalk to mark any additional nail-head designs on the door (Image 1). Then, tap the nailheads into place along the door’s perimeter (and anywhere else!) with the tack hammer. Keep the spacing tight to hide any staples (Image 2). Finish by re-attaching the door hardware and placing the door on its hinges (Image 3).

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