While many experts advise against using tape on the walls, sometimes, there isn’t a better solution. Tape is an obvious choice when hanging Christmas ornaments or posters. However, when the time comes to remove it, peeled paint and sticky stains are a whole new headache. So, the question is — what type of tape won’t damage the walls?
Since I’m no stranger to parties, I have learned that choosing the right tape and applying it correctly can make a huge difference. Therefore, here are some useful tips from my own personal experience.
When to Use Tape on Your Walls
Special occasions, like parties, always require some decoration to make the atmosphere more festive, especially if you want to give your house a complete party makeover. Balloons, ornaments, and lanterns are more than welcome!
Another situation that would require taping something to the wall is when you want to hang a poster. While framing and hanging a poster is always a better idea, sometimes, you need it there just for one day.
As you can see, in both cases, the keyword is temporary. You should only opt for tape if whatever you are hanging will stay there for a short amount of time.
What I’ve realized is that the longer the tape (any tape) stays on the wall, the more likely it is to leave marks or peel the paint off. At the same time, it will damage the poster or the decorations as well.
If you think that the piece you’ve temporarily attached to the wall fits well and would like to keep it there, don’t leave it taped. Make an effort to hang it properly.
What Type of Tape Should You Use?
If you’re hosting an event and need to decorate, it is crucial to choose the right kind of tape. I recommend opting for one of these options:
- Poster tape
- Painter’s tape
Both are designed to hold lightweight objects and reduce the possible damage to the walls after removal. Please be aware that heavy ornaments and decorations are not a good idea because most of the types of tape you can buy will not support them properly.
This is an excellent option for balloons, lightweight decorations, and posters. It has adhesive on both sides, and it’s very easy to use. It sits well on various surfaces, so you can use it on glass, wood, and painted walls — even on wallpaper.
There are numerous products on the market, but in my opinion, the best one is Scotch’s Removable Poster Tape. It can hold up to ¼ lb, and if used the right way, it leaves no stains. To check how this type of tape works, take a look at this video.
Though people usually associate it with painting, this type of tape does the trick when it comes to hanging decorations as well. What I like about it is that it’s designed to protect the walls. It’s easily removed, and you don’t have to fear that you’ll damage the paint.
However, you should not confuse it with masking tape. Although they are similar, there are slight differences that you should watch out for.
Masking tape can hold more weight than painter’s tape, but its adhesive tends to leave marks or peel the paint if you are not extra careful when removing it.
Having said that, when using painter’s tape, make sure you don’t hang heavy objects with it. They may end up falling off in the middle of your event.
What to Avoid
If you want your walls to stay spotless after removing the decorations, don’t just reach out for the tape you have sitting in your drawer. Most types of tape are not suitable for painted walls. So, try to avoid any of the following:
- Duct tape
- Flex tape
- Packing tape
- Masking tape
All of them are very common in every household. However, they are not the ones to use.
I’m not saying that they won’t work. They will all hold beautifully! Unfortunately, none of them will be kind to your walls when the time comes to remove them.
Even if you use them on other surfaces, the results can be damaging. They will leave sticky marks on glass, wood, and metal, which are very hard to clean. At best, these types of tape should be used on paper and other disposable materials.
The tape you go for has to last well but still be easy to remove. However, you must take into account the surface of the wall as well. After all, you can use the best tape and still ruin the wall because the surface is just not suitable.
Also, the technique you apply while hanging and removing the decorations can make a huge difference. Taking some precautionary measures is vital if you want your walls to stay intact. So, here are some tips that may come in handy and ensure you not only decorate well but remove the tape without causing damage to the walls.
Do a Test
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so performing a small test on your wall may give you an idea of how it will react to the tape.
Choose a part of the wall that is exposed to direct sunlight. As paint reacts to heat and light, that would likely be the most sensitive area.
Place a piece of tape onto the wall, give it a couple of minutes, and then remove it. If the paint starts peeling off, you should probably refrain from hanging anything with that brand of tape. It’s likely that the walls have not been properly painted and will be damaged.
You should also perform a test if you have wallpaper on your walls. Over time, the wallpaper can become brittle, so the tape may easily damage it as well.
Additionally, you must consider other factors, such as humidity and heat. These can also influence the quality of the paint job, and consequently, the level of damage the tape can do to your walls.
How to Apply Tape
There are a couple of easy-to-remember rules for applying tape that can reduce the risk of damaging the walls:
- You should only apply tape to clean and undamaged surfaces.
- Always use fresh tape — recycling old tape will only mar the walls.
- Don’t go overboard with the tape, i.e., use as little as possible.
- Finally, don’t press it too hard against the surface.
Following these instructions is necessary because you must keep the removal in mind. Many people focus only on how to make the decorations last. Unfortunately, the removal can turn out to be an even bigger problem than the party if you don’t think in advance.
It’s imperative not to leave the tape on the walls for too long.
As I mentioned, it is a temporary solution. The longer you leave it on, the more likely it is to stain or damage the surface. In case you use it for banners or posters, they can suffer damage as well. So, try to postpone decorating as much as possible.
Of course, you will want to do it in the morning, or even a day before. That makes sense because organizing a party is not an easy task, and you do need to have a bunch of stuff ready before the guests arrive.
However, repairing damaged walls can be a bigger hassle. Therefore, the best thing to do is to decorate an hour before the event to ensure the walls stay intact.
Keep in mind that the adhesive can react to sunlight, heat, and even paint, so leaving it on the walls for only a short while should ensure the paint remains spotless.
However, that means you should take the decorations down as soon as possible. Once the guests leave, get busy and remove the tape.
Besides quickly removing the tape as soon as it’s not needed anymore, it is essential to apply the right technique too. What I’ve learned is that the worst thing to do is to pull the tape straight from the surface.
Instead, try rolling it flat back from the wall. Don’t apply too much force because it will only do more harm.
When removing posters, try to slide up and not pull away. This should keep the walls and the posters safe.
If there is any residue on the surface, the best way to remove it is with some warm soapy water and a soft cloth. Don’t use anything abrasive, as you could severely damage the walls.
What to Use Instead of Tape
In case the walls are improperly painted, or the wallpaper is old, I would suggest using wall gum instead of tape. As a matter of fact, gum would be a better option for any brittle surface, as it is much gentler.
You can apply it easily, and you won’t have to fear the outcome. Simply place a piece of gum onto the wall and then stick the decoration to it.
In my experience, wall gum is the best choice for posters. It is not designed to hold anything heavy, so make sure you do not use heavy decorations. I usually adjust my decorating ideas according to the area where I’m going to use the gum.
If you like decorating for parties as much as I do, you’ve probably had to repaint some rooms after a particularly lavish event. Well, I hope some of my tips can help you avoid such a hassle in the future.
To sum it up, if the tape is the only option, choose wisely and carefully. Don’t deviate from the technique, and don’t go overboard with decorations.
Most importantly, pay attention to how your walls are painted. Only a good paint job will make them durable and resistant.