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3M Command Strips - Use with Caution

by Felicia A. Williams

I used 3M command strips after recently painting my guest room. I decided that after all of the pre-painting prep work of spackling and sanding and getting rid of nail holes, I didn’t want to re-create the same problem. Although I had quite a few pictures to hang on the walls, I didn’t want to ruin the paint job with nail holes and picture hooks.

After a little research, I came across the 3M Command Strips. The 3M Command Strips allow you to hang pictures without damaging the wall. Their adhesive strips can be removed as simple as pulling the tape strip straight down to release the adhesion.

Picture Hanging Heaven

Before running out to purchase the strips, I printed a manufacturer’s coupon. If you’re going to buy the product, make sure to download and print the coupon before going to the store.

Armed with my coupons, I went to Home Depot and bought the picture hanging strips and a package of Command Hooks. The directions were simple enough so I made sure to follow them to the letter. I cleaned the area with alcohol, applied the appropriate amount of pressure on the strips for 30 seconds and then waited an hour before I hung my pictures.

Will the Command Strips Work?

3M Command Strips

After hanging one picture and a wall decoration, I decided to wait to see if it worked prior to hanging the rest of the pictures. Imagine my surprise when I heard a bang and a crash. I went back to the room and my wall decoration fell, hit the baseboard heat (placed a nice little dent in my newly painted trim) and was lying on the floor.

Before I could turn around to remove the picture frame, it too came crashing down, damaging the frame. GASP! What had I done wrong?

The unfortunate thing is that since I used two strips per picture, one of the Command Strips had fallen while another one was still stuck to the wall. I went to pull the adhesive tab straight down as instructed, and the tab snapped in half. The tab was in hand and the strip was still stuck to the wall.

I then tried to gently pull the tab from the wall and I noticed that my fresh paint also began to ‘bubble up.’ I stopped pulling and decided to take it real slow. Eventually, I removed the strip, but there were a bubble and a small hole in my newly painted room. Nothing too major that a little paint patching wouldn’t cure, but the reason I bought the 3M Command Strips was because I didn’t want to do patchwork.

More 3M Command Strips Internet Research

After searching the internet to see what I had done wrong, I eventually stumbled upon a few forum threads and then eventually the FAQ’s on 3M’s site. Here’s the question and the answer that addresses my problem:

Q: Can I use Command adhesive on fresh paint?

A: Alcohol may remove or dull the surface of fresh paint. Paint should be fully cured (check paint can for manufacturer’s cure time) before using Command adhesive products.”

Ya think they would put this little fact as a warning in their product’s instructions?

I’ve got a dent in my baseboard heating and a broken picture frame. To top it off, I have to repair my wall. I wish I knew that I had to wait about a month for the paint to cure before using their Command Strips.

Shame on you 3M for not including such a tip in your instructions!

I used the 3M Hook in a different room that was not freshly painted and it's working just fine. Although, I haven’t tried to remove it as yet. I don’t know if the strip will snap in half. Just wish that I hadn’t wasted time, money and frustration trying to make something work that clearly wouldn’t under the given circumstances.

3M, I think your product works, but you should be more upfront about the cured paint. Let’s face it; a freshly painted room was the inspiration for using 3M Command Strips.

UPDATE:

I wrote a review entitled Do 3M Command Strips really work? I’m sad to say that in the long run, they did not work. Check out the review (and comments from other 3M Command Strip users) to see what finally ended up happening.

About the Author: Felicia Williams is a wife, mother and grandmother who likes to write about a host of topics.


Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: HouseholdTidbits.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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{ 14 comments}
  • judy
    November 11, 2017, 11:02 pm
    3M’s clear small crochet hooks took the paint off my friend’s wall upon removal.

    • Felicia
      November 11, 2017, 11:24 pm
      Judy, I’ve found that if I use them on wood and other surfaces that have not been painted, they seem to work just fine. I have 3M hooks on my bedroom’s wooden closet doors to hang my bathrobe and they’ve worked just fine. I haven’t had any luck using them on painted surfaces.

  • becky
    January 3, 2018, 3:55 pm
    The took paint and drywall paper off my walls. And some when pulling straight down the plastic adhesive strip broke right off…

    • Felicia
      January 4, 2018, 12:32 pm
      Becky, I’ve had the plastic strip break off too. Fortunately, I didn’t have the drywall come off. Sorry to hear about the damage.

      Using a blow dryer on the stuck 3M Command strip will loosen the glue of the broken strip. It’s unfortunate that you have to do that to remove something that should be easily removed.

  • Candy
    January 13, 2019, 6:23 pm
    I have become frustrated with command hooks. Used them for years and now when I go to remove them (properly and pulling tab straight down), the tab breaks and there’s no way to get the hook off wall. Drywall and paint come off trying to get hook off because there’s no tab to pull on.

    • Felicia
      January 14, 2019, 12:46 pm
      Candy, I’ve had the exact same problem. Fortunately, when this happened to me it was on a wooden surface. I used a blow dryer to warm it up to loosen the strip’s grip. I then had to take a knife to slowly pry it loose. I kept going back and forth between heating it up and slowly prying.

  • Amber L Walton
    November 2, 2018, 10:52 pm
    I ran across this post because after using several 3M Command Strips to hang Halloween decorations I am sitting here in tears because I now have 4 large spots of missing paint / ripped drywall…3 on the wall and 1 on the ceiling. 3 more with ripped strips that I am scared to death to attempt to pull off the wall and an extremely pissed off husband!

    • Felicia
      November 3, 2018, 12:28 pm
      Oh Amber, I feel your pain!

      If you have a hairdryer, I’d use the hot air to loosen the adhesive on the remaining attached strips. It might prevent another missing patch.

      I learned the hard way that these strips only seem to work well on metal or wood. I’m never putting them on a painted wall again!

  • Tamela K Davis
    January 23, 2019, 12:21 am
    I had Command strips hanging my Christmas stockings on fireplace mantle. Several strips broke as I pulled them down and I have 6 ugly patches on the mantle where the paint was pulled off!!! So mad!!! I have no idea how to fix it so will have to hire a handyman.


    • Felicia
      January 23, 2019, 12:05 pm
      Tamela, so sorry to hear about your experience.

      I’ve learned the hard way to only put command strips on surfaces like wood or metal. It seems to damage sheetrock and paint.

  • Gill
    January 26, 2019, 3:40 am
    This product does not work on painted plaster walls. We have had 3 fall off, one breaking a loved ceramic wall plaque we owned for 35 years, damage to skirting boards, cost of replacement glass for a painting and marks on the walls. I will not use this product again.

    • Felicia
      January 26, 2019, 12:21 pm
      It’s unfortunate that such an inexpensive item as a 3M Command strip can cause so much damage. While they seem to work okay for small insignificant light-weight items that are not put on painted plastered walls, they don’t seem to hold up for larger items or items adhered to walls.

      Instead of 3M Command trips, I’ve started using hooks that go through the wall, but cause very little damage. The hole they put in the wall is minimal. If you look on Amazon they go by several names such as Hercules Hooks, Monkey Hooks, Super Hooks. I don’t remember the name of the hooks I got. I picked them up at Home Depot. Although they do put a small hole in the wall, they hold up to the weight of the items being hung. They come in several weight categories.

      Maybe they're a safer alternative for you than the 3M strips.

  • Erica
    May 9, 2019, 6:08 am
    I’m so glad I found this thread and that we are not alone. I used 3m command hooks to hang our wedding photos in our rental (my landlords are very strict about their no nails policy then come over and ask why I don’t have anything hanging up…) anyway… The plaster drywall ripped in 3 spots so we’re screwed and can actually see the wall behind it where the hook ripped the plaster clear off. Any advice for plaster walls? Thank you!

    • Felicia
      May 12, 2019, 1:26 pm
      Erica, sorry to hear about what the 3M strips did to your wall. As far as repairing the damage, I’d talk to someone at Home Depot, Lowes or even someone who specializes in home repairs. My go-to solution for touchups like that is usually spackle and a fresh coat of paint, but then again, I’m no professional.

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Last Modified: 24 March 2020

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