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Do 3M Command Strips Really Work?

by Felicia A. Williams

3M came out with a product called Command Strips. The idea behind the product is a good one. The Command Strips allow consumers to decorate their homes and hang pictures without damaging the wall with nail holes. The strips are made up of Velcro and an adhesive backing.

How 3M Command Strips Work

The way it works is you affix one side of the Command Strip to the wall (Velcro side out), and the corresponding Command Strip to the back of the picture, decoration or whatever you wish to hang. Once 3M’s Command Strip is properly affixed to the wall, all you have to do is press the two Velcro strips together, the one on the back of the picture to the one affixed to the wall, and voila! It’s done. The picture is hung on the wall.

The beauty of the technology is that you can easily remove the Command Strip if change your mind. To remove it you pull upward on the picture to release the Velcro. To remove the strip from the wall, all you need to do is pull down on the Command Strip tab which releases the adhesive backing and removes the strip from the wall.

That’s how the product would work in a perfect world. However, it’s not a perfect world and the 3M Command Strip doesn’t always work as it’s supposed to.

The First Problem with 3M’s Command Strips

3M omits telling its customers that the adhesive backing will not adhere to walls that were recently painted. You must allow the paint to cure first. The curing process takes approximately 28 to 31 days (check with the paint manufacturer for accurate cure times). Using Command Strips on paint that hasn’t cured is a recipe for disaster. The Command Strip eventually loosens and the picture will crash to the floor (I speak from experience).

The Second Problem with 3M’s Command Strips

It appears that 3M’s product has a limited shelf life (or wall life). After waiting for the paint to cure and affixing the strips to the wall, all was working well until approximately 3 months into the lifespan of the strips. Around that time, pictures started falling off the wall. I’d come home to shattered glass and broken picture frames. After the third picture fell, I removed all of the pictures from the wall and removed the adhesive. Well, I removed most of the adhesive which brings me to the third and final problem with the Command Strips.

The Third Problem with 3M’s Command Strips

3M Command Hooks

The pull tab at the bottom of the Command Strips removes the strip from the wall. On more than one occasion, the pull strip snapped off, leaving the Velcro affixed to the wall. On some of the strips, the adhesive backing had deteriorated just enough to gently remove the strip. For those strips that retained its sticking power, it wasn’t so easy to remove.

In order to remove a completely stuck Command Strip, you must apply heat. Using a hair blow dryer works just fine. Once the Command Strip is heated enough the glue softens and you’ll be able to remove the strip.

Final Comments on 3M Command Strips

The 3M Command Strips works just fine for a limited period of time. If you’re looking to stage an apartment or house for sale and wish to hang pictures without damaging the walls, or if you’re hosting an event for a short period of time, then the 3M command ship will work fine. But, if you want long-lasting adhesive quality to keep the pictures up for a period longer than two or three months, this is not the product for you.

If you are going to spend money on the product, visit the 3M website. They usually offer $1.00 off coupons. Why pay full price for a product that doesn’t work full time?

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


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Below are  the comments that were posted to the original article:

6. Connie: Short Life
I hung a 3'x3' stretched canvas. No glass, matting or frame and less than a pound. The canvas fell in 5 months. I replaced the strips with conventional hardware. 3M Command strips should work for short-term displays. Do not trust this product for long-term installations. Monday, July 22, 2013

5. Mary:  3M Strips They are awful.....Put up pictures above my couch,and just got home from having surgery and one fell down and hit me right in the stomach.will never buy them again or recommend them to anyone.should get some kind of refund or something,especially being a 3M product!! Tuesday, July 16, 2013

4. Nomad · Depends on the weight I have several command-strip hooks from 3M holding up dark curtains on my apartment windows. They have been there for couple of years with no problem, I've never had any of the curtains fall. It's not meant for something that heavy, such as mirrors and frames. December 09, 2012

3. Miriam:  3M Command Strips I am sorry the strips haven't worked for you, I'm lucky I guess. I have a few metal pieces, a couple of canvases, a large dry erase board and a framed quote and nothing has fallen. They've been up for a little over 1 yr and I'm getting ready to hang a larger piece hope that one works too. Tuesday, August 23, 2011

2. Pat:  3M Command Strips My husband found out about these & decided that we would no longer use nails. He hung a mirror. I tried to hang some pictures which came down in less then an hour. His mirror stays up for several months then fell. My husband still won't let me use nails. Thanks 3M! Saturday, April 30, 2011

1. Jim:  Don't waste your money The command strips failed on several pictures, so we decided to remove all strips and put them up the old fashioned way. And, yes, we followed the directions perfectly. We even weighed the pictures and paired them with the weight recommendations on the package. Never again. Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Last Modified: 24 March 2020

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