15 May 2013

Taking command

Way back in February, I received a big birthday package from family member - and blog reader! - Janice. She read my post about being paralyzed by hanging stuff on the wall and responded in kind with THIS WHOLE SHEBANG:

Oh yeah, each of those was individually wrapped in birthday wrapping paper. She's fun. And generous!

Now, as you know, I did get the guts to hang a few things on the wall - things that were fairly light (so they wouldn't require anchors or create giant holes) and things that I knew EXACTLY where they'd go and stay for our time in the apartment. For those things, I wasn't too afraid to make holes in the walls. But for other things... for heavy things, for things with placement I was unsure about... I've dawdled. Even with these command hooks in hand! Because even though putting holes in the antique plaster walls is scary, using what feels like a sticker to hang heavy frames just feels… unnatural.

So I've given my giant Command hook collection the side-eye a few times and moved on to more important things, like the dozen half-finished projects I've got laying around here. Only recently did I finally decide to give these guys a shot. Well, one of them, at least. I wanted to start with something light; specifically, my pajamas that usually hang on the back of my closet door:

... and stuck with a place not super visible, in the closet. It seemed like a safe bet, and I’d get to make my PJs a little less visible.

However, the wall in question may not be the best, command-hook wise.

It’s got substantial texture, and it’s painted in semi-gloss paint. And speaking of the paint, it totally comes off when you clean it with isopropanol, leaving a sticky surface for a few minutes until it dries.

Wait, what? Yes. If your walls are painted with latex paint, “cleaning” them with isopropanol prior to applying the adhesive strip (as the 3M command hook directions say) will remove some of the paint, and therefore some of the finish of the paint. I should have remembered this, as isopropanol is the easiest way to test whether your paint is oil-based or latex (oil-based stays put, latex comes off). Uhh, WHOOPS. This seems like a fatal flaw in the “won’t damage walls” marketing. So, if you decide to use these, be careful with the cleaning step!

The isopropanol-removing-paint issue was totally unnerving, but aside from that, the rest was easy-peasy. The red side got stuck to the hook itself, and the black side got stuck to the wall.

I slipped the hook off the strip once it was adhered to the wall and pressed for an additional thirty seconds...

Then I slipped the hook back on, but I waited an hour before hanging anything on it. My PJs are light, yes, but might as well follow the directions, right?

An hour later, my PJs were stashed away and the back of my closet door was all freed up!

I’m so glad that I tried this out in an inconspicuous spot first – the paint coming off the wall FREAKED. ME. OUT. And this is a good wall to test the adhesion of the hook – the wall texture elsewhere in the apartment won’t be as much of an issue. And finally, I think I’ll try removing the strip before actually using these elsewhere in the house. The horizontal brace just underneath the hook will prevent me from pulling the tab EXACTLY straight down (as the directions say), so we’ll see what happens when I try to remove it.

So that’s my first command hook adventure! I’ll let you know how it holds and if I learn anything from using them elsewhere!


Janice said...

haha Congratulations on taking Command of your hooks! Me? I just skip that 'clean before hanging" step with the assumption (and we all know what happens when you assume...) that my walls are "clean enough" :) Have never had a problem skipping that step. I hope the hook stays with all that texture. Keep us posted (yes pun intended).

Tina said...

I'm still thinking about the possibity of doing all that painting... =\ have been wanting to suggest to just cover walls up as galleries so color is not so much noticed... If you do, give me a heads-up - I want to invest in some 3M stock!!!