Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Hanging heavy decorations using magnets and tape

Published by Manning on July 2nd, 2016

I discovered this great but strange method for hanging decorations on walls without having to use nails or thumbtacks. All you need is masking tape and some tiny magnets!

If you’ve done lots of decorating, you’ve experienced what happens when you try to hang something slightly heavy on drywall with masking tape. Let’s use a small woode picture frame as an example. You can put as many little loops of tape as you want on the back of the frame and the thing will still fall down after a little while. If you stick the loops of tape on vertically, they’ll slide and partially unroll away from the wall and the frame will fall off. If you stick the loops on horizontally, they’ll sag in the middle and let go of the frame.

Usually the tape sticks to the wall better than whatever decoration you’re trying to hang up; when it falls down the tape is almost always still on the wall rather than on the back of the decoration.

So here’s my weird solution: Tape a small magnet to the wall with a vertical strip of masking tape, and attach a magnet to your decoration, and boom, it stays up beautifully.

It’s still masking tape that’s doing the work, but this time physics and gravity are on your side. The weight of your decoration is straight pulling downward on the magnets, but the long vertical strip of tape won’t let the magnet slide down the wall.

While it’s important to use masking tape to hang up the magnet on your wall so as not to damage the drywall*, I recommend using something stronger to attach the magnet to the decoration, like hot glue, or a thumbtack if the decoration is sturdy enough, or even a layer of paper maché.

This technique works amazingly well for any kind of decoration that hangs relatively flat against the wall, even somewhat heavy ones, because the weight is pulling straight down. However, it won’t work as well for heavy decorations that stick out away from the wall — I’ll make up an example: a spooky hand and wrist holding a light-up torch — the leverage from the weight of an object sticking out from the wall may be enough to pull the magnet and tape away from the wall. (But it’ll still work better than just plain masking tape!) For this same reason, you can’t use this method for hanging anything even slightly heavy on the ceiling; gravity will work against you and pull the tape right off.

Anyway, magnets! I usually buy my magnets at Home Depot; they have a good assortment of tiny rare earth magnets that are surprisingly strong, and I always keep a dozen or so on hand for various projects. I particularly like the little washer-shaped ones with a hole in them, because the hole is handy if you want to loop wire or string through it, or push a thumbtack through it into your decoration. The hole also gives hot glue or Gorilla Glue a good shape to hold onto.

*WARNING: Even though masking tape is supposed to be safe for walls, I’ve occasionally had it rip a little bit of paint off when it comes off, especially if the paint is very old and I’ve left the tape up for a long time. It’s safest to use this technique for hanging things only for a short time, like a couple days. It also helps to peel the tape off slowly when you’re done! Manning Makes Stuff is not responsible for any damage to your walls or to your decorations if they do somehow fall down!

Leave a comment — I always try to reply within 24 hours.