In this in-depth review of Command™ Picture Hanging Strips, you’ll learn exactly how to use them (step-by-step with pictures), common mistakes when using them, which surfaces they work on, the different sizes available, the most significant downsides, and common consumer complaints.
Let’s dive right in!
- Command Picture Hanging Strips: Quick Overview
- How to Use Command Picture Hanging Strips
- How to Remove Command Strips
- Common Mistakes When Using Command Strips
- Do Command Strips Work on All Surfaces?
- Options and Sizes
- Command Strips Weight Limit (Chart)
- What Are the Biggest Downsides of Command Strips?
- What Are the Most Common Complaints?
- Alternatives to Command Strips
- Bottom Line: Are Command Strips Worth It?
Command Brand, the maker of Command Picture Hanging Strips (see on Amazon), is the market leader in damage-free adhesives.
In addition to picture hanging strips, they manufacture clips for outdoor lights, hooks for hanging things on glass windows and doors, caddies for wall storage, and much more.
Command Picture Hanging Strips have a specially formulated adhesive and patented design that allows you to hang pictures securely to walls without leaving behind a sticky residue or pulling paint off the wall.
If you’re a fickle decorator, this is the perfect product. Change your mind about a painting or photo? No problem. You can easily hang, remove, and adjust. Never put another hole in the wall when you use Command Picture Hanging Strips.
Command strips have two downsides.
First, if you don’t follow the instructions, you run the risk of a picture falling off the wall.
This will only occur if you exceed the weight limits and don’t use enough strips, or you don’t allow enough time for them to adhere to the wall before adding the weight of the picture.
The second downside is that they are expensive compared to a hammer and nail.
Depending on the size and weight of your picture, it could cost you a few dollars to hang with Command strips (check prices on Amazon) compared to a few cents with a nail.
On the flip side, if you use Command strips, you won’t have to pay for wall putty and paint when you eventually have to patch up holes.
The most common use for these picture hanging strips is, you guessed it, to hang heavy (or light) framed pictures to your walls and other surfaces without damaging them with nails and anchors.
Here is how it works:
Step 1: Wipe the wall with rubbing alcohol to remove any dust and debris. Do not use other household cleaners since those can leave behind a film or residue that can make the stickiness of the strips ineffective.
Step 2: Separate two strips and press the Velcro parts together.
They come in 3 different sizes (small, medium, and large), and each size has its own weight limits.
The Small Picture Hanging Strips can hold up to 1 pound per pair. The Mediums hold 3 pounds per pair, and the Larges hold 4 pounds per pair.
If you’re not sure how much a frame weighs, stand on a scale, record your current weight, then pick up the frame and step back on the scale to see the difference.
Step 3: Remove the protective liner from one side of the strips and place the sticky surface on the frame with the pull tab facing down. The “pull tab” is the rounded part that says “3M” with an arrow pointing down.
If you’re using two pairs, place them on the top corners of each side of the frame.
If you’re using three pairs, place one horizontally in the center of the top frame and two on the top of the sides.
If you’re using four pairs, put two on the top of the side frames and two on the bottom of the side frames about 2/3rds of the way down. Don’t put the bottom strips all the way down on the bottom corners because doing so will make it very difficult to safely remove the picture from the wall when the time comes.
Step 4: Remove the protective liners that are now facing away from the frame and position your frame where you want it on the wall.
If you don’t get the frame level on the first try, you can adjust where each side of the Velcro meets to get it perfectly level later.
Press the frame firmly against the wall for at least 30 seconds. Put pressure on the areas where the strips are so they adhere securely to the wall.
At this point, the manufacturer’s website advises you to peel the frame off the wall and let the strips on the wall side sit for an hour before re-hanging the frame.
This period allows the adhesive to fully adhere to the wall before adding the weight and resistance of the frame.
In all honesty, I’ve never followed this step and never had an issue. From my experience, as long as your wall is clean and you press the frame against the wall and hold firmly for 30 seconds, you should be all set.
A couple of times, I’ve used two pairs of strips when I really should have used three, and the frame detached and fell (whoops!). Adding an extra pair can be overkill, but will never hurt.
Command strips make removing pictures from the wall extremely easy. To remove the frame, all you do is take the bottom corners of the frame and slowly pull it off the wall. The pairs of strips attached by Velcro will easily come apart.
Do not pull the frame straight off the wall.
To remove the strips from the wall, slowly stretch the pull tab straight down about 12 inches. It will release from the wall. Do not pull the tab straight towards you; doing so could damage your wall.
This video does a great job summarizing the process of hanging pictures that I just described:
If you follow the instructions carefully, Command strips are highly effective. If you cut corners and don’t follow the instructions, you’ll have issues. Here are the most common mistakes people make when using Command strips:
- Not using enough strips. If you use one pair of strips to hang a 20-pound frame, it’s going to fall.
- Putting the strips in the wrong spots on the frame. Follow these placement instructions that I covered earlier.
- Not pressing firmly for at least 30 seconds when hanging. Putting pressure on the strips helps them adhere completely. Don’t skip this step.
- Pulling the frame off the wall the wrong way. If you pull the frame straight off the wall, you risk damaging it.
- Pulling the strips off the wall the wrong way. Pull the tab straight down until the strip releases from the wall. If you try to rip it straight off, the paint will come with it.
Command strips work on most surfaces, but not all. The surfaces you can use them on are painted, stained or varnished wood, glass, tile, painted cinder block, plaster, drywall, metal, and painted wallboard. They will also stick to smooth cinder block, like what you see inside school buildings.
They DO NOT stick to brick, wallpaper, or glass directly exposed to sunlight. Wait a week after painting to make sure the paint has fully cured before using these strips.
Command has an outdoor line of products (link to Amazon) that stick to some of these other surfaces and work well in heat or cold.
Command has many different picture hanging products, here’s a breakdown:
- Small Picture Hanging Strips (view on Amazon) – Weight Capacity: 1 pound per pair of strips – best for 8″ x 10″ frames.
- Medium Picture Hanging Strips (view on Amazon) – Weight Capacity: 3 pounds per pair of strips – best for 18″ x 24″ frames.
- Large Picture Hanging Strips (view on Amazon)– Weight Capacity: 4 pounds per pair of strips – best for 24″ x 36″ frames.
If you’re using the small strips and your frame weighs 6 pounds, you’ll need six pairs of strips. If you’re using the large ones and the frame weighs 8 pounds, you’ll need two pairs. You get the idea.
The product mentioned above are the basics; however, Command also makes hanging strips for large canvases, easel back frames, narrow, wire back, and more. You can find all of these products at your local big-box store or online on Amazon.
3M, the parent company of Command Brand, invests about 6% of its revenue back into research and development (over $1 billion annually) to improve their current products and invent new ones continuously. This dedication to innovation is why their products, including picture hanging strips, are so useful.
One of the most frequently asked questions about Command strips is:
How much weight can they hold?
In the previous section, I highlighted Command’s three most popular products (Small, Medium, and Large strips), but they sell many other picture hanging strips and hooks with various weight limits.
Here’s a quick chart that breaks down the weight limits of each type of Command strip.
Two Quick Notes: 1) The weight limits in this chart are based on only one pair of strips. 2) The product names are linked to Amazon, where you can check out more details.
|Product||Weight Limit Per Pair (pounds)||Weight Limit Per Pair (kilograms)|
|Command Small Picture Hanging Strips||1||.45|
|Command Medium Picture Hanging Strips||3||1.3|
|Command Large Picture Hanging Strips||4||1.8|
|Command Narrow Picture Hanging Strips||3||1.3|
|Command Black Medium Picture Hanging Strips||3||1.3|
|Command Black Large Picture Hanging Strips||4||1.8|
|Command Poster Strips||1||.45|
|Command Universal Picture Hanger||5||2.2|
|Command Jumbo Universal Picture Hanger||8||3.6|
|Command Sawtooth Picture Hanger||5||2.2|
|Command Wire-Backed Picture Hanging Hooks||5||2.2|
(Source of Weight Limits: Command.com)
Command strips are effective, easy to use, and convenient, but they have downsides.
The biggest knock on Command strips are, compared to nails, they are expensive. You could probably buy a hundred nails for the price of one pack of Command strips.
However, when that moment finally comes when you have to take down a picture, buying wall putty, sanding, painting, and being left with a less than perfect wall is a much higher price than the cost of these strips.
Secondly, hanging pictures with Command strips takes more steps than it does with a hammer and nail. Although these steps are quick and easy, you need to have the right number of strips, make sure you place them on the frame correctly, peel off the cover, press firmly, etc. I don’t see this as a significant downside, but it’s worth mentioning.
Additionally, as you’ll see in the next section, Command strips could detach from the wall and ruin your frame, art, or photo. If you follow the instructions, the chances of this happening are slim, but it certainly does happen.
The last downside is that you can only use Command strips once. Command designs their pull-tab release mechanism to ensure there is zero wall damage. When you pull the strip to take it off the wall, it stretches out and becomes unusable. Unfortunately, you can’t use them more than once, but paying a little extra for more strips beats the time it takes to patch holes.
If you scroll down and check out the comments on this review, you’ll see that most complaints about this product are related to lack of stickiness causing expensive frames and pictures to fall off the wall.
I totally understand how frustrating and upsetting it could be to have a pricey piece of art or sentimental photo come crashing to the floor.
However, if you follow the instructions—clean the wall first, use the appropriate number of strips, apply pressure before hanging—you significantly reduce the risk of pictures detaching from the wall.
With products like this, there is a tendency to rip open the package and start using it without reading the label. It’s not a complicated product or process, but you must follow the few instructions.
Even if you follow the instructions, with this type of product, there’s still a slight chance of the strips losing their stickiness. Drastic changes in room temperature or the moisture in the air are the most likely culprits.
My advice—if you’re hanging something really expensive or invaluable, use a nail or double up on Command strips.
Besides a hammer and nail, there are not many viable alternatives to Command strips.
Double-sided tape/adhesive strips, like Scotch Indoor Mounting Tape and Gorilla Mounting Tape, are an okay alternative. Still, based on my personal experience and extensive research, I wouldn’t be comfortable recommending any other brand besides Command. It is the best option for hanging pictures and won’t leave behind a sticky residue like these alternatives.
The best way to hang heavy pictures, art, painting, or anything flat to drywall, wood, glass, tile, plaster, or most other surfaces in your home is to use Command Picture Hanging Strips. The main focus of Command Brand products is hanging things to walls, and, in my view, they nailed it (pun intended).
These sticky Velcro strips will cost a little more than nails, but they do their job and leave your walls completely smooth with no holes or residue left behind.
The result is a beautiful, securely hung picture and a wall in pristine condition.
So yes, Command Picture Hanging Strips are worth it.
To see more details and pricing, check them out on Amazon.
Thank you for reading our review of Command Picture Hanging Strips!
We hope you enjoyed reading our review and that now you can confidently hang pictures without using nails.
Have you had a different experience with Command Picture Hanging Strips? Do you agree or disagree with our review? Do you about better options for hanging pictures? Please let us know in the comments section or contact us directly; we would love to hear your feedback.
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