How To Un-MacGyver Your Curtains

taking down curtains put up with 3M command strips

My second-most popular post ever in jhb history was this one where I hung curtains in a creative, albeit rudimentary, sort of way.  I think it’s safe to say that most renters struggle with whether or not to hang curtains, because some landlords are so very strict about damaging their walls (understandably so).  I also faced the challenge of having a window on a mirrored wall (helllooooo 1983), which I was most certainly not willing to drill into.

See me?  Ask me how fun it is to try and take pictures of your living room for your blog with this bad boy getting in the way…

taking down curtains hung up with 3M command strips

Anyway the quick and dirty version of the story is: because the 16 lb weight capacity 3M Command Strips weren’t strong enough to hold up my curtain rods, I decided to run a bead of Turbo Tacky glue down the strips to hold them together.  I then promised to return to you to talk about taking them down.  Here I am.  Feel free to check out the original post for the full rundown of the original installation but be forewarned – I couldn’t find my point-and-shoot so you’re going to be stuck with really bad iPhotos.  Sorry, friend.

Oh and to answer your question: yes it drove me batty to look at highwater curtains for the past year but not as much as it would have to look at those 80’s-Special plastic and pastel fabric vertical blinds.  Pick your battles with your house, people.  Really, I kept meaning to get new curtains but it just didn’t happen, k?

taking down curtains hung up with 3M command strips

The removal was really easy and I’m pretty pleased with myself for coming up with this little idea, although I will say it worked better on the mirrored wall than on the textured painted drywall.

I grabbed my box cutter, put in a brand new mega-sharp blade and very carefully and slowly ran the blade down the length of the dried glue.

taking down curtains hung up with 3M command strips

That left me with this little guy.

taking down curtains hung up with 3M command strips

You can see where the glue was at; I tried to angle the blade in a way that favored the wall to avoid gouging it.  So the line of glue you see is actually both sides of the command strips stuck together, which left a hole in the strip stuck to the bracket.

taking down curtains hung up with 3M command strips

But check it out, guys:

taking down curtains hung up with 3M command strips

Zero wall damage.  And it only took a few minutes.  The white spots you see are leftover adhesive from the Command strips, which rubbed off with a swipe of my finger.  Victory!  Except for with the second bracket, where I slipped a bit with the blade and gouged the wall.

taking down curtains hung up with 3M command strips

Womp womp.

Obligatory safety police post: BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU’RE USING A BOX CUTTER, KIDS… That is, if you like your wall.  And your fingers.  And toes.  And floors.  Etc.

The removal was even faster on the mirrored wall because the surface is much more durable, thusly making it easier to pull the command strips with vigor, without worrying about pulling off any paint.  I forgot to get an after picture for you guys but its basically this without a bracket on a mirror.  Anti-climactic but true.

taking down curtains hung up with 3M command strips

The strips didn’t even leave any residue on the mirror.  And they held up my curtains forever. Wins all around.  Except for whomever bought this condo.  Sorry ’bout your new-old blinds, friend.

taking down curtains hung up with 3M command strips

Guys, I’m almost 100% packed up and ready to bust out of this natural-light-lacking little condo.  My next post will probably come to you from the new jhbhq.  In the interim…

Have you hung curtains without drilling holes in your wall?  What was your method?  How did the removal go?  Do tell…


12 responses to “How To Un-MacGyver Your Curtains

  1. Pingback: How to Hang Curtains Like MacGyver | jamie's home blog

  2. Hey it’s Ria from your original post! Glad to see they came off easy, I’m about to install mine right now! Going to wait a few days for the glue to dry (I’m using Scotch high performance repair glue since I had some already lying around the house) and then hang just one layer. I’m using 3 brackets for a 70″ window; I’m confident it will hold! Even if it doesn’t, I’ll just screw it in and then buy some plaster hole filler when I move out. I care more about nice curtains than preserving my landlord’s drywall :/ #horribleperson LOL

    • Hi Ria! Thanks for coming back! Let me know how it works out for you! And hey, I don’t blame you about caring more about your curtains. After all, you’re the one that looks at them all the time – not your landlord! 🙂

  3. Hey Ria – Lifelong renter here – IMHO, any landlord who doesn’t think to provide curtain rods/brackets does not deserve pristine dry wall respect (Isn’t that why God invented spackling compound?) We are not on this earth simply to help landlords with their mortgages, after all. A bit of win-win respect all round, okay?

    Inquiring minds want to know how your project went – so come back and comment – even sans photos, pretty please.

    Jamie: got here from Pinterest – love your blog, and YOU are adorable. Thanks for the tips. I’ll be back! (and will pin both “parts” of this article to my “But I RENT” Board)
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    • Excellent point Madelyn, and I totally agree. Property lessors need to be understanding of the fact that they are providing a HOME for someone, not just a boring box to keep them out of the elements!

      Thank you for your kind words and for sharing my post!


    • Hi Madelyn, thanks for reminding me to post again! I hung the curtains around early August, and they are still up now at Christmas, so I don’t think they’ll be going anywhere. I put a picture here: (if that link doesn’t show up, click my name).

      I am so pleased with how everything turned out, and it seems really durable. I don’t swing from them like George of the Jungle, but I do open and close them daily and shuffle/tug them into place because they’re a bit too long, hehe. The Ikea Racka/Hugad rods are pretty heavy, and with the denim-like grommet curtain I’m pleasantly surprised it’s holding so well. I foresee no problems; I say go for it! Thanks so much to Jamie for sharing this great idea!

      • Thanks for your comment, Ria – I’ll jump over to check out your big success tomorrow (it’s 3AM where I am & I’m plooped!) I just sat down for the first time in HOURS, and saw that both you *and* Jamie had responded. THANK YOU BOTH!

        I’ve been getting out as much Christmas as I can locate among what seems like a bazilion boxes (recent move – and sudden, so I’m scrambling a bit & still not settled in to my new – bigger and better – apartment).

        But it will be worth whatever it takes once I get everything “decked” – I am a Christmas E-L-F – love everything about it (14 Christmas-themed boards on Pinterest – lol – only a *bit* obsessed!).

        IRe: curtains: digging thru my boxes, I found some ancient lace curtains that I doubled over tension rods for right now, just to cut the drafts (and hide the landlord specials) – but I do need a better solution before Twelfth Nite (hoping to have a Christmas/”house”warming.)

        I’m in a pre-WWII apartment building — plaster walls, high ceilings and tall windows with gorgeous woodwork – so Jamie’s post had MY name on it (yours too, Ria)

        Thank you SO much for letting me know how it went for you. I’ll learn more tomorrow.

        I MUST say, I think I’ve chosen the wrong niche for my blog (::evil grin::) – your guys have follow-through skills that most of my ADD/EFD/TBI readers only dream of. I can’t believe how supportive of one another you are – in the same century, even.

        Thanks for helping a stranger out! And now – to bed.

        BTW, If either of you have ADD friends or know *anything* about it, I just posted “A Visit from St. What’s His Name” – the ADD version of Clement Moore’s Nite Before . . . A friend wrote it for me YEARS ago as a gift, and it is pretty darned clever. (Link’s near the top of the “35 latest posts” list about one screen down on the right sidebar.)

  4. OK, so I couldn’t wait – looks GREAT! xx, mgh

  5. I have blackout curtains across a patio door. Think this will hold?

    And I just bought a 1979 condo that had those mirrors. They are gone!

    • Glad you were able to get those mirrors gone! I don’t have a lot of experience with blackout curtains so I’m not totally sure. I know you can get command strips that are graded for up to 16 lbs – the curtains probably weigh less than that, right?

  6. Hi
    I have a question…….did you glue the two pieces of 16 lb command strip together or glue the strip to the bracket/wall? Thanks!

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