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While we’ve used several methods to hang items throughout our tiny home on wheels including nails and screws, today I’m sharing my favorite (drill-free) way to secure and hang wall decor in an RV. Don’t have an RV? No worries, this method translates over to sticks and bricks homes too, and especially rental properties.
The (drill-free) way to hang decor in an RV
You should know that I’m both indecisive and a visual person, so when we first moved into our RV I hung most of the frames up using tacks. This way I can see what a frame will look like temporarily without damaging the wall or wasting command strips. Of course, you don’t want to go thumbtack crazy, but it’s much easier to fill in a tiny thumbtack hole than a nail or screw hole.
As you can imagine, thumbtacks aren’t the most secure way to hang up wall decor, especially in an RV. And we’re all about securing as much as we can since loose items need to be corraled before we travel. The less we have to corral, the better.
Command Hanging Strips Vs. Velcro
When it came time to hang up my frames I decided to go with Velcro.
The reason? First, I’m somewhat indecisive and wanted a more temporary solution I could easily change up without adding more holes to the RV walls. I also wanted the option to change out the prints inside the frames.
In my experience the Command strips are more of a one time deal – you can’t remove the items and then place them back up using the same strips. In most cases, you have to replace at least one of the strips.
This is why I went with actual Velcro to hang them up.
Now I can hang up my frame, easily remove it, switch out the print, and then hang it back up without needing to replace the strips. Not to mention the velcro keeps the frames secure while we drive down the road.
Side note: A lot of people have told me that they’ve been able to reuse Command Velcro strips, so I’m guessing it was just user error or that it had more to do with the specific items I tried it on – they probably just had some sort of finish on the back that made it more difficult to re-stick (one side kept coming off and sticking to the wall side). If you’ve had luck re-using the Command Velcro Strips multiple times let us know in the comments!
Using Velcro to Hang Wall Decor in an RV
I’m sure the industrial-strength is overkill for our frames, but I figure it doesn’t hurt to go heavy-duty just in case. I generally use the Industrial Strength Velcro adhesive strips that come in rolls. It’s nice that they are wide strips that can be cut down if necessary, a little goes a long way, and it’s super affordable. I think the 5 ft x 2-inch roll cost me less than $10, but you can buy thinner strips and longer rolls like this 15 ft x 2-inch roll for $20. The pre-cut strips are a tad more but can be more convenient to use.
By the way, I removed the glass from all of our frames before we hung them up in the RV. A couple of years ago I did this to our massive gallery wall because it was difficult to get photos without glares. I then realized I didn’t mind them not having glass so I kept them that way.
Then when it came time to bring frames inside the RV I figured I’d leave the glass out. Not only does it make it easier to take photos, but I don’t have to worry about glass breaking. This was also because we were hanging the frames up with tacks originally so I was more concerned with them falling at that time. Now that we have the frames secured, I don’t see that being an issue. Either way, I wanted to mention it. And if you are concerned about it, you can always swap the glass for acrylic.
Step 1: Prep
The first step to ensure proper adhesion of the velcro is prep. You’ll want to follow the instructions on the package, but this generally consists of using rubbing alcohol on the area you plan to attach the velcro – such as the wall surface and the back of the frame.
I did have one wood frame that the velcro wasn’t adhering to and I’m guessing it had some sort of finish that was preventing the velcro from sticking. To fix this I lightly sanded down the back with rough sandpaper before re-cleaning and attaching the velcro. After that, the velcro adhered to the back without issues.
Step 2: Attach Velcro to surfaces
Next, attach the velcro where needed. Because I had a continuous roll of velcro vs. precut strips, I cut my velcro down to size before attached them to both the wall and frames. I’ll admit I’m impatient and mostly eye-balled where to put them, but I’d recommend measuring it out. The good news is that the velcro is somewhat forgiving so there’s some wiggle room when it comes to making sure the frame is hung up straight.
To make sure my frames were hung up flat against the wall I did have to remove some of the stands that come attached to the back of the frame, as you can see below. I don’t plan to ever use these frames on a flat surface so I didn’t mind removing them.
I couldn’t find any info on whether it’s better to have the male (rough side) or the female (smooth/fluffy side) against the wall so I don’t think it matters much. The color of the velcro shouldn’t matter either since you won’t see it, but I now prefer white because it looks cleaner on our white walls.
Tip: I hung up the first frame using 4 pieces of velcro, one in each corner. However, I later realized it’s easier to use long horizontal strips – one for the top and one for the bottom. This makes measuring and placement easier too.
Step 3: Press and Wait
For the best results, press down on each piece of velcro for 30-60 seconds. It’s also recommended to wait 24 hours before attaching the item to the velcro on the wall. This is because you want to make sure the velcro properly adheres to the back of the frame.
True confession, I only waited a few minutes with these frames and didn’t have any issues, but they are pretty lightweight. With that said, if you’re hanging something heavier – and especially anything fragile I would definitely follow the instructions and wait 24 hours.
Step 4: Hang
After waiting 24 hours you can feel confident hanging your decor on the wall. And because it’s velcro you should be able to remove the frame when necessary to switch out the prints.
Update: I used velcro on these frames, and others for 4 years in our RV with no issues, so it definitely got the job done!
Removing Velcro from the Walls
While command velcro strips are marketed as being easy to remove without damaging your walls, I can’t speak from experience about using actual Velcro. However, I did read that you can easily remove the velcro from a surface by first warming it up with a steamer or hairdryer and then using a razor blade. Just something to consider if you decide to go this route.
Update: I have since removed velcro without damaging our walls, but I made sure to remove it very slowly. This may depend on your walls and whether you’ve attached the velcro to a painted surface vs. wallpaper. However, it did leave a bit of an imprint on our walls (from lightly removing some of the paint), so you may need to touch up the paint or place something else in that area if you choose to remove it later.
In some of our updated photos and videos, you may notice the frames appear to be hanging from a cup hook using twine and eye hooks. This hanging hardware is purely decorative as the frames are still secured by velcro, but was used to create visual interest and fill up more vertical space on the wall. So don’t be afraid to mix it up!
Velcro is a great option if you want to avoid nails and screws, but it can also be used in addition to them, to prevent swaying while traveling.
And while I love velcro to keep items secure in our RV, Quakehold is another product that can help keep items secure when driving down the road. Just be careful if you plan to be in very humid areas, as it can melt out a bit. For this reason, I recommend following the directions, not using too much, and not placing it too close to the edge of items.
And if you are going to install screws in the walls of your RV, be sure to use anchors if there is no stud. These pop toggle anchors are my absolute favorite because they are made for hollow doors which translates to working well with super thin walls, like those in an RV.
Do you have any tips for how to hang wall decor in an RV, or have experience removing velcro strips from your walls? Let us know in the comments!