Most classroom walls are cinder block walls, and many teachers are having trouble getting their posters to stay up on them. The best tape for cinder blocks would have to be strong, long lasting, and not damaging to the paint. These are the adhesives that can stick to cinder blocks: command strips, Gorilla mounting tape, hot glue, sticky back Velcro strips, and painter's tape. Factors like temperature and humidity can affect how these adhesives will work in your classroom. Generally, you first have to treat the wall by wiping it with alcohol, then let it dry before adding any tape. It is better to laminate your posters before you stick them so that they will last longer and the tape won't tear them when you peel it off.
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How to prevent tapes from peeling the paint off your walls
I got this trick from another teacher, and I just had to share. The trick is to first put on some blue painter's tape to the spots, then add a stronger tape like the gorilla tape over the blue tape. Then add your bulletin board or posters. That way, you get the strength of the stronger tape and the paint protection underneath from the blue tape.
How to prevent your posters or bulletin boards from tearing or ripping
Sometimes when removing your posters from the wall, they can get torn in the process. Laminating posters are a sure way to protect them from tearing. For bulletin boards, you can line the perimeter on the back side with painter's tape. Another way is to stick painter's tape to the wall and the poster then hot glue the two pieces together. That way, the hot glue does not pull the paint off or rip the poster or bulletin board paper.
The ideas and paid links below are different tapes and adhesives for classroom cinder block walls. Remember, before you try any of the suggestions below, make sure the wall is freshly cleaned and dry (alcohol wipes dry quickly). If there's dust or any other residue, the adhesives will not stick on as well as they should.
- Hot glue with painter's tape: You may not believe this, but you can use your glue gun on your cinder block wall. For posters, put down some blue painter's tape on the spots you want to protect the wall paint, then apply the hot glue on those spots. Just put it in the spots to match the four corners of your poster and then a large dot in the middle. Then quickly press on the poster before the glue cools. That way, you get no damage to the wall but have a more secure connection between the wall and the poster. If any hot glue got on your wall, you can gently scrape it off or use a hot blow dryer to heat it up, then wipe it off.
- 3M Painter's tape: I suggest that you try the blue painter's tape by 3M because not all blue tapes work the same way. The best thing about the 3M painter's tape is that when you peel it off, it does not peel off your paint. This tape is used in conjunction with the mounting tapes and with the hot glue.
- Sticky Clips: Stikkiclips are little neat clips that stick well and stay up on cinder block walls even in high humidity. They have a wax coating that sticks to the wall. To help you apply them, just rub your fingers over the wax to warm them up a bit, then press them to the wall.
- Mavalus tape: This tape is pricey for a reason... it works! It also protects the paint. It is not a thick tape so you have to twist it up into long spirals to make it thick like double-sided tape.
- Heavy duty mounting tapes: These are construction grade double sided tapes. They are only to be used on unpainted cinder blocks or brick walls because they will pull off the paint. Some examples are Alien tape, outdoor mounting tape by 3M, and Gorilla Mounting Tape. Putting down some blue tape first, then the mounting tape, should protect the paint.
- Use invisible nail hard wall hangers: These little hooks are a dream find for teachers stuck with cinderblock classroom walls. There is no drilling involved. They hold basically anything you’d want to put up. The only caveat to these engineering wonders is that you have to hit the metal spikes with quick, straight, consistent strikes while avoiding accidentally hitting the plastic protrusions that actually hold the items. You can practice with a smaller, single spike hook before trying out the larger ones to get the hang of hammering them in without bending the spikes or breaking the plastic. Would you be allowed to use these in your classroom?
- Hang pocket charts on wire Command hooks: Teachers use these hooks because they stick firmly to cinder block walls and the hooks are very low profile. Also, because the metal hooks are hinged, they can swing upwards or downwards.
- Command Hooks with Binder Clips: These work together for teacher to hang up students' work on the wall. First, the Command hooks a put up on the wall, then hang one side of a binder clip from it to the binder clip suspended. The students' work or posters are to be hung by the binder clips and which makes them easy to change out.
I hope that these ideas give you clarity on how to hang charts and posters on your painted cinder block walls. I have tips for hanging decorations from your class ceiling too. You can read about it in this blog post.