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I have had similar problems in the past. I found a solution from the
cheerleader sponsor at our school - you know all of the huge banners they
hang. I now use Sherwin William's brand of masking tape. It is expensive, but
well worth it. It is tackier than even duct tape and is much easier to use and
remove. I have not had problems with it pulling paint off, either. I have used
it on several surfaces - even grasscloth-like wallcovering without damage.
All of my students' work I display is matted in posterboard or done on
posterboard (donated, yeah!) so I don't have to worry about it damaging the
work. I make sure the tape is on the back of our free, often spray painted
"mats" so that the work on lighter weight paper is not damaged.
I put up a large Christmas display at the local hospital. Part of the display
was 20"x30" paintings done on posterboard and then matted in posterboard so
they were relatively heavy. I hung them gallery style on ceramic tile walls
and did not have one come down in the three plus weeks they were up. Now, I do
put on mass quantities of tape around the edges, though. I have also found
that placing a larger number of smaller tape rolls (3" long after folded and
lapped or smaller) works better than larger strips. They tend to pull away
from the wall making it easy for the piece to fall. Also, placing the rolls
horizonally (open ends of loop at top and bottom) instead of vertically helps
fight against the gravitational pull. Of course, I make sure there is one loop
as close as possible to each corner, and more tape at the top of the piece
than the bottom.
Years ago I taught K-4 and kept the walls of the school covered in artwork. It
earned me the title "The Masking Tape Kid" since I was either using it or had
a roll on my arm to put up pieces that had fallen. I wish I had known about
Sherwin Williams's tape back then. I spent more time rehanging than hanging.
The higher cost is warranted when you compare using mass quantities of the
cheap stuff and finding it on the floor every morning anyway.
The tape comes in 2 qualities - one about $5 for a 2" or 21/2" roll, and
another about half that price. I don't see a big difference in the
stickability of these. They put this tape on sale for a couple of dollars a
roll about twice a year and I always stock up then.
Another tip I learned from my sister who is a music teacher: Put a long strip
of masking tape on the wall where you will be hanging the work. all the way
across the length of the display in as many rows as needed. Put a strip of
tape across the top of the works to hang. Use hot glue on the tape on the back
of the work and quickly stick it up so it lines up on the tape on the wall
surface. The tape protects both surfaces and it creates a "permanent" bond. I
use this for laminated posters and stuff I want to leave up for extended
periods of time. It's faster than taping.
I hope you find these suggestions helpful. Maybe someone has better ideas I
can learn from, too.