Rental Trick #1: Electrical Tape

Renting v. owning is an ongoing internal dilemma for us… like most things there are pros and cons.  Renting certainly throws a wrench in the decor department, but the flooded cabinets due to leaky pipe sink last week made us uber happy to be renting. I started the discussion when I introduced you to Sunny, our apartment in the sunshine state.  Rental tricks are all about making things pretty, without making it permanent. Oh, and of course, we try to do it all for free! The first rental trick I discovered was Electrical TapeProblem: How do you add color to a giant white wall with out lots of holes, paint or wall paper?

The discovery process stared with the last box I unpacked. I found a half used roll of black electrical tape. For whatever reason I decided to do an experiment. I stuck the roll of tape to the wall to see if the tape would pull off paint.

Conclusion: You could see a little paint on the black tape, but when looking at the wall you could not see any evidence of paint removal. 

I had to give electrical tape a try. I bought 5 rolls of Electrical Tape from Amazon.

Here is my loot:

I started in the corner and tried lots of designs. First up was circles. They were fun and easy to stick on the wall. The tape allows for bend. It would be super difficult to make perfect cirlces but these are whimsical and fun.
Then I added stripes… which is what I had in mind when I started this process.

More stripes? I thought the circles were fun, but notice the tape peeling off on the second circle. 

Circles would be fun in a kids room or play room, but I wasn’t feeling them in my living room. I think they would work and not peel off (like below) if you made the circles bigger and less sharp turns. Plus, you need to use your fingers to press the tape down good.

Next, I tried diamonds. I liked these, but the wall is so big it would have taken forever and I did not have enough tape of any one color to make the same colored diamonds. Diamonds came down.
I wanted to see what the other colors looked like on the wall, started striping. The first orange stripes I did happen to be 7inches apart so I continued this trend down the entire wall.  I used orange, gray, and yellow tape.
You must know that this was quite the process… I didn’t just put up circles, add stripes, throw up diamonds, and lots of stripes all in one day. I would leave each tape style up for at least a day to see how I felt about in the morning and look at it in all lights :) I even added a few picture frames to this one…
My conclusion: How great is this for a kids room! Putting up the stripes is so easy… The whole striped wall took me about 30 minutes, and taking them down is even faster. I measured the 7 inches apart but I did not use anything to assure that the lines were straight.  It was easy to eye ball and the weight of the roll of tape helped ensure pseudo straightness. And like I said, it does no damage to the wall!
I finally decided I liked the orange stripes best, and took down all of the yellow and gray ones… This whole tape process has now been going on 3 days :)
I added a few frames…
Electrical tape on walls
I have a secret weaponfor putting up frames in a rental too. I’ve since added 30 frames to wall and taken down the stripes. Yep, I took them down. And when Andy came home from work, I was excited to show him the latest layout for the wall debacle… his response was, “the stripes were growing on me!” Oh boy. I guess he likes the circus + jail cell feel. How do you feel about the electrical tape situation? What tape layout and color did you like best? Don’t you think it would be fun for kids. What other unique wall tricks do you have for giant white rental walls? Do you rent or own? Owning a house sounds fancy, but it’s not all it is cracked up to be. Tuesday I’ll show you the finished wall (for now), what else you can do with electrical tape, and the greatness of the no hole picture hangers! And if you’d like more tape inspiration here are 16 rad electrical tape projects


  1. I rent as well, so I gave up a long time ago on the idea of properly decorating. I like the orange stripes though. They would probably look really cool as a plaid pattern too.

    From previous experience with electrical tape, I've found that the longer you leave it on something, the more gummy residue it leaves behind when you take it off, so I'm not sure this would work as a long term solution. I'd use coloured masking tape instead. There are tons of colours available online.

  2. The stripes were growing on me too. What a great idea to add a little splash of color without having to paint!

  3. Maybe you're right, the only way to now is to try :) But it does not have a sticky residue at all. It is vinyl electrical tape, and I used vinyl stickers on my walls for 3 years in the last house, and no residue. In conclusion, use at your own risk :)

  4. This is a fabulous idea! When I get my own place (which I will have to rent of course haha) I will keep this in mind! Thanks for sharing!

    -Bonnie @ Revolutionaries

  5. Hey Jamie, I kinda liked it too, especially the circles, although I would have like them more circular, lol. AND I aslo liked the plain orange stripes in the last pictures.

    GREAT idea, and just like the previous reader said, I also used electrical tape, the vinyl kind too, not for decorating, but to tape things on the wall, and when i took it off, it did pull off the paint. ERghhh, so go figure, hehe.

    Anyways girl,
    SUPER idea!!

    I did my 1st FINALLY FINISHED FRIDAY post – Closet makeover, come see :)

    Hugs, Bella :)
    Bella Before and After
    Euro Style Cakes.

  6. You secret weapon for hanging pictures is fantastic! Living in historical government housing means plaster walls for us for the next three years. I had no idea what I was going to use to hang up all of our pictures, artwork and such. The first time I used them I was apprehensive but now they are the only thing I use I do not think I will ever go back to using herc hooks (which is what I used with our sheet rock walls in our previous home)

  7. What a great idea. I rent and it definitely can cause issues when trying to decorate. I have started to take decorations down just so I don't have to clean them and two don't deal with the 'left overs' from changing it. I liked the strips, but I prefer them spaced at 12". I painted my bedroom when living at home and did 12", so that's what I am used too. But maybe you might want to try horizontal strips. It'll make the room look longer and obviously have a different effect. Good luck.


  8. This is AWESOME!!! We've been looking for ways to decorate the walls without painting them all. I love it!

    -Jess @ That's Sew Crafty

  9. I like the stripes in orange, gray, and yellow tape best!
    anyway it is an really amazing idea!!! thanx for sharing!


  10. This turned out great! I love stripes!

  11. What a great idea! I loved your orangy stripes and I also love your gorgeous view :-)

  12. Wonderful idea. I had no idea that electrical tape came in such pretty colors! So even if you leave the tape on the wall for months it doesn't take off the paint? :-)

  13. I love this idea. I'm so glad that you have posted about living in a rental. We rent too and decorating is so difficult sometimes and I am always jealous of all the projects that I see where people paint the walls. I use the command strips for picture hanging too.

  14. Love it!!! My favorite layout was the first one – with the circles and stripes. If it continued to go in wonky patterns, I think it would've looked great! Although I do love the orange stripes, and I loved it even more when you mounted the frames!

  15. I was so surprised that they work so well!

  16. Just think about all of those home homeowners trying to fix their own leaky pipe on a Friday night… Renting is not so bad :)

  17. Me either! It also come in different widths… which I learned about after I bought all of my tape!

  18. I kind of liked the circles, although the peeling would be a problem. The multi-coloured stripes were also super cheery, but like you said, better in a kids' room.

    Something else to try might be starching fabric to the wall to create 'wallpaper' or silhouettes, or I thought I saw a post recently in which someone used fusible webbing to attach fabric directly to a wall.

  19. Hi Jamie ! I've used tape on pictures for a year or more. Does leave a mess (hubby said??). I liked the orange stripes and different colors together more fore for childs room??.
    gOOD JOB.

  20. Have you had any problems with the velcro not sticking and pictures/items falling to the floor? I just purchased these and did a trial run… found my frame on the ground the next morning. I must be doing something wrong.

  21. Yes! But only because I did not follow directions on the first few frames. There are 6 steps on the package. I didn't clean with rubbing alcohol, but I did steps 2-6 exactly like it said too. Give it another try :)

  22. Hi Jamie – (My sister's name is Jaime so I always struggle spelling it with an 'IE')

    I have a pile of soon to be displayed things laying on my living room floor. I have a long cavernous room I'm dying to spice up but feel like I'll never have enough stuff to display. I've been taking many cues from your wonderful gallery walls and have a few questions to ask. Have you collected your frames (thrift / old)and painted them or purchased them new in the color you want? I notice most of yours are white – I'm going for a more eclectic rustic theme so have purchased some "old" looking frames – barn wood frames and what not. I've also taken some of my existing "contemporary" black frames and faux finished them to look a bit worn. I stay tuned for all of your updates and can't wait to get my wall up and going.


  23. When we rented, I ‘wallpapered’ a wall using liquid starch and fabric. Just dunk the fabric in the starch (I put plastic on the floor, because it was a bit messy) and apply to the wall. The best thing? When we moved, the fabric came down in a breeze, and the wall cleaned up with with just water! I used upholstery fabric (which turned out to be expensive), but you could probably do this with an inexpensive sheet.


  1. […] Wall can not be painted, I’m lazy, and I really don’t want to paint it back when we move. (Open to other ideas… electrical tape?) […]

  2. […] washi, and it’s almost impossible to pass up. Jamie Dorobek, of the C.R.A.F.T. blog, suggests using electrical tape to create geometric wall designs. “The simpler the pattern,” she says, “the easier it will be to make it look nice.” […]

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