Sticking Suction Cups to (some) Non-Smooth Surfaces

Picture of Sticking Suction Cups to (some) Non-Smooth Surfaces
Good day!
My wife and I recently bought a new home, and the shower in the master bath is a relatively tight stall shower. In order to fit a human body in there and still have access to all of the necessary items needed in a shower, we wanted to install corner-shaped bins into one of the corners of the shower, but without drilling holes in the tile. Suction cups to the rescue!

However, we discovered that our tile is not smooth enough to hold a suction cup for more than a few minutes, and our shelves were falling down.

I considered glue, double-sided tape, and sticking smooth-surfaced items (ie. cut glass or plastic) to the walls so the suction cups would hold.

But in the end, I hit on a simple solution that's been holding strong now for over a month.

Packing Tape.
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Step 1: Try To Stick The Suction Cup

Picture of Try To Stick The Suction Cup
I'm working here with a smaller, hook-style suction cup.

The first step is, naturally, try to stick the suction cup right to the tile. If you can stick it and it doesn't pop right off when you pull on it, congratulations, you don't need this instructable.

On my tile, the suction cup pops right off with little or no force.

Step 2: Locate a Spot and Clean The Tile

Clean the tile where you want the suction cup to stick. This is important, otherwise the tape won't stick to the tile... no good.

I used isopropyl alcohol to ensure no leftover reside was left on the tile. Make sure this is safe for your tile before using it.

Step 3: Select a Tape

Picture of Select a Tape
You need a tape that is at least as wide as your suction cup. You might be able to get away with tape only a slight bit narrower, but your mileage may vary on that.

Here I'm using standard-issue packing tape; it's about as wide as this suction cup.

Note: unfortunately you can't overlap pieces of tape for larger suction cups. You will need to get bigger tape, or smaller suction cups... the seam in the overlapping pieces of tape (or tha gap if you try to put them side-by-side) allows air in and you won't get good suction.

Step 4: Cut the Tape and Stick It

Picture of Cut the Tape and Stick It
Cut a square of tape and stick it to the wall right in the spot where you want the suction cup.

Use your fingernails to rub the tape into the wall - you want to eliminate air pockets and force the adhesive into all the nooks and crannies of the textured surface so it will hold up under the vacuum pressure from the suction cup.

Step 5: Stick the Suction Cup

Picture of Stick the Suction Cup
This one's a no-brainer -- Stick the suction cup right int he center of the tape. If all works, you now have a good seal, and can pull with quite a bit of force without dislodging the suction cup.

Note: over time, the suction from the suction cup may loosen the tape. If that happens, your suction cup should still hold, but you might want to just re-rub the adhesive back into the tile.

That's it! Packing tape is clear, so you'll never see it, and it's safe to wash as long as you've sealed down the edges well with your fingernail. It comes right off when you no longer need it, and it will make you muffins for breakfast.

OK, maybe not. Just checking to see if you're still reading. ;-)
PatriciaG518 days ago


Trying out these new hooks which look more promising!

Apply a thin "bead" of denture adhesive in a complete circle on the "business side" of the cup. Excellent for problem surfaces such as textured dashboards & etc.
CyberBill7 years ago
I had some tile area like you say, but instead of using tape, I just squirted some hair gel into the suction cup. Worked great!
Hair gel worked great to stick my unused car phone holder to my desk!
Now I have an awesome phone stand! Thanks!
technosapien (author)  CyberBill7 years ago
Great idea!
tsim13 years ago
keno24347 years ago
I use a shorter shower curtain rod with a hanging shower caddy. Just another option :-)
ducktape17 years ago
very cool
Hoopajoo7 years ago
How does the tape hold up to the heat and humidity?
technosapien (author)  Hoopajoo7 years ago
Well, as I said it's been a month. One of my pet peeves is mildew in the shower, and there's none noticeable even now. As long as you get a good seal with the tape by rubbing the tape into the tile with your fingernail, you should be OK. Packing tape isn't very breathable so the moisture shouldn't seep through or under the tape. Heat is another issue... if you have a bathroom like a sauna when you shower, this may not be the BEST option, but it should hold up. Our bathroom is large so the heat and steam dissipate well, so the only moisture or heat come from whatever condenses on the tile. So far... no problems. I invite others to let me know if this did not work for them, and I'm happy to help work on other solutions!
Oh my god. That is so brilliant, how come I've never thought of this before?