Sticking Suction Cups to (some) Non-Smooth Surfaces




About: I am a graphic art hobbyist, web cartoonist, and wannabe electronics hobbyist. Other hobbies: cooking, baking, exercise, computers, video games, trivia, and some more I'm probably not remembering.

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.

Step 1: 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

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

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

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. ;-)



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17 Discussions


8 months ago

Genius! It works, for now. Let's see how it holds up over time.


Reply 2 years ago

we movd into a rental property 5 years ago, and the fiberglass tub had a hole in it. We didn't have any way to repair it right away, so we figured packing tape might hold up for a while. So, here we are 5 years later, and the original tape is still there, through numberous showers, baths, and cleanings. yay! We're letting it go as long as it will hold, just to see how long this works. lol


Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

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!


2 years ago

The packing tape does not work at all, in fact it doesn't even stick! ***sigh***


2 years ago

wow,cool. we have a more suction cups in


2 years ago

I was having issues where a mirror kept falling off of my car back window because it would get too hot and I use the mirror to see my son. So I tried cleaning both and the tape. So far so good! Hopefully this continues to hold up because it would have solved a big frustration in my life.


5 years ago on Introduction

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.


11 years ago on Introduction

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!

2 replies

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Hair gel worked great to stick my unused car phone holder to my desk!
Now I have an awesome phone stand! Thanks!


11 years ago on Introduction

I use a shorter shower curtain rod with a hanging shower caddy. Just another option :-)


Oh my god. That is so brilliant, how come I've never thought of this before?