In the ceiling there is no light box and I can't insert nails or screws. I need to install a square LED light fixture, weighting 1.4 lbs, that is fed by the outlet. Maximum I can do is to damage the painting when I decide to remove this light fixture, because I can paint again later. The wire is very light in weight and is already in place using a double sided tape.

All that is left is to be able to "glue" this square LED fixture on the ceiling.

What ideas to you have to keep this square LED light fixture in place? I thought about these Command Strips, however I think they will fell in a couple of days, they are not meant to have force pushing horizontally, only downwards. They are not meant to be used in ceilings.

I also thought about these strong, permanent mounting strips (the red ones)?

I also thought about using a little of silicone, do you guys think it would work? Silicone has helped me in many ways before, not sure if it is effective in painted wall/ceiling.

The main question here is how to attach, in a secure way, this flat square LED light on the ceiling, without damaging the ceiling when installing or removing (damaging the paint is fine), probably using some kind of adhesive.

Any ideas are welcome!

Thank you!

  • Any adhesive strong enough to hold up a light will probably do more damage than a screw or two, don't you think? Or is damage upon removal not the main concern?
    – JPhi1618
    Apr 11, 2019 at 18:30
  • @JPhi1618 there are solutions today that can do that, the square is not that have, it's less than 1.4 lbs. I just don't know which would be best: these commercial mounting tapes, or maybe silicone?
    – igorjrr
    Apr 11, 2019 at 18:34
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    Having prepped walls to be repainted, I can say that I would be cursing anyone that used silicone or double sided mounting tape because that stuff is hard to remove. Some double sided tapes might work well, but could damage the ceiling texture when removed. A tiny nail/screw hole takes 5 seconds to touch up with spackling, but a strip of missing texture will be an eyesore and harder to repair. Is damage on removal an important consideration?
    – JPhi1618
    Apr 11, 2019 at 18:38
  • 1
    Well maybe you could attach a square of plywood using a bunch of those 3M Command strips, but those things really depend on correct removal procedure and 90% of the time, tenants in a hurry botch the job and tear hunks off the paint. The plywood would need gloss paint to have enough bindable surface for the Command strips. Regardless this deal seems like Ghost Ship wiring... Apr 12, 2019 at 19:46
  • 2
    "I'm not allowed to make any holes in the ceiling, even with a nail." You may not be allowed to, but in practise if you fill the hole with a suitable filler, sand, and repaint, the landlord will never know. Jan 8, 2020 at 8:55

6 Answers 6


High-tack adhesive will hold your ceiling light.

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It has to be tacky enough to hold it before it hardens, or the thing will fall off, taking the wires with it, and like any proper toast it will fall buttery face down on the floor and lather sticky goop all over.

A water-based adhesive like "liquid nails" makes "accidental spills" much easier to remove but it is not very tacky and doesn't adhere well to non porous surfaces. Perhaps an acrylic caulk or water-based silicone would be a better choice.

Problem is, proper adhesive that is strong enough to hold the light in place will also take large craters out of the ceiling material when you pull it out. MS polymer adhesive will pull out even wood fibers. This MS polymer stuff is extra strong, and impossible to remove from anything, hardened or not. Acrylic is flimsier, so that's easier to remove.

In order to use the minimum amount of adhesive you might want to hold the light in place while it hardens, so as not to rely on the tackiness. Then to remove it you can slip a blade behind the light to cut the adhesive. This will work better if you think ahead and insert a spacer behind the light to leave a few mm thickness of adhesive.

The best combo is to use sticky foam tape as the spacer, that will hold the light in place while the acrylic caulk hardens. With just the sticky tape it'll probably fall off after a week, but by then it should be hardened.


As a landlord, I'd very much prefer you drill holes and use proper anchors. If it's sheetrock, and the light isn't heavy, then screws will hold it just fine.

It is much easier to fill and hide a hole drilled by a tenant than to fix whatever other evil schemes they come up with to avoid making holes. So I tell them to make holes, but please not in the tiles.


Earthquake putty, just used it for my led light fixture

  • Today I learned this exists
    – maples
    Apr 19, 2022 at 19:48
  • 3
    It would be great if you could edit in a bit more about what "earthquake putty" is and how it would be used here. We like to have answers that are fairly complete without the reader having to do additional research.
    – FreeMan
    Apr 20, 2022 at 11:36
  • Thank you. Not sure it would hold against gravity for too long.
    – igorjrr
    Apr 20, 2022 at 19:41

You can use Pattex Double Sided Sticky Pads, it is strong enough to hold up to 4 lbs. I used it also in bathroom, it works great.

  • Thank you. Are these foam type adhesives? I tried, it fell. The cause is that this square led is made of a smooth plastic, and the foam does not adhere to it.
    – igorjrr
    May 14, 2019 at 15:11
  • @igorjrr Yes. I use to clean surfaces with alcohol before sticking things. I hung small framed paintings in my bathroom, they have been on the walls for 5 years, despite the condensation. For me it worked perfectly. I also do the same in the kitchen...
    – DaniChi
    May 14, 2019 at 15:27

I think when you buy the square led recessed panel it should be coming with 'spring clip'.

Which you can try to just 'snap-in' your led into your ceiling :)

No need for glue, no need for tape, etc just use a spring clip for the led panel.

Youtube link for how to

Or if it doesn't come with your LED panel, you can buy it on Amazon or eBay or in Walmart I guess.


Assuming the ceiling has steel fasteners (nails or screws) a suitable rare earth magnet will easily hold 1.4 lbs up.


I'd personally use a coarse grit sandpaper (180 with light broad passes, or maybe 240 with a little more aggression) to roughen the spot on the ceiling you want to hang the light from (and the back of the light fixture) and follow it up with an appropriately rates 3M adhesive strip with a pull-tab for removal. The roughening ensures you get the requisite grip surface without having to do more than paint to repair after removal. Follow the adhesive strip instructions as closely as you can ot ensure no tearing or other unexpected damage.

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