Command Hooks don't hold very much weight wise and I would like to mount heavy objects - e.g. a whiteboard ...
(yes this is drywall - I cannot leave any marks in it ).
context: college dorms; they're not happy with any holes of course.
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You have a dilemma. The strongest removable glue bases hooks, such as Command, appear to be rated to to hold a maximum of only 7.5 lbs. Even if you double these up, you are at 15 lbs. It might be possible to rig a series of hooks to spread the load, but it would take a careful rigging to avoid having all the weight on the two outside hooks.
This is not a practical solution for something weighing over 20 lbs., especially if it is not static. A whiteboard is not static since it is subject to constant jostling as it is written upon.
Any surface attachment is problematic. When dealing with wallboard, you have a paint film attached to layer of thin paper/cardboard, attached to a plaster substrate. The adhesive strength of the paint film sticking to the paper over a few square inches is not enought to hold significant weight. If you had an adhesive between the hook and the paint that was strong enough not to let go, the paint (or more likely the top surface of the wallboard paper facing) will likely pull away.
A possibility, one I have not tested, is the use of a tension pole system, such as ZipWall
The poles are extended between floor and ceiling and held in place with spring tension. This system is intended to hold up a thin, lightweigh film of plastic to create a dust barrier, but several poles could probably hold a board of moderate weight. This would only work if the ceiling were solid, not a dropped tile ceiling or any surface that was not plaster, plasterboard or wood. It also rules out textured ceilings. Even if the ceiling is solid, there is a possibility of marring the ceiling.
While I know you ruled out nails, you might consider using Ook style picture hooks.
These use superfine hardened steel nails that are easily removable and leave a pinhole size mark. Even that may disappear with a slight rub or covered with a tiny dot of tempera or acrylic craft paint. These hooks are available in weights up to 100 lbs. each and are aslo available with a cushioned back that is even better at avoiding damage to the wall.
If you want a truly mar free, safe installation, you should prop the board up on an easel-like structure, as suggested by Michael Karas.
You could try out this idea near the wall
An element, inter-metallic alloy, or compound that will conduct electricity without resistance below a certain temperature. Resistance is undesirable because it produces losses in the energy flowing through the material.
Once set in motion, electrical current will flow forever in a closed loop of superconducting material - making it the closest thing to perpetual motion in nature. Scientists refer to superconductivity as a "macroscopic quantum phenomenon".
Step 1: Cool a material to superconducting specifications
Step 2: place a magnet on the floor below where you would like to hang the item
Step 3: Find the center of the object and affix your superconducting material to the back of it
Step 4: Balance the object over the magnet.
There is no way to hang an object on a wall, especially one of significant weight, without leaving a mark. Even the sticky wall pads leave some residue.
Monkey hooks are rated for 50 pounds and leave a tiny tiny hole that you can fill with paint after.
I had the exact same problem at the beginning of this year, except I was hanging mine in the hallway. I plastered the snot out of the board with painters tape and put a few command strips on the edges, it held. That may work for you, plus it leaves no marks and handles high traffic (I have very immature friends and they used it a lot). Hopefully your story won't end like mine though, after being explicitly told that the board was fine to hang there, and spending 2 hours putting it up, the building director said it was "too large". I'm pretty sure it's just because everybody drew crude depictions of male anatomy on it all the time but yeah it can't be helped.
Anyway, coat the back of it in painters tape and put a few command strips on the edges Note: You do not want to see anything other than blue once you are done taping it, if there is a single spot of color other than blue — tape it. Then press very firmly to the wall (I held it for approx 15-20 minutes just to be safe)
Also, to be extra safe like I was, tape across the corners multiple times and then tape that tape on its edges — then run tape right against the edges of the board (your board should be framed in blue tape by now) repeat this a few times and that board will not move unless you want it to.