I recently made the mistake of using duct tape to attach pictures and posters on my dorm room walls.

When I took the pictures down today, the tape took some of the paint off the walls along with it. From the looks of it, there are two layers of paint and at some places the tape took both layers off with it. I've attached two pictures to highlight the situation (picture 1 and picture 2)

I'm wondering what I can do to fix this myself, and avoid paying for a paint job out of my security deposit. Any advice is appreciated, though if there is a particular product you recommend, I would love to have a link to it on Amazon so that I can order it online.

  • 1
    My gut says that from the pictures I saw, you will not be able to repair this perfectly without repainting. That depends on the management, and their tolerance for problems left behind. So do not be surprised if this costs you your security deposit. Learn from this. Do not use things like duck tape to hang stuff on a wall that you do not own. And, if you do, then find a way to carefully remove that tape WITHOUT tearing off the paint too.
    – user558
    Apr 15, 2011 at 12:55
  • A gallon of paint an a roller and tray will set you back maybe $30? Just repaint.
    – DA01
    Apr 17, 2011 at 1:42

2 Answers 2


From looking at the pics, I don't think the walls are specially textured. Looks like typical "orange peel" finish from rolling on the paint. I think all you really need to do is fill the voids where the two layers of paint have been removed with some "Light Weight Spackle". Light weight spackle is very cheap and can fill small blemishes quickly and easily. Apply with a small putty knife, let it dry for 20 minutes then sand it or smooth it with a damp sponge. Get a sample of the color from the tape, or peel a small piece from the wall and get a pint mixed at any paint dept. Have the paint sales person determine what finish the paint is, I suspect egg shell or satin. You can use a mini roller or a soft brush to apply some over your patched areas, overlapping the undamaged color a bit. It may take a few light coats. Try to "feather" the edges into the existing color by using very light pressure on your roller or brush as you overlap the original color. Good Luck.

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    Did you mean 'damp' sponge? Or do you really just dislike sponges that much? :D
    – Doresoom
    Apr 15, 2011 at 13:45
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    Also, some other things to take into consideration: If you can't get a paint chip large enough for a color sample, you can go to HD or Lowes and raid the paint card department. Take the samples back and find which one matches the wall color best. Also, HD has small $3 sample sizes for paint, which will be enough to cover what you need to.
    – Doresoom
    Apr 15, 2011 at 13:49
  • @Doresoom As far as I know, the $3 samples are only flat paint (at least at all my local Home Depots) Apr 15, 2011 at 14:45
  • @James: I was pretty sure I found an eggshell one before, but I could be remembering wrong.
    – Doresoom
    Apr 15, 2011 at 14:50
  • light weight Spackle can be smoothed out with a damn sponge or cloth. Often gives a nicer finish than sanding alone, or in place of sanding so you don't sand the good areas around your patch. I like a sponge because it is nice and flat and gives you a nice flat patch. Apr 15, 2011 at 18:06

If you still have the tape with the paint attached, keep it: you'll need it for color matching for new paint. If not, it looks as if there are still a few loose spots; I would tidy them up, keeping the chips.

You'll need:

  • a primer such as Kilz.
  • a texture spray such as Homax
  • paint in the color and sheen (e.g gloss, satin, matte) of the walls; bring samples of the original to a paint store and they should be able to help.
  • painting supplies: roller cover, roller handle, paint tray, masking tape, etc.

For the small patches, you might want to mask off around the area so that you don't get more primer or texture on the wall than you need: remember the more you spray, the more you'll have to paint later.

Spray some primer on the patches and let it dry. The texture spray that I linked to is adjustable; experiment on a piece of cardboard until you get a good match for the original texture, then spray it on the wall. Once the texture is dry, spray more primer and let it dry. Finally, paint the patches with the color matched paint. Two coats is what I usually do, letting the first coat dry before doing the second.

  • I've used the oil-based Homax with good results. Just make sure you take Niall's advice about test-spraying beforehand.
    – Doresoom
    Apr 15, 2011 at 13:50
  • 1
    Be careful using the paint on the tape -- the back of the paint may be a different color than the front, especially if you took off multiple layers. Bonus points if the layers are really similar colors. ;-) Apr 15, 2011 at 14:53

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