How You Can Safely Remove Nanoleaf Without Damaging Your Walls

Because of their innovative technology and the ability to create intricate designs, Nanoleaf lighting panels are quickly gaining popularity.

But before investing in the decorative panels, many people want to know whether the adhesive that attaches them to the walls is going to give them any trouble when it comes time to remove them.

Whether you’re moving, want to re-position your panels, or even just place them in a different area – how can you remove the adhesive safely, without damaging your walls? 

In order to answer this properly, we first have to take a look at what Nanoleaf panels are, and the best way to place them to avoid trouble later.

What are Nanoleaf panels?

Nanoleaf panels are smart lighting panels that display an amazing array of colors and come in various shapes and sizes.

The newest addition to the Nanoleaf family, the Elements panels, are hexagonal-shaped panels that have the texture and appearance of real wood. Many people are making them part of their home décor because not only do they look fantastic while on or off, but their unique lighting patterns can simulate natural patterns, such as waterfalls.

Various Nanoleaf shapes on bedroom feature wall with HomePod Mini
Various Nanoleaf shapes on bedroom feature wall with HomePod Mini

The Shapes, Lighting Panels, and Canvas panels are also popular as they can display a variety of colors, and even be set to be in sync with your music or video games.

Because of their ability to interconnect with each other, you can create many different patterns on your walls – from heart shapes, to trees, to intricate designs of your choosing; the possibilities are literally endless!

You control your lights via the controller box or panel, which connects to Wi-Fi. Once you’ve set up your pattern, all of the panels will be connected to the main controller box – much like strip lighting. 

This box, then, connects to Wi-Fi and the Nanoleaf app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. From here, you can set up your lights to do what you want them to do.

Nanoleaf is also compatible with popular smart home hubs such as Amazon Echo, Samsung SmartThings, Apple HomeKit, and more. More recently, they’ve even added compatibility with the groundbreaking IoT protocol, Thread. 

Because of their unique, decorative aspect, as well as their ability to work with a majority of smart home hubs, Nanoleaf is making its way into the homes of many smart home owners who want to add a unique touch to their smart home.

How are Nanoleaf panels installed on a wall?

In order to guarantee successful placement of your panels with less removal hassle later, it’s important to install the panels properly – especially since they are usually installed with simple adhesive strips/tabs.

Where to Place Nanoleaf Panels (And Where Not To!)

8x Hex Nanoleaf wall panels in a room
8x Hex Nanoleaf wall panels in a room

One of the first, and most important decisions to consider when placing your Nanoleaf light panels, is where you’re going to place them. 

It’s to be noted that Nanoleaf panels should not be installed on textured walls. This is because the uneven surface gives less area for the adhesive to grip, or the surface doesn’t allow adhesive to readily stick. This can cause your panels to come loose, fall, and potentially become damaged.

Thankfully there is an alternative – a Nanoleaf screw mount kit, which we explore in more detail later.

Nanoleaf themselves specifically state that when you’re using the adhesive approach, that the panels should not be placed on the ceiling. Some users claim they still use their panels on the ceiling – but this is done at your own risk – lest gravity have its day and you (or a family member) get conked on the head with a rather decorative light panel! 

When it comes to wallpaper, the advice from Nanoleaf is similar. The tape is not suited to be placed on textured surfaces – this includes textured walls, brick, and yes, even wallpaper. 

Some Nanoleaf users say they have used their panels on wallpaper – but this, again, is at your own risk. While the wallpaper may very well withstand the weight of the light panels, there is no guarantee it’ll survive the adhesive removal process.

Placing the Adhesive Strips

Nanoleaf panels are typically installed via the included adhesive strips, which are sometimes M3 command tabs but other times are a third party adhesive strip:

3M command strip tabs which allow for safe removal of wall mounted panels
Command strip tabs which allow for safe removal of wall mounted panels

These strips are double-sided – one sticks to your panels, the other attaches it firmly to your wall. Many users say that the adhesive strips they receive are, or are comparable to, Command adhesive strips.

When it comes to these, it’s important to place the adhesive strips in such a manner so that the tags at the end of the strips stick out from underneath the panel, making removal easier

If you’re worried about the tags becoming an eyesore, you can install the panels in such a manner that the panels, when placed next to each other, cover the tags that are exposed. You may also cover any exposed tags with the controller box.

However, it’s important to make sure that at least one or two of the tags is exposed in order to facilitate removal of the adhesive later on. 

Instead of using the included adhesive strips, some users have opted to purchase double-sided 3M adhesive strips to place their panels. You can get these in either double-sided tape form, or those that attach the panels to the wall with velcro. 

These 3M adhesive strips don’t have tags that stick out, so while it may be more aesthetically-pleasing, removal may require a bit more effort.

In order to make sure your Nanoleaf panels continue to stick properly, and avoid the damage that comes from fallen panels, it’s important to check on your panels every now and again.

Gently press on your lighting panels, and feel them out for any signs that the adhesive is weakening. This can happen over time, so be sure to do this regularly – about once a week or so.

Removing Nanoleaf without damaging your wall 

It stands to reason that with any adhesive, there’s a little trepidation when it comes to removing them – especially if they’ve been in place for quite a while.

Snap, crackle and pop are for your cereal – not something you want to hear coming from your walls! To that end, removing the panels safely will require different methods, depending on your type of adhesive.

If you’ve used the Command strips, there is fortunately a safe and easy removal method. This would require you being able to grab hold of the tag that’s left sticking out, and pulling it back slowly. This would then lift and detach the adhesive, and your panel, from the wall

There may be a bit of adhesive left on the wall, but it can easily be removed with your fingers or a gentle adhesive remover such as Goo Gone.

If you happen to be using the 3M double-sided adhesive tape, a little more care may be needed. In general, there’s unlikely to be damage to the paint unless it was already weak in that area, or environmental situations (i.e. excessive humidity) have weakened it over time. 

In either case, one method you can use is by taking a piece of dental floss, some gardening wire with the metal portion exposed, or fishing line. You would then slide the floss or wire behind the panel you’re trying to remove, making sure you get between the adhesive and the wall. Then, without being too rough, pull it forward in a sawing motion, slowly breaking the seal between the wall and the adhesive. Gently remove any leftover adhesive with your fingers or adhesive remover.

An alternative approach is to heat up the adhesive tape, before peeling it off with your finger – this works well with fairly newly-applied adhesive tape, but years-old tape might be more stubborn:

If you’ve decided to place Nanoleaf on wallpaper there could potentially be some damage to it when removing the panels – unless the wallpaper is very sturdy and quite firmly attached. There are different textures of wallpaper, and some are more durable than others. Using the methods above for either Command strips or 3M adhesive, remove with the utmost care.

Alternative ways of hanging Nanoleaf

While adhesive strips are the most popular option for hanging your panels, Nanoleaf also offers the option of buying a separate screw mount kit in order to hang them up. This may be a better option if you own your home, however, as most landlords usually have a policy in place regarding putting holes in the wall.

Nanoleaf’s screw mount kit

Unlike the adhesive options, with the screw mount kit, you can attach Nanoleaf to surfaces such as ceilings, drywall, textured walls, and wallpaper. The secure nature of using screws and anchors vs adhesive make it safer to use Nanoleaf in these areas:

Nanoleaf screw mount kit
Nanoleaf screw mount kit

Whilst this seems fairly expensive at $24.99 per kit, this will work for up to a 12-panel wall installation, so this will work out as a small overall part of your purchase.

Magnetic hanging system

Another option you may consider, is using a magnetic hanging system. This works if you’re trying to mount the panels on a magnetic surface, or if you’re willing to hang up a metal platform in order to attach them in that manner – such as a MagPanel board.

With double-sided adhesive, you would attach button magnets to the back of your lighting panels, making sure to place at least two diagonally so that the panels sit evenly.

Once the magnets are attached, you simply attach the panels to the magnetic surface, letting the magnets do their work. This method also makes reconfiguring your panels into different patterns far easier than screw mounts or adhesive placement.

Some may have concerns as to whether the magnetic field will affect the operation of the panels – but there haven’t been any reports of this. Using magnets in this manner seems to be completely safe, and we haven’t read of users experiencing issues in the operation of their Nanoleaf light panels.

Damage-Free Removal

Whether you’re moving, or just switching things around, you don’t have to dread removing your Nanoleaf panels.

The first step is to make sure they aren’t mounted on a surface that may be weak or unable to withstand the pull from adhesive, such as chipping paint or wallpaper. Assuming your surface is stable, removal, when done carefully, will be simple and successful. 

Should you want an option that doesn’t require the classic adhesive, screw mount kits, and magnet placement are both viable options that can help make mounting – and removing, your Nanoleaf panels a cinch.

About Yvette Griffith

Yvette is a freelance writer who also happens to be a smart home enthusiast! She owns several smart home gadgets like strip lights, smart bulbs, cameras, and more! With a knack for troubleshooting device issues, she’s been the go-to for family and friends for all kinds of tech-related issues - dating back to VCR’s!

Here on Smart Home Point, she shares her knowledge with the world in hopes it’ll help you create and maintain your smart home.

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