Friday, September 13, 2013

How to hide ugly wires from your wall-mounted tv, for renters (and girls)

I am a girl. Yes, I know, the pink layout and logo have already cued you in. The fact that I blog about crafts, probably also a dead give away. But as a girl, especially one raised by a handyman/contractor/man-who-knows-everything I have a little bit of a "don't tell me I can't do something" complex that sometimes gets me in trouble. I don't like people telling me that I cannot or should not take something on, especially if its because they think my uterus might get in the way. I know that it makes me sound like a crazy person, but I will try things that are probably unsafe and too challenging, just because I don't like to ask for help. I like to think that I would have made a terrific homesteader.

So, its probably no surprise that when I bought my first TV I stubbornly researched a wall mount and hung it myself. No, it wasn't easy to hold the TV up while mounting it. But, I'm a girl, I know how to find a stud (bazinga). I got this.

But then there's this problem: I'm a girl. I want my house to be pretty. I don't want ugly black cable wires to show. I want my mounted TV to look like it's held on the wall by magic! The problem is what when I researched how to make that happen, every youtube video and DIY blog said the same things. Cut a hole in your wall at TV height, run the wires through the wall. It's a great idea, and I'm sure I could do it. But, I don't think my landlord is going to be too thrilled with the peppering of 1/4 inch screws in the wall, much less a 4 inch hole, so that's off the table.

Why, I wondered, were there no other solutions on this world wide web for hiding an ugly black TV cord? I could not believe that no one else had ever hung a TV on the wall, then realized that cutting a gaping hole in the wall wasn't really feasible.

After many, many hours of searching, I found that of course there is an easy, cheap solution: raceway. For about $8 at the Home Depot I got a 5 foot span of this plastic casing designed specifically for (get ready) hiding wires. There are even some video tutorials on youtube that teach you how to hang it. However, they make this process far harder and more intense that it needs to be (perhaps, dudes who want use their screw guns for something?)

The official installation instructions that come with this product are really for running live electrical wiring around your home (e.g., if you're trying to add electricity to a house with plaster walls and no original power). They, like the youtube tutorials, require an inordinate number of tools, screws, and patience. They refer to joints and mounts and a "whole system." I don't need a system. Hell, I don't even need to screw this thing to the wall. I just need a decorative case. I could accomplish the same thing with ribbon if I wanted to badly enough. Do not tell me I need sheetrock anchors!

Upon taking matters into my own hands, it took me all of about 5 minutes to solve the ugly wire problem for good.

Step 1: Zip tie all of the wires you need to hide together at the top, behind the TV.
Step 2: Measure the distance from the TV to the outlet, or at least to behind your entertainment center/shelf. If you're a crafty girl, use your dressmakers tape, just to spite the dude on youtube who used a 30-foot measuring tape for this.
Step 3: Take apart the raceway so that it is in two pieces, the track, and the cover. Cut both sides of the raceway to length (yes that's a steak knife, judge away...)
Step 4: Attach about 3 inches of double-sided mounting tape to the top and bottom of the track (smaller part) of the raceway. This which will be attached to the wall.
Step 5: Make sure your raceway is level. Then, remove the covering from the other side of the double sided tape, and stick the raceway to the wall. 
Step 6: Cram all the wires into the raceway. No photo for this, because it will take all of your hands, and a couple of curse words.

Step 7: Snap the cover side (larger part of the raceway) into place over the top of the wires.

My living room went very quickly from ugly wires     

to hidden wires       
It's like magic.     

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