Tape, tape, tape! There are so many different kinds and so many applications. Tape can be used for the jankiest repairs up to near-permanent fastening.Tape can be quite useful in the workshop and in the making process if you know which type is best for different situations and materials.
I’d like to dispel some misconceptions about how different kinds of tapes should be used, and throw in some tricks that you might not know about. Here are ten of them. As always, feel free to chime in with your own tape tricks in the comments section.
Cardboard is an invaluable material for creating iterations of your project. Even Caine knew that when building his arcade, packing tape was the best stuff to hold it all together. It's made for cardboard -- use it for cardboard!
Duct Tape: Not All That
I know there is sort of a "cult of duct tape," but it is by no means a panacea. It comes off in strips, melts into mush over time, and leaves a horrible mess when taken off. Even though it's a bit spendy, I'll take gaffer's tape over duct any day. There's a reason it's used by stage hands all over the world.
This tape doesn't have a name because it hasn't been released yet. On a whim, I once called 3M for a double-sided tape for paper on one side and plastic on another. It turns out that they had some, and sent me three rolls for free! YMMV, but they want to get new products into the hands of people who can make them useful.
The thick type of double-sided tape is great for securing components to your enclosures. If you need to affix a proto-board like this Arduino into a material that won't take screws, the double-sided tape will hold it strongly for a very long time.
If you want a clean cut when using a circular or table saw, put some masking tape along the part where the blade pokes out. It prevents chips and splinters.
Fold that Corner
This trick is especially for thin tape that is hard to peel off the roll, eg: masking and packing. Just fold a corner over and you're good to go for the next time.
Mask and Paint
It's not just for your apartment walls. Use masking tape and a razor blade to carve out the spots you don't want to hit when prettifying your project. It tears off easily and makes for clean lines once the paint is dry.
Electrical Tape Limitations
Electrical tape is good for temporary cable bundling, but it seems there are usually better alternatives. Zip ties hold cables together better, shrink wrap protects bare wires better, and neither leave any residue. Keep this in mind before grabbing that roll.
Tape, especially when left for a long period of time, will leave residue. Goof Off, Goo Gone, or plain Acetone can be great for removal. Just make sure you test the solvent on an inconspicuous spot. If all else fails, use a metal or ScrapeRite plastic razor blade.
Tape as a Design Element
If you need to use tape on the exterior of your project, consider placing it in a way that will bolster your piece's aesthetic. You can use it to make trim, pin stripes, or go all out and make art out of the tape itself.