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Ten Tips for Adhesive Tape

Craft & Design Paper Crafts Workshop
Ten Tips for Adhesive Tape


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.

13 thoughts on “Ten Tips for Adhesive Tape

  1. asciimation says:

    Instead of normal electrical tape get what’s called wiring loom tape (especially if you ARE using it on a wiring loom). It’s not as sticky as the normal electrical insulation tape so won’t leave a horrible mess over time.

    Another trick is if you are using masking tape to mask an engine block before painting is put the tape over the bits you don’t want to paint but overlapping the edges then tap over the edges with a ball pein hammer to cut the tape against the edges of the metal. This works for raised bosses where rocker covers, tappet chest covers, thermostats, etc bolt on. Same method as used for making paper gaskets around parts.

    Your experience with 3M was better than mine. I couldn’t even get a special tape they already make locally and no one was interested in bringing any of it in to NZ unless I ordered hundreds of rolls. Unfortunately shipping from the US to NZ makes it ridiculously expensive to get individual directly. I’ll make so with clear duct tape instead.

  2. Eric Weinhoffer says:

    Great tips, Michael! I especially like the one about preventing chip-out; that’ll come in handy :)

    1. Steve Hoefer (@Grathio) says:

      It also works for drilling holes. I also put tape on both sides of the cut when cutting brittle materials like melamine covered mdf and acrylic.

      1. Eric Weinhoffer says:

        Wow, TIL! Great to know, thanks Steve.

  3. David says:

    Packaging / waterproofing small stuff. An Oldy-But-Goody. Lay down a strip of wide tape. Fold end back on itself to form tab. Layout items. Fold back over, securing edges. End with tab. Pull both tabs to open. Sticky surface can (may) hold parts on opening of package. For non-sticking, pre-wrap bundle with la ayer of sacrificial paper, film, foil. To secure bundled parts on opening, use individual layers.

  4. iEEEj says:

    Thank you for telling people about gaff tape. It is by far the best tape around (just don’t use it on grainy wood and let it get warm :).

    I used to literally ask people to leave if they started using duct tape in my theatre. They could come back, they just had to think about what they had done.

  5. trkemp says:

    One of the best ways I’ve found to attach a paper pattern for cutting on a scroll saw is to cover the surface of the material to cut with a layer of masking tape. Then attach the pattern to the top of the masking tape with 3M super 77 spray adhesive. It works with any type of paper pattern and prevents chip-out at the same time.

    The masking tape sticks well to the material and usually doesn’t peel up while cutting as long as the surface was clean before application and the tape was pressed down firmly. It peels off easily and doesn’t leave any residue.

    I haven’t found a spray adhesive that works by itself nearly as well as that combination. However, if leaving the pattern on is acceptable or you don’t mind sanding or scraping the pattern off, you can skip the tape.

  6. raster says:

    Great post… I actually started a blog post about my favorite tapes last year, but never finished it. Gaff tape is my favorite, followed by blue painter’s tape, and masking tape, but Kapton is on the list as well. I don’t care for duct tape, and it’s been years since I used drafting tape, but it was a favorite of mine at the time.

  7. Randy says:

    For taping cables to the floor start off by laying 2 strips of duct (or better, gaffer) tape the length you need sticky side up, next to each other. Take another length and stick it down onto those two in the middle so you now have a length of double-wide tape that’s only sticky on the outer edges. Place than on top of your cable, so that when you have to pull it all back up the cable doesn’t have sticky goo all over it.

    Alternatively they actually make tunnel tape that’s already set up like this but if you don’t have to make cable tunnels for a living it might be overkill to have a dedicated roll just for this.

  8. Jeff Faust says:

    Two words for removing tape residue: mineral spirits. It dissolves the adhesive, doesn’t damage paint or plastic, and evaporates clean.

  9. Viadd says:

    Has anybody used ‘suction cup tape’?
    I’m still waiting for Gecko tape.

    Another tape to consider is silicone rescue tape. Somewhat stretchy thick tape that sticks only to itself, and since it’s silicone it is electrically insulating and can stand high temperatures. I use it to electrically insulate the wiring on my 3d printer hot-end. More common use is to wrap a broken hot water or engine hose.

  10. disqus_siZJtxe2fc says:

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  11. disqus_siZJtxe2fc says:

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In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens' educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

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