No matter how much or little you know about tape, there’s always more to learn. We’ve been in the industry for decades and still get excited about all of the impressive things tape can do. There really is a tape for everything; from the low tack, repositionable adhesive of sticky note pads to strong, completely permanent industrial tapes. During day-to-day life here in the United States, most people know about only a few basic types of tape: office tapes, painters tapes, craft tapes, duct tape, and maybe a couple tapes they use in their profession. In the last decade or so, some people have replaced nails with tapes to hold up picture frames, hooks, etc. in their homes. But most people still don’t have any idea how advanced tape technology has become and how commonly tapes are used. Today we thought we’d have a little fun and tell you about some of the tape applications few people know about. Maybe you’ll find you’re using safety pins, adhesives, rivets, nails, staples, or screws for an application that would be easier and more cost effective if a tape was used. Bring us almost any project and we’ll say “there’s a tape for that”.
Clothing and Body Tapes
This one is a little more common, especially among women. However, we’ve found that there are many people who haven’t heard of ‘fashion tape’. Fashion tape is designed to hold fabric to fabric or fabric to skin. Anywhere you would use a safety pin on clothing, you can use fashion tape. It holds just as well but is more comfortable to wear and does not damage clothing with holes or residue. It’s also safe to use to hold clothing or accessories to skin. It can be used for:
- Holding scarves in place
- Holding ties in place
- Holding collars in place
- Holding together button-up shirts that gape at the chest
- Holding together a shirt that’s missing a button
- Creating a false button right where you need one
- Creating a quick hem
- Last minute adjustments to size or fit of clothing
- Holding up strapless dresses or blouses
- Holding swimsuits in place
- Holding accessories in place
- Holding up no-show socks
You might be surprised to know how many people have tape somewhere on their outfit.
Wigs, Toupees, and Hair Extensions
This is actually where we got our start here at Walker Tape. Previously, wigs and toupees were generally held in place with liquid adhesives. Tapes are much easier to work with and perform much better than many adhesives. Less mess and longer hold times convinced stylists that tape was the way to go. We’ve built a global business converting these tapes all over the world. These tapes hold for 4-6+ weeks, which is especially impressive when you consider the fact that constant temperature and moisture changes on the skin make it hard to adhere to. Just one of many impressive things tape is used for in the beauty industry.
Sounds crazy, right? But apparently all of those jokes about duct tape being the fix for everything are a little more correct than we thought. Duct tape is actually being placed on top of warts to help them go away. While we can’t promise this will work for you, there are many testimonials and tutorials online that make some pretty strong claims about duct tape being the miracle cure for warts.
Tapes are used in many ways in furniture construction, repair, and woodworking. Temporary and repositionable tapes act as a second pair of hands. Temporary and repositionable tapes are used in furniture, construction, and woodworking for:
- Installing drawer fronts before permanent attachment
- Positioning templates
- Holding parts in place while nailing or screwing
- Holding wood in place for shaping or sawing
- Turning bowls without having to drill holes
Tapes also allow for permanent solutions that save time and money. Tapes are generally less expensive than buying screws, nails, or other hardware. They are also a great alternative to wood glues because there is no need for drying time. Permanent tapes are being used in furniture construction, repair, and woodworking for:
- Attaching trims and decorative elements
- Replacing wood glue to avoid the need for drying time
- Repairing upholstery
- Protecting raw fabric or upholstery edges
- Finishing raw wood edges
Woodworking generally brings visions of nails, screws, or glues to mind. But many carpenters are adding tapes to their toolboxes and never going back.
Tapes are commonly used in construction to literally hold buildings together. Tapes have replaced many types of fastening methods in the construction industry. They’ve been able to replace tack strips for carpets, adhesives for vinyl flooring and shower panel mounting, and screws and nails in metal framing. Tapes make many jobs much faster and are a more customizable, permanent solution for many applications. Tapes are easily customizable and, as long as the correct tape is used, they are a permanent solution. Tapes can be converted into shapes that fit perfectly where they are needed. For situations where the tape is holding two different surfaces together (glass to metal, for example), they can be designed to have different adhesives on each side of the tape that will adhere better to the surface each side is being attached to. This comes in handy for many applications in the construction industry. In the construction industry, tapes are used for:
- Installing carpet, vinyl, and other flooring options
- Holding together metal framing
- Holding windows in place
- Creating seamless glass walls with multiple glass pieces
- Weather stripping and other air sealing applications
- Installing roofing
- Joining and sealing ducting
- Protecting delicate surfaces
- Electrical insulation
- Sound dampening and absorption
Yep, buildings all around you are being held together and sealed with adhesive tapes. Even more impressive, are walls completely made of glass. Although it may look like one solid piece of glass, most glass walls are actually made of several pieces of glass stuck together with completely transparent double sided tape. It may be hard to believe this is possible when your idea of ‘transparent tape’ is the tape you use to wrap holiday presents. However, tape technology is getting more and more impressive every year, making things like this possible.
Aerospace and Automotive
Now we get into the really impressive stuff. Tapes are replacing rivets, screws, nails, and other fastening methods in the aerospace and automotive industries. Tapes hold just as strong as those methods which is incredibly impressive, plus they have many other benefits. They cost less, take less time to install, and are lighter weight. Tapes can remain strong and permanent while still maintaining some flexibility. That flexibility often allows them to continue to hold at times when other solutions would fail in ever-changing environments. Some common uses for tapes in these industries include:
- Installing carpets
- Dispersing heat up to 500°F
- Securing seams to create moisture barriers
- Protecting electrical cables and wires
- Protecting and sealing with flame retardant tapes
- Attaching fabric to seats
- Protecting surfaces
- Holding electrical components in place
- Holding together framing, walls, etc.
Tape holding airplanes and cars together? Yep. Airplanes and cars are not only being held together with tape which is impressive in itself, tapes are also protecting from water, fire, and gas. Sealing seams protects from moisture which prevents mold, fungus, etc. and keeps passengers safe from exposure to toxins. Flame retardant tapes combined with heat dispersing tapes protect from fire by dispersing excessive heat over a larger area and protecting areas exposed to heat.
Cars are put together using way more tape than most people realize. Tapes are holding in place the entire carpet floor, holding interior and exterior paneling up, holding mirrors, badges, and emblems in place, and are used to help with sound dampening. So yes, you could say that tape is making all of those family vacations possible.
Speaking of high tech tapes, electronics use some of the most impressive types of tape on the market. Tapes have been used for applications such as:
- Holding battery packs in place
- Holding touch screens in place
- Mounting all types of components
- Masking light
- Dispersing and managing heat
- Shielding from electromagnetic interference (EMI)
As you can see, tapes are doing much more than simply holding your electronics together. They’re also used for protection. You probably never guessed that tape was responsible for your new laptop having even heat dispersing along the bottom while it’s in use. If you’ve used an older laptop for an extended period of time, you probably noticed that one spot on the bottom would get very warm while it was in use. Today’s laptops are using a double-sided adhesive tape that evenly distributes the heat along the entire bottom of the laptop, ensuring it does not get too hot to touch. That’s the same type of tape technology they’re using to disperse heat and prevent fire in airplanes. These heat dispersing tapes are also used in other industries including the automotive industry to keep batteries and other power sources from putting off too much concentrated heat.
Tapes also shield from electromagnetic interference (EMI). Military drones were being hijacked in the field, so tape was designed to disperse and block those signals.
Is your mind blown yet?
This is obviously not a fully inclusive list. Tapes are used in every industry without exception. We could go on and on about all of the tape uses we think are impressive, but we’ll stop there. As we said, no matter the issue, there’s a tape for that. Tapes are literally holding your life together. What’s stopping you from creating a custom tape solution for your business today? If tapes can hold airplanes together, disperse heat, and protect drones from being hacked, we’re pretty sure they’ll work for your application as well. Contact us to get started.