Everything You Need to Know About Duct Tape
We all know that duct tape is the solution to most DIY fails, but that is hardly everything you need to know about duct tape! It’s barely the limit of what it can do. Yes, that metallic, sticky, glue-smelling tape you always keep on hand has a whole world of applications, always handy to have in your toolbox.
Known for its durability and strength, the humble duct tape has its origins in WW2, when Revolite developed it with rubber-based adhesive and duck-cloth backing, to be used for ammunition cases together. This is, arguably, where it gets its reputation for durability because the cases would need to be held together for extended periods of time. It eventually found its way to the common market and the rest is history!
Here are a few other things you need to know about duct tape.
Not All Duct Tapes Are Created Equal
You read that right. There is no ‘standard model’ duct tape. For example, removable duct tape has a strong adhesive quality but does not leave a sticky residue when removed. You can use this for home decorating, temporarily holding up portraits while you’re arranging them, or even holding things together until you can get them fixed. There’s also a glow-in-the-dark version! Cool, right? Imagine laying down some duct tape as a middle-of-the-night pathway so that you don’t have to turn on the light!
NASA Astronauts Use Ducts Tape While in Space
NASA and duct tape have a long, wonderful history together. In 2017, astronauts used duct tape to affix a new fender to the Apollo 17 rover. If you look it up on the NASA website, you’ll be able to see a grey cross which holds up the four maps from which the fender is made. Going further back, to 2006, Astronaut Piers Sellers suggested using multipurpose adhesive material to fix safety-jet backpacks (those cool backpacks you see when astronauts do a spacewalk). As these jet backpacks are used to propel the astronaut away from an emergency, you can imagine how detrimental it can be should one of them break. The specific brand of tape they use is Kapton tape, which they use to secure the latches in place. It’s a little more slippery than the duct tape you or I would use, but it’s just as strong.
Duct Tape Has a List of Medical Uses
If you suffer from warts or verrucae, you probably already know this one. Applying a layer of duct tape to the affected area for up to six days, followed by soaking and treatment with an emery board, helps speed the process of healing. Additionally, duct tape can be used as a makeshift plaster for blisters. Adding a piece of paper between the blister and the tape creates a barrier between the blister and the elements if you happen to have forgotten to pick up some plasters for your home first aid kit. Finally, if you have a splinter, you can use duct tape to lift the splinter out of your skin. Side note: this trick doesn’t just work with duct tape, but any tape!
Duct Tape Can Be Used for Craft Projects
You may have seen the craft videos doing the rounds on social media, which show you how to make cool things out of household items. One of the most famous uses for duct tape crafts is the infamous ‘duct tape wallet’ is achieved by layering the tape up on top of itself and folding it intricately to product a wallet. There are countless online tutorials for duct-tape constructions, such as Batman masks, bouquets of flowers, and even items of clothing. Because it is abundant and affordable (depending on where you are and which brand you get), duct tape can be used for a further variety of crafts such as those listed above, as well as clothing, jewelry, and gifts!
And those are just a few things you might not have known about duct tape! We encourage you to look further into its uses and applications, even its history! There is so much more to this humble tape than we could ever have thought.
- Duct Tape Auto Repair on the Moon – National Air and Space Museum