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One million ways to use duct tape

Updated on January 6, 2018

Facts and tips

  • Duct tape was originally called "duck" tape. During World War II, the soldiers needed a tough, waterproof tape they could fix their equipment with and help keep their ammo boxes dry. Duct tape was invented in 1942 and called "duck" tape because water rolled off the tape just like a duck's back.

  • After the war it was used to seal up heating ducts and the color changed from army green to silver and the spelling was changed to "duct."

  • Duct tape has many uses -- it is just cloth backed by a resilient plastic coating and a good rubberized adhesive. It is durable -- it is unlike regular tape that tears and breaks. It is versatile and the right tool for many temporary fixes. It is sticky ands sticks to everything and you can use it for all sorts of things. Here are just a few ideas.

Ways to Utilize Duct Tape

  • Use duct tape to fix a torn bicycle seat.

  • Put some colorful duct tape on your black suitcase so it will be easy to spot at the airport.

  • It's even good for warts. The duct tape will irritate and soften the tissue of the wart, which encourages your immune system to get rid of the wart.

  • Use it for a temporary fix for plumbing. Under the sink, if the column nut on your pipe has split, remove it and then squeeze some plumber's putty into and around the joint. Do not use silicone or glue. The putty will make a temporary seal on the pipe until you fix it properly.

    Remove all the excess putty and water from around the pipe. Starting from the bottom get a long piece of duct tape and pull up as you twist it around the pipe and give it a good squeeze.

Crafts and furniture

  • A student from the University of Cincinnati's School of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning turned a ratty old couch they found in the garbage into a design statement by using different colors and some creativity! It just took 2 hours and 5 rolls of duct tape to redo this couch.

    Tip: It is important when covering furniture, to overlap each strip of tape so that it will hold when you sit on it.

  • Duct tape has become more than a tool in your toolbox. Artists and crafters are using duct tape creatively for projects like this animal that is on display at the Cleveland Zoo.

  • Wawautosa, Wisconsin 17-year old Ellie Schiedermayer is the author of Got Tape, a book on craft projects. One of her ideas is to make a duct tape wallet. It is easy to make, you just make a basic sheet of four 7-inch long strips of duct tape. Place the first one, sticky side up, down in front of you. Overlap the strips a little on top of each other. Next, repeat that process by putting four strips sticky side down across the first four strips. Trim off the excess around the edges and you end up with a duct tape piece of fabric. Just fold it in half and tape up the horizontal sides with a 4-inch piece of tape. After taping one side, it is important to fold it in the center before you tape the other side to prevent bulging.

  • Another project of Schiedermayer's is a bracelet. Fold a long piece of duct tape in half -- sticky to sticky. Cut out curvy zigzags of different colors of tape and interlock them by wrapping them around each other. The clasp is just a small piece of tape. Schiedermayer offers some tips for using duct tape:

  • Use special Teflon coated scissors so adhesive won't build up as much on your scissors.

  • Use the smoothest duct tape you can find so your projects will look better.

  • Decorate your project with paint pens, permanent markers and stickers. They all work well on the slick coating.

Outdoor Recreation

  • If a plug won't stay in the receptacle, you can put tape around it to hold the plug in and keep water from getting into it. If there is a panel cover over the plug, you can tape around the panel cover and the plug and it will keep it all together and dry.

  • If your outside faucet handle is small or has sharp edges you can wrap it in duct tape. Take a strip of duct tape and roll it up like a straw, with the sticky side out, and wrap it around the handle. Take another piece of tape and leave it flat and wrap in over the sticky layer of tape and squeeze it around the faucet.

  • When hiking outdoors it's too cumbersome to carry a whole roll of duct tape, but you have some options. Cut some off and fold it into small squares and it makes it much easier to handle. Or, you could wrap tape around the strut of your canoe or around your water bottle for easy access when needed.

  • Duct tape can be used to patch a rip in your tent or a busted tent pole.

  • Use duct tape to patch a gash in a rubber boot.

  • Duct tape will temporarily cover blisters or you can wrap a twisted ankle with the tape.

  • If you get a small scratch in your canoe, you can cover it with duct tape until you can return and get it repaired. Just make sure the surface is clean and dry before applying the tape.

  • On a fiberglass boat, you don't want to duct tape anything under the water because it will not stay affixed to the fiberglass hull because it is too slippery.

  • You can use carpet and duct tape to wrap sharp poles and fittings that can rip a boat cover to shreds.

  • In an emergency, you can use duct tape to wrap around the oil lines in an engine until you can get to shore.

Around the house

  • Use duct tape to keep a bag of chips, etc. closed or to tape up the bag inside a box of cereal, crackers, etc. that rips down the side when you try to open it at the top.

  • You can temporarily tape the hem on a pair of pants or a skirt.

  • Save your picnic on a windy day with a few well-placed strips of tape. Just fold back the tablecloth and place the tape on the inside of the tablecloth and wrap the tape around the edge and underneath the table in several places.

  • Label books and boxes with duct tape and use a permanent waterproof marker and the label will last.

  • Use tape to hold an electrical plug in place.

  • Use duct tape to hold a baby's diaper in place.

  • Baby or puppy proof the electrical cords in your home.

  • You can even tape the cracked shell of a turtle with duct tape.

  • Make a bandage out of duct tape by cutting a strip about the size of a band-aid and turn it over to the sticky side. Cut a small piece and place it in the center, face to face, and you have a band-aid.

  • On a job site, at the end of the day duct tapes makes great sticky notes to remind you what needs to be done the next morning.

  • Whenever you jam your finger while doing construction work, etc. you can make a temporary splint. Just wrap a piece of duct around a couple of fingers and you are ready to keep working.

  • If you are working with sharp metal edges and do not have work gloves with you, you can make duct tape gloves. Just take a piece of tape about an inch wide and wrap it up one side of the finger and down the other side. Take a small piece of tape and wrap around the base of your knuckle. It gives you mobility and protects your fingers from sharp edges.

  • No matter how careful you are with insulation, you will end up itching. Little pieces of fiberglass can get under your skin and even washing does not remove it all, but duct tape can help. Wrap a wide piece of duct tape backwards around your hand and then go to where it is itching and push very hard and you will get the pieces of fiberglass out.

  • Wrap a piece of duct tape backwards around your hand and use it to remove fuzz and dog or cat hair from your clothes.

  • To remove a window that is broken, completely cover each side of the window and overlap the duct tape about a quarter of an inch. Frame all four sides of the window with straight pieces of duct tape. Put on your gloves and safety glasses and tap each side of the window with a hammer. Place a piece of plastic underneath the window first to catch the shattered glass. Cut the tape around the edges with a utility knife. The window will peel right down. Carefully wrap up and dispose of the broken glass.

  • If you have a leaking garden hose, wipe it off with a rag until it is good and dry. Pull the break together with one piece of tape, and then start another piece at an angle and double wrap the hose.

  • When the webbing breaks on your lawn chair, fix it with duct tape. You can use colored tape to match the color of your chair. Cut off three long pieces about twice the length of the width of the chair and stick them down on a smooth surface. For three colors, you can overlap two of the colors and then place the third color right down the middle on top of the other two. Peel up the long strip and flip it over. Measure a piece of tape the length of the chair and place it right in the middle of the long strip, sticky side against sticky side. Weave it through the chair and over the framing on both sides. Flip the chair over and attach the tape to itself -- sticky to sticky really holds. Add another piece across the middle for extra security.

Automotive Tips

  • If you have a busted radiator let the car cool down first. Be careful so you will not be burned -- antifreeze is extremely hot. Once the car has cooled, wipe off any excess antifreeze from the hose so you have a dry and workable hose. Tear off a piece of duct tape and keep it tight as you wrap it around where the hole is a couple of times. Fill the antifreeze and water back into the radiator and put the cap back on loosely and get to the nearest mechanic. If the cap is on too tight, the pressure will cause the tape to come loose.

  • If your car's electric window stops working and the window is down about an inch, you can use duct tape to seal it up until you get it repaired. Put the tape underneath the drip edge and smooth it down. If the gap is bigger than an inch, you can put a piece of clear plastic sheeting over the window and then edge it with the duct tape. Do not cover a window so that it would block your view from seeing the traffic.

  • Duct tape comes in many colors and you can use it to repair your automobile seat. Make sure you tuck it in the back nice and tight and then bring it over the front and roll it down.

  • You can "jazz" up your car seats by putting a couple of colored stripes across the seat.

  • On the NASCAR pro circuit duct tape is referred to as "200 MPH Tape." Some cars are literally covered in duct tape. It is used inside, outside and under the car for many things. The tape helps the cars cut through the air efficiently, controls air supply for engine heat, and even creates body repairs in seconds.


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