101 Uses for Duct Tape

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Image: Flickr, Andy Mangold CC2

Is there a man in the country who doesn’t believe that duct tape is the answer to every problem? And the addiction is spreading, we’re all becoming duct tape junkies.

Duct tape was originally called “duck” tape because water rolled off it like water of a duck’s back. It was invented in 1942, during World War II, to keep ammo boxes dry.

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 is cloth backed by a tough plastic coating and a rubberized adhesive. Here are some wonderful uses for duct tape around the house

Tiny SquirrelQuick Squirrel note, make sure you have a clean, dry surface before applying duct tape. If the surface is dusty, dirty or oily, your temporary repair may not hold very long. A splash of rubbing alcohol will remove grime and residue left from cleaners and other solvents. And use Teflon coated scissors to avoid annoying glue build-up.

101 Duct tape uses:

  1. Wrap a tight strip of tape around your luggage when you’re traveling. This will make your luggage easy to identify and also help keep it closed during transit. You’ll also know if it was tampered with.
  2. Duct tape removes splinters better than tweezers. When you get a splinter, just touch the area lightly with the sticky side of the duct tape. The splinter will quickly stick to the tape and come out from under your skin.
  3. If you have a tear in the upholstery of a couch or chair, you can hold it together with duct tape. Apply several pieces of tape perpendicular to the tear. This will keep gashes from becoming larger until you can have the furniture repaired.
  4. Keep a roll of duct tape in the car for minor emergencies. You might need it to temporarily fix taillights if you get in a fender-bender. Duct tape can also provide a temporary patch for a seat, door or side window.
  5. Duct tape can hold up a broken exhaust pipe for a short period of time. Watch for the hot pipe.
  6. Make a wallet by laying out strips of tape, each a little longer than a bill. (see video) Then, place other strips of the same size on top with the sticky side in. Overlap the tape by at least half an inch so that there is sticky tape showing all around the sheet. Next, round out the edges by folding the sticky tape in. (This is the basis for making sheets of duct tape which can be used to make anything from belts, to suits, to waterproof mats.) Set this sheet aside and make another sheet, smaller than the first but still larger than a bill. Round out the edges of the top and sides of this smaller sheet. Attach it to the bigger sheet using the excess sticky tape from the bottom of the smaller sheet. You now have a wallet with a pocket. Continue making smaller sheets for additional pockets. Small boys love this and can make inexpensive gifts for relatives.
  7. Make wrapping paper out of sheets of duct tape. Lay out pieces of duct tape and place other pieces on top. (This is the same technique used in making a wallet.) Round out the edges when you get to the desired size and wrap your gift!
  8. Use duct tape to discourage unwanted insects or other small pests. Tack the duct tape sticky-side-up to the place where you think the critters are getting in.
  9. If you misplace the panel that holds in the batteries on your remote control, substitute with duct tape! Wrap a small piece of tape around the back of the remote being cautious not to compromise the buttons on the front.
  10. Do you have a split in your vacuum hose? Use duct tape to hold it together.
  11. Insulated the roof space and now you’re itching? Remove particles of fiberglass from your skin by pressing on the itchy spots with duct tape.
  12. Duct tape can extend your reach and get you into tight places to retrieve lost items. Make a ball of tape with the sticky side out and attach it to the end of a yardstick. Then, use the stick to poke around on top of the refrigerator or under the couch until you pick up your missing item.
  13. In the bathroom, duct tape can temporarily repair a split toilet seat. Or seal it down for ladies – up for gentlemen!
  14. Duct tape can provide a nice waterproof seal for patching shower curtains.
  15. Use duct tape to reinforce tears along the top of the curtain.
  16. Got a gash on your rain jacket? Tape it up.
  17. If your zipper pull breaks, make a sturdy one by threading a thin strip of duct tape through the slider, and folding it in on itself. Add more strips of duct tape as desired to thicken the zipper and make it easier to hold.
  18. Do you carry a pack with a hip belt? If the belt causes soreness or chafing, tape a tee shirt or some other piece of soft clothing to the inside of the belt. Duct tape is strong enough to keep the cloth in place indefinitely.
  19. When re-gluing shoe soles, nothing is more annoying than having the toe of the shoe separate from the sole before the glue dries. To prevent this, wrap the toe of your shoe in duct tape while it dries. If you’re worried that the sticky part of the tape might harm your shoe, wrap it with the shiny side down! As long as you go around more than once, the tape will adhere to itself.
  20. If you use a shower curtain, or something equally thin, for a groundsheet, protect it with duct tape! Cut long strips of duct tape in half lengthwise. Then fold the strips over the edges of the groundsheet like ribbon edging on a blanket. This will protect the edges from tearing or shredding.
  21. Skiing? If a binding breaks or a pole is damaged, duct tape can save the day. Be careful and sensible, skiing equipment fixed in this fashion will not be as strong as unbroken equipment.
  22. Take duct tape with you if you hike in the desert. It’s great for removing cactus spines from skin. Lightly press a piece of duct tape to the spine-covered area and pull the spines out with one fell swoop.
  23. Does your backpacking stove sit unevenly? You can create a stable platform by cutting a square piece of foam from an old foam pad. Size the square to fit the base of your stove and wrap the foam generously with duct tape. Voila! You have your own steady cooking platform that works fine in the snow.
  24. Duct tape is a must-have on camping trips. It can be used to patch tents, mend poles, hold up schedules, patch torn shoes, hold poles for mosquito nets to cots, etc.
  25. Do you want to hang posters in a kid’s room or dorm room without punching holes in the wall? Use duct tape. Unlike putties and other kinds of tape, duct tape is strong enough to keep up large posters.
  26. Use duct tape to cover schoolbooks. It’s decorative, unique and sturdy.
  27. A long piece of duct tape can be twisted into a rope. A rope made in this fashion is great for many uses around the home such as tying up trash or dead leaves, binding trash cans together, improvising a leash, keeping items in the back of truck from blowing away, etc.
  28. Make your home safer by duct taping loose wires down on floor or out of the way in high traffic areas.
  29. If you do your own electrical work, try using duct tape to tape wires back together after splicing. Duct tape is great for this because it is much wider than electricians tape. Amateurs: don’t try this.
  30. If you windshield or another car window cracks, isolate the crack with clear duct tape. A piece of tape placed over the crack will keep it from spreading. This is only a temporary fix since even clear duct tape hampers visibility.
  31. If you’re in a pinch, duct tape can be used as a temporary repair for ripped clothing. Best if used on sturdier fabrics like denim.
  32. Does you hose have a leak? Save yourself the expense of buying a new one, dry it off and wrap the leaky spot in duct tape.
  33. Duct tape can be used as a creative art medium. Draw on it, make sculptures and figurines from it, shred it, cut it into shapes, mould it into ashtrays, etc. Experiment with the colors.
  34. If the binding on an inexpensive book breaks, reinforce it with duct tape. It won’t look wonderful, but you’ll keep the pages together.
  35. If a backpack splits, put duct tape on the tear until you have time to sew it up. This can be a lifesaver for a student in the middle of the school day.
  36. Fold a 6-inch piece of duct tape in half and you just make a bookmark!
  37. If a hinge on one of your cabinet doors breaks, improvise a fix with duct tape. What to do with the tape will depend on the exact nature of the break, but duct tape can do most repairs, from holding the hinge to the wall to being threaded through the hinge in place of a pin.
  38. Do you use an inner tube for sledding or water games? Keep duct tape handy in case of leaks.
  39. Use duct tape on the handles of tennis, badminton and racquetball racquets to increase grip.
  40. To improvise a hockey puck, roll duct tape into a ball, sticky side in.
  41. Out of chalk? Use duct tape to mark lines on a sporting event field.
  42. Did the big storm leave you with holes in your vinyl siding? Duct tape is the perfect short-term fix.
  43. Make your own doggy chew toy! Wrap duct tape around an old newspaper. This toy is also great for playing fetch because it is highly visible and hard to lose in the weeds.
  44. Cover your old notebooks and pocket folders with duct tape! They will last forever.
  45. Use duct tape to put up your Christmas lights. It holds well, even in inclement weather, and it will be easy to remove later.
  46. Is a leaky pipe driving you mad? Wrap it in duct tape to stop the drip until the plumber comes.
  47. If you own a canoe, it’s a good idea to keep a roll of duct tape handy. It can temporarily take care of small holes and leaks.
  48. Did you get picked to make sets for the school or church play? Duct tape will be your best friend. There are many circumstances were it is easier or more convenient to tape something instead of using nails or glue.
  49. If you live in a house with pets or children, it’s a good idea to reinforce electrical cords with duct tape. Just cut a strip of tape in half and wrap it around the cord.
  50. Duct tape is great for holding up pictures or notes in a locker.
  51. If your shoelace breaks, look for duct tape. You can easily mend the split with a little tape. Or, make a whole new shoelace! Take a piece of tape, about 18 inches long, and twist.
  52. Express yourself and make money! Use duct tape and a Sharpie to make your own removable bumper sticker.
  53. Duct tape can be used to remove lint from your clothing. Roll a piece of tape around your hand, sticky side out.       Then, apply it to clothing.       It works wonderfully, at least as well as expensive commercial lint rollers.
  54. Use a twisted piece of duct tape as a clothesline. This is good for everyday drying and also for traveling and camping.
  55. Do you have holes in the soles of your favorite tennis shoes? Resole them with duct tape. Be careful, duct tape soles are slippery.
  56. If you get a hole or tear in a pair of work glove, duct tape provides an easy fix.
  57. Duct tape can be used as an insulator for small objects. Try wrapping a soda can or bottle in duct tape to keep them cold.
  58. Use duct tape to make streamers for your child’s bicycle handlebars. Just wrap the duct tape around the handlebars and align it with itself, sticky side in. Then, use sharp scissors to cut the excess into streamers.
  59. Use duct tape to patch holes in convertibles or soft top jeeps.
  60. Make silvery puppets out of duct tape. Just cover a sock or upside-down paper lunch bag with duct tape and add appropriate props. This makes great moon men and reptile puppets.
  61. Your vacuum is broken and your mother-in-law will be visiting in 15 minutes. What can you do? Roll some duct tape around your hands, sticky side out. Then, use these “vacuum mitts” to pick up the worst of the dirt.
  62. Be a duct tape mummy for Halloween! Get several roles of duct tape and put on old, tight-fitting pants and a long sleeve shirt. Get a friend to help you wrap yourself in duct tape, silvery side up. Try to keep the tape on your clothes.       It will be uncomfortable if it’s rubbing on your skin.
  63. Waterproof canvas footwear by wrapping it in duct tape. Careful, soles may be slippery.
  64. If you don’t have reliable cup holders in your car, try substituting a roll of duct tape. Choose a roll that has quite a bit of tape on it, put it on its side in a spot you can reach from the driver’s seat and press down firmly. It should remain in place without any outside adherent. If you don’t have a beverage, the duck tape will double as a cell phone holder.
  65. In an emergency, bind big wounds with duct tape. They’ll work out how to remove it at the hospital.
  66. Use a roll of duct tape as a cute, off-beat plant holder.
  67. To make fun, fake swords for the kids, wrap duct tape around the cardboard tubes used for wrapping paper. To make a Star Wars light saber, use colored duct tape.
  68. Use duct tape to tape a spare key to the bottom of your car. It will always be there when you need it.
  69. Use duct tape to make a bow for gift wrapping! Take a strip about 7 inches long and cut it into strips 1/4 inch wide. For each strip, loop up the tape on either side leaving a little of the sticky part exposed in the middle. Do this with several pieces and then stack them on top of each other, slightly rotated from the strip below.
  70. Once you understand how to make sheets of duct tape fabric you can make anything: wallets, checkbook covers, visors, backpacks, etc.
  71. Emergency first aid – bind your wounds with Duct tape. It actually happened to a hunter attacked by a bear!
  72. Wrap duct tape around warts. Even the US Military ran tests and came up with the result that yes – duct tape gets rid of warts.
  73. Patch rust spots on your fender. Or cover the entire car.
  74. Patch radiator hoses.
  75. Temporarily repair a universal joint.
  76. If you’re working on a car and cut yourself, use duct tape as a band-aid to keep the grease out.
  77. Patch the kids wading pool.
  78. Don’t scratch the hardwood floors, put some tape on the feet of tables.
  79. Use duct tape as an emergency repair for a thrown horseshoe.
  80. Search the web for camo duct tape. Perfect for hunters and small boys.
  81. A duct tape splint is water resistant and excellent at immobilizing a finger injury.
  82. Make a waterproof card or writing table by covering a pizza box in duct tape.
  83. Boy Scout in the family? Secure merit badges by making a loop of tape on the back of the badge and firmly securing to the proper position on the uniform. Remove before washing.
  84. Make a raincoat for sudden thunderstorms. Slit two plastic grocery size bags and lay out as one sheet and tape together at sides and shoulders.       For a really durable raincoat you can cover the entire bag with duct tape.
  85. Fix a radiator with duct tape but make sure it’s cooled down. Anti-freeze stays hot for a long time.
  86. First Aid for blisters. Clean blister, apply gauze bandage and secure with duct tape. Works much better than First Aid tape.
  87. Tent repairs. Busted zipper? Duct tape the door and use to fix rips before they get worse in a storm.
  88. Prevent Frostbite – duct tape your nose, cheeks and chin to protect against frostbite.
  89. In an emergency, duct tape a sprained ankle or wrist.
  90. Bind splints in place with duct tape.
  91. Duct tape liquid soap dispenser to gallon water container for outdoor handwashing station.
  92. Hold up an annoying car window that’s sinking into the door by taking a strip of duct tape and attaching horizontally across the gap so it attaches the window to the roof.
  93. Close your chip bag with duct tape.
  94. Temporarily tape the hem on a pair of pants or a skirt.
  95. Tape down your picnic tablecloth.
  96. Use tape to hold electrical cords and plugs in place to make the baby or puppy safe.
  97. Out and about and you get the unsticky diaper fastener? Duct tape won’t let you down.
  98. Duct tape cracked shell of tortoises or turtles.
  99. Make duct tape gloves for working with sharp stuff. Wrap tape up and over and down each finger and do another wrap around over your knuckles. More flexible than you would think!
  100. It’s whacky but it works. Duct tape comes in a range of colors. Select your favorites and cover an old sofa or armchair in overlapping strips. (They won’t take the weight if you don’t overlap them). Keep smoothing and concentrate. The finished article looks stunning – and it’s wipeable and tough!
  101. I think we forgot taping baby to the wall!

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(To see how it becomes a life changing addiction visit the ultimate duct tape tribute site: www.ducttapeguys.com and check out their refrigerator!)

  • Jim Kaae

    After making it to #5, finding 2 big problems, this list is good for _ _ _ _.

  • Daniel from TN

    All of the ways to use duct tape listed in the article were made famous on a TV program called the Red Green show. This show dedicated one segment, called the Handyman Corner, each episode to another use for duct tape,

  • Mikial

    I was once driving across Montana . . . lot’s of nothing in Montana, and the radiator hose sprung a leak. I pulled the hose into a position where the leak was more or less closed and duck taped it into place to hold. I then filled the radiator from a roadside ditch (fortunately we were near an irrigated field). I was able to drive another 25 miles to the nearest town where I could get a new hose, which I installed in a motel parking lot.

    After years in the military, and years in the outdoors, duck tape is a staple in all my emergency supplies.

  • Mikial

    I actually remember the Red Green show. It was a lot of fun to watch.

  • Mikial

    Sorry, but it sounds like operator error to me.

  • Moderator

    Don’t leave home without it!

  • JJM123

    Great repair kit – Duct Tape and Bailing Wire. Be aware that duct tape applied for long duration (more than a month) can become extremely difficult to completely remove and clean up.