Tape is something you can use in so many ways. From electrical to packing to masking to other kinds, tape is a multi-faceted tool that no toolbox or utility drawer should be without. But not all tapes are the same—and for a good reason, too. Different jobs have different demands, so here are the different types of tape and what they’re used for.
Duct tape—is there nothing it can’t do? While people used to only use it for temporary repairs, duct tape now lends itself to a bevy of creative projects, from prom dresses and tuxes to wallets. However, it’s intended for sealing up and securing things until you can implement a better solution. If you’ve wondered about the name, it’s because the original duct tape contained cotton duck cloth. However, that had nothing to do with waterfowl. The original spelling and pronunciation came from the Dutch word doek, which means “linen canvas.” Producers make modern duct tape from polyethylene material with water-resistant properties.
When considering the different types of tape and what they’re used for, know that one can’t always substitute for another. When it comes to packaging, pick your tape carefully. You need a tape that sticks and stays stuck to the packaging, keeping the contents in and the elements out. Some plastic packing tapes are strong, but they risk coming loose in transit when exposed to water. Gummed Kraft paper tape is your best bet for mailing packages. When moistened, the adhesive forms an immediate and powerful bond that won’t loosen, providing an extra layer of security.
Thin, easily applied and removed masking tape is terrible for packing, storage, and other jobs that require a firm hold. On the other hand, it’s perfect for painting and other art projects that require you to mark off and protect elements you don’t want to paint. The most famous iteration of masking tape is the blue kind that house painters use. It comes in other colors, too, lending itself to temporary art projects and more. However, if you’re considering using it to ship a package, forget about it.
Safety first is electrical tape’s motto. The purpose is in its name for electrical tape, which consists of various non-conductive materials, including fiberglass, plastic, and vinyl. You can use this pressure-sensitive tape to wrap and insulate wires that conduct electricity. The vinyl, plastic, or fiberglass prevents shocks and overheating from exposed wires and provides a powerful and long-term protective grip.
Finding the right tape for a job is important. Levels of strength, adhesion, conductivity, and durability make all the difference. But when you find the right tape, stick with it!