What do MacGyver, astronauts, and outsidemom.com writers have in common?
We all keep rolls of duct tape in our backpacks, our cars, our boats, our spaceships, and our homes.
Ah, the sticky stuff. That super-adhesive, water-repellant, ultra-durable, handyman-staple: Duct tape. I love the sound it makes coming off the role. The slightly synthetic smell. But mostly I love the many ways it can be used. Is there anything in the universe more versatile? I imagine aliens in every galaxy find it as useful as we do…
Today, we celebrate duct tape and its many uses. Here’s just a handful of the ways this substance can improve your life. Did we miss one? Tell us about it at the end!
1. You can use duct tape to patch darn near anything!
- Backpacks, tents, shoes, hats, or any other leaky piece of equipment. Duct tape sticks to itself as well as it sticks to anything else. Put a piece on the inside of the hole, and another on the outside, and stick the pieces together through the hole! Problem solved.
- Also, ski pants. I fall a lot on my skis. I use duct tape at the hems to patch up the rips caused by my edges cutting into the sides of my ski pants every time I tumble.
- Bathtub leaking? My aunt’s tub has a crack in the floor. She just taped it over with a strip o the sticky stuff. That tube probably has another ten years of good use now.
2. Cover up worn out handle bars or bike seats. The plastic, or gel, or whatever it is they put in bike handles hasn’t stood up well to my many tumbles. Yes, I fall biking too… I taped ‘em up with duct tape and haven’t noticed since!
3. Broken car window? No problem, for some. Here’s a funny story about a couple who broke a car window and patched it up with duct tape for the drive home.
4. Fix the binding on a book. Use duct tape to reinforce a weak binding on your favorite field guides.
5. Fashion a splint. 50 miles from nowhere with a broken leg and some duct tape? Tape your leg to a straight stick and hobble on outa there.
6. Get rid of a wart. So they say… never tried this myself, but apparently keeping a wart wrapped in duct tape for a week or so will cause it to fizzle and go away.
7. Cover a blister: Worked like a charm for me on a back country ski trip a few years ago. For the extra tender ones, I first put on a bit of mole skin, and then held it down with duct tape. For the hot spots, I just wrapped the duct tape around my foot so that my boot would slide over the duct tape instead of my skin.
8. Protect a book: Duct tape can also be used to create a water-proof book cover (fold paper around the book, including inside the front and back covers, then cover the paper completely with strips of tape, wrapping it around the inside covers as well).
9. Make a handle. I don’t know if I’m the only one that laments the lack of handles on my water bottles, but years ago, I started fashioning my own. I stick a shorter piece of duct tape to the middle of a longer piece, sticky sides together. I tape this over the top (or bottom) of my water bottle, using the sticky longer pieces hanging out on either side of my tape strip. Then I reinforce where it sticks to the bottle by wrapping tape around the bottle a whole bunch. The added bonus is, if I ever need duct tape, I can peel it off my water bottle to use!
10. Build a sailboat completely from duct tape, and a little wire. Then put a cannon on it; also made from duct tape. The MythBusters have an entire episode dedicated to duct tape. In the episode, they build a sea-worthy sailboat and float it around the San Francisco bay. Separately, they make a cannon, which apparently fires as good as any ordinary cannon would!
11. Make a bucket drum. Why? Because you can.
12. Make a laptop carrying case. The first laptop I ever owned was a gift. I was a poor college student who couldn’t afford one of those expensive carrying cases. So I made my own. I cut up a cheap sleeping pad (the 15 dollar piece of foam you can buy at any store with a sporting goods section) and taped it into a lidded box, using duct tape. It worked like a charm for many years. The only problem was its unfortunate resemblance to a bomb, when I went through airport security…
13. Make a wallet, dress, or purse. My brother-in-law used to have a wallet made entirely of duct tape. I was so jealous. If I’d been smart, I would have countered with a duct tape purse. And maybe a matching dress.
14. Quiet a small child. Just kidding.
15. Lint removal. Unsightly dog or cat hair clinging to your favorite fleece? Wrap a piece of duct tape loosely around your hand, sticky side out. Tape the ends together. Roll your hand, with the duct tap, along your fleece, and watch the hair separate from the fleece!
16. Lift a car off the ground. That same episode of MythBusters where they made the sailboat and cannon also showed them lifting a car off the ground! Check it out in these two videos, part one, taping up the car; part two, lifting it off the ground.
17. Build an all-wheel drive car. I love Red Green.
Oh yeah, or you could just tape something.