121. If Duct Tape Can’t Fix It, Maybe It Ain’t Broke

20 Feb

That's fixed. What's next?

That’s fixed. What’s next?

Here in Seattle, hipsters have taken to duct tape like the previous decade’s hipsters took to knitting needles. They’re getting crafty with it, y’all. First came the duct tape wallets, quickly followed by other accessories like key fobs, braided bracelets, purses, and flower pens. From there, it’s a rain-slicked slope to making duct tape clothing and shoes. And then this happens: Half Naked Woman in Hot Pink Duct Tape Injures Three Cops. True story. I just Googled “duct tape Seattle” and whoop there it was.

A while back, I was meandering through Target (the only way to go) and happened upon a display of duct tape right out of my 80’s schoolgirl fantasies (the ones that didn’t feature Duran Duran). Did y’all know they make duct tape in EVERY color and pattern? In addition to the aforementioned hot pink there’s purple, green, orange, plaid, penguins, polka dots and everything in between. Even zebra print.

Duct tape doesn't get any cuter than this...

Duct tape doesn’t get any cuter than this…

Of course, folks in the South were using duct tape long before duct tape was cool. And they’ll be using it long after duct tape goes the way of banana hair clips and friendship bracelets. However, every Southerner knows that duct tape isn’t for MAKING stuff; it’s for FIXING stuff.

Before I expound on the many uses of this tool kit on a roll, let me answer the age-old question: “Is it duck tape or duct tape?” Yes. Apparently, the product was developed for the US military during World War II and used for repairing weapons, vehicles, and other equipment. Soldiers dubbed the olive-drab-colored substance “duck tape,” possibly due to its waterproof qualities.

After the war, a silvery gray version became available to civilians who used it to wrap air ducts (among other things) and thenceforth it was “duct tape.” Cut to 1975 when the company Manco snapped up the “Duck Tape” trademark, added a cute duck to the logo, and sold 800 gazillion rolls of it.duck tape

That’s the verbose way of saying: “duct tape” is to “tissue” as Duck Tape™ is to Kleenex™.

So, what can you mend with duct tape? Well, here’s what you can’t fix: broken hearts, moldy bread, and zombies. Anything else is worth a shot.

I reckon the most popular use for duct tape is car repair–exterior, engine, upholstery, you name it. But it’s also great for mending furniture, windows, refrigerator shelves, bikes, plumbing, and so much more. Check out failblog and picture the possibilities. Whee!

My all-time favorite use of duct tape (aside from some exemplary car repair courtesy of my dad) comes from my friend Scott’s house–back when he was a bachelor before said residence was completely remodeled and became known as Karen and Scott’s house. Emphasis on the Karen.

Y’all, he was using duct tape to reattach peeling wallpaper. To Reattach Peeling Wallpaper! Or was it electrical tape? Memory falters. Two things I’ll never forget about chez Scott were the bathrooms. One didn’t have a door and the other didn’t have a ceiling. I guess he ran out of duct tape.

What’s the craziest duct tape repair you’ve ever seen? Have you ever personally fixed something? Or, hey, MADE something??

Please do tell.

Photo credits: Chair repair by laszy, Flickr Creative Commons; Adorable duct tape journal available at The Elegant Duck ETSY shop

17 Responses to “121. If Duct Tape Can’t Fix It, Maybe It Ain’t Broke”

  1. Nolan February 20, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    Used to be baling wire, when there was some…. 🙂

  2. msshe February 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    Oh my gosh…I was just at the dollar general store today and bought a role of white duck tape. I was seriously considering the hot pink or black…but maybe another day for those colors. I am going to use the white tape to make labels for my tubs and boxes in which I plan on storing various treasures. We downsized…so to survive while keeping some of my stuff, i must get organized. I will add in a sharpie for making nice lettering on my strips of white duck tape. ( have to admit that I used to think it was duct tape for sealing heat/ac tubes and ducts.)

    • msshe February 20, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

      Editing my reply from above…a roll (not role) of tape. My mind and my fingers are not always in sync. Msshe

    • Kim Holloway February 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

      Good luck with your organization project. That’s something I’ve been meaning to get around to one of these days. I hear the pink duct tape makes a great outfit in a pinch… 🙂

  3. Robin February 20, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

    A daughter of a friend had to rig up a bra(front only) — she used duck tape — she forgot hers and was dressing for her prom. Problem Fixed!

    • Kim Holloway February 21, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

      That’s one use I hadn’t even considered! Awesome!

  4. Maggie L February 20, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    My brother used duct tape to fix an air mattress once-FYI, that’s a terrible idea because it doesn’t work; the mattress still leaked air and he and his wife just ended up in a cocoon of air mattress that was (apparently) a bit suffocating

    • Kim Holloway February 21, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

      Oh dear, in my early 30’s I spent a fair number of nights sleeping on an air mattress. I can picture exactly what you mean about the suffocating cocoon!

  5. amanda February 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    One of my favorite Southerners, Jim White, has a a song “Alabama Chrome” — using duct tape to fix a fender of course. “You can seek the rhyme and reason, but in the realm of the unknown you won’t catch no true reflections in that Alabama Chrome.”

    • Kim Holloway February 21, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

      Love it!! I’ve got to work Alabama chrome into my vocabulary.

  6. Hope February 21, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    I disagree with you about the Zombie. If a creepy dead guy was chasing me, I think I could tape him to a chair or something, if he would sit still for a minute.

    Oh, and my brother was in a wreck, and pulled out his Duct Tape right there on the side of the road to hold the bumper of his car on until he got to the body shop.

    • Anne February 21, 2013 at 9:04 am #

      Saw Hello Kitty duct tape the other day – where was THAT when I was a kid? I don’t think it’s possible to go camping w/out duct tap. I made a handle out of it for a bucket once. Also used duct tape’s half brother, grip tape. to fix all kinds of things from EZ Up tents to fixing a hole in a plastic storage tote.

      • Kim Holloway February 21, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

        Oh, man, I would love a roll of Hello Kitty duct tape. Not sure how I’d use it though…

    • Kim Holloway February 21, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

      I don’t know, Zombies are pretty slimy. I can’t imagine the duct tape would adhere properly.

      If I ever get around to adding an emergency kit to my car trunk, I’ll be sure to throw in a roll of duct tape. Genius!

  7. Renee Moore February 26, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    No good for broken hearts, moldy bread OR zombies? Yer sure??

    • Kim Holloway February 27, 2013 at 11:27 am #

      Well, I haven’t actually tried fixing them with duct tape, so I guess I can’t really say for certain.

  8. Junko December 31, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iPad and tested to
    see if it can survive a 25 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube
    sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she
    has 83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

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