Duct Tape to the Rescue

Duct Tape

Temporarily hem your pants

You’ve found a terrific pair of jeans, but the length isn’t right. You expect a little shrinkage anyway, so why spend time hemming? Besides, thick denim jeans are difficult to sew through. Fake the hem with duct tape. The new hem will last through a few washes too.

Remove lint on clothing

You’re all set to go out for the night and suddenly you notice pet hairs on your outfit. Wrap your hand with a length of duct tape, sticky side out. Then roll the sticky tape against your clothing in a rocking motion until every last hair has been picked up.

Make a bandage in a pinch

You’ve gotten a bad scrape. Here’s how to protect it until you get a proper bandage. Fold tissue paper or paper towel to cover the wound and cover this with duct tape. It may not be attractive, but it works in a jam.

Reseal bags of chips

Tired of stale potato chips? To keep a half-finished bag fresh, fold up the top and seal it tight with a piece of duct tape.

Keep a secret car key

You’ll never get locked out of your car again if you affix an extra key to the undercarriage with duct tape.

Catch pesky flies

You’ve just checked into a rustic cabin on the lake and you’re ready to start your vacation. Everything would be perfect if only the flying insects were not part of the deal. Grab your roll of duct tape and roll off a few foot-long strips. Hang them from the rafters as flypaper. Soon you’ll be rid of the bugs and you can roll up the tape to toss it in the trash.

Repair a vacuum hose

Has your vacuum hose cracked and developed a leak? It doesn’t spell the end of your vacuum. Repair the broken hose with duct tape. Your vacuum will last until the motor gives out.

Reinforce book binding

Duct tape is perfect for repairing a broken book binding. Using a nice-colored tape, run the tape down the length of the spine and cut shorter pieces to run perpendicular to that if you need extra reinforcement.

Cover a book

Use duct tape in an interesting color to create a durable book cover for a school textbook or a paperback that you carry to the beach. Make a pattern for the cover on a sheet of newspaper; fit the pattern to your book, then cover the pattern, one row at a time, with duct tape, overlapping the rows. The resulting removable cover will be waterproof and sturdy.

Repair a photo frame

Sometimes the foldout leg that holds a frame upright pulls away from the back of the frame and your photo won’t stand up properly. Don’t despair! Just use duct tape to reattach the broken leg to the frame back.

Hang Christmas lights

Festive holiday lights are fun in season, but a real chore when it’s time for them to come down. Use duct tape to hang your lights and the removal job will be much easier. Tear duct tape into thin strips. At intervals, wrap strips around the wire and then tape the strand to the gutter or wherever you hang your lights.

Wrap holiday presents

Here’s a novel way to wrap a special gift. Don’t bother with the paper. Go straight for the tape. Press duct tape directly on the gift box. Make designs or cover in stripes and then add decorative touches by cutting shapes, letters, and motifs from tape to attach to the “wrapped” surface.

Make Halloween costumes

Want to be the Tin Man for Halloween? How about a robot? These are just two ideas that work naturally with the classic silver duct tape. Make a basic costume from brown paper grocery bags, with openings in the back so the child can easily put on and take off the costume. Cover this pattern with rows of duct tape. For the legs, cover over an old pair of pants, again giving your little robot or Tin Man an easy way to remove the outfit for bathroom breaks. Duct tape comes in an array of colors, so let your imagination lead your creativity.

Make a toy sword

Got a couple of would-be swashbucklers around the house? Make toy swords by sketching a kid-size sword on a piece of cardboard. Use two pieces if you haven’t got one thick enough. Be sure to make a handle the child’s hand can fit around comfortably once it’s been increased in thickness by several layers of duct tape. Wrap the entire blade shape in silver duct tape. Wrap the handle in black tape.

Make hand puppets

Duct tape is great for puppet making. Use a small paper lunch bag as the base for the body of your puppet. Cover the bag with overlapping rows of duct tape. Make armholes through which your fingers will poke out. Create a head from a tape-covered ball of wadded paper and affix buttons or beads for eyes and mouth.

Make bicycle streamers

Add snazzy streamers to your kids’ handlebars. Make them using duct tape in various colors. Cut the tape into strips about 1/2-inch (1.2-centimeter) wide by 10 inches (25 centimeters) long. Fold each strip in half, sticky sides together. Once you have about half a dozen for each side, stick them into the end of the handlebar and secure them with wraps of duct tape. Be sure your child will still have a good grip on the handlebar.

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