Amazing Duct Tape Ideas: Crafts, Projects, Home Repairs, More!

Whether you're making crafts with your kids, doing projects on your own, or just need a fast fix for a fallen hem, these duct-tape ideas prove that this garage staple is your home's best friend.

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. A bet-you-never-thought-of-it idea: 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 one idea for protecting 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. Those bugs will have no idea what hit them — and after they’re caught, you can roll up the used 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 the perfect idea 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. For this fun project, 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; the idea here is that removal 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, crafty 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.

Craft Halloween costumes
Want to be the Tin Man for Halloween? How about a robot? These are just two craft 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.

Create 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 craft 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 crafts. 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.

Craft bicycle streamers
Add snazzy streamers to your kids’ handlebars. For this project, you’ll need 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.

Repair a taillight
Someone just backed into your car and smashed the taillight! Here’s an idea for a quick fix that will last until you have time to get to the repair shop. Depending on where the cracks lie, use yellow or red duct tape to hold the remaining parts together. In some states this repair will even pass inspection.

Short-term auto hose fix
Until you can get to your mechanic, duct tape makes a strong and dependable temporary fix for broken water hoses on your automobile. But don’t wait too long. Duct tape can only withstand temperatures up to 200°F (93°C). Also, don’t use it to repair a leak in your car’s gas line — the gasoline dissolves the adhesive.

Make a temporary roof shingle
If you’ve lost a wooden roof shingle, make a temporary replacement by wrapping duct tape in strips across a piece of 1/4-inch (6-millimeter) plywood you’ve cut to size. Wedge the makeshift shingle in place to fill the space. It will close the gap and repel water until you can repair the roof.

Fix a hole in your siding
Stormy weather damaged your vinyl siding? A broken tree limb tossed by the storm, hailstones, or even an errant baseball can rip your siding. Patch tears in vinyl siding with duct tape. It’s a good idea to choose tape in a color that matches your siding, and apply it when the surface is dry. Smooth your repair by hand or with a rolling pin. The patch should last at least a season or two.

Replace lawn chair webbing
Summertime is here, and you go to the shed to fetch your lawn furniture, only to discover the webbing on your favorite backyard chair has worn through. Don’t throw it out. Colorful duct tape makes a great, sturdy replacement webbing. Cut strips twice as long as you need. Double the tape, putting sticky sides together, so that you have backing facing out on both sides. Then screw it in place with the screws on the chair.

Tape a broken window
Before removing broken window glass, crisscross the broken pane with duct tape to hold it all together. This will ensure a shard doesn’t fall out and cut you.

Repair outdoor cushionsDon’t let a little rip in the cushions for your outdoor furniture bother you. Repair the tear with a closely matched duct tape and it will hold up for several seasons.

Repair a trash canPlastic trash cans often split or crack along the sides. But don’t toss out the can with the trash. Repair the tear with duct tape. It’s strong enough to withstand the abuses a trash can takes, and easy to manipulate on the curved or ridged surface of your can. Put tape over the crack both outside and inside the can.

Mend a screen
Have the bugs found the tear in your window or door screen? Thwart their entrance until you make a permanent fix by covering the hole with duct tape.

Tighten shin guardsHockey players need a little extra protection. Use duct tape to attach shin guards firmly in place. Put on all your equipment, including socks. Now split the duct tape to the width appropriate for your size — children might need narrower strips than adults — and start wrapping around your shin guard to keep it tight to your leg.

Add life to a hockey stick
Street hockey sticks take a beating. If yours is showing its age, breathe a little more life into it by wrapping the bottom of the stick with duct tape. Replace the tape as often as needed.

Extend the life of skateboard shoes
Kids who perform fantastic feats on their skate-boards find their shoes wear out very quickly because a lot of the jumps involve sliding the toe or side of the foot along the board. They wear holes in new shoes fast. Protect their feet and prolong the life of their shoes by putting a layer or two of duct tape on the area that scrapes along the board.

Repair your ski glovesSki glove seams tearing open? Duct tape is the perfect solution to ripped ski gloves because it’s waterproof, incredibly adhesive, strong, and can easily be torn into strips of any width. Make your repair lengthwise or around the fingers and set out on the slopes again.

Repair a tent
You open your tent at the campsite and oops — a little tear. No problem as long as you’ve brought your duct tape along. Cover the hole with a patch; for double protection mirror the patch inside the tent. You’ll keep insects and weather where they belong.

Extra insulation
Make your winter boots a little bit warmer by taping the insoles with duct tape, silver side up. The shiny tape will reflect the warmth of your feet back into your boots.

Patch a pool
Duct tape will repair a hole in your swimming pool liner well enough to stand up to water for at least a season. Be sure to cover the area thoroughly.

Protect your gas grill hoseFor some reason, mice and squirrels love to chew on rubber, and one of their favorite snacks is often the rubber hose that connects the propane tank to your gas grill. Protect the hose by wrapping it in duct tape.

Repair your ski pantsOh no, you ripped your ski pants and the wind is whipping into the nylon outer layer. No need to pay inflated lodge shop prices for a new pair if you have a roll of duct tape in the car. Just slip a piece of tape inside the rip, sticky side out, and carefully press both sides of the rip together. The repair will be barely detectable.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest