78 Ways to Use Duct Tape for Survival

UPDATE: Note this is a combined resource, recently updated with all the relevant uses for duct tape that Gaye originally put together!

I have always claimed, and not altogether jokingly, that you could build a house with Elmer’s glue and Duct Tape.  Both items are readily available, relatively inexpensive, and easy to tote around.

Given my penchant for common, everyday products that can be used dozens of ways, I thought it would be fun to once again look at some of the practical uses of duct tape around the house, camping, and of course, in a survival or emergency situation.

Taking into account all of the comments and tips you have so generously shared, I now have a list of 50 ways to use duct tape for survival and emergencies. But first, let us begin with that refresher course I mentioned.

All About Duct Tape

Duct tape is a strong, cloth-backed, waterproof adhesive tape often coated with polyethylene.

There are a couple of different lines of thought about the origins of duct tape.

According to one version, the miracle stuff was created during World War II when the US military needed a flexible, durable, waterproof tape to use making repairs in the field. A strong tape was created by Permacell, a division of Johnson and Johnson for this purpose. As the story goes, the GIs called it “duck tape” because it was waterproof – like a duck’s back.

The other version dates back to the same era, but gives the credit to the heating industry.  When people first began using central heating, aluminum ducts were installed throughout homes in order to distribute the heat to different rooms. The joints of the ducts were leaking, so in an effort to conserve heat, duct tape was created to resolve the issue.

It had to be highly adhesive, moist enough that it wouldn’t dry out and lose its adhesive properties, and strong enough to withstand the weight of the shifting ducts.

Regardless of the origin, I think we can all agree that duct tape is a fix-all.

As with most excellent products, there are lots of cheap knock-offs. Since your life could one day rely on your survival supplies, purchase duct tape that is designed for builders. This can be found at the hardware or home improvement store, generally in the heating and air conditioning section.

But enough of the boring details.  Just how can you use this miracle tape?

50 Uses of Duct Tape for Survival and Emergencies

1.  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 duct tape patch; for double protection mirror the patch inside the tent. You’ll keep insects and weather where they belong.

2.  Make a rope: In a pinch, you can twist one or several lengths of duct tape into a cord or rope. (Of course paracord would be a lot better and you do have some of that, right?)

3.  Make a clothesline:  Twisting a long piece of Duct tape makes a great piece of rope to use as a clothesline to dry out camp clothing.

4.  Hold the feathers in your sleeping bag: If you have a hole in your down sleeping bag, you can patch the hole with duct tape.  No more feathers flying out all over the place.

5.  Reseal packages of food:  Use duct tape to seal up partially opened packages of food.  Fold over the top of the package and seal it tight with a piece of duct tape. Works for cans, too.  Simply fashion a lid out of duct tape.

6.  Hold your tent closed: A damaged zipper could leave your tent door flapping in the wind. Stick the door shut, and keep the bugs and critters out.

7.  Splint a broken tent pole or fishing pole: Tape a stick to the broken area of your tent pole or fishing rod, and you might just get one last adventure out of it.

8.  Catch pesky flies:  Roll off a few foot-long strips of duct tape and hang them from a branch or your tent or cabin rafters. The DT serves as flypaper and when you depart, you can roll up the tape to toss it in the trash.  No need to use nasty chemicals, either.

9.  Repair your water bottle: Have a cracked water bottle or a pierced hydration bladder? A little strip of duct tape to the rescue. Be sure to dry the surface before you try to tape your patch in place since most forms of duct tape don’t stick to wet surfaces. You can also wrap plastic water bottles with duct tape to prevent cracking and leaking.

10.  Make a spear: Strap your knife to a pole and you have a trusty spear to fend off beasts, or make one into your dinner.

11.  Create a shelter: With some trash bags and some duct tape, and you have a survival shelter roof, or sleeping bag cover, or a wind break.

12.  Wrap a sprained ankle:  If you trip and sprain your ankle, wrap the ankle with duct tape to give it some support.

13.  Make butterfly bandage strips: Cut two small strips of DT, and add a smaller strip across their centers (sticky side to sticky side) to create a makeshift butterfly suture.

14.  Make a sling: Fold a length of DT down the middle, so that it is half the original width and no longer exposing a sticky side. Use the strap to make a sling for an injured arm or shoulder.

15.  Affix bandages: Place a sterile dressing over your wound, and strap it in place with DT.

16.  Blister care:  Got a blister on your foot? Cover the blistered area with a bit of cotton gauze, and tape over the cotton. Make sure that the duct tape fully covers the cotton and doesn’t touch the blister at all.

17.  Create a splint: A broken ankle or leg can be stabilized with ample splint material, padding and duct tape.

18.  Make a crutch: Pad the crotch of a forked branch with some cloth and duct tape to fashion a quick crutch to go with your splint.

19.  Make a bandage: Fold tissue paper or paper towel to cover the wound and cover this with duct tape.

20.  Make a temporary roof shingle: If you have 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.

21.  Fix a hole in your siding:  Has the 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. 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.

22.  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 does not fall out and cut you.

23.  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.

24.  Repair a trash can:  Plastic trash cans that are blown over by a storm or frozen in an ice storm often split or crack along the sides.  Repair the tear with duct tape. Just be sure the can is completely dry and tape over the crack both outside and inside.

25.  Make a belt:  Run a piece of DT through your belt loops and stick it to itself in the front. Overlap it about 4 or 5 inches and you’ll still be able to peel the belt apart when nature calls.

26.  Repair your glasses:  If your glasses break while you are out in the wilderness, tape them up.  You might look a bit nerdy but at least you will be able to see.

27.  Fix your rain gear: Keep the dry stuff dry and keep the water out by mending your ripped rain gear with a few strips of duct tape.

28.  Repair your clothing:  Repair rips and tears in your clothing by slipping a piece of tape inside the rip, sticky side out, and carefully pressing both sides of the rip together. The repair will be barely detectable.

29.  Add extra insulation in your boots:  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.

30.  Repair boots: If your boots have come apart or the sole has come off, perform a quick duct tape repair to help keep moisture and cold air away from your socks.

31.  Keep snow out of your boots: If the snow is so deep it goes over the tops of your boots, you can wrap the tape around them to keep the tops against your legs to keep them shut tight so that you don’t get snow inside your boots.

32.  Keep bugs and parasites out of your boots: Same concept as above, summer version. Secure the tops of your boots against your legs to bar entry to ticks, chiggers, and other creepy crawlies.

33.  Hem your pants:  No time to hem your new jeans?  Fake it with a strip of duct tape. The new hem will last through a few washes too.

34.  Make handcuffs:  Create handcuffs for the bad guys by taping their hands together around a tree to prevent them from becoming a danger to themselves or others.

35.  Mark a trail: Use duct tape to blaze a trail so you can easily find your way back.

36.  Signal for rescue: If you have brightly colored or reflective duct tape, you can use it to signal for rescue.

37.  Make emergency repairs on your Bug Out Vehicle: Repair leaking hoses, broken tail lights, windows that don’t stay and even bullet holes with strips of duct tape.

38.  Hang perimeter or security lights:  String lights around your camp with a rope make of duct tape.

39.  Make a disguise:  Using trash bags and leaves, fashion a disguise then hold it all together with duct tape so that you can hide in plain sight.

40.  Repair above ground swimming pools: Got an above ground pool as part of your water storage, fish farming, or aquaponics set up? Don’t despair if you spring a leak. Simply dry the area completely, then adhere DT on both the inside and outside of the rip or hole.  This little trick can also be used for waterbeds.

41.  Repair gutter downpipes: Wrap the joints in duct tape to secure downpipes that won’t stay together.

42.  Remove splinters: Make sure skin is perfectly dry. Apply duct tape to the area where the splinter is embedded and quickly yank it off.

43.  Repair a small boat: If you have a small fishing boat, kayak, or canoe that gets a hole or crack in it, you can repair it by drying the area thoroughly and applying duct tape on both sides. The repair may not last forever but will probably get you back to civilization.

44.  Repair work gloves: Got some heavy work gloves coming apart at the seams? Repair them by folding duct tape, sticky side in, over the seam and pressing it together.

45.  Brace broken ribs: If you’ve broken or cracked your ribs, but you still need to function, you can provide support with duct tape.  Put on a slim fitting shirt or tank top to protect your skin, then wrap your rib cage tightly with duct tape

46.  Black out your windows: Use duct tape in conjunction with heavy garbage bags to cover windows during an emergency. Nothing says “rob me” like being the only house in the neighborhood with lights on.

47.  Remove warts: Cover a planter wart with a piece of duct tape for 6 days. Replace the tape when the adhesive loosens or gets wet. After 6 days, remove the tape and soak the area with water. Then, gently rub the wart with an emery board. Repeat the procedure until the wart is gone (source).

48.  Repair leaking pipes: Making sure to dry the area completely, apply duct tape to PVC pipes that are leaking.

49.  Seal your home: In the event of a pandemic or a biological, nuclear, or chemical attack get all family members inside and seal off windows and doors securely with duct tape.

50.  Seal ammo boxes: Protect your ammunition from moisture by sealing the boxes with duct tape.

28 Oddball Uses For RediTape Duct Tape

We have all done it.  Who has not squished a roll of duct tape flat so that it would take up less room? Or, alternatively, who has not taken a few feet of duct tape and wrapped it around a pencil so it could be stored easily in a tight space?  I will bet there are a sea of hands out there!

Well guess what?  You no longer have to do that!  Now there is RediTape Duct Tape which comes in pocket sized, 5 yard packs.  Not only that, it comes in six different colors.  Oh my gosh this is terrific stuff and I am thrilled to share it with you.

Not only that, I have six sets of six packs of RediTape to give away to lucky Backdoor Survival readers.  Now how cool is that?

About RediTape Duct Tape

Duct tape is duct tape, right?  Wrong.

There are different grades running the gamut of dollar-store versions to heavy-duty industrial versions.  In my own tests, I would put RediTape right smack in the middle.  It is stronger and tackier (stickier?) than the dollar store variety but not as thick as the 3M stuff.  At the same time, it seems softer and more pliable.  Does that make sense?

No worries, though, because where RediTape shines is in it’s form factor.  Each pack is 2 inches wide and 4.25 inches long.  The thickness is about 1/2 inch.  This means that it fits easily in small, compact spaces such as:

  • Backpack or Purse
  • First Aid Kit
  • Vehicle Glove Compartment
  • Luggage
  • Pocket
  • Toolbox
  • Tackle Box

It tears easily and cleanly.  What I mean by that is that when you tear it, it tears straight across, no knife or scissors required.  The current rainbow of colors include fluorescent green, fluorescent orange, black, silver, yellow, and pink which I have renamed “girly girl pink” because I love it so much.

On the other hand, the RediTape folks are open to feedback relative to new colors and patterns.  Purple cammo anyone?

Other than that, what can I say?  It is duct tape after all.

Repairs Of All Types

1. Repair Car Upholstery

I have duct tape patching an awkwardly located hole in the fabric of my car seat.

2. Hold Boots Together

The most oddball use I can think of would be to tape my boots together.

3. DIY Welding Glove

I have a welding glove that I used for the entire build of our Shipping Container House ( 55+ lbs of wire through my welder…) that has almost an entire roll on it since I kept burning holes in it but couldn’t see purchasing another set of gloves when I only used the left hand.

4. Repair Cracked Bathtub

I did used duct tape as a temporary repair for a crack in the floor of my bathtub while I was deciding on what to do for a permanent repair. I was using regular duct tape so I had to replace it every week or two.

5. Repair Broken Windows

We used duct tape to repair two broken windows in our kitchen

6. Extend the Life of Running Shoes

I once had a blowout on one of my running shoes where the whole side seam came apart. Several strips of duct tape and I was back on the road, worked great for a while and when needed just replaced old tape with new. Got a lot of extra miles from that pair.

7. Hem Clothing

I do a temporary repair to the hems of my pants. Invariably I put my heel in the hem of my pants just before I get to work or to an interview and can’t sit in the loo to fix them, Bit of duct tape and I can wait till I get home to do a proper repair.

8. Re-Connect Broken Tail Light

Temporarily connect tail light cover to car after backing into mailbox.

9. Replace Broken Cap

I used duct tape to make a replacement cap on bottle of contact lens solution.

10. Repair Strap on Handbag

The rubber coating on my Ameribag shoulder bag strap ripped and duct tape fixed it so it no longer hurts my hand when I pick it up.

11. Repair Rear Axle on Vehicle

Repairing a broken rear axle on a car with pieces of rattan furniture and a roll of duct tape.

12. MacGyver a Generator Belt

A long time ago I had a VW Bug lost the generator belt made one out of duct tape lasted the 4 miles to the gas station without over heating, looked like it would have gone on. I have since learned that a pantyhose will work also.

13. Fix a Hole In the Side of a Boat (while in the water!)

I was on the way to Catalina in a small sail boat at night we hit something in the water and poked a hole in the side. Went in the water with some sand paper and duct tape (3M) sanded the slime off and applied multiple layers of duct tape using my fingernails to get good adhesion and press out the water. Then we dried off the inside and applied a hot mix epoxy and fiberglass patch, back on our way in under an hour.

14. Fashion a Bike Seat

Maybe not weird but my grandson’s bike seat is all duct tape.

15. Create a Makeshift Window Glass Repair

A windstorm sent a flying branch which cracked a pane of glass in the hen house door. The only place to get replacement glass was miles away, so I used duct tape to hold the broken piece and cover the open area until I had time to get replacement glass.

16. Replace Broken Hinges

I’ve also used it to replace broken hinges on small things like the pill caddy in my purse or a small storage box.

First Aid

17. Remove Warts

I love using it to remove plantar warts from the bottoms of my feet!

I once removed a wart on my finger by wearing a piece on my finger overnight for seven nights!!

18. Substitute Band-Aid

I have wrapped a piece of duct tape around a cut finger wrapped in cotton gauze until I could get a band aid.

19. Turtle First Aid

Several years ago I repaired the cracked shell of a snapping turtle that had been run over while crossing a sandy spot on a back road. After it was kept in a box for 2 days, it was released. The following year it was spotted and still had fragments of the tape on its shell!

20. Ankle Brace

I once used duct tape to make an ankle brace for a friend that sprained his ankle while we were camping. Worked great.

Other Creative Uses

21. Create Insulation Using Garbage Bags

I have used it to tape plastic garbage bags to our small green house door to keep heat in with when a quick drop in temperature caught us off guard.

22. Hang Curtains

I have used it to hold up my solar curtains to keep the heat out of my bedroom

23. Weed Proof Garden Containers

When we were constructing some 4″x4″ garden containers, we wanted to put weed fabric down before filling them with dirt. We wanted the fabric to come up the sides of the container and stay there to keep grass/weeds from coming up between the fabric and the sides of the containers. We duct taped the weed fabric to the sides of the garden containers before filling with dirt. Worked well!

24.  Create a waterproof bandage

By now you know that I recently made a deep slash in my finger with a box cutter.  After the initial bleeding had subsided, I fashioned a nifty girly girl pink bandage for myself.  Trust me, it got a lot of attention at a community pot luck.  “Oh, how cute but WHAT happened?”

25.  MacGyver (fix) a broken lamp switch

I have very little lighting in my Southwest home and none is in the bedroom.  Instead, I have been getting by with my SunBell Solar Lamp.  The problem is that I let Shelly (aka the Survival Husband) use it and the button top to the on-off switch got messed up.  No worries.  He fashioned a color-coordinated doo-hickey out of a paper clip and RediTape.  It works great and I now can once again turn my lamp on and off!

26.  Repair a broken laptop case

I don’t know how it happened but the plastic side of my laptop case cracked and fell off.  RediTape to the rescue.

27.  Book binding

Cookbooks in print form are precious.  I happen to have a hand-written book of my own recipes that was started when I was a single woman in the 70s.  The book is falling apart so I bound it up with some fluorescent green RediTape.

28.  Waterproof label for preps

I purchased a number of large, Rubbermaid tubs for storing preps in my garage.  I have my preps sorted in bins by type, something I learned while visiting my friend Linda at Food Storage Moms.  For example, one tub is for all things water related, another for solar items, and yet another for hand-operated mills and kitchen tools.  Each now has a bright colorful label letting me know what is inside.

Similarly, I have started to label my food buckets with RediTape in the same manner.  I know that by using duct tape, the label will stay put and not fall off.  And no, the food buckets are not in the hot hot hot garage!

The Final Word

For the past 70 years or so, duct tape has been considered somewhat of a miracle worker.  For fix-it-yourself and do-it-yourself types, duct tape has become indispensable and has been used for things that I am sure the original developers of the stuff never imagined. Can you even begin to imagine MacGyver without duct tape?  I can’t.

I personally have duct tape and its sister product, Gorilla tape, stashed all over the house, in my car, and in my various emergency kits.  I use it all the time for all sorts of things.  Just because duct tape is ubiquitous, does not lesson its usefulness.

Who is to say that it can’t go on for the next 70 years?


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Duct tape is fantastic stuff with a myriad of uses. Here are just 78 of the ways you can use duct tape for survival and emergency purposes.

  1. Fix your swimming pool should be on here…. 😀 I know that is not exactly survival necessary, unless you are an 8 and 11 year old kid, and your pool is leaking! A couple of pieces of duct tape placed on the inside of the pool, while full of water is enough to stop the leak! I continue to be amazed by the amazingness of duct tape 🙂

  2. I once made it 50 miles across southern AZ after repairing a radiator hose with a WalMart plastic bag and duct tape.

  3. Interesting comments about the origins of duct tape, but all miss the target. Nothing at all to do with the military, nothing to do with repairing anything, these are all side benefits that were derived from experimenting and playing around.

    Just consider the name,literally, and lifestyle during that era 6 and 7 decades ago. The only central or whole house heating that existed then was the coal fire furnace, normally in the basement of the home. The furnace connects through “duct” pipes to each room in the house, and also through larger “ducts” to vent the smoke and exhaust gases out the chimney. The “duct” work is composed of large pipes made from sheets of rolled, galvanized tin formed into tubes that stick inside one another and are secured at the joints with a couple of sheet metal screws so they don’t fall apart. Seams and joints are very loose and leaky, and of course you don’t want to lose your heat, nor do you want the gases and smoke to escape into the house So these duct pipes were originally all sealed with a cement compound, but that tended to crack and fall apart over time. Duct tape was made as a replacement for that cement and had to be strong in order to withstand the weight of shifting duct work, and also super sticky with an adhesive that would not dry out or breakdown, yet gooey enough to totally seal all joints and seams against any gas leaks. Hence the creation of Duct Tape.

    So there you have it … whew!

    1. Hi Roger,

      A most interesting explanation of the origin of duct tape. I did quite a bit of research before writing this article (not to say that what I found was correct) and as a I recall, I learned that the original duct tape was quite different from the tape soldiers called “duck tape”. This may be one of those things that we will never know for sure. Or perhaps they were two similar products with similar names that at some point melded into one.

      In any event, thank you so much for the heads up!

      Gaye

      1. Greetings, Gaye –

        Roger is correct about the origin of duct tape. The current spelling of “duck” tape is a bastardization of the original, which was derived from the way the majority of people pronounced it, regardless of spelling.

        The current “duck” tape is also generally of an inferior quality than the original, but that doesn’t stop manufacturers and/or distributors from selling it at nearly the same price. The best quality tapes are still generally found in hardware and home building stores in the heating and air conditioning section, because the adhesives have to take extremes of heat and cold.

  4. I have even used duct tape to patch up a hole in a tire and still drove with the same tire for another 300 km. yes I have always used duct tape for any and all.things needing repair. Including my own body lol.
    I also use it on my houses feet for an abbess there’s a few things we do and then wrap the hoof fully in duct tape it will last and not brake forever! I’m no regular woman…I carry a carpet knife and duct tape i’m my purse at all times instead of lip stick and make up! That stuff won’t save you when you need to patch up a leaking tire! Or repair a hose under the car. Our fix your horse trailer.or fix your horses feet! Ooh and certainly in winter I duct tape my boots shut so I can walk through deep snow 🙂 and I wrap plastic garbage bags around my feet and stay nice and toasty warm!! Seems that duct tape works good as an insulation on your body!!!:) user your imagination and you’ll find duct tape to be womans best friend!

    1. Please, NEVER use duct tape directly on a horse’s hoof!
      My farrier told me horror stories of people who have done that and their horses got terrible infections solely from the use of duct tape.
      If he has an abscess, wrap it in clean bandages. If you really feel the need to use DT, you can wrap it OVER the sterile bandages to keep it somewhat waterproof…however you still need to change the entire dressing frequently.

      And BTW, DT really does work well when you break a hose in the car…at least temporarily 🙂

  5. Retrieve your keys from a sewer. Wrap a rock at the end of a length of duct tape sticky side out. Lower the rock into the sewer throught the grating (obviously the rock must fit through the holes). Let the sticky tape wrapped rock land on your keys with sufficient force to make them stick and carefully pull the tape, rock and keys out.

  6. 🙂 must be a woman thing:-) I use duct Tape if any of my dogs have cut feet etc, iodine, some gauze to pack between toes an old sock and then duct Tape it to make a waterproof chew resistant bootie for the injured one:-)
    one thing -allow room for the dogs foot to spread a little as their weight is placed on the foot.too tight is NOT alright.
    I also have my cracked plastic guttering downpipes held together by it, so far 3 years and holding fine.

  7. Great reply dude! More Usefull than the original article in some ways. In the near future survival might depend on being able to FIX things.

  8. Another use is the removal of fine cactus thorns from your skin–and even small splinters. Be sure the skin is dry, press the tape over the skin, and quickly pull it off–the fine, hairlike thorns (glochidia) that some cactus can shed, and tiny, hard-to-see splinters are easily removed.

    1. Obviously, another use for DT is to maintain the perfection of one’s Brazilian Wax when out camping, etc. Gentlemen may use it as an alternative to shaving when razors become blunted, and/or if water is not available, or if one needs to keep it in reserve for drinking. My extensive research, in fact, reveals that this is why it was first issued to the military, which as we know, is nowadays a unisex organization.
      But seriously, I have used it when planning camping expeditions, as loops to apply to the corners of a silver space blanket. A central area of the tape is double-taped, sticky to sticky; the ends are then folded over onto the two sides of the SB. I then DT’d two of these blankets together to make a really large and useable and super-lightweight cover. The blanket then can be used either as this simple cover, in an emergency, or, when allied to a length of string, as a tarp to tie between two branches. I never used it once, because the weather was dry, but the idea was a good one.
      Additionally, this construct could also have been used as a sun shield; had I damaged an ankle when far from civilization, it would have protected me from the intense rays of the sun until evening arrived, and I could have hobbled onwards.

  9. Since we’re talking survival uses, make thin strips of duct tape 2-3 inches long. Loosely shape them into a “bird’s nest”, and use this to get a fire going in a wilderness situation.

    1. Hi Jose,
      I am not clear on how the “bird nest” works. Do you build the fire inside of it or what?

      Thanks in advance for your answer.

  10. I was on a canoe trip in Canada several years ago and in one of the bad rapids that we were going through I hit a rock and put a hole in the bottom of my canoe. I used duct tape to patch the hole in my canoe and made the rest the the trip with no problems.

    1. I had a small fishing boat that had several holes, cracks and leaks in it. Duct Tape Saved MY BOAT and MY (expletive…lol)

  11. Repair work gloves (especially thumbs that come unstitched), repair winter heavy gloves.

    Color code boxes with preps in them.

    Color code keys, luggage, etc.

  12. One of the pics on the original articles mentioned hemming pants but the picture is actually of taping the pant leg to your boots to keep critters from crawling in. Important if you are bugging out! Stress is already off the charts and having to deal with insects on your legs, inside your boots is not something I want to worry about.

  13. Mend a horses’ hoof when they lose a shoe. Since the hoof has been compromised by the nails, the tape helps hold it together if you need to continue on until you can get it replaced. Helps keep you from losing a chunk of hoof that the horseshoer then has to work around.
    I have also used it to make a straw and a cup. For a straw, take a stick about thin stick (like a straw size about 10″ long) and cut a piece of duct tape the same length. Wrap the duct tape, sticky side out, long ways around the stick and overlap to create a tube (albeit sticky). Then take another piece of duct tape the slightly shorter (9″) and cover the sticky side. Overlap the ends and you have a straw. Making a cup it similar, I use my elbow as a form, but you can use an appropriate sized rock too!

  14. Duct tape will work if you happen to crack a rib or two or even have a clean break. Just be sure to tape over something like gauze or even a t-shirt. This will brace your ribs a bit and it actually works just as well or better than an elastic wrap style bandage or adhesive tape. If you need to prevent light seepage through your windows it can be used by taping overlapping strips over each pane. Depending on the weather and size of the panes you are blacking out.you may need to put cross pieces at intervals and at the ends for added security. This is much more effective than just blackout curtains. It also provides some added insulation in severely cold situations. You can also use it to seal the lids on any bottles that you place in your checked luggage to prevent drips and leaks from ruining your clothes. If you loose the the plastic tip end of your shoelace you can tape it and still be able to get the lace through the eyelet. Use it like a bungee cord to prevent your glass canned goods from falling off of a shelf during an earthquake by taping two sticky sides together of the appropriate length while leaving both ends with sticky side available to attach to the shelving unit. Apply as many strips as needed to provide a safety rail for your jars. This works best on metal shelves but you should still be able to reach through to identify and retrieve your jars as needed. i have even used it as a label on some of my canned goods when I ran out of other options and wanted to be sure the contents of the jar would be marked and identified. I have heard rumors that it can be used for depilatory waxing but you won’t get me to try that one out for you. But if in an emergency and no other options, you’ll just have to try it yourself. 🙂

  15. Cover a plantar wart with a piece of duct tape and leave it on at all times until the wart peels off. Wear the tape in the shower, to bed, etc. Do not remove for longer than it takes to replace a wet or dirty piece. It works by smothering the virus that causes the wart. I got rid of a large painful on this way.

  16. Duct tape can be used for minor repairs to a car.. It also can be turned into a really strong rope by taking three strands each is twisted to form a thread then put the three of them together to twist into a strong rope.. You know the old ruling.. if it moves and shouldn’t use duct tape.. if it is supposed to move and doesn’t then use wd-40

  17. I used to work in timber, and every now and then you can have a boot or shoe blow out when you are way back in the woods. Duct tape was always in my carry along tool kit. I’ve repaired many a boot or shoe to get me through the day, as well as coveralls and pants when they got ripped.

  18. For the best adhesion with duct tape, apply it to your fix and then use a blow dryer. It heats and softens the glue. Then press it down again. I fixed a leaky sunroof on a car this way and it lasted all winter with no leaks and didn’t flap off at highway speeds.

  19. After purchasing several Water Bobs for myself and Christmas presents, I realized that you would need to hold the filler valve to the tub spout. I wrapped a couple feet of DT to a small piece of PVC, so you can tape the filler to the tub spout. This enables you to do other more important things than watch 100 gallons of water fill the bag. I put a roll in the box, so you don’t have to go to the garage to get it during an emergency situation.

  20. I have another use. I just took some of my old reliable kitchen knives that have had rough use but are ‘battle tested’ for a couple of decades, I am in the process of making sheaths for each. With loops for belts too. Not sure how they will hold up in the damp, moist, cool, that we get in the Pacific Northwest, but I’m putting them outdoors in a secure location to see until I need them for bugging out or camping.
    I was also thinking how I wish I had been able to use DT as a child roaming the country, to keep the ticks and chiggers from getting to me.

  21. Gaye, I have a question. I was reading this article yesterday and started to read a comment and had to shut down. I’ve come back and the comments are not there anymore. I acquire a lot of info from the comments along with the articles. Is there an option I am not aware of to view old comments?

  22. Let’s not forget the most famous DIY Duct Tape project of all time. The crew of Apollo 13 were able to make a functional temporary CO2 scrubber using DT. If NASA would send men to the moon with duct tape, why on earth would you leave home without it?

    1. I think most of us with a functioning cerebrum have realised by now that there were no “moonflights”. The Apollo 13 ( coincidence? ) fiasco was just pure theatre, designed to rekindle interest in a ploy which was only ever designed to steal tax dollars for the usual suspects.
      But I grant, if ever there IS a flight to the moon, then duct tape is a priority, even if it has to be carried in a special pouch outside the simulator. ( Sorry, “spacecraft”. )

    2. If you look carefully at a picture of the first moon rover,
      notice the right front “fender”. It cracked when they were
      driving around and kicked up “moon dust” impairing visibility.
      The astronauts used duct tape to repair it. I always wondered
      who had the foresight to include a roll of it onboard.

  23. Duct tape is indeed one of the most useful inventions of the 20th Century, capable of performing at least 97% of all temporary repairs needed in our daily lives.

  24. Special Bonus: The Ultimate Traction Machine!

    Tape a long strip of duct tape to another long strip of duct tape with a slight offset on the end. Repeat until you have a long strap (you’ll figure out how long you need in a moment). Tape something bulky to each end (I used something cylindrical, like a used chapstick). Now place the bulked up end over the top of your bedroom door, close the door, and make sure it’s tight and secure. The strap should now reach the floor such that when you pull the bottom of the strap 2-5 feet away from the door, it just barely hovers above the floor. Lay down with your head being supported by the strap just 1/2 an inch to an inch or so. Enjoy!

    (caution you don’t want to do it for too long, as you may strain the tinier muscles in the neck. I’ve fallen asleep / passed out while using this homemade device and I wake up with my head off of it, probably because my unconscious body cant take it anymore.)

  25. You can also construct a wallet, change purse. You can tear pieces and spell out letters to make a sign. Fix leaky pipes temporarily. Suspenders or a belt.

  26. One clarification. Most duct tape is WATER RESISTANT not WATER PROOF. Either you should make sure to buy duct tape that states that it is water proof or expect the duct tape to fail after a week or so of constant contact with water. Ask me how I know 🙂

  27. i’ve seen a lot of these lists, but you have some here that i haven’t seen before. i love #42: removing a splinter! i guess 42 really IS always the answer!

  28. The Duck name didn’t come from waterproof. The original tape was backed with canvas fabric or duck cloth. This type of canvas was used because it was water resistant, so your origin story isn’t totally off the mark.

  29. I consider regular duct tape to be a full tool chest. It can be used for just about anything. I haven’t tried RediTape, but you’ve peaked my interest.

  30. Constantly use duct tape and come up with new things all the time – duct tape, gotta love it. Haven’t seen the new product. Will have to try it. Thanks Gaye for the introduction!!!

  31. Great idea and will be very useful in a SHTF situation. Also provides less footprint than Coghlan”s survival duct tape on a roll. Thanks Gaye!

  32. Duct tape does just about anything. Odd I don’t know. It would be something else duct tape is good for. I’ll have to try this. Free would be better.

  33. I have a welding glove that I used for the entire build of our Shipping Container House ( 55+ lbs of wire through my welder…) that has almost an entire roll on it since I kept burning holes in it but couldn’t see purchasing another set of gloves when I only used the left hand… …M… (EVIL ZJ)

  34. I used duct tape to cover a couple of sharp points on my belt that were poking holes in my shsirts. I think that qualifies as oddball!

  35. While Shelly ( your survival hubby ) was busy making doo- hickeys, I’ve been busy making thing-a-ma-jigs and what-ja-mac-calls out of duct tape! I once removed a wart on my finger by wearing a peice on my finger overnight for seven nights!! Love this fit anywhere tape!!
    Jo

  36. My son uses duct tape for a make-shift sun blocker, my father uses it to get rid of warts, and I use it for attaching things, binding things, closing things, holding things up, and store it in my BOBs.

  37. Got a hole in the lining of a perfectly good purse. Kept loosing things and didn’t want to give up my favorite purse so fixed it up with duct tape.

  38. I use duct tape for just about everything, so I’m not sure what qualifies as “oddball”. I did use duct tape as a temporary repair for a crack in the floor of my bathtub while I was deciding on what to do for a permanent repair. I was using regular duct tape so I had to replace it every week or two.

  39. I don’t really have any oddball uses, but I use a crazy amount of duct tape. We live on a farm, and there is always something that needs to be fixed. That is often done with some duct tape.

  40. I once had a blowout on one of my running shoes where the whole side seam came apart. Several strips of duct tape and I was back on the road, worked great for a while and when needed just replaced old tape with new. Got alot of extra miles from that pair.

  41. Not sure it’s the oddest but I do a temporary repair to the hems of my pants. Invariably I put my heel in the hem of my pants just before I get to work or to an interview and can’t sit in the loo to fix them, Bit of duct tape and I can wait till I get home to do a proper repair.

    1. LOL – Me too! Caught the heel of my shoe into the hem of my pants on the way to work. Always carry duct tape in the car so it was an easy fix!!

  42. most oddball use: replacement cap on bottle of contact lens solution.
    Bottle was broken at airport security check back before the 10 0ml liquid limit. Contact solution slid out as TSA examined backpack, hit floor & cap broke. We pulled out the duct tape, fashioned a cap, and i didn’t have to rely only on glasses during the trip.
    also used to temporarily connect tail light cover to car after backing into mailbox.

  43. thanks for this info. i’m not e-snubbing you — i just don’t have facebook, pinterest, so can’t promote you there. cheers!

  44. It’s not that odd but I have extended the use of a pair of shoes with it. I have also wrapped a piece of duct tape around a cut finger wrapped in cotton gauze until I could get a bandaid.

  45. Several years ago I repaired the cracked shell of a snapping turtle that had been run over while crossing a sandy spot on a back road. After it was kept in a box for 2 days, it was released. The following year it was spotted and still had fragments of the tape on its shell!

  46. A pair of old worn out shoes. The soles were coming off and the sides were cracking. My sis and I wrapped them with duct tape – not new but usable. You think I’m going to throw away my most comfortable shoes?

  47. Kathy (above) and I have both used it for emergency hemming on slacks.
    Other odd use was to mark my cell phone during a volunteer event. One other person had the same phone + case that I did, so when the phones were on the table, we invariably kept mixing them up. A little duct tape on mine with my name fixed that confusion.

  48. The rubber coating on my Ameribag shoulder bag strap ripped and duct tape fixed it so it no longer hurts my hand when I pick it up.

  49. I use duct tape to wrap my annoying seat-belt strap the keeps tightening on my chest. I pull out the belt just beyond what I need and wrap the tape around where it would retract. The tape keeps it from retracting.

    1. wow, what a great idea! i tried putting a big safety pin in the seatbelt to stop it, but the pins kept breaking and coming out. i bet duct tape will do it!

  50. Oddball is right! I began getting crows’ feet and forehead wrinkles, and saw some adhesive “helpers” in the beauty aisle for $30… I just cut small triangular duct tape pieces for my [former] crows’ feet and [former] forehead wrinkles and place them on my face at night, they WORK.
    I might put on a fresh pair when I go outside to work for a few hours, as the sun will make you squint.

  51. I used a colored piece of duct tape to cover the advertising on a red plastic container that I wanted to use to put homemade goodies inside. Advertising would not scrub off so just covered with my handy dandy duct tape! Easy peasy.

  52. A long time ago I had a VW Bug lost the generator belt made one out of duct tape lasted the 4 miles to the gas station without over heating, looked like it would have gone on. I have since learned that a pantyhose will work also.
    The best one was on the way to Catalina in a small sail boat at night we hit something in the water and poked a hole in the side. Went in the water with some sand paper and duct tape (3M) sanded the slime off and applied multiple layers of duct tape using my fingernails to get good adhesion and press out the water. Then we dried off the inside and applied a hot mix epoxy and fiberglass patch, back on our way in under an hour.

  53. A windstorm sent a flying branch which cracked a pane of glass in the hen house door. The only place to get replacement glass was miles away, so I used duct tape to hold the broken piece and cover the open area until I had time to get replacement glass.

  54. I don’t know about odd ball but I used it to tape plastic garbage bags to our small green house door to keep heat in with when a quick drop in temperature caught us off guard. I’ve also used it to replace broken hinges on small things like the pill caddy in my purse or a small storage box.

  55. I used duct tape to tape up my pants hem that came out at work. It was the only tape I had, but I knew it would hold for the day until I could sew it up.

  56. Just a little bit for my purse, car, First Aid Kit, Go bag, etc. I do have large rolls but these smaller ones would be great to store in small spaces and to insure I have some on me.

  57. Try using the fluorescent tape to make “Shoot and See” type targets for the gun range.
    Simply take a piece of cardboard for the target backing and apply fluorescent tape to form the target area. A square, a circle or even a rectangle will do.
    Then spray paint the whole thing flat black.
    When the bullets hits the target, the black paint flakes off, revealing the exposed, easily seen, fluorescent tape underneath.

  58. When we were constructing some 4″x4″ garden containers, we wanted to put weed fabric down before filling them with dirt. We wanted the fabric to come up the sides of the container and stay there to keep grass/weeds from coming up between the fabric and the sides of the containers. We duct taped the weed fabric to the sides of the garden containers before filling with dirt. Worked well!

  59. Thanks for all the great ideas. I write YA/Children’s novels. In my latest novel about teens surviving a world disaster on a sail boat, I have them repair a sail, make a life jacket smaller, a sweatshirt larger, secure a rope ladder, and secure both the jib and mainsail before a tsunami. All with duct tape.

    My husband and I have four rolls of it on our actual, real, sailboat.
    Can’t wait to get back to writing and use some of your tips in the story.

    Thanks,

  60. the psoriasis on my feet makes the heel skin thicken and crack; then it bleeds. i swab the area with alcohol, then apply a strip of duct tape. it will stay for several days if needed, through showers and everything, until the crack has healed.

  61. My daughter just told me of another use of duct tape. As a teenager with small breast, she used duct tape under her breast to pull them together to give her some cleavage.
    I didn’t know that. I wonder if her mother knew?

  62. Though not related to preparedness, this might be of interest–or at least amusing. Our son attended a banquet at college with a girl who got creative with duct tape. She made her dress from neon green duct tape, and she made his necktie from it, too.

  63. To me a lot of the items listed as “brilliant” are just normal life, but when I was growing up my father would mow the lawn in a pair of his old dress shoes that he had patched with duct tape to the point where not much shoe was showing so I learned young 🙂

    Repairing or reattaching car trim parts (lenses on the lights, mirrors, etc) with duct tape is also pretty normal to me. But number 11 above (repairing vehicle axle) is very impressive and I think it wins for most brilliant use of duct tape in the article!

  64. When I had to have my car doors fixed (someone keyed both sides of the car very badly) The place that repaired and repainted the doors didn’t put the rain screens over the windows back correctly. I lost one rain shield driving but on the second one I used duct tape to keep the rain shield on my car window till I could get home and get it reattached correctly.

  65. I’ve used duct tape and an old t-shirt two ways: 1) I’ve made a tailored pattern for a back-support bodice and 2) I’ve made a custom sewing mannikin (Similar procedure to #1, but then after you cut off the duct-tape form, you tape it back up, and then stuff it full of fabric, rags, etc. to make your shape. Then mount it on a wooden stand to create a mannikin you can try on your sewing when you don’t have someone to help you.

  66. My daughter got extra credit in her high school physics class by making a duct tape boat. It had to float (duh) for a certain amount of time and be paddled. She and two friends made it once around a small pond at a friend’s farm.

  67. Your article was timely, Gaye. I just received the 4 huge rolls of duct tape from Amazon I’d ordered. The model form is something I’ve wanted to do as I sew. I’ve used duct tape for pratically everything on the list except for the boat and the rear axel, and could have used it when mine literally broke apart on a back road one day with no help for miles around. I wouldn’t want to be without the tape..ever.

  68. I have a twenty-year-old adjustable keyboard tray at work with a foam rubber-padded wrist rest. The vinyl covering split a decade ago and the foam was making a break for it. I cleaned up the tray and tightly wrapped black duct tape over the length of the foam, forcing it back into place. Since newer models of the tray aren’t as useful as my old one, I’m more than happy to forego aesthetics for function. It has to be replaced periodically but it’s an easy fix.

  69. A note of caution here. I used duct tape in the past to seal moving boxes. If the boxes sit for any length of time in storage, when you go to open the boxes you will have one ooey gooey mess on your hands! Better to use brown packing tape if you can. I flew in a commercial plane once and looked the window to see a bit of duct tape on the back of the wing! Huh!

    1. Duct tape is my go to tape for so many projects that it just seems normal to see it in so many places. But I think seeing it on an airplane wing like Francis just noted above would still make me a bit nervous. I hope the trip was just a short jaunt. I would have probably stared out the window at it for the whole trip, hoping I didn’t see it get blown off by the force of he wind.

    2. Frances, you can relax about the tape you saw on the airplane wing. The tape occasionally used on aircraft is not duct tape, though it looks very much like duct tape. Instead it is a very sturdy, speed-tolerant, aluminized tape commonly called “Speed Tape”, and it is used on aircraft for temporary repairs. Works very well…the fact that you’re relating your story is testament to its efficacy, right? Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger…you are not the first to be fooled.

      1. I did not know that! 🙂 As an Air Force brat, you’d think I’d have heard about it before LOL Thanks for clearing that up. It was about a hundred years ago anyway, when I was still flying back to college in the late Jurassic era. Mohawk airlines in upstate New York.

  70. Hi Gaye! I love these stories! I kept a cracked laundry hamper going for years by using duct tape. We use it all the time at our house. We also always take a roll along when we go on vacation. You never know when it might come in handy!

  71. My denim pants sometimes develop holes in pockets (probably from carrying keyring full of keys), and several times over the decades I have repaired pocketholes with duct tape placed over both sides of the holed fabric.

  72. About 56 years ago, in my teens, I did odd jobs for an old man who was (it seemed then to me) on his last legs. He had me “repair” and paint the tiny back porch and stairway at the rear of his house. The 4 X 4 support posts (true 4 X 4’s!) had a couple of good-sized holes in them. He had me cover them with duct tape and paint over the tape. I thought it was dumb, but did it. The job probably outlasted him anyways.

  73. Duct tape work gloves with holes worn in them.
    Duct tape the radar detector mount to my motorcycle.
    Duct tape my sandals back together.
    Duct tape part of my BBQ, that had rusted, back on.

  74. Obviously not Red Green Fans but “the axle fix” in one for the telling at the Possum Lodge! You got to tell the particulars. Axle, right?

  75. Ah duct tape! I’ve used it for so many things. It really brings out my creativity! When my hubby lost his wallet, I created a new one for him out of the duct tape! His co-workers begged for me to make them one too! I made a sewing needle pouch too. Also since I had a family member that kept steeling my medications, I made a secret Purse out of duct tape that I made to fit inside a pillow of mine. No more missing meds! The recliner I sleep in, we’ll it’s literally held together with duct tape, & I have made side pockets for my chair with duct tape as well. I also made a secret compartment in the arm of my chair. Nobody knows it’s there! & being disabled I have a small fridge beside my chair. I took small pop tart & small cereal boxes & made little containers that hold the TV remotes & my cell phone, & taped them to my fridge.They work great! I also used the duct tape to create a barrier on a door shelf in my fridge so things wouldn’t slip through. I also made a few water bottle / cup holders that keep my bottles of water nice & cool for several hours! I use duct tape to keep various throw rugs in place, & use it to tape up a hole in the linoleum floor in our kitchen. I used duct tape to repair a few book bindings. I also made a tablet holder out of the duct tape & a old dvd case. Well I could go on & on about the million ways i’ve used duct tape. My hubby calls me the queen of duct tape! My favorite duct tape is the gorilla duct tape! Works great! Happy duct taping everyone! It’s nice to see that great duct taping minds really do think alike!

  76. A friend of my once used it to make a bra. She had to do a show and forgot her strapless bra and with a 75E (European) she couldn’t go without it. So duct tape underneath the breasts, around it, a cotton disk on the nipples and kept in place with more duct tape. She said she had never had more support during a 1,5 hour live show with almost 1,5 hour of dancing with her duct tape bra then with a regular bra. Only the peel afterwards was horrible

  77. One time after returning to the van after dropping my daughter off at an airport over 5 hours away my door wouldn’t shut. The locking mechanism had broken. No problem, we just duct taped the door shut on the outside, lots of duct tape. We were laughing saying “you might be a redneck if…”. Anyway we got home safely and ordered the tiny little part that could have otherwise been a big bill in the big city.

  78. Ok. Haven’t seen this one. I repair and extend the life indefinitely of fly swatters with duct tape.
    I cut off the swatter part leaving the triangular part the wires go into. With four pieces of tape fold over back edge of the triangle sticky sides facing each other. One strip in the middle to close the gap. Trim the end to desired length. Mine last for years. Gorilla tape is a little thick for this. Makes it to stiff.

  79. I have taped a jacket pocket that was coming unstitched.
    My oldest son bought a new Navy uniform for his wedding 33 years ago. He hadn’t gotten them hemmed so the morning of the wedding he taped up the pant legs.
    My second son used to tape up torn work pants to get a little more wear out of them.
    I shot a metal chicken waterer shooting at a dog killing my chickens. I taped over bullet holes and got two more years of use but really with new tape it could have gone on for years.

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