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Tips for Using Self-Adhesive Tapes

Self-Adhesive Tapes

Self-Adhesives tapes are part of day-to-day use, whether it is in our homes, schools, or offices. Almost everyone uses tapes, rather frequently. They can be used for several applications like wrapping gifts, making art projects or models, packaging products, etc. So, today we’ll give you some tips for using self-adhesive tapes, so you don’t have to deal with the frustrations of waste tape.

What are Self-Adhesive Tapes & Their History

As the name suggests, these are tapes that have self-adhesive properties. These are rolls of thin film made of different materials, with a layer of adhesive (usually, pressure-sensitive adhesive) on one or either side. 

Self-adhesive tapes were first invented in the year 1845 by a surgeon called Dr. Horrace Day. Doctor Day used a piece of cloth and applied a layer of adhesive on one side, then wrapped the cloth on a patient to keep pressure on their wounds. This was the advent of self-adhesive tapes. Since then, we have developed a variety of these tapes made from different kinds of materials and adhesives, used throughout different industries.

Types of Tapes & Adhesives

As mentioned above, manufacturers have developed a variety of different types of tapes. Made from different materials and types of adhesives. So, let’s discuss the different types of tapes and adhesives available.

Classification of Self-Adhesive Tapes

There are primarily three types of tapes, based on the material they are made of. Different base materials provide different properties and compatibility criteria.

(A). Paper

The most basic type of tapes available in the market, as the name suggests, are made of a thin film of paper. These tapes are bio-degradable and provide a decent bond between materials. One of the most popular types of paper tape is a type of surgical tape, known as fragile tape. The biggest problem with these tapes is their vulnerability against tears. Due to the lack of stretchability of paper, these tapes are very easy to tear. They are also known as flat-back tapes.


Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene, also called BOPP tapes are made from a thermoplastic polymer. These are very popular in a variety of industries, due to their high strength against tensile forces. Most people know this tape by the name of scotch or cello tapes. BOPP has vast applications from gift packing, art, and crafts to packaging.

(C). Cloth

These are made from woven cloth, to provide it more flexibility & stretchability. Cloth tapes are also good for applying on the skin as it doesn’t irritate. These tapes are used for making bandages, electrical applications, or sealing walls.

(D). Mylar

Mylar, also known as BoPET (Biaxially-Oriented Polyethylene Terephthalate) is a type of polyester. These tapes are excellent for use on electrical components and wires, due to polyester’s resistance against fire and high-temperature resistance.

(E). Metal Foil

Instead of paper, plastic, or polymer, these tapes are primarily made of metals like tin, lead, or aluminum. These types of tapes provide extreme protection against moisture and heat and are applied in such environments.

(F). Double-Sided Tape

These types of tapes are not based on the material used, but rather the application of adhesives. Unlike other tapes, these have a layer of adhesive on both sides of the tape, allowing them to bond to two different materials at the same time. These tapes are generally made from paper or silicone.

Adhesive Types Used in Tapes

Now that we’ve discussed the material used for tapes, let’s check out another system of classification, i.e., adhesive. There are five types of adhesives commonly used in tapes.

(A). Acrylic

These provide a strong bonding action and are highly resistant to environmental factors like moisture, heat, dust, etc. Acrylic-based adhesives have the quickest setting time.

(B). Epoxy

These are made from resin, unlike other adhesives, epoxy doesn’t shrink after drying/hardening, and provides a barrier and resistance to environmental factors.

(C). Rubber

There are many kinds of rubbers/materials that can be used to make these types of adhesives. They are very flexible and therefore, you can apply them easily around curved surfaces. Rubber adhesives also provide sealant properties, against air and moisture.

(D). Silicone

Much like rubber, silicone-based adhesives provide an extraordinarily flexible characteristic. Silicon has a very low thermal conductivity, meaning it doesn’t absorb too much heat and transfer it. Making them extremely heat-resistant.

(E). Urethane

These adhesives are made from a combination of Isocyanate sealants and polyurethane. These adhesives perform better than any other type of adhesive, providing better strength, resistance to moisture and heat, lifespan, flexibility, etc.

Things to Keep in Mind While Working with Self-Adhesive Tapes

Tapes by design are pretty simple and easy to use, if you forgot about all those times, you mistakenly ruined the adhesive side with your thumb while making school projects. But those memories aside, there is a certain art to using these little items.

There are certain tips that everyone should know to minimize wastage and good final results while working with tapes.

Clean Surface

The first and most important thing to keep in mind is to keep the surface on which you’re applying the tape on, clean. Small dust particles & debris prevent the adhesive from making proper contact with the surface. This can compromise the integrity of the bond made by the tape. 

In addition, debris and dust particles can cause micro scratches on the surface and damage the paint jobs of items. So, it is recommended, for porous surfaces like cardboard, to dust and wipe the surface with a clean cloth before applying the tape. And for non-porous surfaces like metal, apply isopropyl alcohol on a clean tissue/cloth and wipe the surface clean of any dust and oils.

Surface Compatibility

The next thing to keep in mind is the compatibility of different types of tapes & adhesives with different types of surfaces. Some adhesives are better suited for porous surfaces while others are far better for non-porous surfaces. The same goes for oily surfaces, dust, etc.


Lastly, the applications and the main purpose of the tape. Depending on the type of environment and application, users may want different sets of characteristics from their choice of tape. For example, in the case of electrical applications, users prefer to use tapes that are extremely resistant to heat, to avoid any incident of electrical fires. These tapes also need to be poor conductors of electricity.

On the other hand, in the case of packaging, especially heavy items, users prefer BOPP, as they provide extreme strength against stretching and form a cushioning surface to absorb vibrations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How do you apply self-adhesive tape?

The best way to apply self-adhesive tape is to first clean the surface with a clean cloth and isopropyl alcohol (for non-porous surfaces). Then gently apply the tape and keep it stretched to avoid air pockets. Once applied, put a little pressure on the tape to make sure the adhesive is properly activated.

Q2. How long does self-adhesive tape last?

These tapes have a general operational lifespan of 1 to 2 years after application. This can differ slightly based on the type of adhesive and surface.

Q3. Why is my self-adhesive tape not sticking?

There can be many reasons for a self-adhesive tape not working properly. These can be environmental factors like moisture, dust can make it difficult for the tape to form a bond with the surface. Another factor is surface compatibility, not all type of tapes works with all types of surfaces.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is for general information purposes only and true to best of our understanding. Users are requested to use any information as per their own understanding and knowledge. Before using any of the information, please refer to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

  • Created on Jul 10, 2023

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