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Life Hacks

18 Brilliant Uses for Tape, From Removing a Light Bulb to Baking Perfect Cookies

Masking tape, packing tape, duct tape and more to the rescue!

Every household always has at least one roll of tape tucked away in a drawer! Duct tape, packing tape, masking tape and more are household staples thanks to their ability to hold things together. But the sticky items are great for plenty of tasks beyond their advertised applications. Below, you’ll find 18 uses for tape, from quieting dog tags to guaranteeing delicious baked goods.

1. Uses for tape: Get curly hair by morning

The secret to wavy locks without heat damage: duct tape. Before bed, fold several 10″ pieces of tape in half lengthwise so none of the sticky adhesive is showing. Wrap a section of hair around the center of each strip (like you would with hair rollers), then knot the ends of the tape together. Repeat with the rest of hair. Remove the tape in the am to reveal bouncy curls.

Related: Heatless Curls For Short Hair — 4 Ways To Get The Bounce Without The Burn

2. Give glue time to adhere

Oh no! You dropped your favorite coffee mug and the handle broke off! Instead of having to hold the pieces together after applying glue, place a piece of masking tape over the cracks. The super-strong strips mold easily around odd shapes and function like a custom-fit clamp to keep the bond tight (and your hands free) while the glue dries.

3. Uses for tape: Painlessly pull out a splinter

No need to fuss with tweezers to remove a shallow splinter. Instead, try this ouch-free method: Press a piece of packing tape over the punctured area. Then quickly pull it off in the opposite direction of how the sliver entered the skin. Presto — the fragment will slide right out!

4. Make tools slip-free

Double sided tape makes tools slip proof

When you’re working on a home improvement project, the last thing you want to do it have a hammer slip from your grip while pounding at a nail. To ensure a good grip, wrap double-sided tape around the handle. The sticky material will ensure your hand stays firmly grasped on the tool until the task is done.

Another way tape can be used with tools? To make them easy to find. I wrap bright colored masking tape around the handles of my most used tools as a quick visual flag so they’re easy to spot when I’ve got a lot of items out,” says Kyle Leman, a trained and certified home improvement expert and founder of Crossroads Foundation Repair.Really helps speed up projects!” (Click through for DIY projects you don’t need tools for).

5. Uses for tape: Silence noisy dog tags

Seeing your furry friend bounding toward you is a sure source of joy, but hearing the clanking of his dog tags… not so much. The simple solution: Wrap each tag in clear packing tape, then trim off the excess. The plastic buffer will silence the rattling metal while leaving all your pup’s contact information legible. 

6. Prevent shoes from slipping

You absolutely love the new pumps you snagged for a steal. The only problem? They keep sliding all over the floor when you walk. To prevent any mishaps, stick a piece of duct tape on the bottom of each sole. The tape will add traction so you can stroll confidently — without worrying about falls! (Click through for other ways to make shoes non-slip.)

7. Uses for tape: Easily childproof outlets

Having the little ones in your life over for a long weekend is always a treat, but your home isn’t childproofed. To keep kids safe from exposed electrical outlets, simply place a strip of duct tape over any outlets a child can reach. Then when your guests leave, you can just pull the tape off. Left with some tape residue? Try these tricks!

8. Ensure bananas stay fresh

Duct tape preventing bananas from ripening too soon

Bananas are a staple in your house for grab-and-go snacks, but they usually turn brown before you have a chance to enjoy them. Next time you buy a bunch, wrap a piece of duct tape around the stems. The stems emit ethylene gas, which causes bananas to ripen too fast, but covering the stems will keep the gas from reaching the rest of the fruit. (For those bananas that ripened fast before you started using the tape, turn them into banana waffles!)

9. Uses for tape: Make sweeping a breeze

After accidentally tracking soil through the house when you came in from working in the garden, you swept most of it into a dustpan. But there’s still that tiny trail left on the floor that the dustpan can’t grab. No need to bother with a vacuum. Instead, try placing a strip of tape along the front edge of the pan to temporarily attach it to the floor. The tape will hold the dustpan in place and create a gap-proof ramp so you can easily sweep up all the debris.

10. Map out a gallery wall

You want to put up a gallery wall in your office, but the actual planning can be a bit overwhelming. The solution: “Use masking tape to mark the outlines of the frames you’re using and where you want to put them on the wall,” says Vivian Najib, professional organizer and owner at FTB Home. “You can stand back and see how it looks before you actually put any nails in the wall.  And once you like where everything is placed, it makes knowing where the nails go into the wall really easy.”

No masking tape? Painters tape also works well! (Click through for gallery wall inspiration.)

11. Uses for tape: Save a frayed shoelace tip

Once a shoelace loses its plastic end, relacing your favorite pair of sneakers becomes mission impossible! Instead of buying new laces, tightly wrap a piece of packing tape around the loose threads and fuse with a spritz of hair spray. This invisible seal makes lacing up a breeze and prevents fraying.

12. Whip up perfect cookies every time

Masking tape helps you level out baking ingredients

Accurate measurements are a must for ensuring your baked goods turn out great, but it’s not easy to scoop precise amounts of dry ingredients (like cocoa powder) that don’t have a “lip” inside the container to level out your measuring spoon. The save: Open the container and place a strip of masking or painter’s tape across the top of one end. After scooping the ingredient, place your measuring spoon under the tape and slide it toward you. Any excess powder will be knocked off the spoon, ensuring a perfectly portioned scoop.

Related: Can’t Get Enough Girl Scout Cookies? Here Are Delicious New Ways to Enjoy Them

13. Uses for tape: Corral small pieces of hardware

Putting together a new bookshelf means you’re often chasing after the tiny screws, nuts and bolts that keep rolling away. What can help: Place a strip of masking tape (sticky side up) on the floor near your workspace and lay the hardware on top. The sticky surface will hold the pieces in place so they’re within reach while you work.

14. Extract a stuck light bulb

To remove a light bulb that just won’t budge, unplug the lamp and make sure the bulb is cool, then tear off a 12″-long strip of duct tape. Press the sticky center to the side of the bulb that’s facing away from you. Fold each end of the tape inward (so it sticks to itself) to create two handles.

Grip the handles with each hand and twist in a counterclockwise motion. The grip of the tape combined with the force you exert will pop the bulb right out of the lamp’s socket. (Click through for more ways to remove a broken bulb).

15. Uses for tape: Protect walls from scuff marks

Masking tape on a vacuum protects a wall from scuffs

If you tend to bang your vacuum into the walls, leaving marks on the baseboards, consider covering the front edge of the vacuum with a strip of masking tape. The tape will add a layer of protection to soften the impact when the machine and the wall make contact.

16. Remove price tags with one swipe

Who doesn’t hate scraping off stubborn price tags with a fingernail? Next time you need to remove the sticker from a new purchase in a hurry, place half a strip of packing tape over the tag, leaving a “tail” free. Then give the loose end a quick pull, like ripping off an adhesive bandage. The tug will lift off the top layer of the sticker so the price is cleanly removed—minus any dirty smudges!

17. Uses for tape: Carry large boxes with ease

Packing tape can create handles for heavy boxes

While prepping for your yard sale, you realize many of the boxes filled with clothes are too bulky to carry out to the lawn. The solution: Create a “handle” for them. Cut an extra-long strip of packing tape and set it on the floor, sticky side up, then center the box on it. Pull the ends of the tape up and over the top of the box, pressing the ends together to create a strap. It will make transporting the boxes a cinch.

18. Purify your eye shadow

You know to toss your eye makeup every six months because of germ buildup, but it pains you to see your most-flattering shades go to waste. To extend the life of your favorite powder shadows, try this twice-a-month cleaning ritual: Pat a small strip of packing tape over the cake’s entire surface. This gentle technique lifts off the top-most layer to keep your best eye-enhancing shimmer (and the skin it touches next!) contamination-free. 

Related: Pink Eyeshadow Is the Makeup Artist Secret for Brighter, Younger-Looking Eyes

More more brilliant life hacks, keep reading!

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13 Brilliant Uses for Eggshells — From Your Garden to Your Coffee, Plants and More

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