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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cheap Duct Tape Projects and Repairs

Duct Tape for Cheap Projects and Repairs


Trailer brake light repair with duct tape
About 35% of one of the brake light covers on my trailer was missing.  This was pretty easy to repair!
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Duct tape is useful for making quick repairs and doing simple projects.  If a few cents worth of duct tape can save you from replacing something for awhile at least, it is probably worth doing.  Some of the features I like about duct tape are:


  • Duct tape is fairly cheap, a few bucks for a roll 50 or 100 feet long that will last you a long time
  • Duct tape is durable, some repairs and projects using duct tape will last many years
  • Duct tape is easy to work with- you don't need any special tools, skills or experience


Duct Tape is Handy to Have Around for Projects and Repairs
Duct Tape is Handy to Have Around for Projects and Repairs
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher


I like duct tape so much that I mentioned this as a topic in my most recent book as one of the 101 ways to save money.  You can read Tip 90 about using duct tape for cheap repairs here:
Tip 90: Duct Tape and Other Cheap Repairs

Duct Tape Repairs

Repair Gloves with Duct Tape

The other day while working in the garden, I felt some weeds poke my thumb.  This was surprising since I was wearing heavy leather gloves.  Unfortunately, a hole had developed in the thumb.  This was clearly a repair that called for duct tape.

Use Duct Tape to Repair Gloves
Use Duct Tape to Repair Gloves
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

It took about 1 minute to repair the glove with duct tape.  In the picture, you can see that one of the fingers has also been repaired with duct tape.  I put that duct tape on last fall, and it has lasted through quite a bit of use already.

Repair Garbage Can with Duct Tape

After making this repair, I decided to look around and see what other repairs and projects I had around that use duct tape.  I didn't have to look far.  Right next to the workbench where I repaired my gloves, I have a garbage can with the lid repaired with duct tape.

Garbage Can Repaired with Duct Tape
Garbage Can Repaired with Duct Tape
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

It would seem silly to me to throw away a garbage can or garbage can lid that would be repaired with duct tape.  The lid had broken and it would no longer snap in place on top of the garbage can.  I was able to simply tape the lid back together so that it fits on nicely again.  This repair has lasted for about 6 months so far.  The duct tape if flexible enough to handle some abuse as the lid gets dropped to the ground by the garbage man every week.  I guess I could have used black duct tape to make the repair blend in a little better, but the silver doesn't really bother me.

Duct Tape Projects

Continuing my walk around the house to see where I have used duct tape, I found some projects where duct tape was a key component.

Window Crank Pole Duct Tape Project

The first is my contraption to crank open 2nd story windows.  Before I made my pole, I would need to use a ladder to open and close the windows.  The pole is an old telescoping pole for a swimming pool net.  I duct taped a loop of heavy shoe lace on the end.  I used more duct tape to pad the metal pole to avoid scraping up the window cranks.

Duct Tape on Pole to Crank 2nd Story Windows
Duct Tape on Pole to Crank 2nd Story Windows
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

As you can see in the picture above, I got fancy and used two different kinds of duct tape.  I used the thinner, stickier 3M silver duct tape to hold the shoe lace in place, and then I used the thicker black Gorilla duct tape to provide padding over the exposed end of the pole.

Telescoping Pole to Crank High Windows
Telescoping Pole to Crank High Windows
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

This project was great- it only took about 15 minutes, it didn't cost anything since I had the materials around, and it was immediately useful.  I was able to crank my windows open that day without getting out a ladder.  I have been using my duct tape window pole for about 2 months now.

Temporary Table with Duct Tape

In the room with the high windows, I have a table set up to start vegetable plants from seeds for my garden.  The table I used is actually a temporary arrangement using some saw horses and scraps of wood.  I used duct tape to tape everything together.  With kids and pets running around, I wanted to make the temporary table as stable as possible.

Temporary Table from Scraps of Wood, Saw Horses, and Duct Tape
Temporary Table from Scraps of Wood, Saw Horses, and Duct Tape
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Duct tape was handy for this project, since I was able to make a stable table using some pretty small scraps of wood.  I didn't want to put screws into the saw horses, and that would have been more work anyway.  Now that I am done with the temporary table- the plants are going into the straw bale garden this weekend- I can just remove the duct tape and get my scraps of wood and saw horses back to use for other projects.

Clothesline Ratchet with Duct Tape

My next project using duct tape was just outside.  My wife put up a nice clothesline this year.  I say nice because it was so quick and inexpensive since we were able to put a clothesline up around two trees.  The problem was that the clothesline would sag under the weight of clothes hanging on it.  It was a lot of trouble to untie the knots and adjust the line every time it sagged.  The cotton clothesline is stretchy and tends to sag a bit over time.  I bought a metal ratchet that is normally used for a wire fence to use to tighten up the clothesline easily.  I was worried that the metal ratchet would cut the clothesline where the metal was in contact with the cotton clothesline, so I wrapped this part of the clothesline with duct tape to protect it.


Ratchet to Tighten Clothesline Protected with Duct Tape
Ratchet to Tighten Clothesline Protected with Duct Tape
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher
I used my favorite 3M silver duct tape again for this project.  You can see the duct tape to the left of the ratchet in the photo where I wrapped it around the clothesline to protect it from being cut or damaged from the tension of the line against the metal edge of the ratchet.  Just pull on the short piece of line hanging down to tighten up the clothesline.




I didn't need to try very hard to find examples of duct tape projects and duct tape repairs around my house.  A little creativity and a little duct tape can go a long way for making cheap repairs and doing quick and easy projects.

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