Category Archives: Packaging Tape

Gifting in Boxes or Bags?

With spring finally here and Easter around the corner, gift giving is in session. It’s only been a few months since Christmas was here, but a few months is all it takes in the gift-happy culture of the US.

When it comes to giving gifts, though, I prefer to wrap mine in boxes. Any old shipping boxes usually do for whatever I’m giving away. I just think that a gift in a box wrapped up shows a lot more effort went into the gift than just placing something in a bag, stuffing some tissue paper in on top of the item, and calling it a day.

But that’s to each their own, I suppose. While I like to have my recipient think there was a lot of thought that went into the gift, not everyone else does. And I can’t fault others for being more efficient with their time and gift giving even if it does make their recipient think of the gift as less special than a wrapped box.

My gifting habits are a main reason as to why I do have a lot of old shipping boxes and other cardboard laying around my home, though. I’m always using them for something with how versatile they are.

It’s funny to see what people think when I give them Easter gifts all wrapped up in the style of a birthday or Christmas present, though. People always expect baskets or bags around this time of year, but a fully wrapped box just seems to say a lot more in my opinion. It stands out a lot more, too.

I’d say my favorite part of wrapping gifts in boxes is honestly the type of paper I wrap it with. Whether it’s a specific pattern tailored to the occasion or just plain, thick brown paper (which is actually pretty classy, I must say), it’s fun to change it all up and keeps me, the gifter, interested and excited in the whole process.

That’s not even to say how many compliments I usually receive on my wrapping and the paper I chose. I’m always getting asked where I got my paper or how I wrapped my gift, and it’s honestly kinda nice to have that recognition for my efforts.

Overall, though, I do it for the recipient. I get joy in the whole process because I know it’ll bring joy to whomever I’m gifting the item to. If you can’t get joy out of that, what’s the point in gifting someone a thing you don’t truly care to spend money on? If that’s how you approach it, don’t bother giving them anything at all.

The Usefulness of Random Supplies

The other day my parents were over dog sitting for me and my girlfriend while we were out of town. They live 2 hours out of town in a small rural town, so coming to the city for a weekend has been their little getaway from the rise and grind of their jobs. I was happy to let them stay at our place for the weekend.

While they were at our place, I asked my dad if he would install a steel tip dartboard cabinet that we got for Christmas. I would’ve done it by now, but the problem was we were going to put it in our basement, but the walls are concrete. So, we were pretty reliant on the tools he had at home, meaning we had to wait for them to make their way to our place at some point to help put it up.

Anyway, they were able to eventually get the board and cabinet up, but not without some hitches in the plan. Apparently we were missing some sort of screws and the alignment of the board was off in such a way when it was hanging that we needed to shim the backside of the board it was adhered to.

Luckily, we had some random shipping supplies laying around the apartment that he was able to use to make final adjustments, even if it was a bit of a roughshod piece of work.

I couldn’t believe he made it work with mere shipping supplies. Somehow, though, it worked, and that’s all I really care about. It just goes to show that having some things laying around can be used in a pinch.

It reminds me of the usefulness and utility of other common items we overlook all the time. For example, cardboard can be used in so many different ways that you’d never really think about. I’ve made compost with cardboard, shredded it up and used it as mulch, and even used it to soak up things like oil leaks in the garage.

All of this is just proof that you can make something out of seemingly nothing. By giving your house a quick sweep through anytime you’re missing an item or need something in particular and don’t seem to have it, you’ll be able to find a lot of things that may actually be of use to you in your current situation. It only takes a little bit of creativity and a will to get the job done.

You Can Never Have Too Much Supplies

Growing up, I learned the value of work ethic applied to your life because of the diligence and respect that my parents treated their job with. They always made it a point to show up early, work hard, and put their careers at the forefront of their lives. No matter what happened, they never missed work. Heck, I don’t even recall them ever missing because they were sick. Work was, quite frankly, non-negotiable with other things in their lives.

Now, while I think that at some point they could have relaxed a hair, they had had this work ethic instilled into them through their parents (and their parents through theirs). It’s no doubt what has happened to me. I take my job seriously and realize that it’s a top priority in my life that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Just like my parents, I don’t miss work just because I’m sick or something else has come up. I make it to my job no matter the cost.

One thing they also instilled in me is having an appreciation for everyday things. In particular, they always had an incredible stock of shipping supplies and the likes. (And I think it’s because they always had worked for the post office, because they never ran out of postage, cardboard boxes, or any other shipping supplies.) While these things seemed mundane to me when I was a child, I realize now that it’s the commonplace items that we rely on (otherwise they wouldn’t be commonplace).

Nonetheless, I now make it a point to keep my place stocked with all sorts of packaging and office supplies, because when something needs shipped, it needs shipped right away. And all of these supplies have served me quite well beyond just shipping things. I can use my boxes for storage, my tape for repairing small things, and labels for other projects, too.

Without fail, I come to think of my parents when I see who I’ve become. From day-to-day items to the common tasks involved in my dayjob, I know that my work ethic, habits, and ideals were bred out of their own hard work and ways. I’m definitely interested to see all the traits, habits, and preferences that my children take on from me, though there are a few bad habits that I’m hopeful they will drop, too. I guess that’s not up to me to decide, though, is it?

Three Kinds of Packaging Tape

Most people don’t know that there are three kinds of packaging tape.  This is one part of a three part series in the “the three kinds” of a certain packaging or shipping supply.  The other two parts are about shipping boxes and shipping bags.  Today, it is packaging tape.  Once again, this claim that there are three kinds is just that: a claim.  It isn’t an official designation but one based off of observation.  The consistency is why the theory proves true, in my opinion at least.  So, the three kinds of packaging tape are: casual, serious, and professional.  Below, I will explain in greater detail the characteristics that make each of these categories distinct from one another.

Casual: something that is done without much thought, effort, or concern.  Now, allow me to clarify that this doesn’t mean that you just don’t care.  This means that you aren’t trying to impress anyone, or come across a certain way.  As far as packaging tape is concerned, duct tape is pretty much the king of casual.  If you are trying to do a quick patch job, or tape up a box to send to a friend and all you have is duct tape and you aren’t going to buy more tape for no reason, than you would use duct tape.  For instance, I once had a roll of duct tape that had pieces of bacon printed all over it, and this is what I would use when sending my sister care packages in college.

Packaging Tape

Serious: involving or deserving a lot of thought, attention, or work.  For the piece about shipping boxes I used the analogy of sending off your manuscript, and I’ll use the same one here, for packaging tape.  If you are sending off your manuscript to an editor or publishing company you probably wouldn’t be using the bacon duct tape to ship it off in.  A serious businessman would take one look at that package and probably toss it in the trash, assuming that you aren’t serious enough to be a part of their community.

Professional: exhibiting a conscientious and generally businesslike manner.  This is where an individual or organization takes extra care that their product is being correctly represented right from the get go.  Packaging is part of the “package deal” of first impressions for a customer.  It is included with the website experience (and even customer service, if you needed to talk to someone when making your order).  Professional packaging tape would be the kind that you had special ordered with your company’s logo on it.

Rewind the Packaging Tape Pt. 2

Continued from Part One…

Garrett didn’t notice that he was dealing with the packaging tape rolls with such quickness that the edges were nicking his flesh like razors.  In his mind he was tearing down the streets of Spain with a hundred mad bulls trying to light the back of his pants on fire with their breath.  The faster he ran, the more people he dodged by, the faster his hands on the assembly line worked.  When the horn sounded at the end of his shift his eyes would flutter open, and he would stare blankly for a minute, trying to figure out where he was.  He would look down, and his hands would be red, and there would be drops of blood on the floor.

“You have to be more careful, Garrett,” his supervisor told him, squinting at him doubtfully.  This was a problem he was not prepared for.  How did you tell someone to stop cutting themselves on the job?  When the job was boxing up packaging tape, at that?  “We can’t keep sending off boxes with blood stains on them, and it’s becoming a waste.  Maybe you should consider wearing some gloves…”


So Garrett purchased some mechanics gloves, and he factored them into a mountain expedition.  He studied and trained with his guide books in the evening, while he was at home, and then when he was at work he would put his training to use.

His family would ask him to come over for the Superbowl, for Easter, for fireworks… “I’m training,” he told them over the phone.  He didn’t know that his voice was shaky, and that his breathing was heavy.  His mother was telling him, “You have me worried, mijo-“ But he was already hanging up.  He was already reading the next sentence, that he already knew by heart, knee deep in snow again, clawing his way up the side of an icy glacier.

It was the packaging tape factory who called Garrett’s family and said that he hadn’t been to work for two days.  They found him in his apartment, inside of an igloo made out of travel books.  Each book was heavily worn, with tabs hanging out of them, some of them streaked with blood when he had forgotten to his bandages.  The strangest thing was that he was found to be hypothermic, actually frozen to death, with frostbite on his face and hands and feet.  It didn’t make any sense, but Garrett’s family thought they knew what had happened.  It was the books that did it to him.

Rewind the Packaging Tape Pt. 1

Garrett liked to whistle while he worked.  His hands moved quickly, accustomed to the task, but his mind was able to wander effortlessly.  Over hills and through large cities, the tempo of his tune fluctuated with his inner destination.  During his off hours, Garrett pored over books about exotic locations, or featuring key spots throughout the world.  He knew as much as there was to know about the Arc de Triomphe and Victoria Falls.  On the assembly line his hands boxed up packaging tape with lightning speed, but his eyes were even closed and he was walking the streets of Paris, remarking on each of the sites and calling to mind the facts as he envisioned going over them in the guidebook.


It was something of an obsession of his, you could say.  Of course Garrett wouldn’t say that.  He would call it a passion.  That’s what it had started out with.  A true, unadulterated appreciation for travel and experiences and adventures.  That he would probably never have, of course.  He started working for the packaging tape plant with the hopes of saving up money to go sight-seeing.  To actually get to ride on an airplane!  Just the thought of it made Garrett swoon.  Once he started working he started getting books from the library, and then buying his favorites.  He started studying the places he wanted to go to.  Slowly, over time, he began to let go of his dream of seeing the actual places, and touching them, because he was able to get every single detail on the printed page.  And much faster.  And in much greater quantity.

His family says that he began to talk less about “When I go to Stonehedge”, and instead began to say, “Stonehenge is almost three thousand years old…”.  There was no longing left in his voice, but rather a sense of ownership.  It was as if he had already been there.  And then it became almost as if he had had his hand in it to begin with.  You would think by listening to him talk that he had been one of the men who erected Stonehenge, who had participated in the ceremony at its erection.

Garrett started having to bandage his hands, which were becoming covered in “packaging tape cutes”, as he called them, like you would refer to a paper cut.  He had bandaids on almost every one of his fingers.

To be continued…

Honey, where is the Packaging Tape?

“Honey, where’s the packaging tape?” This is what my husband asked me one day while we were trying to get together a couple of boxes to send to our children, who were all off in college. If you think it sounds insane to have three children in college at the same time, imagine what it was like when they were all in diapers at the same time. To be honest, I would prefer the former. I suppose, in part, this is because we pay for half of their school, and when they were all in diapers there was no contributing from them except in the aspect of why we needed to keep buying diapers.

Which isn’t really contributing, in my opinion. Regardless, three times a year for birthdays, and many more times a year for random holidays or stressful exam weeks, we send off care packages. Every single stinking time my husband will ask me where the packaging tape has gone off to. As if the packaging tape had somehow decided it would like to move to a different cupboard, or out of our house altogether. Now, after being married for over thirty years, this does not take me by surprise. For one, this is a normal occurrence with men in general. Every single wife all over the world can attest to this, whether it’s a bushman in Africa asking where his nose bone has crawled off to, or a Japanese business tycoon who is looking right at the chopsticks but wondering out loud where they are. To be honest, I think it’s kind of endearing.

Of course I roll my eyes, and of course it’s annoying sometimes. But for the most part it reminds me that I am married, that I am spending my life with someone, and that even though it doesn’t make sense to me why he can’t figure out where the packaging tape is on his own, I wouldn’t trade his company, everything that he contributes to my life, simply to have that one phrase erased.

I mean, really, if I didn’t hear that question anymore it would mean thirty years of my life had disappeared. It would mean that I don’t have children to send care packages to. And then who would I be scouring the one and three dollar section of Target for? Cycling in the new products is the only incentive I need to send off another couple of boxes.

Just Say No to Cheap Packaging Tape

I have been known to want to cut corners. It drives my husband kind of crazy. Thankfully, for his sake and for mine, I have grown out of it for the most part. I should clarify that I have never cut a corner merely to be lazy. If there was one thing my mother taught me it was to do a job well the first time, and that has been a true piece of wisdom consistently. (For the record, she taught me much more than just that, and most of it was good to know. I hope to pass on more than this little piece of information to my own kids as they grow older.)

What I actually mean by cutting corners is that I want to save money where I can- also known as “being cheap”. While frugality is an admirable trait, being cheap winds up doing the opposite. It turns out that buying something cheap is rarely the better option. This doesn’t mean you should buy the most expensive option on the shelf. I rarely put anything with a brand name in my cart. Usually the store brand is good enough. It’s the really off brand that starts causing problems. When it’s miles cheaper than all the other kinds, and not on clearance for some good reason, you should really just say “no”.

For instance, I have learned that you can’t cut corners when it comes to packaging tape. If you try to buy the cheap packaging tape you will just wind up screwing yourself. It happens to me every time. The thing is that the cheap stuff is thinner. So as soon as you manage to pick at the edge enough to lift it, and then you pull some, it just can’t handle the resistance and it will tear until it is the width of dental floss, and it will continue to tear at that same, minimal width so long as you keep pulling. Trying to unravel all of that to get back to the wider tape is crazy-making, to say the least. What you wind up with is a giant wad of ripped up, cheap packaging tape before you throw up your hands and go out to buy some decent stuff. I have learned this the hard way more times than one. From trying to ship a box to a friend to trying to pack up our house, it never worked in my favor to cut the corner. I just wasted more time and more money. I had to learn to just say “no” sometimes.

Packaging Tape: For Every Type of Project

I’ve been taking a lot of pride in my work this past week. I think I’ve just gotten a big head in general, because I’ve been thinking a lot about what uncommon materials would be the most useful in the case of a zombie outbreak, and why. I like to say that I’ve been thinking outside of the box, because I’m looking past your standard stuff like matches, ponchos, knives, and the obligatory samurai sword. Like packaging tape! But on the flip side of the coin I’ve also been thinking about designing and sewing clothes with unconventional materials (like packaging tape).

3m-tapeThis is because I’ve been watching The Walking Dead with my husband at night, and Project Runway during the day when my kids are napping. Honestly, I find myself in a constant state of confusion and stress, because I’m either listening to every little noise like it’s a zombie trying to get into my house or I’m rushing around doing everything at a hundred miles per hour like I have a floor length ball gown that needs to be completed, like, right now. I have to admit that the Project Runway sessions are much more enjoyable, and considerably less gory, although probably just as dramatic. It turns out that the average person does not, indeed, need acting lessons. They thrive in front of the camera and on national television. In every possible way.

My absolute favorite Project Runway episode is always the unconventional materials challenge. Now, I’m proud to announce that I dabbled with some sewing when I was a kid. I could make a mean miniature quilt, and my dolls had the most intricate of wardrobes. Granted, the interest (and probably the skill with it) fell off by the time I started driving- regrettably I can’t admit that it was sooner. In my imagination, though, if I were to be selected for this show, and made it to the unconventional materials challenge, I would use packaging tape.

I think I would make this really cute chevron striped sporty-esque dress. Of all different colors. It would look like shiny pleather and the judges would think that my innovation was pretty outstanding. During the interview after my win, in which I had obtained immunity for the next round, I would sit there in my vest made of bowties, with a safety pin in my nose, and I would talk about my childhood of making doll clothes and how it brought me to where I am today, so talented that I can make a dress out of packaging tape.

Custom Packaging Tape: The Story of Duct Tape

You may have heard me talk about how scotch tape came about to being invented, and today I’m going to talk a little bit about duct tape. This is because I am more or less obsessed with custom packaging tape… Okay, I knew I couldn’t fool you; it’s because it’s my job. And I love it! Because where else can you research the history of duct tape and write about it and get paid for it, too?

Growing up, I thought that duct tape was actually pronounced ‘duck’ tape, and then I was really embarrassed when I got older and learned that it is actually ‘duct’ tape. Well, today I am here to tell you that calling it ‘duck’ is also correct! Also, the really weird thing is that standard duct tape is no good for use on actual ducts. This makes no sense, I know, but what are you gonna do?

Okay, so, the custom packaging tape that we refer to as duct tape was invented during World War II, and was made by putting a rubber adhesive on a duck cloth backing. The rubber adhesive is what made it water resistant, but what is duck cloth? It turns out that it doesn’t have anything to do with ducks, and the word comes from a Dutch word that sounds the same but refers to cloth. And so duck cloth is a type of cloth signified by how tightly woven it is, which makes it incredibly durable. Apparently it had been in use for many years by the time the second World War rolled around, used to make shoes stronger and even to wrap cables to protect them from corrosion.

Lo and behold, the mother of two Navy sailors, who also worked in an ordinance factory, came up with the idea for duct tape. This reminds me of that Canadian show about girls working in an ordinance factory, which I thought was pretty awesome but apparently the rest of the world did not because it was cancelled after two seasons. This mother was concerned that the munitions they were producing would be ruined by the time they got to the front lines, since the munitions boxes didn’t seal all that well. She proposed the idea, and her idea was patented into duck tape. I’ve yet to find out why it is called duct tape, except that it was commonly confused with a brand of custom packaging tape that was actually used on ducts.