Large Cardboard Boxes | Cardboard Boxes and Packing Tape: Clear, Brown or Custom Packing Tape?

Cardboard Boxes and Packing Tape: Clear, Brown or Custom Packing Tape?

Packing tape is a type of PST or pressure sensitive tape. It sticks to surfaces without additional glue, water, solvent or heat. By contrast, there also is heat-activated tape – just as strong or better – it needs the help of an iron etc. or paper tape – requires water to work. Pressure sensitive tape may have different backing – this is the component to which adhesive is applied to stick to surfaces. The tape already has glue on one or both of its sides hence it can be single- versus double-sided tape. The below paragraphs will focus on types of tape and overview of its best usage as it applies to cardboard boxes.

Pressure-sensitive tape was originally used by a surgeon in the 1840s – its first application was in the medical industry. From then on, tape has branched off to many different types with varying characteristics and properties. Here are some of the major varieties:

  • Duct tape – the mother lode of all tapes or at least the most popular. Together with WD40 and saran wrap, duct tape is a member of the three American wonders. It is so versatile in usage and widely accepted that there are even stories, videos etc about it. Its original design purpose was to package ammunition – strength was well-planned for. Its quality to withstand huge pressure under horizontal weight or alongside is combined with an ease of vertical tearing for usage convenience. No tools needed here.
  • Gaffer tape is a less know type from the film industry. It is also used in conference centers etc and temporary setups to apply over cables and wires and comply with building codes and prevent people from tripping over and suffering injuries.
  • Carton-sealing tape, also box-sealing and packing or parcel tape – clear or tan, light-brown color. Slick and smooth so that boxes wrapped up in it can slide along conveyor belts etc. Popular sizes are two and three inches – 48 or 72 millimeters respectively.
  • Cloth tape – it has cloth backing and or core. It is very strong and moves with the body – widely used in the medical industry. An example here could also be hockey tape – bulky, thick, rough-cloth kind which improves grip in hockey and lacrosse. Cloth tape is the base of anti slip tape. Anti slip tape is normally a wide strip of rough cloth with adhesive on one side applied over steps or other indoor or outdoor areas which can become slippery under conditions.
  • J-lar tape – a less known all clear or truly transparent. Available in one and two-inch sizes. Also known as clear-to-the-core tape. Used in paper bonding, binding etc – will not turn yellow with age and does not contain acid. Shurtape is a manufacturer of j-lar tape.
  • Electrical tape is a mainstream insulator. Use it only for what it is designed and do not substitute it with paper-style tape to insulate electrical conductors – it might not go down so well at a later moment when the paper rips or wears out.
  • Masking tape is mainly used for covering surfaces which should not be painted over such as window sills etc. It is paper-based and should not be utilized to seal boxes as it does not have the strength for it – it is designed that way to prevent it from lifting polish, paint etc when it has to be removed.
  • Filament tape or also strapping tape (strapping as in applying plastic etc straps to boxes to fortify them) – specifically designed for closing and sealing corrugated fiberboard (the proper term for cardboard). Some filament tape is rated up to 300 pounds of weight per inch of tape. It contains fiberglass filaments which make it extremely strong. Backing of this kind of tape is usually polypropylene or polyester film.
  • Custom packing tape is manufactured to order and typically is clear or brown packing tape with a company logo or some other commercial information. Custom packing tape is only as strong as the clear or brown packing tape it is made of.
  • Kapton tape – proprietary to DuPont, made from Kapton film which a type of polyimide. At time of this post in 2010 a 36-yard 1-inch roll costs about 20USD. Kapton is unique for its light-weight, flexibility, strength and extreme resistance to temperature changes. Kapton tape is tested in the 450 Fahrenheit to over 700 Fahrenheit. It has wide application in the electronics industry, circuit boards, as well as cable insulation. In addition, it is resistant to acid and oil. Typically amber and shiny in appearance.
  • Reflective tape is reviewed in a separate posting. It generally uses reflection of light and bright colors to mark clearance on vehicles or designated work areas to comply with DOT and OSHA regulations. The full post on reflexive tape is here.

From the above-listed kinds, brown packing and filament tape are the most appropriate for large cardboard boxes. They provide the needed strength and withstand wear and tear as boxes are sliding on belts, forklifts etc. Plastic or even metal straps can be wrapped around if the contents of a box is particularly heavy. Clear and custom packing tape can add important appearance to packaging containers.

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One Response to “Cardboard Boxes and Packing Tape: Clear, Brown or Custom Packing Tape?”

  1. Reflective Tape and Large Cardboard Boxes | Large Cardboard Boxes on November 30th, 2010 8:05 pm

    […] A full listing of all packing tape is posted here. […]