What is Cellophane Tape?

Sherry Holetzky

Cellophane, a transparent, moisture proof material, was created by Du Pont in the early 1900s as a packaging wrap. The 3-M company was intrigued and began experimenting to create a pressure sensitive cellophane tape product by applying adhesive. It began as an effort to help a specific client, and although it did not meet that need, it had great potential for many other uses.

Cellophane tape was first marketed under the Scotch brand by 3M in 1930.
Cellophane tape was first marketed under the Scotch brand by 3M in 1930.

There were problems in the creation of cellophane tape, especially when it came to the application of the adhesive. After a great deal of time and effort, the 3-M company, owner of Scotch brands, found a way. Priming the cellophane first remedied the problem and allowed the adhesive to be applied evenly without damaging it.

Cellophane tape and wrapping paper are often used to wrap gifts.
Cellophane tape and wrapping paper are often used to wrap gifts.

It was in 1930 that Scotch Cellophane Tape was tested by prospective customers, with favorable results and a recommendation to market the product. It became one of 3-M’s best selling products and the trademarked Scotch name made the tape famous. Scotch is still a household name, and it can be found along with other brands of cellophane tape in nearly any home or office. In Europe, Sellotape is the most recognized, top selling brand.

Another common name for this product is sticky tape. This term is used in the U.S. as well as in Europe. It is also the name commonly used by children, especially those who watch Dora the Explorer. Dora offers quite a few original uses for sticky tape.

The typical roll of cellophane tape comes in its own dispenser, making it easy to tear into appropriately sized strips as needed. It has a variety of uses, from repairing torn papers and wrapping gifts to making simple craft projects. This material is available in transparent and semi-transparent varieties, as well as different widths and strengths. Stronger versions with greater ability to stretch are generally used commercially for packaging.

While cellophane tape sales continue to grow and consumers continue to invent new uses for this product, one notable use is found on ideafinder.com along with more history and good information. Apparently, farmers who raised turkeys discovered that cellophane tape was a useful implement for holding together cracked turkey eggs. That’s pretty creative, as are many other uses for this handy product. See the link provided for more information.

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Discussion Comments


@alex94: Yes. Scotch tape is the brand name. I have heard that the company 3M chose the name “Scotch Tape” after a customer complained that the tape didn’t have enough adhesive on it. The customer referred to it as “Scotch” to refer to the executives of 3M being stingy.


Is Scotch tape the same as cellophane tape?

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