What Is Clear Tape?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2019
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Clear tape is a type of adhesive product that is common in many different settings. There are many things clear tape may be used for, including the repair of ripped paper, securing packaging and gift wrapping, among others. This tape comes in a variety styles, including simple tape and packing tape.

Clear tape gets its name from the fact that when it is applied in a single layer, it can often be very hard to see. Some may also refer to it as invisible tape because there is often very little clue as to where the tape is. This makes it an ideal choice any time there is a desire for the material that will be underneath the tape to still be viewed.

Most people likely first became familiar with this tape when using it at school or while gift wrapping packages. This type of tape is often no more than one inch wide (25 mm). It often comes on a disposable tape dispenser with a serrated edge that allows for easy tearing of the tape. Just before the serrated edge is a level plane that allows a place for the tacky part of the tape to rest so that beginning the next piece is very easy.


In addition to these throw-away tape dispensers, some may prefer a refillable tape dispenser. This type of tape dispenser usually sits on the desk and functions the same way as a throw-away dispenser, except that it is usually not held in the hand when tape is being taken. A refillable tape dispenser still has a serrated edge and a place to rest the end of the tape roll. They are often found wherever office supplies, teacher supplies or desk supplies are sold.

Most clear tape of the type described above is not meant for harsh circumstances, such as packing and shipping. This is because the tape is thin, both in width and depth. As such, the tape is very weak. Still, there may be times when this tape is preferred when packing, especially if the address or instructions are written on the box.

To solve this problem, clear tape can often be a form of packaging tape. Often this is at least two inches (50 mm) and somewhat thicker in depth than most other types of tape. This makes packaging tape very durable and able to withstand a large amount of wear and tear. While the thickness of packing tape means it is not as invisible as other types of clear tape, markings underneath the tape are still very visible.


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Post 3

So, why would a person choose transparent tape over invisible or vice versa? I can see the basic differences. But what on earth makes one better/different from the other?

Post 2

@grumpyguppy: I am pretty sure that it was a man by the name of Richard Drew. He was an employee of 3M. It is said that he invented Scotch tape (just a name brand of clear tape) in 1930.

Over the years, 3M continued to develop their popular adhesive product. The first hand-help tape dispenser was introduced in 1939. Today, 3M sells over 400 different varieties of tape.

I didn’t even know there could be that many different tapes!

Post 1

Who came up with the idea of clear adhesive tape?

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