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Uses of Gaffer Tape

Uses of Gaffer Tape
Made from heavy cotton fibers, gaffer tape is an adhesive tape that is commonly used in industrial staging, photography, theater, and in film and television production. In this article, we will study its properties, and look at the various purposes that gaffer tape is used for.
Anuj Mudaliar
Quick Tip!
One must be careful while applying and removing gaffer tape from wooden surfaces, as the paint and finish of wooden objects might peel off along with the adhesive of the tape.

Also known as gaffer's tape, gaffing tape, gaff tape, or gaffa tape, gaffer tape is a strong and flexible fabric-backed adhesive tape. It is often confused for duct tape. However, duct tape is made of vinyl or plastic, while gaffa tape is made of fabric. The adhesive used in this tape is also more heat resistant, and causes less damage to the surface than duct tape. It is thought that it got its name from being associated with gaffers, i.e., light technicians who use this product very often.
Features and Properties of Gaffer Tape
  • While most gaffer tapes are available in a matte black color, many other color variations are also available, which can be used in different colored settings without being overtly visible.
  • These tapes are available in a wide range of widths, between ΒΌ inch and 4 inches, and lengths of up to 6 feet, with those with 1 and 2 inches thickness being the most popular.
  • The adhesive used in gaffer tapes does not leave any residue on the surface which it was stuck to, and doesn't usually cause any damage.
  • Also, due to its fabric backing, it is very difficult to break it by pulling or twisting. However, one can easily tear the tape into strips of desired sizes by hand, without using any kind of cutting tool.
  • Gaffer tape is used primarily by professionals who need tape for specific purposes only. Which is why, these are produced in small quantities, and are also more expensive than duct tape.

Due to these features, the variations in the uses of gaffer tape is innumerable, and is limited only by a user's imagination.
Uses of Gaffer Tape
  • Gaffer tape is widely used in stage performances or speeches, where cables for lights, sound, etc., have to be secured to the floor, podium, or other surfaces to conceal the wires, or to keep them from tripping and injuring people in and around the area.
  • It is also used in places where a quick temporary fix is needed for any item, such as props and fixtures in a particular area.
  • Also, if an item is broken, this tape can be used
  • Professionals such as sound engineers and lighting operators use gaff tape of different colors to label various wires and connections through color code.
  • It is widely used in photography for purposes such as reinforcing clamps, sealing a camera to prevent light leaks, and holding microphones in place. It is also used to hold clothing together during fashion photography.
  • Spike tape, a narrow variant, is used to mark the floor areas which are to be used by the artists in theater productions.
  • It is used as a marker for indoor rock climbing sets.
  • Musicians who play percussion and string instruments use this tape to protect their fingers from damage during intense performances.
  • Due to its water resistant nature, it is used as a waterproof protection and packaging for various items.
  • It is also UV resistant, and helps in protecting equipment from abrasion.
  • It is used for creating insulation in cold rooms, and also for pest control as a makeshift fly trap.

Although gaffer tape is almost twice as expensive as duct tape, it is totally worth the price, as it is very strong, doesn't stretch irregularly, doesn't reflect light, and has a high quality adhesive, which is less likely to give any problems that will need to be cleaned up afterwards.