The tale of the (duct) tape

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Teens stick with duct tape for their artistic creations

By Ramsey Scott

Ah, duct tape. Is there anything it can’t do?


The handyman’s favorite tool to fix anything around the house is also one of the most versatile materials for do-it-yourself craft projects. The wide tape, which can be found in a variety of colors and designs, can be used to make anything from wallets and purses to full-length prom dresses.

“My friend makes a lot of things with duct tape. She made a prom dress for her sister completely out of duct tape,” said Sarah Bruner, 13. “It’s pretty easy to work with.”

Sarah was trying her hand at a few duct tape creations on Saturday at the Bemis Public Library in Littleton. Mark Decker, the teen librarian at Bemis, hosts a duct-tape art day once a year as part of his activities for the teens. 

While Decker and the teens at Bemis weren’t measuring sizes for prom dresses, they were learning how to make wallets, purses, iPod cases and roses, all from duct tape. 

When asked why he chooses duct-tape art for his craft day, Decker’s response is simple: “I’m not crafty.”

“It’s easy to work with duct tape because you don’t have to be an artist,” Decker said. “There are so many different colors and patterns of duct tape out there.”

Besides, from the multiple color and pattern options duct tape now comes in, Decker said that, unlike painting or trying to make something out of fabric, mistakes are easily corrected with the sticky medium.

“It’s forgiving. If you make a mistake, you can pull it off and replace it,” Decker said. 

“Once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy,” said Samantha Sharp, 12. “My brother makes a lot of stuff with it. It’s pretty cool.”


 How to make a duct tape rose

What you’ll need:

Duct tape cut into 3-inch strips, a pen or pencil, scissors.


The center of the rose:

Step 1: Take a strip of the tape and fold both corners of one end down on the sticky side to form a triangle.

Step 2: Take the folded strip and attach it to the end of the pen with the triangle side facing the same direction as the end of the pen, rolling the tape around the pen. The tip of the triangle should be slightly higher than the end of the pen.

Repeat steps 1 and 2 at least three more times. Overlap the new strips on top of the first strip so the tips of the triangles are not on top of one another. 


The petals:

Step 3: Fold one end of the duct tape strip over on itself, making sure to leave about 1.5 inches of the sticky side exposed. 

Step 4: On the end you folded over, trim the edges into a half circle. 

Step 5: Wrap the strip around the first layer of tape on the pen, circle-side up, making sure to leave a little room between the pen and the first layer of petals. 

Step 6: Repeat steps 3 through 5 several times until the first layer of petals is compete. Add as many layers of petals as you want. Unlike the first layer of petals, you don’t need to leave room between the pen and the tape. 


Finishing touches:

Step 7: Using the same design in step one, make four strips of tape. This will be the outer leaves of the rose. Place the four strips around the rose, triangle-side up.