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Packing vs. Shipping Tape: What You Need To Know

Packing vs. Shipping Tape: What You Need To Know

We use tape for just about everything in today’s world—from school posters to prom dresses! Since the invention of tape, people have created more substantial types of adhesives to endure more demanding projects. But what about packing vs. shipping tape? Here’s what you need to know about each one to make sure your business flourishes.

Here at Sheships, we empower female professionals and help them make the best choices for their businesses.

History of Tape

Most times, it seems like society couldn’t function without tape, but at one point, it did! Here’s a brief history of when the tape was created, how, and why.

To begin discussing tape, we must first talk about the power of adhesive and how that was discovered, leading to the creation of tape.

Written records of adhesive development date back to 4,000 BC, when people used tree sap to mend earthenware pots. This trend continued until Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks began creating adhesive with animal matter such as blood, bones, hide, and even egg whites.

In 1845, a surgeon, Dr. Horace Day, invented surgical tape, which was used until 1921 when a cotton buyer for Johnson & Johnson, Earle Dickson, created the Band-Aid. It’s been said that Dickson’s wife was using surgical tape for a cut on her finger, but the tape kept falling off. So, he used gauze and cloth-backed tape and covered it with crinoline. Crinoline was a fabric blend of cotton, linen, or horsehair used to make underskirts and dress linings.

In 1925, a man named Richard Drew invented masking tape when he was waiting in an auto shop and saw the auto shop painters struggling to paint clean lines on the wall. Almost instantly, Drew was inspired to create what we call painter’s tape today. At the time, 3M only produced sandpaper, but with Drew’s fascinating invention, Scotch tape was born, and 3M added it to its line of tapes.

Duct tape was created for the US Military in 1942 during World War II when troops required waterproof tape to fix equipment, uniforms, and even wounds. After the war, the tape became a household essential for every family, repairer, and worker alike.

How Is Tape Made?

Packing and shipping tape are created with polypropylene plastic. Polypropylene is a thermoplastic material made from monomer propylene. This material is generally safe to use and is safe for direct and indirect skin contact.

A polypropylene plastic roll is placed on a machine called an unwinder. The workers will then add strapping tape to ensure that each tape is treated as a single roll. Manufacturer employees will then pour hot adhesive onto the tape made from rubber, UV protection solutions, antioxidants, and sticky synthetic resin.

Once they finish the process, the employees will then cut the single roll (which measures about 8,500 ft.) into individual rolls of tape, which is the tape you see in the stores.

Different Types of Tape

Since the invention of tape, creators have developed different types of tape used for various purposes. There are approximately 30 types of tape that we have at our disposal for many uses, including but not limited to:

  • Fabric tape
  • Double-sided tape
  • Gaffer tape
  • Electrical tape

Fabric Tape

Fabric tape is a combination of cotton fabric and adhesive backing. Many people use this tape for DIY projects such as gift wrapping, home decorating, and making clothes.

Double-Sided Tape

Double-sided tape has a coating of adhesive on both sides. It comes in handy when one needs to stick two surfaces together in an invisible way as opposed to using regular adhesive tape.

Gaffer Tape

Have you ever been in a theatre production and seen tape on the stage and wondered what kind of tape they used? Many theatres, film productions, and even photographers use gaffer tape to fix equipment, bond cables together, and mark the stage’s layout.

Electrical Tape

This tape is used to insulate electrical wires—essentially, any material that conducts electricity may be utilized with electrical tape. This tape is typically made with plastics and vinyl and is known for its stretchability and durability.

Does Tape Brand Matter?

In many cases, the tape brand does matter because the materials that are blended to create the tape need to be of high quality.

Tape created with low-quality resources or made incorrectly will prove to be weak and potentially ruin your projects.

Try going with a well-known tape company such as 3M, Bemis, Tesa, and more, as they will provide strength, durability, and reliability to ensure your projects are done right.

Packing vs. Shipping Tape: What’s the Difference?

Whether you’re moving offices or shipping out products to your customers, tape is a critical part of your business equipment.

To be successful in your business ventures, you must understand which tape is best for different projects. Many people consider packing and shipping tape to be the same thing under the broad umbrella term, “packaging tape.” However, they’re pretty different and can either improve or defeat product protection.

Shipping tape is generally lighter and thinner than packing tape, which means you can only utilize this tape on lightweight boxes. Although shipping tape can withstand rough handling, it’s not meant to be used for long-term storage.

If you’re packing boxes for storage purposes, to hold heavier items, or if the parcel will be placed in an area with constantly changing temperature, packing tape is perfect for you. Packing tape can handle up to 10 years of all temperatures without losing its adhesive strength.

Alternatively, you may use carton sealing tape to seal your boxes and protect their contents. This type of tape comes in various sizes, thicknesses, and adhesive strengths to fit your needs.

So, to determine which tape is suitable for you, you’ll first want to think about what you need the tape for, which will help you make the right choice for your project.


People use tape for everything, ranging from medical purposes to construction work. The demand for tape will always be present.

Though there are numerous types of tape to utilize for projects, understanding the difference between packing vs. shipping tape and what you need to know is vital to the success of your operation.

When customers purchase your products, be sure to use the proper tape when shipping your packages out to ensure they’re protected and looking professional, matching your brand!

Packing vs. Shipping Tape: What You Need To Know

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