What is a Gaffer Tape and Why Do You Need It as a Professional?
Gaffer Tape. Gaffer’s Tape. Gaff Tape. Call it what you want but one thing is for sure: this is the tool that most media professionals can’t live and do without.
If you’re just starting out with your career, we’re here to tell you all about it and why you need it in your stash stat.
WHAT IS A GAFFER TAPE?
It's is a heavy cotton cloth tape that’s similar to duct tape in terms of both look and feel. This particular tape does not reflect light, making it ideal for theatres, photography, film and TV production, and other staging work.
With its various applications, a Gaffer Tape has been widely recognized by the media industry for quite some time now. Here are the most common uses of a Gaffer Tape:
- Prevents light bleeding on photography sets
- Secures two cables together
- Holds a stage backdrop
- Organizes wires and cables
- Tapes down cables to the floor
- Spiking a tripod
- Attaching fixtures and/or props on set
But that’s not only the use you could get out of one roll of a Gaffer Tape. In fact, you can even take advantage of its strong and pressure-sensitive adhesive at home - much like how you would use duct tape.
Here are some fun ideas:
- Use Gaffer Tape to repair the spine of your favorite book
- Label your console or other gears with a White Gaffer Tape
- Repair your boat seats in a jiffy
DUCT TAPE VS. GAFFER TAPE - WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Some people tend to confuse Gaffer Tape for Duct Tape. They might look and feel the same on the surface, but they actually have a big difference.
While a Gaffer Tape is made of cloth, a Duct Tape is usually coated with a polyethylene resin and rubber adhesive.
Duct Tape is more suitable for projects that require semi-permanent to permanent adhesion. It will typically leave behind residues, so it’s not a good choice if you’re only looking to adhere to something that’s temporary.
Meanwhile, Gaffer Tape, despite its strong adhesive qualities, is gentler on the surface finish and doesn’t leave any residues upon removal.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT GAFFER TAPE
Since Gaffer Tape is a little bit costlier compared to Duct Tape, you have to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth every time you make a purchase.
A good Gaffer Tape must be strong enough to be resistant to water, heat, and other elements. You’ll never know where your next gig will take you - so it’s a must if you have a tape that is not only strong but also reliable.
Next is the ease of use. How frustrating would it be if you need to use tape as soon as possible and realized that you need a scissor just to cut a strip? Always look for a Gaffer Tape that is easy to cut with bare hands.
We highly recommend the XFasten Gaffer Tape. It’s available in different sizes and different fun colors to choose from such as red, white, yellow, blue, and the usual matte black.
As it’s made of high-quality materials, you can be sure that you don’t have to worry about the tape breaking on you mid-roll. It’s compatible with various surfaces such as vinyl, concrete, glass, plastic, polycarbonate, steel, and metal.
HOW TO INSTALL GAFFER TAPE
Installing a Gaffer Tape is very easy and doesn’t need much time to figure it out. However, it is best that you apply the best practices during installation to ensure that you can fully utilize the tape’s potential.
Here’s a step-by-step process to guide you:
- Make sure that the surface or area of installation is clean, dry, and dust-free.
- Peel the tape from the roll. Since Gaffer Tapes are easy-to-tear, it shouldn’t be a problem. However, don’t touch the adhesive sides too much as oils from your hands on any other foreign materials can contaminate the adhesive and lessen its strength.
- Conform the tape with the surface’s texture. Make sure to eliminate any gaps that may exist between the tape and the surface. Gaffer Tapes are conformable, so be sure to mold and press it against the surface’s bumps, curves, and empty areas. Cover every possible hole.
- Make sure that there are no air bubbles that exist by applying pressure on the area of application.
- Apply additional layers to the surface if needed.
Now that you’ve finally learned about Gaffer Tape, the last thing that you have to do is to decide whether it’s a good tool for your career. Do you have any questions about the Gaffer Tape? Feel free to send us an email at [email protected].
Got any more ideas on how to use a Gaffer Tape? Leave us your comments down below!