An aspiring knight relies on duct tape for his medieval battle gear during the Master’s Faire on July 16, 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)

An aspiring knight relies on duct tape for his medieval battle gear during the Master’s Faire on July 16, 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)

Gimme A Smile: Duct tape — an Alaskan’s best friend

Duct tape is an Alaskan tradition. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and if it is broke, break out the duct tape. That magic cure-all has so many uses, beyond simply wrapping it around ducts.

• Sewing. Say your once-in-a-lifetime prom dress arrives in the mail the afternoon of the prom, but it’s five inches too long even accounting for your platform sandals. What’s a girl to do? Whip out the duct tape. Tape is definitely a thing when it comes to hemming. You can get hemming tape and seam binding tape at the fabric store — why not use duct tape from the garage? Stick a nice line of duct tape along your hemline and trot off to the dance. You won’t be the only one.

• Diet aid. Yes, duct tape can help you maintain your diet. You don’t need to tape your mouth shut — save it for the fridge. Simply tape a long strip of duct tape across the door opening, close to the floor where it’s most inconvenient. Stretch it nice and tight, so it’s a real drag to pull it off when you want to open the fridge. Lean into the cringe-inducing sound of adhesive peeling off of a hard surface. With the tape in place, you’ll think twice about opening the refrigerator. Is that tiramisu really worth the effort it takes to rip off the duct tape to get in? If the answer is yes, console yourself with the thought that you are getting your exercise every time you bend down to remove that duct tape fridge lock. Win-win!

• Crafting. Duct tape is a fabulous art medium for kids. It comes in a rainbow of colors to fire up the imagination. Kids can make a Father’s Day wallet for dad, or a flower basket for their favorite teacher. Popsicle sticks and copious amounts of duct tape can put a kid into business forging swords and armor for knights of the round table. Best of all, a kid can craft a treasure box to hold all their rolls of duct tape.

• Airport ID. No, duct tape won’t get you past security, but a creative application of the sticky stuff can help you find your luggage quickly. Just look for the black suitcase with red duct tape wrapped around the handle. If you want to go all out, swath your entire suitcase in duct tape, mummy style. TSA will be unable to take a peek inside without your knowledge. The tape could even ensure that your bag is handled with care by the baggage loaders. They will assume that the duct tape is the only thing holding the suitcase together. If they toss your bag around carelessly, they risk strewing your unmentionables all across the tarmac. Of course, that message could go the other way. The baggage handlers might conclude that your suitcase is on its last legs, so one more ding can’t hurt. It’s a toss-up.

• Shoe repair. Duct tape is a wonderful way to extend the life of your sneakers or rain boots. Forget steel-tipped shoes — go for duct tape tips if your sneakers are flapping with every step. For the rain boots, wrap duct tape around the whole boot to cover up that split seam on the back. Aim for a solid mass of duct tape thick enough to collide with your other ankle with every step. Only then can you hope for sufficient waterproofing, as well as gaining sympathy points from friends who think you sprained your ankle. Duct tape on your boots serves as a theft deterrent as well. In a town where half the population wears identical brown rubber boots and shedding your boots at the door is expected, a splash of gray or purple stands out in the crowd. When the party’s over and the tipsy guests are retrieving their footwear, they will likely bypass the taped-up ones.

So, check your junk drawer. Root around in the garage. Do you have enough rolls of duct tape for your needs? Are the colors sufficient for your creations? Three cheers for duct tape, an Alaskan’s best friend!

• Peggy McKee Barnhill is a wife, mother, and author who writes cozy mysteries under the pen name “Greta McKennan.” She likes to look at the bright side of life.

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