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Duct Tape for Everything

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For extreme situations, please use a staple gun.

"Duct tape is not a perfect solution to anything. But with a little creativity, in a pinch, it's an adequate solution to just about everything."
Jamie Hyneman, MythBusters, "Duct Tape Island"

This trope is about the versatility, ubiquitousness, and downright usefulness of the substance known as "duct tape". A plastic adhesive tape, usually black, grey or silver in color, originally created to seal ammunition boxes in World War II, but whose usefulness is apparent to anybody who's ever had breakage of any kind that has to be temporarily held together. A military-grade version also exists, known as hundred-mile-an-hour tape in the US, which is even stronger and more adhesive than duct tape, and typically comes in some shade of green or brown.

Sometimes, the universal usefulness of duct tape is paired with the universal usefulness of WD-40 lubricant, the philosophy being that duct tape is good for stopping things from moving while WD-40 is useful for the exact opposite reason. One should never combine the two.

Common usages in fiction include restraining individuals and jury-rigging... well, everything.

Rather ironically, Duct Tape actually sucks at sealing ducts. It degrades and loses its stickiness over time, failing "reliably and catastrophically" when used on ducts. Aluminum tape or mastic is used instead. It is also banned by some building codes for use on ducts due to the occasional incidence of bursting into flame under high temperature.

The etymology of the word and whether it originated as "duck" tape is unclear, though the best bet is that it was first made out of a type of waterproof canvas called "duck". There is a brand of duct tape called Duck Tape, but it's relatively new, and so named to deliberately capitalize on the joke. Not to be confused with Scotch Tape, although egregious use of duct tape can function as Handwavium. International names include "silver tape" in Latin America, "gum tape" (gamu teepu) in Japan, "roadie tape" and "Jesus tape" (because it performs miracles) in Finland, "American tape" in Spain and Italy, "Panzertape" (armor tape/tank tape) in Germany (military grade, green), and "weave tape" or "silver tape" in Sweden, blue "isolenta" ("insulation tape") in Russia.

In Britain, it can be confused with "gaffernote  tape", a closely-related product that is more widely known in Britain — to the point where a lot of the virtues of duct tape are often spoken of by practically-minded Brits as being the virtues of gaffer tape. Gaffer tape differs from duct tape in the composition of both the backing (gaffer tape is made from fabric as opposed to vinyl or other plastics) and the adhesive (gaffer tape is easier to remove without damaging the surface to which it is adhered). As a result, "gaff" is used a lot in the entertainment industry; using duct tape on a film or theatre set where you should have used gaff will get you yelled at by the crew.

Occasionally, super-glue fills this role, but more often it's used in comedic mishaps. Compare and contrast Painful Adhesive Removal.

Has been examined, and confirmed, by the MythBusters. All five times.


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  • Flex Seal commercials run on this, showing Phil Swift destroying items, then repairing them with whatever adhesive he's advertising. Probably the most memorable example of this is in the Flex Tape commercial, which has Swift saw a small motorboat in half, then tape the two pieces back together and take the boat for a spin.

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Battle Royale, one character uses duct tape to hold his intestines in after his stomach had been cut open.
  • In My Hero Academia, Hanta Sero's Quirk, Tape, allows him to create cellophane tape out of his elbows, which are shaped like tape dispensers. The tape is apparently strong enough to let him perform Building Swings, immobilize foes and catch things from afar, making this a straight case of Heart Is an Awesome Power.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, Looker has a huge roll of it, which he dubs as Secret Weapon No 10: Super Tight Tape. He uses it to tape Charon's mouth shut to stop his commands to Heatran before completely wrapping him up in tape to prevent him from escaping.

    Comic Books 
  • An issue of Cable & Deadpool set during the Civil War (2006) involved Cable, Captain America, and several others incapacitating Deadpool by cocooning him to a chair in a back alley with duct tape. As Cable states, "Duct tape. Lots of it. At least one roll for his mouth alone." What follows is several pages of him musing to himself, alone. And then he has to pee. He really has to pee.
    Deadpool: "Man, I love duct tape. I love how it tapes. I love the sound it makes. I love saying it. Duct tape, duct tape, duct tape."
  • The fifth issue of Empowered has two separate Duct Tape moments. First, there's the time when she lets Ocelotina interview her, only to be caught off guard and bound up with duck tape. Ocelotina finishes her big discussion on how great Duct Tape is as a bondage medium with the comment "Can you imagine using a pair of handcuffs or a ball gag to do, like, plumbing repair or whatever?". The whole thing was just a complex preparation to Emp being spanked for underestimating duct tape. This also helped her to use it as a Chekhov's Gun. Then later after Willie Pete blasted the space station, MindFuck's spacesuit had a big chunk torn out of it, and Emp successfully patched the big hole with Duct Tape note 
  • In Marvel Versus DC, the Guardian of Space/Time (Access' predecessor) at first attempts to seal the rift between the Marvel and DC universes using duct tape. Surprisingly, this doesn't work.
  • Shadowpact's Enchantress carries a roll of this at all times with her. She's surprised Nightmaster doesn't.


    Fan Works 
  • The plot of Better Living Through Science and Ponies kicks off because of a portal gun "repaired" with duct tape.
  • The Bolt Chronicles: When Rhino is beamed aboard the title vehicle in "The Spaceship," he notices that the interior shows a fair amount of disrepair — among other things, that several of the chairs look like they have been repaired with duct tape. The aliens he encounters confirm his suspicions, and it appears they use the material to fix things in general.
    Cloyd: But... but... we had to buy extra duct tape for repairs!
  • Calvin uses duct tape to shut his camping tent shut in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series at least twice.
  • The Dangerverse has Fred and George invent their own version, which they call "Stuck Tape".
  • In Disarmament, Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes decide to see who can carry more weapons for an "average infiltration-assassination" mission. The Extended Disarming reveals that in addition to a lot of weapons, Snake Eyes carries a roll of duct tape, just in case.
  • Doing It Right This Time proves that even Artificial Humans created by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens appreciate the many uses of duct tape, as several important parts of the desperately kludged-together time machine Kaworu creates to avert the Bad Future are held together with it. Shinji does not find this very reassuring, but it does work.
  • During at least one killing spree in Hard Reset, Twilight binds a changeling with duct tape before casually going over to it and smashing its brains in with Home Run.
  • Things I Am Not Allowed to Do at the PPC: Duct tape is not to be used for keeping Headquarters together, especially the parts that should stay separate. Claiming duct tape is the Force is also out.
  • In This Bites!, when Sanji's, Conis's, and Mikey's yelling for their crewmates keeps drawing the megafauna of Merville to attack them, Usopp shuts them up with duck tape over their mouths.
  • In X-Men: The Early Years, Beast and Angel use cold-resistant duct tape to gag and tie up Iceman every time their teen teammate is getting on their nerves... or they just want to get rid of him.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the last Dot and the Kangaroo sequel Dot in Space, a race of bubble-shaped aliens use their equivalent of duct-tape to silence Dot after they capture her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In 68 Kill, Chip uses duct tape to leave the motel manager Bound and Gagged when he steals his car.
  • Adrift (2018): Tami finds it's perfect for patching holes in the yacht's side.
  • In Alaska the kids fix the canoe they find with the liberal application of Duct tape.
  • Aliens. Duct Tape is an integral part of Ripley's BFG, with a Lock-and-Load Montage as she duct-tapes a flamethrower to a pulse rifle/grenade launcher before entering the xenomorph hive to rescue Newt.
  • American Scarecrow: In one scene, the killer cuts a man's hand off. He uses duct tape to put it back on.
  • The jury-rigged CO 2 filtration system in Apollo 13, which was Truth in Television, as shown under Real Life.
  • The revamped version of The Riddler from The Batman makes some creepy use of duct tape.
  • Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman: After extracting the bullet from the Machine Gun Woman's side, Santiago uses duct tape to close the wound.
  • Charlie's Angels (2000): After Eric Knox takes Dylan prisoner he uses a strip of duct tape to gag her while he speaks to Charlie over the phone so she won't be able to speak in the background.
  • In Defendor, the title character(Woody Harrelson)'s costume makes good use of it, like the D on his chest being made of it.
  • Evil Dead
  • In From Dusk Till Dawn, Richie patches up his wounded hand (actually a huge bullet hole) with duct tape.
  • In Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood's character claims that a man who is worth his salt can do half of the jobs around the home with three tools: a can of WD 40, a pair of vise grips and a roll of duct tape.
  • Green Room: Pat's severely wounded arm is bandaged together by duct tape.
  • In Julia X, Jessica uses duct tape to bind Sam to a kitchen chair.
  • In Major League, the wing of the Indians' broken-down plane is sealed with duct tape.
  • Old People: When the family has the Old Guy subdued, they restrain him by duct taping his wrists to the stove.
  • Used hilariously in Pineapple Express, where a constantly high drug dealer and his bumbling server witness a murder and find themselves pursued by crooked cops and hitmen. On the run, they go to Red's house (a friend of theirs) and find him beaten up. Fearing his call to his wife is, in fact, a call to the hitmen and cops on their location, they subdue and duct tape him to his deceased grandfather's chair before running through the back door when the hitmen come in.
  • Pitchfork: The Holisters tie up Hunter and gag his mouth with duct tape in their basement.
  • The Red Green Show, detailed under Live-Action TV, has enough of an association with this trope that the title of the movie was Duct Tape Forever. With the lodge in need of money, Harold discovers a competition for sculptures made out of duct tape and figures they could win it. Harold jokes that, since the rules of the contest are that each sculpture must be at least 50% duct tape, most of the lodge members' cars would qualify.
  • Reservoir Dogs uses this trope. The cop gets tied up by Mr. Blonde using duct tape. We won't go into what happens next.
  • Right at Your Door, in which the main character seals his home this way. This turns out to be the worst thing he could have done, as the duct tape works too well and seals contaminated air inside his house, where the warmth and lack of circulation allow it to multiply to lethal levels.
  • In The Rundown, Beck flies to a tiny airfield in the middle of South American nowhere on a tiny, beat-up prop-job. On approach for landing, The Rock notices the right main wing spar seems to be patched up with duct tape. He questions the pilot, who (played straight) responds in the affirmative.
  • In Savaged, Zoe—a Revenant Zombie—uses duct tape to patch up her rotting body as it slowly falls apart.
  • Used on Casey's boyfriend Steve in the opening of the first Scream.
  • The Signal (2007). Everyone has gone crazy, and one man kills those who try to kill him, but if they don't seem dangerous, he simply binds them with duct tape.
  • Skyscraper: Will uses duct tape to bandages his wounds and comments that if it isn't working, you aren't using enough. He also makes the tape into improvised climbing gloves.
  • If you look closely in Spaceballs at Spaceball One, their bumper sticker that says "We Brake for Nobody" appears to be taped on.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day. John Connor uses duct tape to gag a captured guard in the Cyberdyne Systems building.
  • X-Men film series:
    • Played for Laughs in X-Men: Days of Future Past. A Pentagon guard is Mugged for Disguise in an elevator by Quicksilver. When he next steps into the elevator we see what happened to the guard, who is bound to the wall with an excessive amount of duct tape, covering everything but his nose and eyes.
    • Quicksilver duct-tapes an improvised space suit on Nightcrawler during the space rescue mission at the beginning of Dark Phoenix.

  • In 2010: Odyssey Two, the novel version of 2010: The Year We Make Contact, the protagonists, under a deadline to depart Jupiter, bind together the spaceships Leonov and Discovery using what is for all intents and purposes very strong duct tape, so that Discovery can be used as a booster for Leonov. The use of this trope is Lampshaded by the characters.
  • Bill the Galactic Hero on the Planet of Zombie Vampires has duct tape used to solve any and every engineering challenge, ranging from sealing hull breaches to modifying the toilet into a flamethrower.
  • A very distinctive duct tape (a prison had it custom made in a unique color to stop employees stealing it) provides a vital clue in the Patricia Cornwall novel The Body Farm.
  • In Chindi, Priscilla Hutchins uses "ram tape" (apparently a future version) to seal a Distressed Dude in a washroom as his spaceship disintegrates around him (his spacesuit is in an inaccessable area of the ship). The washroom is then laser-cut out of the hull and towed by Hutch and the others (who are wearing spacesuits) back to their own spaceship.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Subverted when Harry, having been captured and bound with duct tape, reflects that if it were that good at holding people then the police would use it instead of handcuffs. He escapes, of course.
    • Jared Kincaid, Crazy-Prepared Gun For Hire, has a special clip on his tactical vest for a roll of duct tape.
  • When Ingrid is kidnapped in the 2nd book of the Echo Falls Mysteries series, she is Bound and Gagged with duct tape. Later, she tries using duct tape to figure out what happened to the aforementioned duct tape.
  • Gravity Falls: Journal 3: Upon returning and inspecting the portal, Ford notes that "Half of the instruments are held together with duct tape".
  • Have Space Suit – Will Travel. The protagonist Kip, who has a secondhand but well-designed spacesuit, and Peewee who has cheap tourist spacesuit, have to escape across the Moon's surface from the villains who kidnapped them. The problem is that Peewee only has one full bottle on her spacesuit, so Kip has to keep filling hers with the air from his own suit, and his oxygen bottles are the screw-in type while Peewee's have bayonet sockets. He's able to jury rig a connection using hose and surgical tape (the book was written in 1958, before duct tape was well known).
  • In the John Ringo Into the Looking Glass novels, "Spacetape" is used by the Marines and Navy aboard the Vorpal Blade. It is superior to Duct tape in that it is usable in a vacuum and won't dry out under temperature extremes of deep space. The drawback? It costs upwards of $100,000 a roll!
  • In Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet: Beyond The Frontier: Invincible, humanity finally makes friends with aliens by offering humanity's "Universal Fixing Substance" after said aliens, a species of brilliant engineers, observe human survivors in an escape pod use a roll of duct tape to improvise a bandage for a wounded crewman, make hasty repairs to electronic components, and jury-rig structural repairs to the pod itself.
    • Even pillagers and black market resellers refuse to loot duct tape from emergency supplies. The stuff is that important.
  • The most important piece of advice in Mars Evacuees is "Always carry duct tape". Subverted at one point, though:
    "The thing about trying to fix plasma compressors with a staple gun, duct tape, and highlighter pens is: you can't."
  • In The Martian, an astronaut stranded on Mars uses good old duct tape several times as he struggles to survive. He lampshades its usefulness.
    "Duct tape works everywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped."
  • The Discworld novel Moving Pictures has the Disc's film industry starting in a fantasy setting, so Gaffer Bird, lacking gaffer tape, cites string in the same fix-everything manner.
  • In the first chapter of the last book of Percy Jackson and the Olympians two essential tools for demigod heroes are mentioned: Greek Fire and duct tape.
  • In Schooled, it's an early reference that one of the main characters' commune home is 30% duct tape, and they buy many, many rolls each time they go to the store.
    • The novel also says that duct tape was used for flypaper, holding up baby diapers, house repairs, and broken bones. And in one of the final scenes, after Cap is sent back to the commune, the only thing left in his room is a page from his report on what he thought the most useful invention in the world was, duct tape.
  • There is even a chapter titled after this versatile tape in Sixty Eight Rooms. The main characters used it as a sticky climbing wall when they shrank themselves to five inches tall.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In Children of the Jedi, Luke uses "engine tape" as a makeshift bandage for his badly broken leg. This was apparently a common practice by the Rebellion due to supply shortages.
    • One book mentioned the universe-wide joke that everything was held together with space tape, from starfighters to the Imperial Palace on Coruscant.
  • Zomboy: Imre's hand has a tendency to come off. Whenever it does, it's duct taped back on.

    Live Action TV 
  • On The Amazing Race, Season 16 had Steve & Allie crash their front right fender at a curb. When loose parts were making an awful scraping sound while driving, Steve used some Duct Tape (that his wife packed him "just in case") and was able to tape up the loose pieces and motor along to a respectable finish.
  • Burn Notice loves this trope.
    • In the pilot episode, Michael comments that it's "better to fight your wars with duct tape" because "duct tape makes you smart." Since then, we've seen a duct tape pulled out a few times. When Agent Bly destroys Michael's favorite chair, we later see him fixing it up with a roll of duct tape. Then, in the season 2 finale, in the middle of a car chase, Michael pulls a roll of duct tape out of his glove compartment.
    • The character from the first episode on the receiving end of Michael's duct tape strategy returns in season 3 as a client. Throughout the episode, he suggests that Michael can resolve the situation by doing something cool with duct tape. Sure enough, midway through Michael ends up using duct tape (among other things) to turn a microwave into a bomb.
  • Canada's Worst Driver: When Season 4's Amy has problems with one of the challenges, her truck-driver husband does emergency bodywork on the challenge car with duct tape so she can finish her attempts. note 
  • In Season Two of Discovery Channel Canada's semi-reality show Canada's Worst Handyman, one of the contestants kept falling back on duct tape for everything. The producers were very much annoyed at him.
  • An episode of Castle opens with Rick Castle having his daughter, Alexis, duct tape him into a chair, and leave him there, so he can figure out how his hero in the book he's writing will be able to extract himself from that situation.
  • Cowboy Bebop (2021). In "Binary Two Step", a Wrench Wench is not impressed to find that Jet has been using duct tape to hold the BeBop together, instead of forking out the money for proper repairs and replacement parts.
  • In CSI, someone asks Sara if she has any duct tape in her kit. She answers, "that's what keeps it together."
  • In Flight of the Conchords, Jemaine's Australian girlfriend and her mates duct-tape Bret to a door in order to get him out of their way while they ransack Jemaine's apartment.
  • Having his dad's chair in the living room is made even worse for Frasier because his dad uses duct tape to patch up any damage to said chair.
  • In Greek, Rusty is duct taped to a wall during the first season episode War and Peace as part of a Kappa Tau/Omega Chi prank war.
  • On Grace Under Fire, Grace's neighbor Wade tells her he can't fix her water heater anymore and she'll have to get a new one. The old one is revealed to be a literal ball of duct tape with a few pipes sticking out of it.
  • On It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia "the gang" uses Duct Tape with much more subtlety. They are seldom shown actually applying it but nearly everything they make themselves has at least some tape on it and when something is broken, it is often shown repaired with duct tape the next time it appears.
  • In the Lost season 4 finale, Frank patches the helicopter's gas tank with duct tape.
    • And in the series finale, Miles uses it to fix the hydraulics of a passenger jetliner.
    Miles: I don't believe in a lot of things, but I do believe in duct tape.
  • Lucifer. Dr Linda uses this to seal up Charlotte's stab injury. Given that the wound emits blinding rays of light that can burn your face off, she can hardly take her to a hospital or use a conventional bandage.
    Dr Linda: Trust me. This stuff's amazing.
  • Duct Tape is the favorite tool of MacGyver (1985) (he carries a roll around at all times). This has actually resulted in an interesting phenomenon: Duct Tape is sometimes referred to as MacGyver Tape.
  • Millennium (1996). Subverted in "Somehow Satan Got Behind Me", when the demon Blurk taunts serial killer wannabe Perry that he probably has a roll of duct tape in the glove compartment of his van because he fantasies about kidnapping women and murdering them. Turns out he does.
  • Made a joke of by the Mythbusters, when Jamie proposed attaching microphones to the necks of actual living ducks with ...what else? Ultimately an aversion: they put velcro-strip collars on the ducks instead.
    • Later they made an entire hour long episode about its many uses. Including, lifting a car, patching a leaky boat, making an entire boat, sealing a potato gun, and finally making a fully functional cannon.
    • They did another Duct Tape hour, where they make a rope bridge out of the stuff, put a torn apart car back together (and it still works), and do the old trick of using duct tape to stick a car to a pole - the engine gives out before the tape did in both experiments. However, duct tape can't stop a 60 MPH car... well it could, if you used enough of it, but it would take a lot of tape and the work of several days to do it. Note that it takes them several tries to get this result, because the duct tape wall keeps holding tight but the anchoring points on the concrete weights keep ripping off. It's only once the anchors finally hold on that the wall gives way.
    • Adam also states that if they chose too, they could do an entire season with nothing but duct tape.
    • The build team outdo themselves again by first fixing a grizzly bear mauled plane with Duct Tape to the point it can fly. Then making a functioning plane out of duct tape!
    • They've done a third hour-long episode, this time with duct tape as the only tool Adam and Jamie are allowed to use to escape from a Deserted Island. They make a number of interesting objects, including sandals, a waterskin, a spear and net for hunting, a chess set, hammocks, and a duct tape version of Adam's trademark fedora. Oh, and an outrigger boat to escape from the island. Towards the end of the episode, Jamie basically sums the trope up with this:
    "We've found that duct tape is not a perfect solution for anything. But with a little creativity, in a pinch, it's an adequate solution for just about everything."
    • It should be made clear that the Mythbusters did rate survival on a desert island under realistic conditions (other than the duct tape supply) to be highly plausible, mostly because they resorted to duct tape in 90% of their survival situations. However, an effectively infinite supply of duct tape was assumed (approximately a whole shipped crate, if not an entire shipment), as well as a water supply like a spring or stream.
    • Then they did another duct tape survival hour, this time the situation being a broken-down car in the middle of the desert, and they have to traverse the Grand Canyon.note  This time, they also have a great deal of bubble wrap to help them out.
  • NCIS - Abby uses duct tape to restrain her evil assistant in one episode.
  • Joe from NewsRadio once claimed that the only thing holding the station together was his home-made duct tape.
    • In one episode, a class of kids around 10 years old go visit the station ("Broadcasters of the Future", they're not time travelers though). Every member of the cast is assigned to take care of one kid and show him around the station. Joe uses the day to show the boy assigned to him the many uses of duct tape (including taping the boy to his back for easier transport).
    • In the Titanic episode, Joe claims that the hull is made entirely out of duct tape.
  • Lampshaded on Once Upon a Time:
    Regina: The handyman? The only magical item you'll find here is duct tape!
  • In an episode of One Way Out, the oddball heroes test out various junkyard devices to survive a fall. They end up using a descender cable made of duct tape. Amazingly, it works.
  • Player: Ha-ri uses duct tape to tape a man to the road.
  • Duct tape is explicitly anointed as the 'handyman's secret weapon' on The Red Green Show, becoming identified with it to the extent that 3M became an official sponsor and Red (aka Steve Smith) became Scotch's spokesman in Canada.
    • An entire episode of the program was called "No Duct Tape" and focused on the Possum Lodge running out of it and Red freaking out over it. In a brief DVD commentary, Red Green poked at the writing staff (including himself) about the fact that it took them ten seasons to come up with that.
    • One early episode contained a subversion by showing a situation when using duct tape is not a good idea-Red uses Harold to show how you can use duct tape to shave your legs. Also subverted (or played for laughs, depending on how you look at it) in a later episode when Red actually did need to tape two pieces of ductwork together, and spent nearly half a minute on-screen trying to figure out what he could use for this purpose before arriving at the obvious solution of masking tape.
  • This is lampshaded in Star Trek: Voyager. Captain Janeway says that the Voyager is held together by duct tape.
    • Which brings in a bit of Fridge Logic: Apparently duct tape survived into the 24th century, at least as a metaphor.
  • Sweet Home (2020): Sang-wook uses duct tape to restrain Yun-jae and bandage a wound.
  • Duct tape forms an essential part of one of the monster-fighting devices in Tremors: The Series, prompting Jodi to yell, "Duct tape! Duct tape can do anything!"
  • Young Sheldon:
    • In "Freshman Orientation and the Inventor of the Zipper", Sheldon rips his pants, and then duct-tapes them back together.
    • In "A Launch Party and a Whole Human Being", after failing to install the baby car seat properly, Georgie resorts to securing it with duct tape.

  • The Barenaked Ladies song "Duct Tape Heart" has the protagonist apparently use it to fix a broken heart. No, correction: The protagonist makes a completely new heart out of the stuff, and uses the leftovers to make a wallet.
  • Lou Nathanson's Duct Tape Madrigal.
    My poor heart is broken, I'll fix it with duct tape, fix it with duct tape until you come back.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In one arc of Alley Oop some thugs from the present day captured some of Moo's people and tied them up with duct tape. King Guz was so impressed with the stuff that when they were freed he traded the time travel agency a couple of sacks full of diamonds for several rolls of it.
  • One Dilbert comic has Dilbert, Alice, and Wally tie an annoying co-worker to his chair with duct tape. Alice comments on how useful the stuff is, and Wally responds "Sometimes I use it instead of underwear."
    • Wally's usage might be Truth in Television... unless this one is photoshopped, of course.
    • In one early strip Dilbert was bumped from a flight. When he demanded satisfaction, the airline put him in the special "duct tape section". Meaning they taped him to one of the plane's wings.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Jim Cornette would duct tape dog chains and cookie sheets to his tennis racket to make the swings hurt more.
  • John Cena met Batista in a Last Man Standing match in the main event of WWE Extreme Rules 2010. Normally, you win this kind of match by knocking your opponent out for a 10-count; instead, Cena beat Batista by using duct tape to tape Batista's ankles behind a ring post, thus making sure he could not stand to answer the ref's count. Not even Batista could break duct tape, and thus he suffered a REALLY embarrassing defeat.
    • He could have pulled the tape off if he hadn't been busy raging while the ref counted...
    • Alberto Del Rio beat The Big Show the same way only taping him to the bottom rope.

    Quotes and Jokes 
  • "Duct tape is preferred for gagging their victims by 4 out of 5 kidnappers."note 
  • "All you need to fix anything is WD-40 and duct tape. Use WD-40 if it doesn't move and it should; use duct tape if it shouldn't move and it does." Alternatively, "A true mechanic needs only two tools. WD-40 to make it go, and duct tape to make it stop."
  • "You can fix anything with Percussive Maintenance and duct-tape."
  • "Gaffer tape can mend anything but a broken heart." and in response: "You can fix anything with either red roses or duct tape."
  • One Hallmark card for a father's birthday says, "Dad, because of you, I learned the essential things in life. Duct tape and WD-40. Happy birthday."
  • "Duct Tape can fix everything. Even torn Duct Tape."
  • "Duct Tape is like The Force—It has a dark side and a light side, and it holds the universe together."


    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Part of comedian Tim Allen's routine was how every maintenance problem could be solved with duct tape. The catchphrase was "Have a problem with _____? Duct it!"

    Tabletop Games 
  • In d20 Modern, one of the magic items you can get is a roll of duct tape that instantly repairs anything broken you use it on. Essentially a potion of cure wounds for inanimate objects. Normal duct tape is one of the cheapest items on the equipment list.
  • GURPS High Tech 4th ed. has a whole section devoted to duct tape (along with a MacGyver quote). Also, a section on towels.
  • You can purchase duct tape (by a different name) in the Star Wars: Saga Edition RPG. Unfortunately, it doesn't give a bonus on Mechanics checks.

    Video Games 
  • Layla Hassan, protagonist of Assassin's Creed Origins's real-world segments, uses copious amounts of duct tape to quickly attach an ancient Hidden Blade to her forearm when a team of elite killers almost gets the drop on her. It works like a charm and saves her life.
  • In Citizens of Earth, The Handyman's basic healing skill is using duct tape. When he's damaged he may even randomly say "Nothin' a little duct tape can't fix!". His upgraded healing ability is using Super Glue (Heals more, but gives some turns of reduced agility).
  • The Panther King in Conker's Bad Fur Day apparently duct taped the Professor to his table as a substitute for the missing leg at some point. When the Professor goes to work on fixing the table, the King says, "I wouldn't want to have to get the duct tape out again."
  • In Crash Tag Team Racing, Nina will randomly remark that she can fix anything with duct tape when she drives into a wall.
  • Dead Rising 2 actually uses this in gameplay, as duct taping weapons together is a core feature. giving such weapons as the Chainspear. There's also an achievement called "Duct Tape FTW".
  • Doom³ is an indirect example. Most fans didn't like the "flashlight simulator" aspect of the game, so much so that the first mod created for it attaches a flashlight to most weapons. Its name? "Duct tape". The author says the mod is justified and not a cheat, because it's wholly illogical that one shouldn't be able to find a roll of duct tape or a similar adhesive in a space station of the future.
  • In the video game adaptation of the Looney Tunes short, Duck Amuck, the player can make a rip in the background using the stylus, which Daffy then repairs with duct tape.
    Daffy: Good thing I always carry duct tape. Geddit? Duck tape?... No sense of humor.
  • In The Escapists, duct tape is used to craft almost every useful piece of equipment in the game. Tool upgrades require even more duct tape to craft. In addition to crafting, it can also be used to tie people up and temporarily block the view of cameras. Because it's so useful to potential escapists like yourself, it's considered contraband by the guards and is fairly difficult to get.
  • Fallout
    • One of the "repair item" sound effects in Fallout 3 is the sound of duct tape being ripped off a roll.
    • Several weapons have bits of duct tape wrapped around them.
    • Quoth the recipe for Weapon Repair Kits: "1x Duct Tape, 1x Scrap Electronics, 2x Scrap Metal, 1x Wonderglue, 1x Wrench".
    • The perk "Jury-Rigging" shows Vault Boy duct taping two unrelated weapons (apparently an assault rifle and a shotgun) together. He uses a lot of duct tape.
    • In Fallout 4, "Adhesive" is one of the most common components required for building weapon and armor mods. Duct tape is quite naturally one of the most readily available forms of adhesive available (at least until you're able to start cooking up vegetable starch).
  • A fan-produced expansion pack for FreeSpace 2 called Derelict features Lt. Mackie, who frequently references duct tape in his dialogue. It got far enough that it's considered one of the character's defining traits among the fandom.
  • In Gear Head Duct Tape is one of the repairing items. Given enough of it and a skilled repairman, one can fix a gaping hole in a mecha with it.
  • In Half-Life 2, Alyx Vance's jacket has duct tape keeping the left arm on.
  • In Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, this is how Rei and Arfoire take out Histoire and allowing them to kidnap IF, Compa, and Peashy..
    Neptune: "Someone threw Histy's home away and duct taped the heck out of it."
  • Kerbal Space Program has struts, which essentially act as duct tape if your rockets won't stay together in flight. The fandom has even nicknamed them "space tape".
  • Ducks in Kingdom of Loathing randomly drop duct tape. If you collect enough lengths of duct tape, you can fuse them together to create things like a Duct Tape Sword or a Duct Tape Shirt.
  • In the first ObsCure game, you can attach flashlights to guns using duct tape. Strangely, this is a case where it wouldn't work in real life — it's done in-game by simply wrapping duct tape around the gun and the flashlight, including around the slide in the case of the pocket pistol, which would cause that gun to jam due to the duct tape preventing the normal operation of the slide. Even with other weapons, the recoil would likely cause the flashlight to go flying after a few shots. There's a reason why lights and other attachments are specially mounted, as is the case with the heavy pistol in-game, which comes with a built-in flashlight.
  • The Hearthians in Outer Wilds have an extremely "whatever works" approach to making spacefaring equipment. Your ship has several parts held together (as in, bound to each other) with what looks suspiciously like duct tape, and the telltale sound of peeling and ripping fresh strips of it can be heard if you ever need to patch your suit.
  • In Project: Snowblind (a spinoff of Deus Ex);
    "My brother died in the war. His multimillion-dollar helicopter was shot down by a grenade launcher held together with duct tape."
  • Appears in Punch-Out!!'s Title Defense match with King Hippo, who duct-taped a manhole cover to his belly to keep the player from punching at it. It doesn't really do him much good, though, since the player can just punch across it to remove the tape and knock it off.
  • Sonic Colors: Given that Eggman's general M.O. includes corner-cutting and reckless disregard of safety regulations, one is hardly surprised to hear the following announcement over the tannoys in the Starlight Carnival zone.
    Eggman: "Please refrain from peeling off the special space-age polymer holding the starship together. It may look and feel like duct tape, but it's not. It's called... space... tape. Very advanced stuff. Thank you."
  • In Super Animal Royale, rolls of "Super Tape" can be used to repair armor. One application equals as much strength as an entire level 1 vest.
  • In Tony Hawk's Underground, at the beginning of the game [[Eric Sparrow The Rival]] says of your skateboard: "Looks like that thing's held together with duct tape."
  • Tsukihime: Arcueid doesn't see any problem with using duct tape to patch up her wounds, or keeping herself together after being cut into 17 pieces. She is a True Ancestor vampire, though (capable of rebuilding her body from scratch if need be), so don't try this at home.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, Erika uses it as her main weapon.
    Erika: I, Erika Furudo, have duct tape!!"
  • War Brokers has duct tape items that can repair armor.
  • Wizardry 8 has the "Duct Tape" item. Gadgeteers can entangle an opponent with it.
  • Gaia Online
    • In zOMG!, you can wrap up your enemies with duct tape to keep them from moving. Even the Landshark.
    • There's a Duct Tape item for your avatar on the game. One pose, called "I FIX IT!!!" has your avatar duct-taped to the screen.


    Web Original 
  • Jontron: Joked about in Jon's review of "Flex Tape".
    Jon: ...what they should do in these infomercials is just tell you what it can't do. A broken marriage! Even then, shown to be slightly more effective than placebo!
  • Orion's Arm has Duck Tape 2.0, with nanomachines on the sticky side and solar cells on the other.
    With creative programming, Duck Tape 2.0, can be used for any number of applications.
  • The amazing utility of duct tape is celebrated in this parody of the catchiest cartoon intro ever.
  • This barman on Not Always Right began taping over sports logo hats with Hello Kitty duct tape to prevent bar fights.
    You now support the Pretty Kitties. I don’t know what sport they play, and I don’t care, but they don’t have any rival teams, so there is no fighting about who is better, got it?

    Western Animation 
  • In the Grand Finale of Beast Wars the Maximals had some technology being held together with duct tape aboard the Autobot shuttle (which apparently served to explain how the shuttle made it to transwarp).
  • Camp Lakebottom: In "Frankenfixer", the campers build a Frankenstein's Monster to serve as fix-it man for the camp. It uses duct tape for every repair. When he inevitably turns evil, it starts using duct tape as a weapon.
  • Craig of the Creek: JP's pants are mostly made out of duct tape, to prove Craig's point that duct tape can fix anything. JP apparently can't even take his pants off from all the duct tape.
  • In DC Super Hero Girls, Bumblebee uses so much of it to hold her prototype super suit together, it's indirectly the source of her codename since it gives the suit bee-like stripes.
  • "Franklin's Promise" from Franklin has a notable subversion. Throughout most of the story, Mr. Turtle tries to fix a malfunctioning sprinkler, becoming increasingly desperate. He finally tries to solve the problem by just slapping a whole bunch of duct tape over the thing, only for the water to burst through and ruin this latest slap-job fix. He finally admits defeat and joins a picnic with Mrs. Turtle, Franklin and his friends.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy (2015), Rocket Raccoon starts stockpiling the stuff after seeing its miraculous abilities in action when the team first visits Earth.
  • During the series finale of Hey Arnold! "The Journal", Grandpa threatens to use a roll of duct tape to silence Grandma when she continues interrupting the journal reading with her usual delusional comments. It works.
  • One episode of I Am Weasel takes this to absurd levels, where the baboon is a ship captain and glues his ship together with duct tape and bubble gum.
  • In Invader Zim, Zim was captured by aliens who try to "fuse" different species together. They do this by duct taping stuff together.
  • Johnny Test: The third season premiere has Johnny use duct tape in several different ways.
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 32, Stumpy blows his own head off with a bazooka after misinterpreting some advice Mr. Cat gave him. Upon witnessing Mr. Cat's apathy to this, Kaeloo is infuriated. Mr. Cat tries to calm her down by promising to bring Stumpy back to life by duct-taping his head back on.
  • In an episode of Megas XLR, the titular mecha's photonic stabilizer is damaged, which could wind up with Megas exploding big time. After spending the whole episode looking for a replacement part, and in the middle of a fight for the replacement part that was pushing Megas to its limits, a cry of "DUCK!" inspires Coop to wrap the damaged stabilizer in duct tape. Seconds later, Megas is able to fight at full power. "When in doubt, duck it."
  • According to Operation: Z.E.R.O., the Kids Next Door Moonbase was "39 gazillion tons" of mostly metal and duct tape.
  • In The Replacements, Riley and Tasumi met when Riley used duct tape to mend an embarrassing rip in Tasumi's armour. Riley explains that her dad makes her carry a roll with her at all times as duct tape "can fix anything".
  • Squidbillies combines garbage bags and duct tape to give us the Hillbilly Hazmat Suit. Now breathe deep and hold your breath!!!
  • In the Steven Universe episode "House Guest", Greg states duct tape is his go-to solution for anything broken, whether it be his van/home, his leg, or even a dome that if broken would result in a highly dangerous magical storm.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television, as anyone who has worked as a stagehand can attest to. Everything in a theatre is held together by either duct tape, gaffer tape, 12 gauge wire, paint, bits of string, intense prayer, or some combination of the above. Unless you're trying to take something apart, then it's held together by stripped screws and dried grease. Then again, using actual duct tape (the shinier, stickier tape) on anything other than the set is a great way to get yelled at by the Stage Manager or the technical departments, as duct tape leaves a sticky residue on cables (assuming you can get it off at all – cooking oil works best), doesn't cut or tear easily, reflects light really obviously, and is easily capable of stripping paint off along with it, whereas gaffer (or gaff, or gaffa) tape is matte-colored and designed to pull away easily.
  • 1972: Apollo 17: One fender on the lunar rover was damaged. The astronauts taped it back on with duct tape. Eventually, the moondust overcame the tape and the fender fell off again. This time, they jury-rigged a fender out of duct tape and four laminated maps. The map-fender lasted through 15 hours of EVA.
  • Also during Apollo 13, duct tape among many other items was used to adapt the "square peg" CM carbon dioxide scrubber canisters for use in the "round hole" LM scrubber socket. Ed Smylie, the man who designed the scrubber, said in a later interview that when he found out duct tape was on the space capsule, "I felt like we were home free. A southern boy will never say 'I don't think duct tape will fix it.'"
  • Hilarity ensued in 2002 when the newly-formed Department of Homeland Security advised citizens that, in the event of a chemical or biological attack on their neighborhood, they could protect themselves by sealing their doors and windows with duct tape. Lewis Black points out the flaw in this in one of his routines, stating that the only way such a thing would protect you is if you used enough of it to suffocate yourself before the chemicals killed you. The advice presumes that any chemical or biological attack committed by terrorists would be in an area small enough (on the order of a few city blocks) that the agents in question would only be around for at most a few hours before degrading to the point of ineffectiveness and be blown away by the wind. This assumption is fairly safe, taking into account the fact that the amount of chemical/biological agent needed to really cause widespread death is really only accessible to national militaries. The additional advice of canned food is only meant to be a couple days' worth that is uncontaminated by whatever struck; by that point, FEMA should have already moved in with relief work. In other words, DHS had a valid point, they just botched the delivery to the wider audience.
    • Less funny is that one family did not get this.
    • Sealing doors and windows with plastic and tape was, however, widely practiced in Israel during the Gulf War as a precaution against biochemical Scud missile attacks. The rationale was to limit exposure by reducing drafts, given that a one-inch gap under a door is roughly equivalent to a five-inch hole in the wall. Residents were also issued gas masks as a secondary defense and were advised that in spite of aggressive sealing, a conventional room cannot be made airtight enough to accidentally suffocate the occupants.
  • The Duct Tape Bandit. That had to hurt when they took it off. Additionally, he displays a comedic amount of Implausible Deniability.
  • Ever wonder what to do when your $200,000 stock car needs fast, fast repairs to its bodywork that you spent hours in a wind tunnel getting just right while staying within your sanctioning body's rules on body form? Huge pieces of what's essentially duct tape. Likewise "speed tape", the FAA-approved emergency aircraft repair material that's basically aluminum sheet with extremely high-grade adhesive backing.
  • Scientists wearing hazard suits will often keep pre-cut lengths of duct tape on their legs and arms in order to make a quick patch job in an emergency.
  • Ever seen a picture of "the gadget" (the implosion-type plutonium fission device used in the first nuclear weapons test)? The device — it could not properly be called a "bomb," since it could in no way be used as a weapon of war — was held together with, among other things... you guessed it.
  • There exists an entire online community devoted to duct tape fashion; including clothing, accessories, and jewelry made predominantly or entirely out of various colors of the stuff. Most commonly including:
    • Prom dresses. Apparently, this is a common event, as one school has a yearly scholarship for the best duct tape dress.
    • Tuxedos, too.
    • Corsets and bondage gear made mainly out of, or at least covered by, duct tape is commonly seen in Goth/Industrial nightclubs, and are a staple of fetish fashion.
    • Wallets and purses. You can buy these pre-made or easily download instructions on making your own.
    • Some have used duct tape to make cosplays. It is also great to make custom foam weapons (when combined with foam, obviously) for Live-Action Roleplay. Similarly, many Society for Creative Anachronism rattan swords are covered with duct tape for a somewhat-metallic finish.
  • Silk tape (Durapore in the US), which has a fairly heavy fabric base and much stronger adhesive than paper or plastic tapes, is the healthcare professional's answer to duct tape, with the added bonus of being nontoxic and hypo-allergenic. Go to any hospital and it's guaranteed you'll see at least one IV pole, vital-signs monitor, or bed control that's been "repaired" with carefully applied silk tape.
  • NASA's policy for if someone goes crazy in a shuttle is to have them Bound and Gagged with duct tape. The Associated Press gave a report on 2/23/07 about the NASA documents with written procedures which involve "duct tape around the wrists and ankles, tying them down with a bungee cord and injecting with tranquilizers as necessary". Similarly, when engineers came up with a system for doing CPR in space involving harnesses and what have you, astronauts balked, said it was too complicated and that they could do it with duct tape.
  • The US military has a stronger version called "100 mph" or "high speed" tape; both because it's said to be able to hold a part on a Jeep at 100 mph,note  and because "high speed" is Army slang for excellence. Army duct tape is typically olive drab or medium brown in color instead of silver, for obvious reasons.
  • Possibly related to the above, submariners are quite familiar with duct tape on steroids called "EB Green", so named for its supposed origin with Electric Boat, who built a lot of US submarines. A probably apocryphal accounts credit it with withstanding pressures to test depth, in excess of 400 feet (the "official" test depth stated to the public by the US Navy, for security reasons). The story goes that this occurred on a boat during testing following a refit at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, a facility somewhat notorious for absurd incidents that damaged boats or led to them being damaged later in stupid ways (poor communications led to USS Guitarro sinking during construction and the same boat was fitted with a defective propeller shaft that snapped in mid-ocean due to a procedural error). One part of post-refit inspection involved taking the boat to a specified depth (400 feet in this case) and then doing the most thorough possible inspection for any possible leaks. During the inspection, any crewman may order an emergency surfacing if a problem is detected. One crewman stuck his head through a hatch into the space between the ship's interior compartments and the pressure hull and began screaming for an emergency surface. Afterwards, when asked what he'd found, he said they wouldn't believe him unless the senior officers looked themselves, and what they saw was a chunk of the pressure hull missing and taped over with EB Green. It turned out that a hole had been cut in the pressure hull to access components inside for work in the refit, and it began to rain so the workman taped over the hole to keep out water, and before he got back to it the whole thing was painted over.note  The gloves on anti-contamination (Canary) suits, for entering the Reactor Compartment during shutdowns, were sealed to the suits using the same EB Green.
  • Duct tape is featured regularly in submissions to There, I fixed it, including to repair an aircraft fuselage that had been mauled by a bear. As stated in the Live-Action Television section, this was confirmed by Mythbusters.
  • After There, I Fixed It posted an authentic photo of the Apollo 13 air-scrubber rig, the site received a submission from the International Space Station. Duct tape has been, and likely will always be, standard issue on all space missions.
  • A hole in your drum? A piece of your guitar get chipped off? There's a reason why duct tape is commonly called the (amateur) musician's best friend. It's a friend to a professional musician as well: Eddie Van Halen has a strip of duct-tape rolled into a tube, flattened and stuck to his guitar to hold picks. Kurt Cobain once used duct tape to hold the tuning keys in place while he recorded a song with a cheap guitar. The song in question was "Polly," and that's the version used on Nevermind. Ricky Wilson of The B-52s sometimes used a duct tape guitar strap.
  • Fun fact: there exists nuclear-grade duct tape in a variety of colors, including red, orange, and slate blue. And that's not hyperbole — the technical data sheet advertises compliance with ASME NQA-1, the 2008 standard for nuclear technology. It's not even all that expensive.
  • During the first Star Wars film, A New Hope, duct tape was used to hold Carrie Fisher's boobs in place, because George Lucas had a "no bras in space" rule, and the white see-through dress she wore throughout A New Hope would make a bra too obvious.
  • Like all things, duct tape can be used for malignant purposes. For example, a cat that was wrapped neck to tail in tape. Anyone who would do this to such an adorable creature must be on the dark side of the duct-tape force.
  • The Darwin Awards have a few entries related to people who overestimated duct tape:
    • A physics professor allows his students to tape him to a wall as part of a fund-raising event...and nearly suffocates because duct tape doesn't "breathe."
    • A fishing boat was held together with multiple duct tape repairs, and carrying equipment that weighed more than three times than it could hold, along with two fishermen.
  • Consumer Reports' solution to the iPhone 4 reception problem? Cover the antenna area of the outside case with "thick non-conductive material". Guess which one they used in the demonstration video?
  • For rescue and EMS, there's a disposable head immobilizer which is essentially two styrofoam logs with duct tape to fasten the patient's head to the backboard, seen here.
  • It's even been used to fix aircraft engines (#6, 4th photo) and wings.
  • The frequently cited usage of duct tape as an improvised dressing is generally a bad idea, though. The sticky surface of the tape typically harbors large amounts of harmful bacteria and the water-resistant surface of the tape prevents wounds from draining. Lastly, when the tape is removed, it's likely to also remove much of the scab and healing skin. It's far better used as a bandage to keep a proper dressing like gauze or sterilized cloth in place over the injury.
  • Duct tape makes for awesome splinting material. If you get two nice straight sticks, you can use duct tape to immobilize the limb beautifully. Just the duct tape alone wrapped a sufficient number of times, can be used to immobilize a joint if you don't have a splint handy.
  • On that note: An old tale among family physicians concerns a patient who came in with warts. The surgeon wants to excise them with some newfangled technique costing thousands; another specialist wants to freeze them off, costing hundreds; the family physician says, "Put duct tape on warts for a week, then take it off. You'll be fine." A scientific study showed that Duct Tape really does cure warts with 85% efficiency!
  • Its usage has even made it to philosophy: just like Occam's Razor is the principle that says you should make as few assumptions as possible when solving a problem, Occam's duct tape is a logical fallacy in which someone makes a ridiculously huge number of assumptions when approaching a problem or discussing something.
  • There is a meme, "Silence is golden. Duct tape is silver."
  • Subverted when Dhani Harrison once wrecked his car when speeding down the driveway. He put the parts back together with Duct Tape. When his mom found out, she flipped out.
  • If you have to hold something metallic between your teeth, it's not a bad idea to wrap the part you're biting down on with duct tape to cushion the bite and prevent damage to your chompers (or dentures). It's a trick commonly used by handymen that use small flashlights instead of headlamps to work in tight spaces.

Alternative Title(s): Handymans Secret Weapon, When In Doubt Duct It