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What is Adhesive Tape?

Adhesive tape (also known as pressure sensitive tape, PSA tape, self-stick tape or sticky tape) consists of a pressure-sensitive adhesive coated onto a backing material such as paper, plastic film, cloth or any smooth surface really!


Some tapes have removable release liners which protect the adhesive until the liner is removed. Some have layers of adhesives, primers, easy release materials, filaments, printing, etc. made for specific functions. PSAs do not require water, solvent or heat activation to bond to materials such as paper, plastic, glass, wood, cement, and metal. Pressure sensitive adhesives (PSAs) are tacky at room temperature in dry form, and they adhere firmly to a variety of surfaces and require only the application of a finger or hand. Technically speaking, that’s a bonding pressure of 14.5 – 29 psi =^ 10 – 20 N/cm² or greater.

Single-sided tapes allow bonding to a surface or joining of two adjacent or overlapping materials.

Double sided tape (adhesive on both sides), like Hippo Tape, allows joining of two items back-to-back.

The history of stickiness didn’t start with tape. The bees actually take credit here, or rather, woodworkers in ancient Egypt who used a type of glue made from natural, viscous substances like beeswax and resin to hold materials together. In modern times before tape was a thing, glues and epoxies did most of the sticky work. Although they had serious drawbacks, especially in household use. Messiness, permanence, and drying to a hard finish all made traditional glues less-than-ideal. First in the year of 1925 was it that adhesive tape, as we know it today, was invented.

According to How Stuff Works: “Masking tape, as it became known, was intended to solve a very specific problem: applying two-toned paint jobs to cars. Before masking tape, auto shops were “masking off” for each color application using glue and paper. Peeling off the paper ruined countless paint jobs. Richard Drew, a young research assistant, witnessed one such ruined job and the furious cursing that followed. Drew, who had absolutely zero experience in adhesives, decided, apparently on the spot, to create an adhesive that could be removed from dry paint without peeling it off. Two years later, masking tape was introduced.” Today, adhesive tape comes in all shapes and sizes, with varying degrees of stickiness. And in that time, we have found that the majority of people have the same complaints and questions about tape. Here on Hippo Tape, is everything you need to know about adhesive tape, whether you’re an industry professional or an amateur.