Anyone who enjoys tinkering and making things know that electrical tape is a staple for any DIY toolbox. You’ll find it at most shops, even grocery stores, and you can use it to fix or create a seemingly endless number of projects.
Using electrical tape is pretty straightforward, but we’re here to help you up your game. As the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially with electrical projects. Check out our top three tips below to learn more:
1. Quality Control
Old tape and low-grade tape are OK for practicing, but you’ll want to have some quality control if you’re using the tape for electrical projects. First of all, how long has it been since you replaced your electrical tape? If it’s been over three years, we suggest tossing it out and getting a new roll.
Additionally, please pay attention to the grade of electrical tape you’re buying and be sure it’s rated for the project you’re working on. Electrical tape is available in different grades, and choosing the right one will significantly improve performance.
2. Keep Your Projects Up to Code
Always check local building codes to see what grades of tape are required before doing any repairs on a building. This one’s not just for the pros—it goes for home repairs too. It’s an extra precaution to help you avoid issues later on, keeping your electronics projects safe and reliable.
And if you’re working with multiple types of wires in a building, check the standard color-coding in your county ahead of time. Irregular color-coding with electrical tape can cause dangerous and expensive issues down the road.
3. Practice Wrapping on Test Surfaces
Electrical tape isn’t as helpful if you don’t wrap it correctly, but don’t worry. It just takes practice. We recommend that you train your wrapping skills on a range of test surfaces until you’re confident wrapping any shape or size of wire/wire bundle. You don’t want to see creasing, slipping, or flagging. (Flagging occurs when you bind with too much tension and the end of the tape begins to peel away.)
And if you’re not sure where to start with your practice, try half-lapping. Half-lapping is among the most essential electrical taping skills. You’ll want to begin your wrap at a diagonal angle around your object or surface. Position each layer of tape halfway up the layer beneath it, creating a secure bond.
To make your wrap even better, repeat the half-lapping technique in the opposite direction for a second layer. Try to keep a gentle tension on the tape, allowing it to conform to the shape of the wire without overstretching.
Remember, make sure your tape is new, keep your projects up to code, and practice, practice, practice! Even if you’re a seasoned pro, it helps to warm up with a practice wrap before you begin.