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How Much Packing Tape Should I Use?

Packing tape is one of those products uniquely suited for its intended purpose. Made of flexible plastic film and a specially designed adhesive that bonds to cardboard, packing tape seals our moving and shipping boxes like nobody's business. Electrical tape, duct tape, and masking tape aren't as good because they don't adhere well to cardboard boxes. So the question is, since packing tape works so well, how much should I use?

The simple answer is one strip per box seam. That may sound like an over simplification, but it's not. When packing boxes for moving house, all you're trying to do is seal your cartons for a short-term trip. They won't be handled by an army of strangers and sorting equipment, so a single strip across the top and bottom seams is sufficient.

When you're shipping items, things are a little different. Now you have to worry about the people and equipment handling your cardboard box. Try as they might, shipping companies don't approach your possessions with the same care you do, do damage to shipping cartons and their contents is a reality. Therefore, shipping does require a bit more packing tape. Place a single strip along the top and bottom seams, but slightly off centre. Place a second strip on the seams, overlapping on the short side, so you are essentially double-taping them.

Examine all corners for possible rips or breaks, applying just enough tape to seal anything you find. Finally, along the top and bottom edges, where the flaps meet the sides of the box, apply a single strip folded over to cover both sides. Taping in such a way should give you all the necessary protection without requiring a Claymore to open the box on the other end.

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