In kitchen drawers and garages all over the United States, one item sits at the ready to fix a multitude of problems. That’s right! We’re talking about the tool that people reach for over and over again when small repairs of all types are necessary: duct tape.

Duct tape is the general term for a specific kind of durable adhesive tape with a sturdy backing that resists water. You may hear people call it “duck tape” from time to time. There’s actually a specific Duck® brand of duct tape that is quite popular.

If you’re wondering how many ducks it takes to make a roll of tape, the answer is zero! You can rest assured that no ducks were harmed in the production of either duct tape or Duck®-brand duct tape!

Over the years duct tape has become the go-to repair tool of millions of people. Any time you need a flexible, sturdy and incredibly sticky tape to fix everything from cars and clothing to air ducts and leaky water pipes, just reach for a roll of duct tape.

Duct tape was invented by the Permacel division of Johnson & Johnson during World War II. Their original creation for the United States military was a green waterproof tape that could be used to seal ammunition cases to keep water out.

Soldiers soon learned that the tape was good at fixing any type of rip or tear they might encounter, whether in a tent, a vehicle seat or a uniform. After the war, the company began to sell the tape to the public, and returning soldiers introduced it to many people back home.

One of the first uses for the tape was to repair or seal the ductwork in home heating and cooling systems. To match the color of ductwork, the company changed the color of the tape to silver and began to call it duct tape.

Many people believe that the tape was often called duck tape during World War II, because its ability to repel water reminded soldiers of the similar property of duck feathers. Others point to the fact that the new tape resembled a fabric tape already in existence, which was called cotton duck tape.

Today, duct tape can be found in many different colors, although the most popular are probably silver and black. Each year, stores sell enough duct tape to wrap around the Earth over 12 times!

Duct tape is so strong, because it’s made of three different layers. The bottom layer is a strong rubber-based adhesive. The middle layer is a web of cloth fabric that adds durability. The top layer is soft, waterproof plastic.

Despite its strength, it can be torn easily by hand. This makes it very useful in repairs, since one person can quickly and easily work with the tape without the help of others.

But even though it can be torn by hand, it’s still very strong. Some people claim that, if you double duct tape over and stick its adhesive sides together, you could pull a one-ton car out of a ditch!


81 Join the Discussion

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    • We’re really glad you liked today’s Wonder about duct tape, Kadoodle! Did you know that we get lots of the ideas for our Wonders of the Day (including this one) from the super creative, WONDERing minds of Wonder Friends just like YOU?

      Anytime you “WONDER” about something, you can let us know by nominating your idea for a future Wonder of the Day®! Just click on the “nominate” link at the top of every page in Wonderopolis and tell us what you’re wondering about! It’s really easy and we LOVE hearing from our Wonder Friends! :-)

    • We think that type of gift wrapping sounds AWESOME, Melissa! Thanks for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder about duct tape! :-)

    • We liked that part of the video, too, Juliana! Thanks so much for visiting today’s Wonder of the Day® and sharing what you liked about it! :-)

    • What a super nice thing to say, Ella! We really appreciate your comment are are happy you liked today’s Wonder video! :-)

  1. I really like that video. I should try that at home. I like the music a lot tomorrow’s wonder is hard to guess and you know what’s cool is you put duct tape as your background. I just want to know why do you make wonders of the day but I think it’s pretty cool how you think of all of these wonders of the world. :)

    • WOW, Joseph! Your comment ROCKS! Thanks for noticing that we used duct tape as this week’s background in Wonderopolis…we appreciate that! We introduce a new, exciting Wonder of the Day® each day so our AMAZING Wonder Friends (like you!) can learn, share and explore! Thanks for being so awesome! :-)

  2. Hey Wonderopolis
    I love your video.
    You have a cool website and videos. For the video that you can make a rose flower pencil with duct tape. I hope Ava and Ella go on to Wonderopolis today.

    • That’s a cool and creative idea for using duct tape, Diya! Thanks so much for sharing it with everyone in Wonderopolis today! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing how you feel about duct tape, Clara! We appreciate your comment, and you’re right…duct tape can be super useful! :-)

  3. I thought the wonder of the day was very cool and the video was funny! I also think Wonderopolis is a very great site and very useful too.

    • Thanks for saying such awesome things about Wonderopolis and the Wonder of the Day®, Abrianna! We’re so glad you left us a comment today! :-)

  4. I wonder how many wonders people have on wonderopolis. I wonder about what people will wonder about wondering about peoples’ wonders tomorrow on wonderopolis.

    • Your comment is a bit of a tongue twister, Clay…we think that ROCKS! Since we introduce a new, FUN Wonder of the Day® each day, and this Wonder is #532, that means there are 532 Wonders of the Day to enjoy and explore here in Wonderopolis! Thanks for visiting this one! :-)

  5. We think duct tape is awesome! Is there glow in the dark duct tape too? Thanks for sharing the video.

    • Hi, Mrs. Homolya’s class! We think duct tape is awesome, too! Thanks so much for sharing this comment with us…we don’t know about the glow in the dark duct tape, so we guess we’ll both have to do a bit more WONDERing about that! :-)

  6. I will definitely do some of those crafts at home. Can you please do a wonder about how do words became words and who made them.

    • We like your attitude, luckypugsley! Thanks so much for hanging out in Wonderopolis today and for leaving us this comment…we appreciate it! :-)

    • We think you’re a super clever and creative Wonder Friend, Clayton! Thanks for sharing something you made out of duct tape! :-)

  7. My question of the day: how come when you divide fractions you multiply by the reciprical of the second fraction. Can you please explain to me how that works? I really don’t understand how multiplying can equal the answer of a division problem. PLEASE ANSWER!!! :p

  8. This is important. I wanna be a computer designer and programmer when I grow up. How much do they make? You should do a wonder on jobs. lol :)

  9. I got my ebook taken away!!! It’s iPod day at school and we get to listen to our music if we pay $2, but I broke my iPod, so I brought my ebook. One teacher told me that I could listen to it then the other teacher took it away!!!

    • We’re super sorry to hear that, Devan! Maybe you will get it back at the end of the day? We think it’s GREAT that you are visiting Wonderopolis at school…THANK YOU for being such an awesome Wonder Friend! :-)

  10. Also, my friend Hannah had hers taken, too.

    Yesterday, I got in trouble @ school because me and a group of my friends went the back way and got in trouble by a teacher and my friend Caleb stood up for us and was like “stop yelling at them, it wasn’t their idea it was mine!!!” It was cool, funny and really brave of Caleb.

    • Thanks for sharing your story about what happened yesterday, Devan! We hope all of our Wonder Friends show respect to other people, including teachers. Try to remember that teachers have your best interests at heart, and want you to follow the rules of your school so that everyone stays safe and shares the best environment for learning!

      We hope you, Hannah, Caleb and all your classmates have an AWESOME day today! Thank you for being a SUPER Wonder Friend! :-)

    • We’re sorry to hear that, Devan! Maybe you will get it back at the end of the day? We are glad that you are visiting Wonderopolis at school. THANK YOU for being such an awesome Wonder Friend! :)

  11. I thought that this video was hilarious!! I never knew that just duct tape could make you so good at baseball! Also, I never knew that they invented duct tape in World War 2. I think that it is amazing that we still use it in our every-day lives. I never knew that duct tape is made up of three layers: One of strong rubber-based adhesive, one of cloth fabric that adds durability, and one of soft, waterproof plastic. I have had many experiences with duct tape. A couple weeks ago, my siblings and I built an immense fort in our basement. We had to hang blankets on things, but some of the things couldn’t support the blankets by themselves. Duct tape became our best friend. We probably used a full roll of duct tape to hold the multitude of blankets up. I don’t know what we would’ve done without duct tape in this situation. I think that it is crazy that stores sell enough duct tape each year to wrap around the world 12 times! That’s CRAZY!!!!! Thanks so much for the phenomenal WONDER!

    • Thanks for the comment, Jack! Duct tape is a pretty WONDERFUL product, isn’t it? Your fort sounds like it was amazing! :)

  12. Hi, wonderopolis! I LOVE this wonder. I do things with duct tape all the time. I found it interesting that during World War 2, soldiers used duct tape to seal out the water from getting into ammunition boxes. I thought the first color of duct tape was silver because that’s the most common duct tape I’ve seen, but its actually military green. Who would have guessed that? I’m sure I wouldn’t have. Another cool fact that learned was that stores sell enough duct tape to wrap around the earth 12 times!! I never knew that duct tape got its name because people used it to seal duct work. One time when I was 6 years old, I fell and I thought my arm was broken so I used duct tape as a temporary cast. The only thing I knew about duct tape before this wonder was that it is sticky and strong. One other fact that I found interesting is that duct tape has three layers. This is now my favorite wonder in wonderopolis!!! Thanks for the awesome facts. I’ll try to comment again soon.

    • We’re so happy to hear that this Wonder is now your favorite, Alex! You sure learned a LOT of cool facts by exploring it…thank you for sharing them! We’re proud of you! :-)

  13. Dear Wonderopolis,
    This wonder was quite intriguing. I found it interesting that duct tape got it’s name because it was used to patch up the ductworks in someone’s home. I never knew that duct tape had 3 layers: a strong rubber-based adhesive, a web of cloth fabric that adds durability, and a soft, waterproof plastic. Duct tape isn’t that thick!
    The “try it out” section of this article connected to me because one of my friends loves to make duct tape creations! Plus, my dad is always using duct tape to fix or patch up something.
    This wonder helped me out because I know that duct tape is water-proof, but I didn’t know what made it water-proof! The fact that duct tape’s top layer is water-proof plastic, helped answer my question.
    This wonder was phenomenal! It also made me wonder too! Does duct tape really make you a better baseball player? And, how did Johnson&Johnson make the first piece of duct tape, and what inspired them to create it?
    Thanks for the fantastic wonder!

    • What a GREAT comment, Sara! We are super glad you learned so much about duct tape and that exploring this Wonder caused you to WONDER even more about the sticky stuff…we learned a lot about it, too! Thanks for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder! :-)

  14. My birthday is next month and I was looking at the cakes @ Ingles and Bi-Lo and they have a duct tape cake!!! It’s not really made with duct tape though, it only looks like it. But I’m getting the three layered cake with a black balloon and a grim reaper. It’s supposed to be an over the hill cake, but I like it and that’s all that matters!

    • Happy early birthday to you, Devan! We didn’t know there was a cake that looks like duct tape…that’s super cool! We guess they can make a cake that looks like just about anything these days! We really appreciate you sharing about the cake you want for YOUR birthday! :-)

  15. I thought that this wonder was REALLY cool. One of my friends made a dress made out of duct tape for her sister! I think it would be so cool to have that dress.

  16. Me and my cousin LOVE to make things out of duct tape and collect all different styles. My favorite kind so far is duck brand blue with white polka dots. I also like the neon colors.

    • We think it’s super COOL that there are now so many different colors and patterns of duct tape, Laura! Thanks so much for sharing YOUR favorites! :-)

  17. Hey Wonderopolis! I LOVE duct tape! I have a lot of duct tape things. Like wallets, bows, and even a bouquet of roses! Thats how much I love duct tape! The video that you put was funny. I liked it. I have 8 rolls of duct tape in my house. I love the animal print kind of duct tape. And the Hello Kitty duct tape. And yes I do have the Hello Kitty duct tape. Thanks for sharing The Wonder of the Day!
    Natalie :)

    • Hi there, Natalie! We think it’s really cool that you have so many things made with duct tape! Thank you for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  18. Hey, Wonderopolis. This video is sooo funny. He misses and misses and then he puts duct tape on the bat. Finally he gets them. This video is funny and useful. I love Wonderopolis. Thank you for inventing Wonderopolis.


    • Your comment ROCKS, Mushkale! Thanks so much for letting us know what you thought about the video for this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  19. Hay Wonderopolis. I live in Vancouver and am in Mrs. Thiessen’s class, but I Wondered how blue whales get there baleen from? Anyways, I go on Wonderopolis almost every day. I love Wonderopolis. Thank you again for inventing Wonderopolis.


    • Your comment made our day, Mushkale! We really like hearing that you enjoy visiting and learning in Wonderopolis every day! :-)

  20. Hey wonderopolis because it has a bunch of interesting facts!! I love to make stuff with duct tape because it is so much fun!!!!!!!! I wonder what a cat would look like duct taped. hahahaha google google google google I love to be random!!!!!

    • Hello, Cassidy! We think being random is a lot of fun sometimes! It can lead to some AMAZING WONDERing! Thanks so much for visiting this Wonder today and for leaving us this AWESOME comment! :-)

  21. Dear wonderopolis,

    I never thought that duct tape was made by soldiers! I always thought that it was made during the great depression! I thought only normal people used duct tape. I guess you can use duct tape for almost anything. I wonder what it would be like duct taping a book to a wall, hmmmmmm… Anyway, it could be lots of fun duct taping things. I always wondered does duct tape make things stronger? Reply soon.

    • You have US WONDERing now about whether duct tape can make things stronger, Team McNeil 22! We’ll both have to do our own WONDER searches for the answer to that one! :-)

  22. Hello Wonderopolis,
    I have made a duct tape purse, wallet, coin pouch, picture frame, and duct tape bows. I didn’t know duct tape was waterproof. I think it’s cool that duct tape was invented during World War II. I also didn’t know that duct tape was strong enough to repair something so strong and powerful like air ducts. Why is duct tape called duct tape?

    • That’s a LOT of crafting with duct tape, Team McNeal 2! Way to go! We’re not sure why duct tape is called duct tape…that would be a fun thing to research and add to this Wonder! We thought it was awesome to find out that duct tape was waterproof, too! :-)

    • Hi, Alyssa! This Wonder has LOTS of great information about duct tape! We encourage you to re-explore this Wonder of the Day® to learn some cool new facts and WONDER along with us! :-)

    • We think it’s GREAT that you are excited to learn about duct tape, D! Thanks so much for exploring this Wonder of the Day® and also for leaving us this SUPER comment! :-)

    • Hey there Cam, thanks for WONDERing with us today! We bet it would take a LOT of duct tape to make a bat as big as the one in the video! :) It looks super fun, but make sure you don’t try that in a real game– the umpire wouldn’t be too happy about it! :)

  23. Hey Wonderopolis! I think that’s a great idea of a duct tape wonder! I would of never thought of that! I love Wonderopolis and I go on it a lot for ideas! Do you have a wonder about crafts? I love crafts so very much! Thanks!

  24. Wonderopolis,
    I discovered you can do lots of things with duct tape. What do you do with duct tape? On the video a guy duct taped a bat. That was clever. He also duct taped his glove. That was one wonderful wonder of the day.

    • We’ve even heard of people making clothing out of duct tape, Wonder Friend Nic! We bet it takes a LOT of time, but how cool! Thanks for sharing your comment! :)

  25. Dear Wonderopolis

    I really like the topic, What can you do with duct tape? I have seen people make flowers with pink and black duct tape. I wonder if you can make camoflage flowers from duct tape?


    • We bet you could do lots of cool things with duct tape, Mykel– you just need the right colors and LOTS of imagination! Thanks for WONDERing with us today! :)

    • Your brother is a smart guy, Katybug3000! While duct tape might not be able to fix everything (for example, broken bones are best fixed in the hospital), it sure can do a lot! We Wonder if you have ever seen bags, clothes or even hats made out of duct tape? :)

  26. How did Duct Tae get so famous? Alot of people make crafts out of Duct Tape so, I was wonndering. I think Wonderopolis should make a wonder about Rainbow Loom.

    • That’s a great question, Jenna G.! Perhaps Duct tape got to be well known by “word of mouth” – that’s when you hear about a product from a friend or family member and try it out for yourself. If you like it, then you might tell others to try it out as well! Doing so can spread the word quickly about a product like Duct tape!

      Thanks for WONDERing with us today, Jenna G.! :) :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What can you do with duct tape?
  • How many ducks does it take to make a roll of tape?
  • Why is it called duct tape?

Wonder Gallery

duct tape_shutterstock_75113836Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to tape? Even though duct tape is useful for all sorts of household projects and repairs, your parents may not want you to take on such projects without supervision.

Don’t worry, though. We have some great projects you can try on your own to see just how many things you can do with duct tape. If you don’t have any duct tape, ask an adult to take you to the store to get a roll or two. When you’re ready, check out the projects below and try a few:

When you’re finished, share your work with the rest of your Wonder Friends. Just post a picture of your duct tape creations on Facebook. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!


Still Wondering

When you’re finished exploring duct tape, how about checking out a measuring tape? Use Illuminations’ The Length of My Feet lesson to focus children’s attention on the attributes of length and develop their knowledge of and skill in using nonstandard units of measurement.


Wonder Categories/Tags



adhesive  duck  duct  tape  waterproof 

Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is all about colors…as long as they’re black and white!

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.