The Printer’s Duct Tape

Tin Can Tips
3M Post-it Tape, the printer’s duct tape.

This begins a series of tool tips highlighting the most useful store-bought product in my shop: the multi-purpose 3M Post-it Tape. Though likely you will see this product pop-up in many other tips, this will be the central hub of knowledge for this information.

Disclaimer: These posts will obviously make reference to a commercial product which I have decided to endorse without any compensation. I have received no fees or free samples. There are also no paid affiliate links in these posts.

With its origin as a late 20th century office product, it is fitting that this likely-doomed product is finding its new usefulness as an aid to a 15th century process. Designed as an editing device for the photocopier, it’s intended use was to temporarily cover-up, flag, and redact paper documents when photocopies were made.

It is 3M’s Post-it brand pressure sensitive adhesive that is the secret sauce to this product. It has just the right amount of tack to bond with many substrates, and an even better quality of easy release while not leaving a residual residue. (Yes, a residual residue.)

And get this, though likely pages generated by a typewriter were in mind when it was created, cover-up tape is available in several widths, 1-, 2-, and 6-lines. The line is a unit of measure familiar to the letterpress printer, being equivalent to the pica, which is approximately 1/6 of an inch.