"Duct tape is like The Force," the saying goes. "It has a dark side and a light side, and it holds the universe together." And these days, with dozens of colors, patterns and even college logos and other prints to choose from, there is no end of new uses. After years of collecting — in the field and online — some of the best ideas and success stories of stuff sealed, shaped, saved, supported, set up, secured down and slapped together, here are 101 of our favorite uses for the iconic adhesive:
Home & auto
1. Cord control: Keep power cords and computer cables tucked away.
2. Organizing: With all the colors available now, think tabs and labels.
3. House on fire? Keep smoke at bay by taping up the door until you make your escape.
4. Sign holder: With a piece of cardboard and duct tape, you can tell the world anything.
5. Box reinforcement: To shore up a package for mailing or that old storage box you just don't want to get rid of.
6. Patch a radiator hose.
7. Fix a broken rearview mirror.
9. Rust coverer
10. Pimp your car: Duct tape provides the perfect facelift for the old junker in your yard.
11. Tree repair
12. Snack holder: Duct-tape a bowl to the top of a soda can and you have an instant snack holder for your car.
13. Build a computer: "Where there's a roll, there's a way," is the motto of Team Boom Tape, which has crafted server cases from duct tape for the MillionManLan gamers convention for three years running. Check ‘em out at: http://ducttapeserver.blogspot.com.
14. Patriotic couch: That old couch looking rough around the edges? Give it a patriotic update with red, white and blue duct tape.
15. Bug trap: Hang long strips like flypaper, or wrap a tennis racquet sticky-side-out and wave it around.
16. Pest control: Mice, crickets, even snakes are no match for the sticky power of well-placed duct tape.
17. Beer saver: Unfinished beers can be saved for later with a patch of duct tape over the mouth.
18. Build robots: Check out the award-winning builds by Team Duct Tape (www.teamducttape.com), a team of Florida high school students on their way to the FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — world championships in April.
19. Seal off broken or leaking car windows.
20. Tape someone to a bed.
21. Wall o' duct tape: Perfect for the barracks, dorms or any room with an inward-opening door: Tape the entire door frame up so when the door is opened, the victim is faced with a wall of stickiness. Works great on someone running out the door late for formation.
22. Sinking chair: One of the Duct Tape Guys' favorites: Tape down the height adjuster on a co-worker's chair. It'll stay where it is until they sit down.
23. Sock grabber: Put a loop of duct tape sticky-side-out into your target's shoes. Watch the fun when they try to take them off.
24. Duct-taped car: Up-armor the old plastic-wrapping-someone's-car trick with an added layer of duct tape.
25. Noise bomb: Duct-tape an air horn and toss it into a target's room.
26. Slingshot: Stretch a balloon around a roll of duct tape, and faster than you can say "lock and load," you have a fully armed slingshot. Secure the mouth of the balloon over the roll, or attach the ends.
27. Ninja star: Just one of the many ideas you can check out at http://ducttapegenius.com.
28. Blowgun: Roll up newspaper to about the diameter of a pen, then wrap in tape. Use a paperclip with a little cone of paper taped to it for a dart.
30. Fight terrorists: Sometimes a strong defense is a good offense, too. That's why the Homeland Security Department recommends duct tape and plastic sheeting as must-have items on its "How to Prepare for a Biological Attack" checklist to seal off homes from the bad stuff.
31. Knife safety: A strip of duct tape folded over even the sharpest blade will render it safe for travel or storage.
Out & about
33. Cellphone holder: Google it — you'll find tons.
34. Wallet: The best thing about this classic duct tape creation? When it starts to get worn out, all you need is more tape to make it good as new. The best duct tape wallet we've seen, including one version that adds a layer of foil to block RFID scanners: http://www.rpi-polymath.com/ducttape/RFIDWallet.php">www.rpi-polymath.com/ducttape/RFIDWallet.php.
36. Book cover
37. Luggage finder: Use one of the new crazy patterns or wild colors for an easy way to spot your luggage fast.
38. Spare key hider: Those magnetic holders are nice, but a key duct-taped to the frame is much harder for a would-be thief to find.
39. Support the troops with a duct tape ribbon like this one: http://web.mit.edu/nygren/images/ducttape/ribbon.medium.gif">http://web.mit.edu/nygren/images/ducttape/ribbon.medium.gif
40. Piggy bank: Tape the top of a coffee can, cut a small slit, and presto — instant savings account.
41. Instant child-proofing for power outlets
42. Toy boats: With some cardboard and duct tape, kids can make an entire armada for bathtub fun.
43. Real boats: The MythBusters aren't the only ones who can make a boat out of duct tape.
44. Build action figures.
45. Tornado in a bottle: Take two 2-liter plastic bottles. Fill one halfway with water and cover the mouth with duct tape. Poke a hole in the center of the cover, then tightly tape the two bottle mouths together, empty bottle on top. Flip your tornado machine over, grab it by the middle, swirl it around, then set it down and watch the show.
46. Duct tape party: Any number of kids plus one roll of duct tape equals endless hours of fun. (Warning: Hide the balloons.)
47. Make light: Fold about a foot of duct tape in half, sticky sides together, but leaving enough of the ends unstuck to get a good grip. Pull apart quickly and watch the light show.
48. Diaper security: To contain your young exhibitionist.
Health & fitness
49. Wart remedy: One study found that duct-tape treatments cured more than eight out of 10 people. Cut to the size of the wart and leave in place for five to seven days at a time. Remove and let it air out overnight. Repeat for another five to seven days until the wart resolves.
50. Dieting: Leonard Malysz had a problem with eating too many carbs, so he used duct tape to seal himself off from problem foods, placing strips over everything from wine bottles to bags of popcorn kernels. It worked so well that he and his wife, a registered dietitian, turned it into a book. You guessed it: "The Duct Tape Diet."
51. DIY medicine ball: Punch a hole in an old basketball. Fill it with sand or, for less weight, wood pellets. Plug the hole — we suggest epoxy cement — and wrap with duct tape.
52. Arm workout: Hold a big ol' roll of duct tape out to your side for as long as you can.
53. Prevent blisters: Feel a hot spot coming on? A quick patch of duct tape over your sock — or stuck right to your skin — will help reduce the friction and keep the blister at bay.
54. Basketball: Does it bounce? No. Can you still have hours of fun with your duct tape basketball and makeshift trash can net? If you can't, you really need to duct-tape your inner child back together.
55. Instant bandage: Just add a wad of toilet paper or paper towel. For real emergencies, duct tape can be used to close up serious wounds until stitches can be put in.
56. Tape a sprained ankle.
57. Secure a splint.
58. Confirm pinworms.
59. Hold down a nicotine patch.
60. Build a bodyweight suspension trainer: Get our complete instructions at http://www.armytimes.com/offduty/health/offduty-do-it-yourself-gym-013111w/">www.armytimes.com/offduty/health/offduty-do-it-yourself-gym-013111w/
61. Prevent frostbite: Shield your face and other exposed body parts from the wind.
62. Boxing targets: Use this old boxer's trick for better punching accuracy: Put little squares of duct tape on your punching bag for specific targets during your workout.
63. Agility ladder: Why spend $50 or more when you can make one out of cord and duct tape?
64. Firefighter workouts: Pro firefighter trainer Ryan Vacek builds entire workouts out of old hoses duct-taped together in his new book, "The Fire Athlete's Fitness Program." If you're out of old hose, you can use thick ropes or any other heavy flexible materials that can be bundled together.
65. Quick fuel: Endurance athletes duct-tape gel packs and other fast fuel in easy-to-reach spots.
66. Mark an infection safety zone: Docs at a medical center in the Midwest recently found that duct tape was the perfect solution to mark off a safe distance from high-risk infectious patients. That meant care providers didn't have to get into protective gowns and masks every time they needed to talk with a patient.
67. Mouth-to-mouth mask for CPR: Just fold over a big enough piece and cut a quick slit.
68. Halloween: Costumes.
69. Valentine's Day: To make a rose, tear off a 2-by-2-inch strip of red tape. Fold the top corners down so they meet, leaving a strip of the sticky side exposed on the bottom. This is one petal. With the pointy end up, but at a slight angle, wrap the petal down a stiff wire, pencil or whatever handy stem you can find. Repeat with more petals and then finish off with some green tape down the stem.
70. Memorial Day: Flak-proof barbecue apron: Joe Wilson details how to fashion a fire- and splash-resistant barbecue apron in his book "Ductigami: The Art of the Tape." Among his designs: a quick replacement for a busted watchband and handy beverage cozies.
71. Duct-Tape-Your-Boss-to-the-Wall Day: Need we say more? Think fundraiser!
72. Christmas: Hanging decorations, making decorations, boxing up decorations for next year.
73. Easter: Those eggs too easy to find? Imagine the places you can hide them with a bit of duct tape! Try strips of tape for cool designs when coloring the eggs, too.
74. Thanksgiving: Cook a turkey — with just DVDs, a light bulb and duct tape. Don't believe it? Check out the Household Hackers how-to on YouTube.
75. Independence Day: Fireworks mashups: What's better than lighting off your own fireworks on the Fourth of July? Lighting off firecrackers that have been duct taped together. Bigger booms are always better.
Fashion & beauty
76. Make a tuxedo or dress. Go to the Duck Tape brand website for ideas. The company runs an annual contest for the best prom outfits.
78. Fedora: Make a mold by covering a fedora with aluminum foil. Cover the foil with tape, slipping the real hat out once you have the top layer built up. Use small strips for the brim, and be sure to add a band both for support and that true fedora look: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Duct-Tape-Fedora">www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Duct-Tape-Fedora.
79. Bra: We all know nothing supports like duct tape. Check out wikiHow to see how one woman proved it yet again: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Duct-Tape-Bra">www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Duct-Tape-Bra. Also, extra support for a strapless bra.
80. Patch pockets: If you suffer from pants pockets giving out early, plug those holes with a quick strip.
81. Lint remover
82. Hem pants and dresses.
83. Flip-flops: Trace your foot on a piece of paper or cardboard. Cut it out and tape it up, adding folded-over strips for straps.
85. Manscaping: We suspect you could use it on back hair. (Let us know if it works.)
86. Patch gear: From torn fatigues to ripped rucks, slap an iron to your duct-tape patches to heat up the glue for a better bond.
87. Clear clogged drains: Seal off overflow holes on clogged sinks and bathtubs before breaking out the plunger.
88. Build a moon-buggy fender: If your moon rover throws a fender, like it did for one Apollo crew, do what they did and fashion a replacement with duct tape and a laminated map.
89. New edging for an old frayed blanket or rug
In the field
90. Waterproofing: A heavy-duty garbage bag and a roll of duct tape will keep just about anything dry.
91. Patch helicopter blades: Your helicopter blades take a few rounds or getting eaten by desert sands? No problem, duct tape will get you flying again. Crew chiefs have even been known to use buckshot and duct tape to rebalance out-of-whack rotors in a pinch.
92. Make a coffee mug: Cut the top off of a water bottle, wrap with 550 cord to add some grip, then wrap with tape.
93. Shower curtain: Want a little privacy for your field shower? Lay out a 6-foot strip of duct tape face up. Layer another 6-foot strip along it widthwise, face down. Repeat until it's big enough to cover all your privates — and sergeants.
94. Light blocker: Tape an MRE box, garbage bag or anything else you can scrounge to block light out for day sleepers or keep it hidden from prying eyes in the night.
95. Sandbag seepage repair
96. Hooch hammock: You can fashion it with a poncho liner or sheet, or make the whole thing from scratch.
97. Reduce optics glare: Tape over optics — from binoculars and sniper scopes to camera lenses — leaving a small slit in the middle to cut glare. Be sure to double it over so it doesn't stick to the glass.
98. Boot blousing & securing boot laces
99. Air mattress patch
100. Clothesline: No rope? No problem. Just run a length of tape out, fold together lengthwise and twist.
101. Snow goggles: "dual survival" experts Army veteran Dave Canterbury and Cody Lundin fashioned two pairs of duct tape goggles to prevent snow blindness while taping their Discovery Channel show atop a new Zealand glacier.