How Does Water-Activated Tape Work?

2 Ink Custom Printed Paper Tape

Water-activated tape an eco-friendly paper tape, or kraft tape, with an adhesive that is activated by – you guessed it: water. This water-activated feature sets paper tape apart from traditional self-stick pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) tapes, such as PVC or polypropylene. This article will break down how water-activated tape works, starting with a detailed description and the best uses for this specialized tape.

What is it water-activated tape? 

Water-activated tape is an eco-friendly and recyclable packaging solution made from paper. It’s most known for its high-strength, pilfer-deterrent fiberglass threads and permanent bond that requires you to rip open the tape rather than peel it off, as you would for traditional self-stick varieties. Once water activates the adhesive, water-activated tape bonds instantly to new or recycled cardboard or corrugate – even if they’re dusty or dirty. Many companies love that water-activated tape can securely close boxes in a single strip instead of many.

Custom printed paper tape on cardboard boxes

Water-activated tape is best used for sealing packages with:

  • New or recycled cardboard or corrugate 
  • Soft, loose goods rather than hard goods 
  • Heavy or overfilled cartons
  • Sensitive goods that require added security
  • Food products and pharmaceuticals that require odor-free and hygienic packaging

Next, let’s dive deeper into how water-activated tape works, so you’ll know what to expect from this high-strength packaging solution.

How does water-activated tape work?

Water-activated tape comes in a roll, just like any other tape. However, the adhesive will not activate until it comes into contact with water. To make water-activated tape work, you’ll need a tape dispenser – but not just any ordinary tape dispenser. Water-activated tape requires a specialized desktop machine that uses a brush to automatically moisten the adhesive side as you pull it from the roll.

Here’s how to activate and dispense water-activated tape:

  1. Fill the tape dispenser’s water reservoir with fresh, clean water.
  2. Load the water-activated tape into the dispenser, looping it so that the adhesive side is faced down.
  3. Feed the tape through the dispenser’s guide plates, preparing it for water activation.
  4. Set the dispenser’s lever to your desired length, up to 30 inches per pull.
  5. When you pull the lever, the brush inside the water reservoir will moisten and activate the tape’s adhesive.
  6. With the adhesive is activated, apply the water-activated tape to your package and gently smooth it to secure it into place.

How is water-activated tape different than self-stick adhesive tapes?

Water-activated tape is different than its self-stick counterparts in three primary ways: 

  1. It uses water to activate the adhesive instead of having a self-stick adhesive
  2. It requires a specialized dispenser to moisten and activate the adhesive and cut the tape 
  3. It is reinforced with fiberglass threads for strength, which must be cut open instead of peeled off

Now that you know how water-activated tape works, continue reading to discover some of the advantages of using this unique packaging solution.

What are the advantages of using water-activated tape?

If you’re considering water-activated tape, consider some of its many benefits:

  • Eco-friendly and recyclable
  • Reinforced with fiberglass threads for package strength and security 
  • Bonds easily to new or recycled cardboard, including dusty surfaces
  • Securely closes boxes with a single strip
  • Odorless and hygienic
  • Durable in many environmental conditions
  • Resists package pilfering and tampering 
  • The printable surface allows you to customize the design to align with your brand 

Our water-activated tape is available in tan or white and allows you to print up to three colors. We offer both 240 grade and Heavy Duty 260 grade strengths. How can we help you customize this tape for the ultimate packaging solution? Browse our easy-to-use online catalog or contact our sales and design professionals to design unique and affordable water-activated tape that highlights your brand while going easy on your budget.

What’s the Difference Between PVC and Polypropylene Tape?

Custom PVC Packaging Tapes

Although they’re made from plastic materials, there are several differences between PVC and polypropylene tape.  Before you choose a custom packing tape, it’s important to understand these differences, as different tapes will work better for different applications.

Continue reading “What’s the Difference Between PVC and Polypropylene Tape?”

Design Considerations for Your Custom Printed Tape

Large group of printed tapeWhen it comes to printed tape design, the possibilities are endless. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t rules to custom printed tape design.

The final look of the tape – from the colors to the size to the composition of the various elements – will often be determined by the artwork provided by the customer and their company’s design philosophy.

Those elements can include company logos, slogans, web addresses, phone numbers, multiple inks, specialized fonts or other messages. Our art department can take your company’s art file and use it to create a proof that best suits your requirements while still offering a visually appealing design.

In this blog post, we’ll look at some design options for your custom printed tape projects.

Tapes with just a logo

Single Logo printed tapeCompanies that choose this option end up with a printed tape that is easily viewed from across the room. The logos are usually bolder, larger and make a strong visual statement.  This option gives companies an exclusive brand promotion without any sort of clutter.

There are multiple variations for printed tape depending on the number of inks being used. Costs increase as you add more inks, so consider this factor when deciding what to print.

A simple logo with one ink looks very different from a three-color print. But if you’re using a strong, well-designed logo, the image will look great on your tape design no matter the number of inks.

Logo and one element printed tapeTapes with a logo and one element

Adding another element to the print usually makes it easier for a company to communicate with customers. Some of the more comment elements include phone numbers or mailing addresses or – in more recent years – a website URL.

Having more elements also highlights the importance of having a well-designed layout that is still readable once the tape is applied to a box.

Tapes with multiple elements

Multiple elements printed tapeMore complex prints continue to be structured around a company logo, with additional information playing a supporting role.

In many cases, the logo is still big enough to be clearly read from across the room, with extra information included in a smaller font. These days, these smaller elements can often take the shape of social media symbols, with companies using their tape to let customers know they can find them on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Regardless of how many elements are used in the tape design, the result here is packaging that is easily recognized and enhances the company’s brand identity.

We often hear from customers who say having a custom tape makes their product stand out more for the retailers when they are stocking their shelves. Having a well-designed tape is important to our customers and we are proud to be able to produce such a wide variety of tapes.

To learn more about choosing the right tape design for your company, contact Phoenix Tape. We’ve spent the last three decades helping businesses like yours boost their brand awareness with logos that will get you noticed and custom-printed shipping tape that will keep your products secure. Whether you’re looking for branded paper tape, unique PVC tape, or custom polypropylene tape we have a solution that will fit your brand and budget.

Contact Phoenix Tape

Custom Paper Tape or Plastic Tape: Which is Better for Your Packing Needs?

Paper vs Plastic tape

It’s a question you’ve heard countless times at the grocery store: paper or plastic?

It’s one that applies to the world of custom printed packing tape as well. And while custom printed plastic tape and paper tape – also known as “kraft tape” – both have their selling points, there are times when one tape is more appropriate than the other. Continue reading “Custom Paper Tape or Plastic Tape: Which is Better for Your Packing Needs?”