Storing Application Tape

Application tape manufacturers package their products in plastic sleeves, then box them in corrugated containers to protect the tape from light, dirt and humidity. If you’re not going to use the tape immediately, keep it in its box. Tape not stored in boxes is exposed to light, which can cause yellowing. Even shop lighting can yellow application tape.

This yellowing occurs because the light begins to degrade the natural rubber adhesive. Although this degradation isn’t generally significant to adversely affect product performance, it’s aesthetically unpleasing.

Yellowing caused by light detracts from an application tape’s appearance. However, storing a pressure-sensitive product in an excessively hot environment is more harmful. Prolonged exposure to temperatures above 85°F prematurely ages an adhesive and degrades its performance. Years ago, I met one sign maker who kept his application tape in the refrigerator. Wonders never cease! My advice is to store your beer in the fridge, and keep your tape in your shop’s coolest area.

As tapes age, their performance often declines and becomes problematic. Old application tape can “block-up” on the roll — the adhesive binds to the facestock’s first surface, making the product difficult, and often impossible, to unwind. All pressure-sensitive products have warranted shelf lives; for application tape and premask, it’s six months.

Consequently, you should rotate your tape inventory. The material first entered into inventory should be used first. Furthermore, handle your application tape with care — damage to a roll’s ends impairs unwinding the tape. The paper easily tears where it’s damaged.

Finally, application tape rolls should be stacked upright. Stacking them horizontally causes a flat spot on the tape roll, making unwinding more difficult.