The Ever-Versatile Duct (Duck!!) Tape


Over the course of my life, I have found a myriad of uses for duck tape.  I remember my grandfather and my uncles using it for temporary stopgaps on leaky hoses and pipes, wrapping handlebars, taping broken toys together, and other uses.  When I enlisted into the Army, I found duck tape to be indispensable.  Every soldier carried a roll of it in their rucksacks, using it for all sorts of things such as taping up loose straps and whatnot.  Today, I almost always have a roll or two of it around.

This past week, I experimented with yet another new use of duck tape.  My son is studying the history of ancient Greece this year, and he’s read various works dealing with Greek mythology, including the Iliad and Odyssey, collections of Greek myths, and the Percy Jackson series of books which takes Greek and Roman mythological characters and creatures and throws them into a contemporary setting.  For Halloween, my son decided to make Greek history and mythology the theme he would use for his costume.

Enter the dad.  We’ve been on a bit of a shoestring budget the last couple of months, so there wasn’t a lot of spending money at our disposal.  Looking around the house and in the garage, I found a few items that I thought I could utilize to make a least a passable shield and spear for my son’s costume.  I did have to make a couple small purchases, but most of the items I needed were already in our possession.

Basically, I used two colors of duck tape, an old round sled I had bought for my son years ago, a picture I printed and then had laminated, some nuts and bolts, and an old pair of blue jeans.

This is the sled before I modified it:

The sled was about the right size for what an ancient Greek warrior would have carried, if my son were a Hoplite marching off to battle.

The sled was about the right size for what an ancient Greek warrior would have carried, if my son were a Hoplite marching off to battle.

First step, drill some holes in the center for attaching arm straps.  For the straps, I took strips of an old pair of blue jeans and then wrapped them up completely in gold duck tape, then attached them with bolts to the sled/shield.

Not bad for old denim and duct tape.  The denim is fairly durable, and with the duck tape 'coating', tough enough to withstand a good amount of rough handling if my son chose to play with it.

Not bad for old denim and duct tape.

The next part was the most tedious:  wrapping the whole thing in shiny black duck (gorilla!) tape and putting the design for the shield onto the front.  For the design, my son decided to use the symbol of one of the figures from Greek mythology.  Kudos to any of you who can identify the symbol and the mythological deity or demigod it represents!  I printed the design onto copy paper, then laminated it and cut it out so it would fit in between the bolts holding the straps in place.

Here’s the finished product:

I 'blacked out' my son's face  for privacy purposes.  No, my son does not have an almost perfect solid black oval for a head.  :D

I ‘blacked out’ my son’s face for privacy purposes. No, my son does not have an almost perfect solid black oval for a head.

The spear that my son is holding was made from an old handle (from I don’t remember what now), black duck tape for a grip, and gold duck tape that I used to fashion a spearhead.

All in all, it was a fun creative exercise.

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