The Tape Test

One of the most used items in my dance kit this year was something I thought I would only need in an emergency - fashion tape. I bought a 36-pack of pre-cut strips from Capezio's Bunheads line for $10 at my local dance supply store and figured it would get me through 3 competitions and 2 recitals. Between the costumes, leg warmers, arm warmers, and head pieces, I was left with about 6 strips after our first comp. When I first started thinking about assembling The Competition Box, I knew for a fact I wanted to include this dance essential, but in a larger quantity and for a much more reasonable price.

After doing some research, I decided that the best fashion tapes for me to test out would be 3M (white backing) and Sensi-Tak (red backing). 3M seems to be the standard tape being sold in stores (it's what comes in the Bunheads box at a huge markup), while Sensi-Tak is a little sturdier and is supposed to last 3 to 4 times longer than the 3M tape.

I found a wholesaler and ordered each tape in different sizes so I could test them out. I also ordered a few strips with a curved shape, which could be a good option for helping to secure costume pieces around the knees and elbows.

It became clear at the beginning of the testing process that the tape rolls weren't going to cut it. Sure, they offer more flexibility in length, but the pre-cut strips have an extra-long backing allowing for easy removal and a slice in the middle of the front protector film for the same reason. When you're in the middle of a quick change, every second counts. You don't want to be fumbling with fashion tape, especially if you're a little on the clumsy side like I am. Half your tape is wasted before you even start applying it to the costume. I also ruled out the 1" wide tape because it seemed too thick, and the 1/2" wide because it seemed too flimsy to be able to hold anything up effectively.

When I applied both tapes directly to my DD's skin, secured her to her crop top and then let her jump around, they both held up about the same. The real test came when I taped the crop top to a pair of dance tights and swung them around for about a minute. The Sensi-Tak was still going strong, while the 3M started separating.

Removing the tape is a test in itself, and both tapes were easily peeled away from skin and material; however, the Sensi-Tak did come away with more material lint than the 3M. I feel like if this was used with a delicate material, like lace, or came into contact with anything fuzzy or feathery, it would cause some pulling or damage.

I'm torn between these two items. I think I'm going to start using the Sensi-Tak with stronger fabrics, but still keep some 3M strips on hand for when I don't want to jeopardize the integrity of the costume. For this reason, I plan on including both tapes in my kit. The quantity is still up in the air, but I know for a fact that it will be more than the paltry 36 being sold currently.

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