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A History of Hook and Loop Fasteners (and 20 Great Uses!)

Learn everything you’ve ever wanted about your favorite adhesive.

It’s been said that inspiration is everywhere and that it strikes when we least expect it.

Velcro Inventor – George De Mestral

That was the case for Swiss engineer George de Mestral, who noticed that after a warm summer trek through the woods with his dog, burdock seeds had become attached to both his clothing and the fur of his pet. Ever curious as to the exact mechanism behind the seeds latching on and refusing to let go, his decision to further study the idea would build the foundation for what we now know as VELCRO®.

The way by which de Mestral’s creation works is quite remarkable when broken down into its simplest parts. One strip of tape covered with tiny hooks is pressed onto a partner strip that’s covered with even tinier loops. An audible “snap” serves as confirmation that the two strips are connected firmly in place, providing a sturdy bond that can be reused multiple times.

Interesting myth: Velcro was invented by NASA for it’s space program
Fact: Velcro was already invented in late 1940s by George de Mestral (before NASA started using it) but the usage of velcro in NASA space program certainly lead to a spike in people’s interest in velcro usage

“Velcro” vs. “Hook and Loop”

When shopping for this type of product, one term that you may come across is “hook and loop tape (or hook and loop fastener).” But the name most often used is “Velcro”. Therefore, it’s easy to get confused as to whether or not there’s a difference between the two, and it helps to understand where both names come from.

VELCRO® is a brand name, a designation that de Mestral created by combining the terms “velour” and “crochet” when brainstorming names for his new venture. It’s also the name of a group of companies that primarily manufacture products with his fastener.

However, VELCRO® tape is a hook and loop fastener. Several companies make and sell this product (as we do here at Unitech Supplies), but even though both items function the same, not every brand of hook and loop tape is VELCRO® Brand.

Types of Hook & Loop Tape

Hook & Loop Tapes come in different shapes, sizes, lengths, and even colors, but regardless of the style that best fits your needs, all hook and loop fasteners generally fall into one of these categories:

  • Adhesive-backed tape – just as the name implies, these products have adhesive backing on both the individual hook and loop tapes. Simply remove the backing and press into place.
  • Sew-on tapes – non-adhesive, these tapes have to be stitched into whichever surfaces need to be fastened. Primarily used on clothing and other fabrics.
  • Back-to-Back tapes – a single strap of tape has hooks on one side, loops on the other. Ideal for wrapping items into bundles.

15 Uses for Hook and Loop Fasteners

It would be easier to create a list of things that can’t done with hook and loop tape, as it would be very short! With incredible versatility that‘s unmatched by other fasteners, there are literally thousands of different uses. Here are a few ideas, broken down by the type best suited for the job:

Adhesive-backed tape

  • Put an end to dangerous tripping hazards by securing rugs in place
  • Hang favorite pictures, certificates, and awards without nails and keep your walls free from damage!
  • Stop losing TV remotes and video game controllers by fastening them in place when not in use
  • Install window coverings

Round shape adhesive tape

Customers often request adhesive tapes in cut into different shapes and sizes for specific projects, the most common of which are round dots roughly the size of a coin. Therefore, we’ll be soon be adding a 25 mm diameter circle tape to our online shop. These dots function the same as regular adhesive tapes, but the shape is great for projects like:

  • Securing table or chair legs to the floor
  • Keeping a pet food dish from sliding
  • Preventing candles, keepsakes, or other potentially breakable items from falling
  • Eliminating spills by attaching to the bottom of perfume, spices, and other round bottles

Sew-on tape

  • Perfect for any clothing material that needs breakaway function (aprons, splashguards, etc.)
  • Make quick repairs on clothes, such as replacing broken zippers
  • Create an entry point on craft projects like pillows and stuffed animals

Back-to-back tapes

  • Wrap up and organize bothersome cords
  • Bundle recreational items like golf clubs and fishing rods
  • Tie small, like items together (especially helpful when moving!)
  • Keep wrapping paper from unrolling

Industrial Strength Adhesive Tape

One special type of adhesive tape is that which is created for the industrial market. That doesn’t mean that these products can’t be used around the home, but they have special characteristics that make them ideal for workplace settings.

3M Dual Lock tape is a preferred, industrial-grade hook and loop tape for a number of reasons. For starters, the hook material consists of a special mushroom shape that provides up to 5x the tensile strength of traditional hook and loop tapes. Secondly, 3M tape is clear, so it’s great for transparent objects. It’s also able to stand up to changing weather conditions and periods of extreme hot or cold. Consider using this premium tape for:

  • Attaching signs to company vehicles
  • Hanging signs on the outside of buildings
  • Installing important safety notices around job sites (road cones, warning tapes, etc.)
  • Binding bottles, razors, or other items to the inside of the shower
  • Securing outdoor furniture in place (it’ll hold even in the rain!)

How Will You Use It?

Whatever name you choose to call it by, hook and loop tape can be a quick fix for a small household problem or a longstanding solution to even the biggest issues. There’s never a shortage of opportunities to use it, and that number grows larger everyday as people seek out low-cost ways to keep important things in place.

Unitech Supplies stocks a varied assortment of hook and loop tapes suited for both domestic and commercial use, all of which can be customized in regards to length, size, and color. For more information about our products, visit our online shop or send us an email here.