Introduction: Cable Ties From Electrical Tape

The idea to use sticky tape to hold cables together is pretty obvious. Just take it and wrap around and you are done, no instructable needed. So this instructable rather deals with some enhancements of the process you might find helpful. They are:

  • controlling the stickiness of the tape, so that no glue gets on the cables;
  • making a tie tight enough.

Step 1: ​Quick Explanation/Overview

(This part delivers the gist of the instructable right away with all the spoilers to save your browsing time.)

To not let the glue on the ties you fold the end of the piece of the tape on itself which creates a non-sticky (on both sides) end, with which you begin wrapping your cables. See Step 2 for details.

To create a good tension of your tie you put that non-sticky end between the cables which lets you make a tight first loop around them (detailed in the Step 3).

Or you can use for that a special shape of this non-sticky end with a hole and a narrow part, see Step 4.

And finally Step 5 explains the motivation and shows two uses of such ties.

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Step 2: Non-sticky End

Pictures should be self-explanatory. Note the flap at the end which might be useful to undo the tie. And these pictures also show that it is not easy to create enough tension doing the first loop. And if it is loose, then the tie will slip back and forth since we decided not to use the stickiness of the tape for that. The following parts deal with that.

Step 3: Start in Between the Cables

Again, see the pictures. Holding the end of the tie between the cables (there are at least two if we want to tie them, right?) helps stretch the tape doing the first loop. Then the sticky part comes, which holds the tension. If you keep the tension high right to the end, then the stretched tape might contract with time and reveal the glue. To avoid that it is better to start tight and then lower the tension gradually.

Step 4: ​Enter the Hole Punch

Another way to make the first loop tight is to specially shape the beginning of our tie. Then you can pull the two ends to the sides to tighten the cables together before using the sticky part to hold the tension.

Step 5: Motivation and Examples of Use

There are many cable management products in the market now. Zip-ties, Velcro-ties to name a few. But sometimes we need to arrange the cables on the cheap. Maybe it is a temporarily arrangement or you need very many cable ties to make it nice (say, a tie each 20 cm on a 2 m line will require 19 ties and what if you change your mind in a few days and you used zip-ties for that?). That leads us to the idea to use some cheap material, like insulating PVC tape. There is added benefit that the insulating tape ties are less bulky than zip- and Velcro ties. And it should not necessarily be blue, there are more neutral colours such as grey or black. And personally I feel notably less restricted when the materials I use are affordable, so that I can create more freely.

Examples of use

My TV is attached to the mains and my local network. So I combined the two cables as shown on the photo.

I once upgraded my symmetrically wired headphones with an elastic loop so I can remove them from ears and they still stay on me. I used knots to attach the elastic band.

Here is the new version which uses black insulating tape ties.

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