Doctor Duct-Tape & Nurse Superglue: the Unusual First Aid Team




Introduction: Doctor Duct-Tape & Nurse Superglue: the Unusual First Aid Team

About: Random creative stuff. Strong weakness for Upcycling, Open Source Hardware / Software and Industrial Vintage Design.

You want to go hiking or camping ? Maybe you move into your first own home or a zombie apocalypse has broken out? One of the things you should definitely take with you is duct tape and some superglue. In addition to repairing items, the two can also very well protect wounds and in some cases even save lives. Because a doctor or a first aid kit is not always nearby, but those two glues and they fit very well as a substitute, as explained bellow:

Duct tape

  • Very strong and flexible at the same time. Depending on the use case, you can still move the injured body part or totaly fix it and the bandage would not crack.
  • Sticky and waterproof. A bandage covered with duct tape is almost water tight and you can cross a lake or river without fear of bacteria coming into the wound.
  • Many possiblities to use at different injuries.


  • Good for small cuts or scratches.
  • Closes a wound within seconds. You are (nearly) full operational again.
  • Covers the wound absolutely tightly and reliably.
  • In principle, the adhesives used in medicine for wound closure are very closely to superglue.

In the following, I would like to give you now some examples how you could use them.

Step 1: Warnings and Pre-treatment

I am not a physician and there are unavoidable risks to "play doctor," whether the patient are you or a friend. So be sure to consult a trusted physician before you use the techniques outlined here.

  • Never close a dirty wound, animal bite, or puncture wound ! That’ll just set you up for a bad infection.
  • Never stick duct tape directly to the wound, this could lead to complications. Especially when removing ...


You should this everytime do, before you close wounds. Closing a wound is not as important as many people think. Stopping the bleeding and cleaning the wound should take priority.

1. Stop the bleeding

If putting pressure on a badly bleeding arm, leg, hand, or foot doesn’t work, use a tourniquet. You could use duct tape here, but only if you not got a belt or commercial one. Whatever kind of tourniquet you use, get professional medical help as soon as possible because keeping a tourniquet on too long can cause permanent tissue damage or the loss of a limb.

2. Clean the wound

A small water jet with drinkable water works best for most wounds. If you have no running water, you could fill a clean plastic bag or water bottle with water and make a pinhole in the bottom. Squeeze the water through the hole and into the wound.

3. Dry the skin around the wound

Use sterile gauze or a clean piece of cloth to dry the skin around the wound.

The next step is then followed by the bloody images... ;D

Step 2: Small Cuts

! Use this technique only at small and clean cut wounds !

    1. Squeeze the edges of the wound together if possible, otherwise exchange 1. and 2.
    2. Spread a small drop of superglue into the center.
    3. Smooth out with the side of the spout. If the layer is too thick, the adhesive is broken and is no longer dense, therefore spread as thin as possible.

    After a few days, the adhesive should fall off by itself.

    Step 3: Precautionary Blister Protection

    Since duct tape will with stand sweat and dampness, its a good protection against blisters.

    1. Apply some duct tape before the blisters form direct to the skin.
    2. Be sure the tape ist flat and free of winkles.

    If the blisters have formed then go to the next step and apply a plaster like descriped.

    Step 4: A Diy Plaster / Bandage for Small to Middle Wounds

    1. Cut a piece of sterile gauze or clean cloth according to the size of the wound. It should be about one-quarter-inch too much on each side.
    2. Remove suitable pieces from the tape.
    3. Put the gauze eg. cloth on the wound.
    4. Stick the pieces of tape at the edges.

    This should now protect the wound from dirt and such, but lets some air in, wich is good for the wound.

    In some cases you need to protect the wound from dirty liquids. Since duct tape is waterproof, you can make what’s called an occlusive dressing with it. Instead of removing suitable pieces from the roll, tape over this dressing with enough strips to seal it.

    Step 5: Butterfly Sutures to Close Bigger Cuts

    1. Pull a piece of tape from the roll. You got about two sutures from two-inch tape.
    2. Stick it down to a flat and clean surface.
    3. Cut with a knife through the middle.
    4. Divide this strip into approximately two-inch long parts.
    5. Now cut a notch at both sides in the middle of each this sutures.
    6. Peel one off.
    7. Take one tab and press it down.
    8. Now take the other tab and press it on top.
    9. Start at one end of the wound, bring the cut edges together with your hand. They should touch but not be squeezed tightly.
    10. Tape them together, placing the tape perpendicular to the wound.
    11. Continue down the wound.

    The space between each strip and its width can vary depending on the wound.

    This is a good technique if you nothing got than duct tape and a knife. The butterfly sutures should at least get you back to camp or to the hospital.

    Step 6: A Splint

    1. Find something sturdy that serves as a scaffolding for the splint. For example a rolled up newspaper, planks, sticks or a blanket.
    2. You can also use a different limb as a scaffolding for the splint. For example, a broken finger or toe can be attached to the adjacent finger or toe, preferably with a padding there between.
    3. If your wrist is broken, you can wrap a newspaper around the hand, wrist, and forearm to secure the broken bone as much as possible. In addition, you can make a simple sling. If your ankle is broken, wrap the newspaper around your foot and ankle.
    4. Check the track for signs of a disturbed blood flow. Check regularly whether the rail is too close to the limbs. Should the area appear pale, swollen or deaf, then loosen the rail.

    Step 7: Prevent a Collapsed Lung

    With an open chest wound, the lung is unable to remain expanded and could colapse. Signs of such a collapse include shortness of breath and bubbling coming from the wound. You can try to stop the collapse process by creating a one-way valve. The goal is to stop air from getting sucked into the chest through the wound as the person breathes but still allow excess air to escape the chest through the wound.

    1. Place an patch over the wound, covering it completely and extending 2 inches beyond the wound. You can use any air-tight material, like cellophane, aluminum foil or just a self-made one from duct tape (taped together, no sticky side).
    2. Tape it on three sides. With each exhale, air in the chest is pushed out from underneath the occlusive patch. With each inhale, the patch sticks to the skin, keeping air from coming back into the chest.
    3. If the tape won't stick (because of blood, perspiration or water), hold the patch in place with a dressing. Don't make it to tight.
    4. Roll the patient on the wounded side, till professional help has arrived.

    Step 8:

    I hope I could convince you how useful duct tape and superglue can be. This was just a small selection of possibilities, there are many more.

    For example here on Instructables: A Stretcher to transport injured persons. There are even exist books that are just about the topic.

    No's were harmed in making of this instructable !

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      4 Discussions


      3 years ago

      That's a good idea. Taking the tape off though.....


      Reply 3 years ago

      Thanks! :D


      4 years ago

      Nice, very well explained.

      I always liked that scene in Hulk where Edward Norton slashes his finger and immediatly pours superglue on it to close it.


      Reply 4 years ago

      Thank you very much. Since English is not my native language, I am always unsure whether the reader understands everything.

      I forgot the scene. I watch the movie right away. : D