Introduction: The (New) Duct Tape Challenge

About: Where there's a will, there's a way! Never give up, never give in...BE the good you want to see in the world. :)

Upon a brief examination of my own life, I realized that I spend a lot of time with negative or empty words...and no matter how hard I try, somehow I can't seem to control the verbal outbursts.

So I challenged myself to be silent and LISTEN--we do have TWO ears and only ONE mouth after all.

This instructable is to relate to you what I learned from this experience, and to challenge you to conduct your own experiment.


Step 1: Tape It Up

1.Buy some post-2007 duct tape. Why after that year? Because that's the year that duct tape manufacturers stopped putting asbestos in their duct tape, according to my research.

2. Slap a piece of duct tape over that trap! Our mouths, in slang, are called "a trap"...and rightfully so! Often times our words trap us into bad situations, arguments, and verbal vomit before we even blink--or think--twice!

Step 2: Go About Your Day

Make the fire, fix-a breakfast, wash the dishes, do the mopping...and the sweeping and the dusting...

Come on, Cinderelly, get your work done! ;)

Go about your normal day. If you have people you need to talk to and explain what you're doing, then do that before you start this challenge.

Step 3: Lots of Hand Signals and Mmhmms

Yeah, a day without talking is gonna require a lot of muffled sounds and hand gestures to get those around you to understand what you need.

Feel free to write down things that people aren't understanding, but only if it's a necessity (not to "yell" at someone, LOL). If you have kids--like I do--and the younger ones can't read, then make sure you tell them before you start the challenge what you're doing so they understand.

You will only be taking off the duct tape to eat or drink, or for EMERGENCIES only. Is it an "emergency" to verbally fight back in an argument? No. But if you need to scream for your kid because they're running into traffic--RIP THAT TAPE OFF QUICK AND GRAB YOUR KIDDO!

Step 4: Make Sure to Have Some Fun!

It's not a gloomy day because you're wordless...quite the opposite! It's often times more hilariously fun!

Step 5: Peel 'Er Off

When the time you allotted yourself for this challenge (a day, a weekend, a week, etc) is over, slowly peel off the duct tape. It honestly didn't hurt that bad.

I allotted one day for this challenge, just to see what it was like.

My observations when peeling off: my skin around my mouth was a tad bit dry (I have more sensitive skin, and a slight allergy to adhesives in certain tapes), and my lips were wet (from the moisture of my breathing or coughing with the tape on). You can see in the second picture exactly how my mouth (and skin around my mouth) looked after peeling off the tape.

NOTE: Be sure to wash your lips off every time you peel off the tape (this includes when eating, drinking, or licking your lips). You can simply use water to do so. This will remove the residue from the adhesive so you don't consume it.

Step 6: Warnings & Cautions

Although doctors will "prescribe" duct tape for prolonged periods of time to get rid of plantar's warts, here is a link to some cautions about using duct tape on the skin for prolonged periods of time. If you're wondering if it's toxic or safe (the short answer is: it's not toxic), check out this site:

These are some warnings/cautions I encourage you to follow:

  • Do not apply duct tape to someone else or to a child. (Be sure to explain the dangers of duct tape--the danger of suffocation if applied over both mouth and nose--to younger children who may try to copy you.)
  • Use with caution. Though duct tape is no longer toxic (post-2007), it could be very dangerous if used to prevent breathing or if swallowed. It's also dangerous (and even fatal) if over 80% of the body's skin is covered at the same time in duct tape (as it prevents the skin from "breathing" oxygen).
  • Do not apply duct tape to both mouth and nose.
  • Do not wear when sleeping.
  • Take it off to eat and drink. Please don't prevent yourself from drinking water or eating because you have it on.
  • It may cause a rash or a breakout if you have sensitive skin and use it longer than a day.
  • You may feel free to try different types of tape if duct tape causes breakout or rash. Or you can try a scarf. Be creative to obtain the same outcome.

Step 7: Keep a Journal

Take notes in a journal for the allotted time. Record what happens and what you learn from the different situations you encounter. What will you learn about yourself, your friends, your acquaintances, and even strangers when you stop talking and start listening? How many arguments were avoided? How many empty, useless words did you avoid saying?

It just might change your whole perspective!

Step 8: What I Learned

Here's what I learned for the day with The (New) Duct Tape Challenge:

  • There's humbleness in the wake of silence.
  • It takes two to tango...if you are silent, fights and arguments toward you will cease.
  • There's great joy and goofiness in the presence of speechlessness.
  • The more you practice silence, the easier it becomes to have that same self-control once the tape is off. You realize that it's not worth it to make mountains out of every molehill.
  • When we stop talking and start listening, the world--and the people therein--become (even painfully) clear. I could see in my children their hearts, sadness, joy, and true motives for what they do and say. I could see the brokenness in others, and it drove me to love them where I may fight back in misunderstood anger. I could stop a misunderstanding from causing an argument and actually THINK FIRST about what was really happening or being said.
  • We take for granted the gift of speech. We waste our time speaking with vain, idle, empty, negative, and/or useless words. It's amazing how much we all do this when you stop and listen to those around you. So many of us do nothing but complain all day. Speaking is a privilege, and a great responsibility. I learned that I want to use my words for edification, positive reinforcement, and encouragement...not to bring others or myself down. My new challenge to myself is to SPEAK POSITIVELY more than I complain or say negative things.

The moral of the story: this challenge changed my life for the better! I will definitely use what I've learned to change some things about myself and my big mouth. I intend for it to be a little less useless, and little more loving. :)

What will you learn? Will you accept the challenge? #NewDuctTapeChallenge

Duct Tape Challenge 2017

Runner Up in the
Duct Tape Challenge 2017

Epilog Contest 8

Participated in the
Epilog Contest 8