Impossible Tape




Introduction: Impossible Tape

About: My name is Troy. I'm a Mechatronics graduate studying Mechanical Engineering. I like to make things and spend time outdoors (especially SCUBA diving). I am a Community Manager for Instructables.

The best part of any puzzle is the solution. Many people believe that knowing how something is done ruins the illusion, but I believe that sharing how something is done brings a greater respect for the process. Having made a few other impossible objects, I thought that combining two tape rolls to form this Impossible Tape roll was the perfect challenge. I selected blue painters tape because it is easy to work with, has a great color, and wasn't too sticky. This process is simple enough that anyone can do it with a couple of rolls of tape and some time. If you make your own impossible tape, be sure to share your pictures!

Step 1: Materials


Step 2: Unwrap Tape

Use gloves to keep your fingerprints and oils off the tape. Unroll the tape inside out onto the spray paint can taking extreme care to not rip the tape.

Step 3: Keep Unrolling

Keep unrolling the tape as straight as possible. It's not the most important to keep it straight, but it will help later on.

Step 4: Link Tape Rolls

Once the tape is completely unraveled, cut apart the cardboard tube. Do this very cleanly and in steps along the cardboard tube. On the inside, be sure to cut along the seam to hide the cut. Link the two rolls together by using white glue or other clear glue. Use tape not found on these two rolls (if you want each roll to be 100% unused) to clamp the glue joint till dry.

Step 5: Roll Back Up

Apply more glue to the cardboard that was previously ripped off the tube and start rolling the tape back up (the tape being rolled onto the cardboard will act as the clamp). Use gravity to keep the roll aligned while rolling everything back together.

Step 6: Make It Look New

No matter how careful you are rolling it back up, it won't look exactly like new as each layer will not be perfectly placed on top of the previous one. Use rough Sandpaper to flatten each side until it looks new. Scuff up each side of the unrolled roll of tape to make sure that both rolls look the same. You can clean up all the adhesive residue and 'sawdust' using a lint free cloth with some acetone.

Step 7:

There are many great impossible objects here on instructables. What impossible objects are your favorite? Have you made any yourself? Share them in the comments!



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    24 Discussions

    It takes a lot of work, no short cuts at all.

    It is so creative ! cool

    this is really going to confuse some of the people I work with. ??

    Now how about clear tape? ;)


    1 year ago

    Clever. The tape is still fully useable afterwards too.

    Looks nice, but this tape is too good and useful to waste. :)


    1 year ago

    Hee hee, there's no trick -- you actually DID IT!

    Nice touch, making it look untouched.

    That's pretty cool


    1 year ago

    You could link more rolls or ring topology objects like a coffee cup handle.


    1 year ago

    Try making a loooooooong chain...


    1 year ago


    when my daughter was tiny i had to make several trips to denver for my job. i bought her a small carved wooden puzzle from japan that fitted together to make a square box and she played with it for days figuring out how it went together , then for more days how it went BACK together... i bought her wooden round balls and impossible airy wooden puzzles. she loved them all and they lived in a wooden coke bottle case on our wall.... she is forty years older today and has the largest insurance company in the city of moore oklahoma. the idea that stretching a childs mind doesnt help them is one i would dispute, but obviously somebodies parents didnt think the same way i do. there's always a job for people who can only think inside the box, thanks for a great instructable and dont sweat the trolls, we need people to sweep up, live in their parents basements and ask us about whether we ...want fries... too

    put a few rolls together and hang them up to use on a shop wall or something and then when one is done you can tearoom the cardboard and move on to the next one

    I have to make one for my son. He loves these kinds of puzzles and I think I'll be able to "get him" with this! Thanks!


    1 year ago

    Ingenious! Did not see that solution coming at all :)