When it comes to fast and convenient fastening solutions, the only thing more ingenious than hook-and-loop fasteners as a whole is Velcro tape. Let’s explore the quickest and easiest solution for organising, connecting and stabilising everyday items at home and at work.
What’s the difference between hook-and-loop, hook-and-pile, touch fasteners and Velcro tape? In reality – nothing except impressive product diversity. Velcro, a private British company, secured the original patent in Switzerland in 1954, with the word combining the French ‘velour’ (velvet) with ‘crochet’ (hook). But the idea only really went mainstream once that patent expired towards the end of the 1970’s – which is why the descriptor ‘hook-and-loop’ (and derivatives) is really what you want to be searching for to scour the best of the competitive market.
Still, the details of the original Velcro patent – although ingenious – are actually very simple. Inventor and Swiss engineer George de Mestral returned one day from a tough hike with his dog, which was covered in burrs. De Mestral zoomed in on the structure of those prickles and wondered if all those burr teeth clinging strongly to the dog fur could be replicated in a handy commercial fastening product.
Velcro was born!
Really, there are only two components doing all the work – one strip with the rows of hundreds of tiny burr-like hooks (the rough side), and another strip with the loops or strands (the soft side) that do the clinging to the hooks. And with that simple design, generations of 2-year-olds could instantly ‘tie their shoes’ by doing nothing more than connecting the two sides together.
It’s critical to note that the two sides of velcro tape are definitely not created equal. For instance, while the rough side could cling quite impressively to de Mestral’s dog furr – as well as felts, wool and even velvet, fleece and certain microfibers. As long as there’s something to get captured by the hooks, the clinging power will do the rest.
For that reason, today’s velcro-like range of handy adhesive tapes could hardly be more diverse. Here’s a few honourable mentions:
1. Hook-side tape only
When you don’t need the soft loop side because the hooks are going to cling to something else, buy only hook-side velcro tape.
2. Self-engaging velcro tape
You can also get double-sided velcro tape, including products designed to be a hook-and-loop alternative to plastic cable ties. There’s hooks on one side and loops on the other so you can wrap it around something and then press the two sides together.
3. Two sticky sides
The most familiar velcro tape is either separate hook and loop strips, or a rolled-up version of both when you need a larger quantity of velcro tape that can be snipped to size with scissors. Both sides of the velcro tape have adhesive backing that can be stuck to a suitable surface, with coin-shaped velcro adhesive spots also popular.
You don’t always have to stick that velcro tape to a surface. For instance, say goodbye to zippers or buttons with sew-on hook-and-loop strips – with iron-on versions also available.
And in truth, there’s a lot more product diversity even than that, including heavy duty hook-and-loop components for items weighing several kilograms, and velcro tape with far more powerful adhesives to stick more securely to a greater range of surfaces. To secure exactly the velcro tape-like product you require for your particular applications, or find out more about product varieties we haven’t mentioned here, our helpful industry guides would be delighted to assist. Looking for a quality velcro tape online? Visit us at RS today!