BHGP INSTRUCTABLES: How to make Hawkeye Duct Tape at Home

Can't find Iowa-themed duct tape at your local store? Then follow our easy ten-step plan to make your own.

Recently, we ran a piece questioning why it is so difficult to find Iowa Hawkeye-themed duct tape, and in the comments, some enterprising readers pointed out that rolls are available in certain locations. But that did not put our minds to rest. What if HaWkMoM_64 sells all of her stock on eBay? What if you can't make it in person to Iowa Book & Supply? In that case you would be S.O.D.T. So to plan for that terrible eventuality, we hereby present our first ever BHGP Instructable:

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN HAWKEYE DUCT TAPE

SUPPLIES NEEDED:

STEP 1: MAKE YOUR DESIGN

Find a current Hawkeye duct tape design and rip it off shamelessly, or design your own! Maybe you want to make the first duct tape with Tim Dwight's bald head on it, or Hayden Fry's aviator glasses. This is your chance to be creative, but be forewarned: using the words Iowa, Hawkeyes, Hawks, or the likenesses of any players living or dead will likely land you in hot water, legally speaking.

Whatever you decide on for your design, remember it must be no more than 1.87" tall. Draw it carefully or print it out on your construction paper in black and white.

STEP 2: MAKE YOUR STENCIL

Remove the glass from the small picture frame and wrap the scrap of fabric around the frame until it is taut. Affix the fabric to the front of the frame with a staple gun. Coat the screen on the back of the frame with emulsion from the photo emulsion kit, then allow to dry in a dark room for five minutes. When dry, place your design directly underneath the screen and expose to a strong UV light source (a light table would be ideal, but a sunny day works fine too).

When your design has been sufficiently exposed, rinse it off with water. The drawn parts should wash away, leaving you with a stencil, ready to print!

STEP 3: ASSEMBLE YOUR WORKSTATION

Take your 98 feet of 2x4 lumber and join end to end using your favorite joinery technique. Attach 2x4 legs every six feet to the wide part of the boards. You will now have a 98'-long structure that resembles a train bridge or a Roman aqueduct. Use your router to route out a 3"-wide, 1"-deep channel throughout the structure.

If you plan on using the workstation again, you should strongly consider applying a few coats of polyurethane finish. For maximum efficiency, sand the channel with 120 grit sand paper and then apply finishing wax.

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STEP 4: UNROLL THE TAPE

Take your plain roll of duct tape and begin to unroll it, sticky-side up, at the start of your workstation. Affix the start of the duct tape to the workstation with clamps, then slowly unroll the tape until it is spread across the 98 feet of the workstation. Clamp the end of the tape so that the entire expanse of tape is taut.

There should be a cardboard or plastic hoop in the middle of your roll. Put that to the side – you'll need it later.

STEP 5: REMOVE THE ADHESIVE

Take your methyl-ethyl-ketone and bathe the adhesive side of the tape, then scrub gently with an abrasive sponge or kitchen brush. Test periodically to see if the adhesive is coming off. If not, add a bit more MEK and keep scrubbing. When the fabric of the tape is no longer sticky to the touch, towel off any excess moisture with paper towels. Allow the tape to dry for 8 hours.

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STEP 6: APPLY A BASE COAT

Once the tape is dry, remove the clamps and flip the tape so that the silver side is up. Re-clamp, then take your black fabric spray paint and coat the surface of the paint, making sure at all times to keep the can at least 12" away from the fabric. Allow to dry 8 hours, then apply another coat. Wait until dry before starting step 7.

STEP 7: APPLY YOUR DESIGN

If everything has gone according to plan, your picture frame-screen should fit neatly in the routed-out channel in your workstation. Get your screen in position and then spray on the yellow fabric paint. Your design should come out crisply on the tape. Continue to apply the design in this manner at regular intervals (it may help to use a ruler and get this exact). When you are done with your 98 feet of tape, quickly go over it with a hairdryer several times, then allow to dry for 8 hours.

STEP 8: RE-APPLY ADHESIVE

Flip your newly-painted tape and re-clamp it in position on the workstation. Coat the back of the tape with the spray adhesive [safety note: please follow all ventilation recommendations when using spray adhesive]. IMMEDIATELY PROCEED TO STEP 9.

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STEP 9: ROLL IT BACK UP

Start at one end with the cardboard or plastic hoop you saved from the unrolling process. Carefully begin to roll the sticky tape onto the hoop, then slowly roll the hoop along the channel of your work station. Once you get to the end, it should be just about the same size as the original roll you purchased.

STEP 10: ENJOY!

You now have your own beautiful, hand-crafted Hawkeye duct tape. Use it with pride.

TIME (START TO FINISH) OF PROJECT: 43 hours

COST OF MATERIALS: ~$160*

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* $160 is the cost if you use this apparatus to produce only one roll. If you reuse the workstation and various other solvents, paints and adhesives, you could probably get closer to $25/roll. Also, apologies for the extreme silliness of this post. We will get through this offseason somehow, folks.

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