Spike Tape? Here’s The Story

spike tape from thetapeworks.com

People in theatre, video and film know that spike tape is a valuable tool for making sure that performers, props and set pieces end up where they belong.

Spike tape is simply gaffers tape cut to a narrow, half inch width. Since it is available in 20 colors, it can be used to mark locations for different actors (you stand on the red mark while she stands on the blue) as they move through a scene.

Those who study theatrical history know of the legend where spike tape got its name.

In the days of Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre, the actual floor of the stage was dirt. In order to lay out specific locations on that stage, the director would actually put spikes into the ground to show the actors where to stand.

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Harrison Bros. Inc.
47 North Chatham Pkwy.
Chapel Hill, NC 27517

Does A Better Package Create A Better Product?

We’ve been selling a product called tie line for a long time. It is used by lots of theatrical and special events production companies for tasks like drapery hanging, bundling and cable management. It is also known by the name “trick line” because its matte black color means that you can’t see it on a darkened stage or against a black backdrop. Its handy for all sorts of special effects.

There’s not really a lot that can be done to improve this braided cotton cord. Or that’s what I thought until we received our first shipment from a new supplier for this product. For years, the tie line we sold had been wrapped on cardboard spools. I have used this product a lot myself over the years, and it seemed like before the tie line was gone that the spool had ripped, collapsed, or completely disintegrated through rough handling and packing into road cases and tool boxes.


This new tie line supplier had spooled their product on a heavy-duty plastic spool and it works much, much better. The spool can stand up to rough handling, sweaty palms and a little rain on an outdoor event site. The product is the same but it is now offered in a much better package.

This new vendor is also supplying us with new smaller 300 foot spools, so now you can buy a spool that will fit in your tool box or under the seat of your truck. No need to lug around a lifetime supply if you only need a small amount.

If you need tie line, but aren’t sure whether to buy the glazed or unglazed version, here’s a little info that might help. If you intend to tie and untie the knots over and over againg (say, for cable ties) use unglazed. It does not hold a knot as tightly. If your use is for something more permanent (e.g. tying a drape onto a truss or batten) use glazed. Knots tied with glazed time line remain tightly bound over a long period of time.

I never cease to be amazed at how a simple change in packaging can dramatically change the way I look at a product.