Painter’s tape

Blue painter's tape on door frame

Let’s talk about painter’s tape.

Ángel worked as a housepainter for decades, but had a stroke three years ago that paralyzed the left side of his body. Now, painter’s tape is a key everyday tool. He uses it to hold down a piece a paper he needs to sign (Another idea for holding a paper still while signing it is to use a clipboard.) but also for doing handy work around the house. For example, “I’d like to mount this new striker plate on the front door,” Ángel says. He transfers himself from the recliner to his wheelchair and leans over to pick up a small metal striker plate and a roll of blue painter’s tape from the table. Using his right foot, he turns around and propels his wheelchair closer to the front door. Then he props the tape roll between his knees in order to pull off a section. He sets the striker plate on the tape, pulls a little more while bracing it with his knees, and tears it off.

Then, Ángel wheels in closer to the frame and lifts the tape and striker place up onto the inside of the door jamb, pressing it into place. It stays there, mounted in the spot where he needs it. “Now I just need to screw it on.” He wheels over, gets a screw from the table and passes it through the hole in the striker plate and it sits just inside the hole already drilled into the door jamb. “See?” Now he’s set up to use the screwdriver with his “good hand.”

Painter’s tape is perfect because you can use and then remove it without leaving adhesive around. It sticks well and yet is easily removable, and cheap too.

What is especially cool about this is that he had used painter’s tape for decades for his job, “but not this way.” When I asked him how he came up with it, he said, “It’s frustrating. You try, and you try it the other way, and you try and get mad and get upset and say, “Well damn there has to be some way to do this. I’m not going to surrender, I’m not going to surrender. This is not going to win.”” And then it came to him.

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