This week, it’s time for a cool trick with gaff tape that I picked up while
hanging out with all the film and video kids during my four years at Emerson
College back in Boston. It shouldn’t be surprising to pick up a new and
useful way to use gaff from film types, of course, since they did originate
the stuff, but it has surprised me that I have never once run into a theatre
or concert type who is familiar with this simple but oh-so-handy bit of gaff
origami. So, as an early holiday gift to you (and, Seth,
I do mean holiday in the generic, insert-your-holiday-of-choice here way!),
here is the small wonder known as the gaff triangle.
What exactly is it? It’s a simple and secure way of making a double-sided fastener
out of gaff tape. Show of hands, how many of you have tried to mount something,
say, a PCC or a mic switchbox, on another surface, such as a stage floor or
meter bridge? How many of you tried to do so by folding a loop of gaff back
on itself to create a sticky ring of gaff? How many of you, a short while later,
watched said object slide around or lift up/fall down from said surface? I thought
so. This is a fatal flaw of the gaff loop, since the physics of it mean that
this is always going to happen given an object of any significant weight (and,
honestly, it doesn’t even work that great for holding up a piece of paper, in
the long run).
Enter the gaff triangle. Basically, you’re just going to fold the gaff back
on itself at forty-five degree angles until it forms a triangle that is sticky
on both sides and–here’s the key difference–has all of its edges sealed. This
means that it can’t lift up like a loop can, and thus holds much more securely.
It’s tricky to describe in words, so I’ll let the picture do most of the talking.
Just tear a six inch long piece of gaff and hold it vertically, sticky side
away from you. Then, you’re going to start by folding one of the top corners
down along a forty-five degree angle towards you, so that you end up with a
sticky triangle looking at you. Now, you’re going to keep folding along the
lowest edge of that sticky triangle until you run out of tape (with a six inch
long piece of standard two inch tape, it will take five folds); the folds will
alternate between folds along forty-five degree angles and horizontal folds
along the width of the tape.
Again, while it sounds complicated, as you can see above, it’s actually really
simple. For those who wasted their days of elementary school and junior high,
this will end up looking just like those paper footballs you used to make and
flick across your best friend’s desk (or that you folded a note into to pass,
whichever type of kid you were :o)
Two of these triangles on the corners of an object you need to fasten will
do the trick for most light to medium weight small objects. Larger objects might
need all four corners, or even one or two in the middle. I’ve often used two
of these made from one inch gaff to stick PCCs to the edge of the stage when
I’m stuck using them (as you can tell, I’m not a huge PCC fan, but that’s a
whole different article).
Gaff triangles have served me well over the last few years, and hopefully they’ll
come in handy for you, too!