Everything You Need to Know About Gummed Paper Tapes

everything you need to know about gummed paper tapes

It's no surprise that gummed paper tapes have gained popularity over the years. Their convenient, economical, and eco-friendly benefits make them stand out from conventional packaging tapes. They also have excellent adhesive properties and stick well to cardboard boxes.

There are several varieties of gummed paper tapes that may be used for various purposes. Gummed paper tapes come in various colors, patterns, textures, and even thicknesses. So, if you want your package to stand out in the crowd, gummed paper tape is something you should consider. 

Are you interested in learning more about these tapes? You’ve come to the right place. In today’s post, we give you a rundown of everything you need to know about gummed tapes. 

What Is Gummed Paper Tape?

Gummed paper tapes or water-activated tape (WAT) are mostly made from paper and natural adhesives. As the name suggests, these tapes work like postage stamps, with the adhesive activated when you moisten it with water.

Most small shops use a wet sponge or sprayer to activate these tapes. Dispensing machines are also available if you ship more than 30 orders daily. You can opt for the manual or electric dispensing machine, which is quicker, portable, and efficiently cuts the tapes in uniform lengths. Read more about our experience with buying tape dispensers in this article.

Apart from shipping boxes, you can use gummed paper tapes to seal gift bags and envelopes because they tear easily and leave no sticky residue.

2 Types Of Gummed Paper Tape

There are two types of gummed tape, reinforced and non-reinforced. Let us look at each in detail.

1. Reinforced Gummed Paper Tape

reinforced gummed paper tape

Source: Amazon

This is the most common gummed paper tape available. It can be found in hardware shops, schools & office supply stores. Although the paper component of these tapes is recyclable, the adhesive is not due to the presence of fiberglass strands.

The embedded fiberglass strands make it harder to tear manually, requiring you to have a sharp blade. However, it is stronger and more durable, making it ideal for shipping heavier loads. It is currently widely used by online retailers and courier companies.

2. Non-Reinforced Gummed Paper Tape

non reinforced gummed paper tape

Regular or non-reinforced type gummed tapes are made of paper and natural adhesives. They are biodegradable and 100% curbside recyclable — making them easier for customers to discard. These are the reasons why we decided to go with the non-reinforced tapes at Impack. 

Our non-reinforced packing tapes are perfect for boxes weighing up to 10 pounds. They work best for sending out small items like batteries, ornaments, and hair accessories since they are light and compact.

How to Use Gummed Paper Tape

Gummed paper tape is an excellent packing solution for both domestic and international deliveries. Like postage stamps, these tapes are quite simple to use. Assuming you just need to send a few goods, you can easily dampen the WAT using a sponge or a spray bottle.

gummed tape dispenser

Source: Amazon

But as your business expands, a gummed paper tape dispenser might be a worthwhile investment. There are manual and electric dispensers available to help you pack more efficiently. You can check this detailed read on how to use and apply our gummed paper tapes.

Things to Consider When Choosing Gummed Paper Tapes

Choosing the best gummed tape for your packages will not only guarantee that your shipments are safe but will also make them look beautiful and stand out from the rest. Here are the things you should keep in mind when choosing gummed paper tapes for your products: 

Size of the Box

The size of the box determines the length and width of the tape. Ideally, the bigger the box, the longer and broader the gummed tape you'll need. Moreover, it facilitates tape application whether done manually or with a dispenser.

Weight of Your Package

How well the tape sticks to the box depends on its weight. Regular non-reinforced gummed tape is better suited for lighter shipments. For instance, our gummed tape can hold up to 10 pounds. 

On the other hand, reinforced paper tape is a safer option when shipping heavy items. Its series of fiberglass strands that run the tape's length gives it additional strength. Most reinforced tapes can handle 40 to 60-pound boxes.

Temperature and Shipping Environment

You should always pay attention to the environmental conditions your packages will be predisposed to in transit and the storage locations. Heat and moisture can affect the quality of the seal. High humidity and cold temperatures are notorious for causing tape failure. Luckily, most gummed tapes can withstand these extreme conditions.

What are the Benefits of Using Gummed Paper Tapes?

There are many reasons why large companies like Amazon use gummed paper tapes for packaging products. Here’s a deep dive into the benefits of using gummed paper tape for your small shop.

Environmentally Friendly

Gummed paper tapes are an ideal eco-friendly alternative to standard packaging tapes. Made from just paper and a plant-based adhesive, non-reinforced gummed paper tapes are biodegradable and completely recyclable curbside.

Reinforced tapes comply with one of the 4Rs of sustainability, Reduce. Since you use relatively less tape to seal packages securely, it effectively reduces waste pileups in landfills and overreliance on plastic tape.

If you're looking to learn more about eco-friendly tapes, you can also check out our complete guide to packing tapes for eCommerce stores.


Unlike plastic tapes that only stick to a package's surface, gummed tapes form a paper-to-paper bond with the box. The seal is permanent; once removed, you cannot reapply it. As a result, it will deter any unscrupulous warehouse or courier personnel from attempting to open the package.

Using gummed paper tape makes you confident your package will arrive safely to your customers. If there is any tampering, it's easy to tell if someone has opened your package, and you can seek early redress with the delivery company.

floral gummed paper tapes

Beautiful Designs

There are lots of readily printed and well-designed gummed paper tapes that match your brand's overall look and feel. Check out our new Camelia Bloom packing tape with its intricate floral designs.

Using these available great-looking printed tapes is an excellent alternative to custom-made ones that usually require high Minimum Order Quantity (MOQs). 


Gummed paper tapes are more economical than branding boxes and will still offer your customers a pleasant unboxing experience. Besides, the initial customization costs of boxes may be unsustainable for your small e-commerce business, such as having a matte or glossy finish, which essentially means the manufacturer has to apply a thin plastic film on the box.

Clean Packages

Gummed paper tapes leave no residue behind like glue does. As a result, the packaging looks professional, which boosts your brand's reputation.

Moreover, the tapes easily withstand the rigors and temperature fluctuations in distribution centers and transit. Your consignments usually arrive intact without any damage to the products therein.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are gummed tapes eco-friendly?

Non-reinforced packing tapes are 100% biodegradable and curb-side recyclable. Reinforced tapes are also recyclable but you need to take them to a recycling facility. You only need one strip of this tape to secure heavy packages, which would have required 2-3 rounds of standard plastic tape.

How much tape do you need to seal a box?

The amount of tape you need depends on the size or weight of your box. The ideal size for a carton box is the length across the center seam plus 2-3 inches for the overhang. For small boxes like jewelry boxes that are usually 10cm long and 1-2 cm thick, you can use less overhang without compromising the strength of the seal or the security of your package.

Head over to our packing tape calculator to help you estimate how much tape you need to seal a particular box.

Are there boxes gummed tape can't seal?

Water-activated tapes are designed to hold strong bonds with paper and cardboard-like surfaces. However, on polished or plastic surfaces, the tape’s tack decreases significantly and may not be able to stick. In such a scenario, switching back to traditional plastic tapes would be best.

Gummed Tapes Combine Versatility With Sustainability

As a small e-commerce shop, you constantly change box sizes to fulfill orders. Luckily, you can easily use a single roll of gummed tape for a variety of carton shapes and sizes.

Cost-effective and simple to use, gummed paper tapes optimize your business operations while reducing the reliance on plastic in packaging. As a result, we can collectively ensure a healthier future for our planet.

Ready to use non-reinforced gummed paper tapes for your business? Check out our eco-friendly packaging tapes. Impack’s gummed tapes are water-activated and biodegradable.

Our designs are both attractive and functional — ensuring that your item arrives at its destination undamaged. You'll love this if you own an online store and want your packages delivered in flair while maintaining the greatest possible security standards.

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