17-year-old finds many uses for duct tape

Saturday, December 22, 2001

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Luke Storer is proud that he has graduated from being known as Duct Tape Boy to being called Duct Tape Man.

"I'm a senior now," the Hillcrest High School student says.

The 17-year-old wears his nickname like a badge of honor, a reputation he has earned by making useful items out of the popular, sticky gray tape.

Luke's laundry list of stuff he's made or covered in duct tape includes various types of hats, sandals, boots, book covers, back packs, wallets, a walking stick, a Halloween mask, a tie, a vest, a complete suit, even a holster device that holds a roll of duct tape.

"I love how useful is it. You can use it for just about anything. There's a unique look to it," the lanky, bespectacled teen says.

For more than two years, Luke has been covering items like boots, the cowboy hat and the suit; or making things from scratch like his wallet and a backpack for sister Kayla.

One of his proudest creations is what Luke calls his "happy hat."

It's a straw hat that's been covered with tape and has all sort of trinkets and stuffed animals attached to it.

He's worn it to camp and to Hat Day at Hillcrest.

"I can't imagine being sad wearing this hat," he says.

Luke's given a few things away to family members and friends, but he's held on to most of the stuff, including a 10-pound ball of leftover duct tape scraps.

"That's how much tape I've saved from the garbage," he says.

Luke's creative hobby started after he heard about the practice at a camp a few years ago. A short time later, he found a baseball cap on the side of a road that he decided to use as an experiment in duct taping.

He bought a $3 roll of tape and went to work, putting six layers of the stuff on the hat. He still has the hat and wears it a lot.

From the hat, Luke advanced to making a backpack for himself that he takes everywhere, along with two-tone cowboy boots made with gray and green tape and a suit and tie that he has worn in public. He posed in it for his senior pictures.

He now adds a logo -- a green duck made from duct tape -- to most of his work.

Close examination of Luke's work shows there are few flaws or even any noticeable seams.

He works for hours applying layer after layer of the tape until it looks like the item is made completely from tape.

Wearable items have a cloth base, Luke says, because the tape can irritate the skin.

The most common questions he gets about his duct tape clothing:

Does he wear duct tape underwear?

Does he wear duct tape socks?

The answer to both is no.

He gets stares and catcalls at school now and then, but Luke says he doesn't mind.

His mom, Dawn, doesn't have a problem with her son's interest.

"There are worse things he could be doing," she says.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: