No Tape is Not the Same as Tie Line

No, Tape is Not the Same as Tie Line

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If you have ever spent any time on a stage crew or a film set you will be familiar with two items that are staples of the industry:

Tie Line and Gaff Tape.

Tie line is incredibly useful for keeping your cables organized.  In the absence of tie line, though, I have seen novice technicians assume that wrapping tape around a cable bundle is good for a quick fix.

Whoever does this is clearly not the person responsible for maintaining the cables once the gig is complete.  The tape is not only difficult to remove, but there will be sticky tape residue left behind about every 2 feet down the length of the cable.  This leads to a tedious cleaning job and a horrifying condition of the trade I call “cable hands”.

Cable Hands - Dirty Hands. Dirty residue left behind from taping cables

Nobody likes cables hands

But if you are on a gig and in a pinch with no tie line available, here is a simple solution.

How to Make a Quick Tie Line Replacement

  • Step 1

    Take a piece of tape. About 12 inches will be enough for a standard XLR cable.

  • Step 2

    Fold the tape in half along the length of the tape so the sticky part is on the inside.

  • Step 3

    Tie the tape string around your bundled cable as usual.

How to make a cable tie out of tape

This is a temporary solution and it is probably best to replace it when you get a chance, but at least your cable will stay tidy and free of sticky gunk.