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Sticky-backed plastic

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Brock
1375737.  Sat Feb 27, 2021 4:32 am Reply with quote

I have just shouted something rude at the radio and had to switch it off. A contributor to Radio 4's Saturday Live repeated the old canard that, because they couldn't mention the names of commercial products on air, the BBC's Blue Peter invented the term "sticky-backed plastic" to refer to Sellotape.

They did not, as far as I'm aware. Sellotape was "sticky tape"; "sticky-backed plastic" referred to Fablon (a product I have never had cause to buy). Often, when they'd finished making an item, they'd tell viewers to "cover it in sticky-backed plastic". I can't imagine that they would have recommended covering everything they made in Sellotape!

See, for example, The Scotsman:

Quote:
Blue Peter has a policy of never mentioning brand names on air and so "sticky-backed plastic" was the term used for the product marketed under the trade name Fablon. This meant that no child eager to make the Blue Peter models ever knew exactly what sticky-backed plastic was or where to get hold of it.

 
Brock
1375740.  Sat Feb 27, 2021 5:07 am Reply with quote

I've checked on BBC Sounds since someone doubted me (though the post has been deleted now). It was Sophie Ellis-Bextor - daughter of one of the original presenters - and she said it was Sellotape! (Around 9.17.)

It may have been corrected afterwards of course, but I'd switched off by then.

 
PDR
1375750.  Sat Feb 27, 2021 6:40 am Reply with quote

It was.

Twice.

PDR

 
Brock
1375751.  Sat Feb 27, 2021 6:44 am Reply with quote

I'm sure it was. Their listeners are pretty keen and tend to pick up on things like that. That'll teach me to switch off too fast!

You'd have thought that Janet Ellis's daughter, of all people, would have known better though...

 
crissdee
1375757.  Sat Feb 27, 2021 7:23 am Reply with quote

Brock wrote:
......"sticky-backed plastic" referred to Fablon (a product I have never had cause to buy).....


I find that mildly surprising. I have, over the years, bought yards and yards of the stuff. My father would swear by it for the purposes of covering......all sorts of things really. One drawer of a unit that sits behind me as I type, has little else in it....

 
Brock
1375760.  Sat Feb 27, 2021 7:45 am Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
Brock wrote:
......"sticky-backed plastic" referred to Fablon (a product I have never had cause to buy).....


I find that mildly surprising.


If you knew how hopelessly impractical I am, you wouldn't find it surprising at all! I'm sure it's very useful stuff, but I can't imagine making anything that would need to be covered in it. And I certainly wouldn't go round covering things in Fablon just for the hell of it.

What does appear to be true is that Blue Peter invented the term "sticky-back(ed) plastic", because at the time there was no generic term for it. Nowadays it seems to be sold under that name:

https://www.homebase.co.uk/our-range/brands/f/fablon

So Blue Peter may have inadvertently have been responsible for an addition to the language.

Where the "sticky-backed plastic = Sellotape" myth came from, I don't know. Here's a Guardian article from 2008 that repeats it:

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/tvandradioblog/2008/jun/24/valeriedontburstthebluepe

Since I find it hard to believe that a whole generation of children made the items featured on Blue Peter and then covered them in Sellotape, I can only assume that this myth was perpetuated by people who never actually attempted to make any of the featured items. (I didn't either, but I wasn't stupid enough to think that Sellotape would make a suitable covering!)

 
suze
1375764.  Sat Feb 27, 2021 8:22 am Reply with quote

Brock wrote:
You'd have thought that Janet Ellis's daughter, of all people, would have known better though...


I don't know so much. After all, Janet Ellis spent nigh on thirty years telling anyone who would listen that she was fired from Blue Peter for becoming pregnant while not being married. She now admits that this isn't true, and she wasn't fired at all; she chose to leave the show.

But in any case, Sellotape could never be "sticky-based plastic", because it is obviously sticky-fronted plastic.

 
crissdee
1375778.  Sat Feb 27, 2021 10:13 am Reply with quote

I would be interested to hear your reasoning for that, as they are materially the same thing, other than size. A man-made film with adhesive on one side, which in use leave. the non-adhesive side visible. A narrow strip of clear Fablon would serve EXACTLY the same purpose as a length of Sellotape.

A sudden flash of memory has come to me, that my dad used to keep various nails, screws, washers etc. in Sellotape TINS. Many years ago, it was actually sold in round tins.

NALOPKT.

 
PDR
1375782.  Sat Feb 27, 2021 10:45 am Reply with quote

I think Suze was taking the mick. Actually it's a thin wall of plastic film with a layer of adhesive on one side wall, coiled up on its edge like a clock spring...

In reality if one was being pedantic it isn't "a man-made film with adhesive on one side" either. It is a man-made film with a layer of double-sided adhesive film stuck to one side.

If you stick a piece of sellotape, stick it to (say) your fore-arm and then soak it in water you will find you can remove the non-adhesive film layer leaving the adhesive film layer behind This layer can then be encouraged to roll-up on itself forming a sticky ridge. Id some artistic work is then done with red and brown felt-tip pens this ridge becomes a passible impression of an angry, partially-healed scar, a trick that has been used by generations of budget-film props & make-up departments and school children.

NALOPKT(&EFGAS)

PDR

 
crissdee
1375796.  Sat Feb 27, 2021 12:31 pm Reply with quote

But then, isn't all adhesive inherently double sided? If it weren't, you couldn't use it to stick anything to anything else.

 
Brock
1375799.  Sat Feb 27, 2021 12:43 pm Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
But then, isn't all adhesive inherently double sided? If it weren't, you couldn't use it to stick anything to anything else.


I have a roll of Sellotape next to me. It's not double-sided. If I want to use it to stick two things together, I apply the adhesive side of the tape to the two things I want to stick together.

There is such a thing as double-sided tape, with the adhesive on both sides, but regular Sellotape isn't it[*].

[*]Although Sellotape do make their own double-sided tape, I now learn.

 
crissdee
1375810.  Sat Feb 27, 2021 3:34 pm Reply with quote

Brock wrote:
crissdee wrote:
But then, isn't all adhesive inherently double sided? If it weren't, you couldn't use it to stick anything to anything else.


I have a roll of Sellotape next to me. It's not double-sided.


You missed my point. I was responding to PDR's pedantry thus;

PDR wrote:
In reality if one was being pedantic it isn't "a man-made film with adhesive on one side" either. It is a man-made film with a layer of double-sided adhesive film stuck to one side.

 
Brock
1375811.  Sat Feb 27, 2021 4:05 pm Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
Brock wrote:
crissdee wrote:
But then, isn't all adhesive inherently double sided? If it weren't, you couldn't use it to stick anything to anything else.


I have a roll of Sellotape next to me. It's not double-sided.


You missed my point. I was responding to PDR's pedantry thus;

PDR wrote:
In reality if one was being pedantic it isn't "a man-made film with adhesive on one side" either. It is a man-made film with a layer of double-sided adhesive film stuck to one side.


He meant "film with adhesive applied to both sides". At least that's what I assume he meant.

There is of course no such thing as "double-sided adhesive", because adhesive doesn't have sides.

 
PDR
1375812.  Sat Feb 27, 2021 4:30 pm Reply with quote

Brock wrote:

He meant "film with adhesive applied to both sides". At least that's what I assume he meant.


Actually I meant what I said - double-sided film adhesive.

Film adhesive is a form of adhesive polymer which has been rolled/extruded in flat films. It includes a cross-linking polymer which allows it to have some structural integrity and keep its shape when removed from its backing paper/plastic. It comes in two forms double-sided (both sides left sticky) and single-sided (one side cured with heat and sprayed catalyst).

Double-sided film adhesives are used in the more modern adhesive tapes, self-adhesive vinyl etc, for bonding card/paper/composite layups to honeycomb or foam cores and also for bonding metals to foam or honeycomb cores (to name but a few). Single-sided film adhesive is used to create a non-sticky surfaced layer which can be bonded or painted at a later stage. I've also heard it referred to as "film-adhesive primer", but in my industry we stick to the "single-sided film" terminology.

Quote:
There is of course no such thing as "double-sided adhesive", because adhesive doesn't have sides.


I believe you have formed this view from the misapprehension that all adhesives are applied as a liquid, As I have indicated above, this is not the case.

PDR

 
Brock
1375813.  Sat Feb 27, 2021 4:41 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
Brock wrote:

He meant "film with adhesive applied to both sides". At least that's what I assume he meant.


Actually I meant what I said - double-sided film adhesive.


Actually you said "double-sided adhesive film", not "double-sided film adhesive". However I don't profess to know anything about the subject, so I don't know whether they're the same thing or not. I assumed that the first was a type of film, and the second was a type of adhesive. Maybe the same substance can be both.

 

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