Improving Hook Tape adhesion to plywood

Our team was frustrated last year by how poorly the hook tape adhered to plywood, despite sticking very well to other surfaces. We finally resorted to stapling the corners down.

I did some testing. Even if I wipe off the plywood and use the smooth side of the plywood sheet, the tape sticks very poorly. Peeling back the tape reveals the adhesive layer covered with tiny wood fibers. Essentially, the tape sticks to the superficial wood fibers more strongly than the superficial fibers stick to the fibers beneath them, so a stronger adhesive on the tape won’t fix the problem.

I figured out an easy way to improve the adhesion by borrowing the woodworking technique of “glue sizing”. Simply apply a thin layer of wood glue to the plywood where the hook tape will go. (I apply full-strength Titebond 2 with a small paintbrush, then wipe off the excess with a paper towel). Once the glue has hardened, the hook tape will adhere much better. The glue soaks in and solidifies the top layer of the plywood, which prevents the adhesive from pulling the fibers off.

I tested this out with some leftover (loop) tape and it makes a big difference. I think it will also help with the retroreflective tape, but I haven’t tested it yet - the leftover loop tape is free, the retroreflective tape is not…

Another random tape hint - resist the temptation to use scissors! Cut the Velcro* with an Exacto* knife instead. The adhesive gums up scissors very quickly, and cleaning adhesive off the scissors is a hassle.

  • Oops - … “hook tape” with a “craft knife”…

I’ve always found washers and wood screws to be quite effective.

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We used staples and a staple gun.

We had to replace a couple towards the end of the season as the staples came out, but it was a quick and easy solution.


If you put a \ in front of the * it won’t make the line a bullet point. @juliasdad

We found that painting the area under the velcro worked. And reinforced with staples. I guess the paint worked the same as glue.

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Also, “oops” cleaner/paint thinner works great for cleaning off the adhesive on scissors. :wink:


Thanks for the info! We’ll definitely use this for our field build this year.

Titebond slow set is my glue of choice for sizing. It has a long working time, so it has more of a chance to soak into the wood more. It’s kind of a pain since it has a long dry time, but this pretty well.

CA glues, “Super Glue” is not a good choice, it won’t soak into the fibers before it dries.

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