How to Tape a Box: The Skill You Didn’t Know You Needed

A woman taping a moving box.

There’s always a bit of shame when you have to ask for the pocketknife at the family Christmas event because you can’t open the box on your own. However, that’s the sign of great tape job. As much as you want to believe that only your mom can do it so perfectly, that’s simply not true. In the case of shipping, moving, or packing, the first place to start is knowing how to properly tape a box.

It seems simple. You’ve probably done it before. But it only takes one bad tape job for disaster to strike. To avoid shattering great grandma’s dishes, use this guide to learn about how to tape a box, the best tape for shipping and moving, and key techniques like the H-Tape Method.

Picking the Best Packing Tape for the Job

Contrary to your dad’s belief, not everything can be fixed with duct tape. Whether it be for moving, shipping, or packing, there are tapes for each need. Tapes vary in widths, materials, and adhesives, which matter for what you are using it for.


For moving purposes, a box paper tape works well because the tape tears by hand making it easier load those old rooms and start filling up your new closet. Don’t worry though, the tape still holds its stick longer to those cardboard boxes and is more forgiving if you happen to not put it on straight. Don’t forget about the smart move tape to label every room from your old house either.


Shipping items can be challenging, especially when the box arrives damaged or opened. That can be avoided by using mailing tape. The benefits include resistance to twisting, pulling, and tearing, reinforced to not break in transit, and increased strength overall. The clear tape also allows you to write and label a box if needed.

Either of those options - box paper tape and shipping tape - work well for boxes headed for storage too.

It’s also essential that the tape is temperature resistant. Moving, shipping, and storage boxes all experience different climates. If the tape breaks, there’s good chance the box and its contents can also break.

As a leader in DIY moving, U-Haul offers a variety of different types of tapes to choose from.

How to Tape a Box

Now that you have the tape best suited for your situation, it’s time to stow away your items in a box.

  1. Using the new, flat box, identify the top and bottom. Assemble the bottom of the box first because everything needs a strong foundation. Shape the box into the desired form. Fold the two smaller flaps down, followed by the two larger flaps.
  2. With the help of a tape gun dispenser, tape the center seam that connects the two larger flaps. The tape should touch each flap to connect them as well as extend past both edges about 2-3 inches. The extra tape will be folded up the sides of the boxes to add extra support.
  3. Flip the box over, with the top facing toward you, and repeat the same steps used to tape the bottom of the box.
  4. Pat down the tape on both sides to strengthen the bond. If necessary, add extra strips of tape.
  5. If needed there are additional ways to bolster the support on either side, but especially The H-Tape Method for a boxthe bottom.

The H-Tape Method

As you can imagine, the final product of this will like look an “H”. The horizontal line of the letter has already been created. Now using the tape, line the vertical edges that are perpendicular or to the sides of the horizontal tape line you’ve established. The tape should overlap the piece already put on the box and now form an “H”.

The Snowflake Method

Like how you learned how to draw a snowflake in school, this will be used with tape. Pick the side you’d like the tape, using two separate pieces form an “X” by lining tape from corner to corner. Next, you should use two more pieces of tape to form something like that of a plus sign (+). The four additional pieces of tape means you’ll never have to worry about the bottom of the box giving out when you lift it up.

Are you ready to tape a box like a pro? Order your tape and moving boxes from U-Haul today and choose from Same-Day Delivery or FREE pickup from a U-Haul store near you.

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