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How can you get labels to stick to plastic boxes? The plastic boxes I’m talking about here are the carry totes that tools, like a circ saw or a nailer, might come in. I have a series of these boxes on shelves and would like to see at a glance what’s in them (as I often forget which tool is in which box).

Sticky notes last only minutes, and nice Brothers labels fall off by the next day.

There has to be a easier way than bolting labels on (which I haven’t done yet). And I don’t want to use masking tape (which I also haven’t tried).

Any ideas?
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Glue adhesion can be improved by a quick wipe with acetone where you wish to apply the label. Wipe with acetone, let dry, apply your label. Use just enough acetone to "dull" the gloss on the surface of the plastic.
 

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+1 on the marker. A Sharpie works great. When you want to change it, wipe it off with alcohol.
 

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I use a sharpie, I have black, silver and red
if you're insisting on a sticker buy some 3M adhesion promoter
Adhesion promoter makes sticky stuff stickier

 

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I wiped with some alcohol wipes, added the brothers label, and covered the label with a small piece of packing tape. I have 1 or 2 that are falling off a year later.
 

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print on paper and use clear packing tape. doesn't last forever but with some acetone pre-cleaning may hold longer that it needs to.
 

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As per Honolulu, clear packing tape works very well, but you need a procedure.

Write the label on a piece of paper that is narrower than the clear tape.
Peel off more tape than you need, lay it sticky side up and place the label writing side down inside the edges of the tape.
Using the ends you are going to cut off, press the tape to the clean plastic box and smooth down all around the paper, top bottom and sides. leave a half inch past each end of the label.
Carefully cut off the excess with scissors and smooth them down as well.
DO NOT touch the tape sticky at ANY time!
One partial print and it will quickly peel off.
I label plastic electrical sockets and switches this way, and they stay in place for many years even with constant handling.
 

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good expansion there sunnybob.

My wife grabs a roll of clear packing tape and runs it all over stuff we mail to our kids. She uses about 3x as much tape as I would, to get it "nice and tight". Not that packing tape is expensive since she buys 10 rolls at a time from Costo, but it gripes my frugal macdougal nature for her to do so. I are engineer! So I often overthink things, b/c life is full of things that aren't optimized, and ... just because.

The trick to using any tape is to make sure that all the adhesive is in full contact with whatever's under it. To ensure that, after applying the tape, burnish it with the dull edge of just about anything that will apply a decent amount of pressure (remember about force and pressure... it's just physics). When all the adhesive is firmly bound, it will have a different look to the not-so-firmly-bound tape. Guess which will last dang near forever! In the end, recipient cuts it all apart and out the door it goes.
 

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Termite
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I use a labeler on my fishing tackle, but some tool cases aren't smooth, but pebbled finish..
 

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This. And print neatly. I have marked all my plastic tool boxes with simple notes. “18” for the brad nailer. “PC 690” for the router. Doesn’t take a lot of words to tell what’s in the case.

Product Font Line Parallel Office supplies
 

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This one I use for fishing. Want it bigger use bigger lettering or get a larger printer.
Product Space bar Office supplies Office equipment Font
Brown Rectangle Font Material property Box
 

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Molds are often treated with a release agent. That is transferred from the mold to the part and needs to be replenished at regular intervals. As mentioned some acetone, or any good solvent, will remove that agent and allow the adhesive to actually stick. Also some plastics are naturally slippery and hard to make anything stick to them.

Ken
 
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