Sunday, August 17, 2014

It's Pull-Tab Awareness Week! #makepulltabs

Well, it's the week after Shark Week.. you know what that means! That's right, it's Pull-Tab Awareness Week! 

Last year was an unmitigated success, and I hope we can build on that momentum this year. It's the week when every considerate card collector/trader/seller worldwide joins forces to spread the word of pull tabs, as we try valiantly to reach those who are not yet enlightened to the ways of the pull tab.

It's one of the biggest plights for the sportscard collecting enthusiast of today:

Scotch tape.

Specifically, irresponsible usage of scotch tape to protect cards.

Don't get me wrong, tape is a must-have item for anyone who ever ships cards. A piece of tape over the opening of a top loader prevents the card from slipping out and potentially being damaged in shipment. (At some point we've all been the victim of a negligent newb card seller who just throws a top-loader into a bubble mailer willy-nilly and you open to the horrific sight of the card poking out, with a dinged corner or two.) A few cards secured between a couple pieces of protective cardboard by some tape is also a good way to keep them safe from the rigors of interstate travel.

But too often, the person mailing the cards doesn't take a moment to think about the recipient. I'm sure you've been in the frustrating situation many times: spending what seems like several minutes chipping away at a piece of tape with your fingernail, trying to free your newly obtained card(s). Such a pain! You could also use a knife or scissor blade to cut the tape, but you run the risk of slipping and cutting in too far, potentially damaging the cards. And either way, if it's a top loader, now you've got a trashy-looking top loader with a cut-up piece of tape on it.. time to get your fingernails involved again. Depending on the tape, it could take just a moment, or it could be on there so badly (chipping off in tiny brittle bits, or not coming off at all), that the card holder is essentially ruined. Even in the best-case scenario, some Goo Gone is usually needed to remove the sticky tape residue.

This disheartening scene could easily be avoided!

All the sender needs to do is spend two seconds to fold over a tiny piece of tape, creating a handy pull-tab. This pull-tab makes it super easy for the recipient to grab hold of the tape and peel it off in one efficient motion. No dangerous blades or fingernail frustration needed!


Step 1: Apply tape to one side.

Step 2: At the end of the remaining tape, fold over a piece about a centimeter long, with the sticky part being stuck against itself, creating a non-sticky pull-tab roughly the shape of a square.

Step 3: Apply the remaining tape to the other side.


  • You can also double up on the pull-tabs to make opening cards later even easier. Just follow the above process for each side of the tape you apply.
  • It's also nice to write "pull" on either the tab itself or on the protective cardboard with an arrow pointing to the tab. This is helpful for individuals who might not immediately recognize the tab you've thoughtfully created for them.

Advanced Pro Tips:

  • Blue painter's tape is the best tape to use! It costs a little more than regular clear scotch tape, but it comes off so easily and residue-free that your recipient will love you for it!
  • To be a Super Awesome Card Sender, also put a little piece of paper over the top-loader opening, and tape it on (with pull-tabs, of course!) This will help prevent the rare but tragic occurrence of the card sticking to the tape. This is especially a good idea with old vintage cardboard (more liable to stick and be damaged than today's cards) or when using extra thick top-loaders, such as with relics or other fat cards.

A+++++ transaction!!! Would deal with again!

  • Don't make the tab so big that there's not enough sticky part of the tape left to get a secure seal. You want at least a half-inch of sticky part remaining to ensure that the tape holds during transit. If you've got limited tape length to work with, it's better to have a "too small" pull-tab, than "too big". Even if it's too small, at least the recipient can have a good start for his fingernails.
  • If you write "pull" to identify the tab, be sure to write gently. Writing too hard could damage the card.


Step 1: Pull tab.

Step 2: There is no step 2; you're done, bro! Throw away the tape that easily came off, and enjoy your new card(s) and pristine top-loader!

It's just that easy! How has this not caught on? I'm still amazed at the lack of convenient pull-tabs. I've gotten over a hundred shipments of cards from dudes on eBay, Listia, or other online trades & sales, and only maybe 5% of them had pull-tabs. Why?! It's so easy to do and so handy for the person getting the cards!


Please, everyone, spread the word. Mention Pull-Tab Awareness Week on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, and to your trade buddies, frequented sellers, whatever! Even just one retweet or a little "P.S. It's Pull-Tab Awareness Week. Please use pull tabs" at the bottom of your next blog or social media post! Let's get everyone on the pull-tab bandwagon and make all our lives just a bit better.

Even if it's not a big deal to you personally and you don't mind fighting with stubborn pieces of tape around your cards, chances are it bugs somebody you trade with. Be kind, make pull-tabs!

Yes, it's a "first world problem", but such a senseless thing that shouldn't even be an issue. Let's eradicate this and move forward as a species. It'll save people a lot of time.. and time is money.. money that could be used for feeding the homeless or medical treatment for children.

And while I stress that this be a non-violent movement, an effective way to get eBay card sellers to listen is to hit them where it hurts: their feedback rating. The next time a seller makes you have to cut or scrape away bits of tape to free your card, do not give that seller 5-stars!

Here are some copy-and-paste-ready text and pictures for you to use on Twitter or wherever (feel free to create your own, too, of course):

It's Pull-Tab Awareness Week! When you use tape around sports cards, fold a piece near the end as a handy pull-tab. Please RT! #makepulltabs

Be Cool, be Fab, make a Pull-Tab! Fold over the end of the tape when packaging your sportscards for shipping. #makepulltabs

We're here. We want pull-tabs. Get used to it. #makepulltabs Please RT!

What do we want? Pull Tabs! When do we want it? When people send us cards! #makepulltabs

Hey everybody, please make handy pull tabs by folding the tape ends when taping up cards to ship. Thanks! #makepulltabs

There you go. Tweet it, Re-Tweet it, put it on Facebook, Instagram, let everybody know. Please. Fight the good fight! And remember, it all starts with you. Pull tabs: it's the right thing to do.


  1. And then you have the "doesn't use or know what a toploader is" crowd....

  2. Excellent Post. Of course with Ebay and some of the other sales sites there will still be a small percentage of tape users simply because most of those who sell on Ebay are not necessarily collectors or people who know the first thing about cards. They are just trying to sell some "junk wax" that they got at a flea market thinking they would make some money off of them because they are trading cards.

  3. Love it! I'll do my best to try to spread the word!

  4. Great post. I'll definitely try harder to make use of pull tabs in the future.

  5. Scotch tape doesn't go anywhere near my top loaders. Blue painter's tape only.