I am looking for some kind of material that can be used to easily latch something to someone's finger. This is for a first year engineering project. The idea is to use this material to latch small motors on someone's fingers in the same way that the motor in this picture is attached. The person should be able to move their fingers around without the motor falling off and the motor should be removable with a slightly strong pull. Also the material should create as small a barrier between the finger and motor as possible so that when the motor vibrates, it can easily be felt by the finger.

I'm thinking more along the lines of a sticky polymer sheet that readily sticks to the skin than some sort of adhesive or fluid glue, but I'm open to hearing all ideas.

Are there polymer materials out there (or particular functional groups) that match this description?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I would go for elastic over a glue or sticky material if possible. It's much easier to make it re-usable, it has less of an 'ick' factor, and it's a cheap, well-understood material. $\endgroup$
    – Aesin
    Mar 3, 2013 at 0:29
  • $\begingroup$ Another idea: you could just skip the whole adhesive route and design (or "engineer") a glove. $\endgroup$
    – BBftw
    Mar 3, 2013 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ I've already thought about putting motors on a glove. It won't do because the glove won't fit everyone perfectly - some people might have small hands that won't even touch the motor wearing the glove. It also offers less flexibility and comfort than the idea I had in mind. $\endgroup$
    – hesson
    Mar 3, 2013 at 18:37
  • $\begingroup$ I am also looking for a reusable skin adhesive for a product that I would like to develop and came across this Interesting conversation. Have you thought of using something like a strong lightweight stretchy tube and you could stitch together with another stretchy tube for the removable motor? Just possibly an idea that could lead you in a different direction $\endgroup$
    – Brian B
    Sep 4, 2020 at 3:21

2 Answers 2


I have an engineering solution for you that bypasses the need to find a chemistry solution.

I'm thinking more along the lines of a sticky polymer sheet that readily sticks to the skin

You want an adhesive bandage. Adhesive bandages are thin, stick to skin, and are easy to remove. In my experience, the less expensive generic brands are both thinner and stickier, so go with a generic brand. If you are worried about the thickness, do not use the central part with the embedded gauze pad. Only use the wings. Use a strong glue to fix your motor to the back of the adhesive wing.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, this might work - are there adhesive bandages that are sticky on both ends? Gluing the motor to the bandage is an idea, but it makes it difficult to reuse as the bandage will get worn out and it can't really be used multiple times. $\endgroup$
    – hesson
    Mar 2, 2013 at 20:53
  • $\begingroup$ As long as the glue is not an epoxy-based adhesive, you could remove the motor from the adhesive strip by dissolving the glue with solvents like toluene, acetone, ethyl acetate, methyl ethyl ketone, or hexanes. These things can be found commercially as paint thinner, paint stripper, nail polish remover or "mineral spirits". Again, maybe not an optimal solution, but your job as the engineer is to optimize it. $\endgroup$
    – Ben Norris
    Mar 2, 2013 at 21:16

There are people who need "easily removable material that sticks to skin" virtually every working day, so take a look at what they use:

Makeup artists use a special glue to stick special effects elements like Spock ears to the skin.

The glue is based on mastic, the resin of the mastic tree. So it is mainly a solution of the resin compounds in something like alcohol.

The most difficult problem to solve is finding a glue that is strong, but not harmful to skin - even when using it for a full day.
You can remove mastic glue with a "slightly strong pull". It will hurt the first time if there was hair.

There are also water-soluble skin glues, but as far as I know the mastic based is the strongest of them.
For examples, see Kryolan skin adhesives


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