Just as a square is a rectangle, but not all rectangles are squares... E tape is a vinyl tape but not all vinyl tapes are E tapes. The main difference between the 2 are that E tapes are regulated to stop the flow of electrical current and non E vinyl tapes are not. This however really has no relevancy on hoop making. I have looked around on the internet and it seems that some hoop makers believe that regular vinyl is stiffer than E tape and therefore easier to wrap in a "straight" line. You can buy E tape in Home Depot in many colors but it is not as cost effective as buying on the internet. You might be able to find regular vinyl tape in a hardware or art store, but I'm not sure. Maybe try Walmart?
I think the regular vinyl feels a little stiffer than electrical tape, which seems to have a little more stretch. But the difference is very, very slight. I've seen colored electrical tape at Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart, and Menards. Wal-mart also has a large range of colored duct tape--including a tye-dye looking pattern. It's wide, but you can peel it into thinner strips. Just make sure you trim/cover the edges with electrical or vinyl tape, because duct tape frays easily. On the plus side, duct tape is pretty grippy.
I use the tie-dyed as well as the other patterned/colored duct tapes. I really recommend cutting it in half with an exacto knife instead of tearing. The tearing works since there are vertical strings running through the tape, but it frays a lot easier and ends up looking messy. If you get a book that's about half the height of the tape, you can run the knife along that and it works great. Happy hooping :)
I have used E tape, (many different colours) with great success on my first hoops, and I purchased it at the dollar store here in Canada. I'm sure in the US, the dollar stores carry it as well. Also, any Canadian Tire in Canada, and any hardware store or Lowe's or Home Depot should carry it.
Some electrical tapes have lead in them- so watch out for those. Otherwise vinyl and electrical are very similar in how they tear and stretch to cover hoops. I love them both, but can't find many colors here locally so for now I have opted to try out duct tapes and see how that works out as the local stores here have lots of fun colors for reasonable prices.
Maybe this is just me... but I've found that vinyl tape slides on the hoop and leaves glue exposed which gathers dirt and makes it look really ugly. I haven't had that problem with the 3m Scotch electrical tape I get from Lowes or Home Depot. You can also find that tape on amazon a lot cheaper. The only downside is there's not as many colors to choose from, but I also use Spike tape from hoopsupplies.com (great site) and they come in more vibrant colors.
Hm... I've had my gaffer tape do this, sometimes, if left in my trunk in the middle of the summer... But never had my vinyl tape do this. Where do you get yours from? Are you exposing it to extreme heat when it's doing this? Just curious, really. Thanks!