View Full Version : Painters Tape? What type to use?

08-26-2003, 04:16 PM

I've tried masking tape ... and 2 other 'painter's' type of tape that I found in my local art store .... but none of them has successfully blocked the paint completely .... it bleeds through under the tape, and it also peels paint when I take it off.

Do you have suggestions on other types? Brands?

Thanks a bunch!

08-26-2003, 07:00 PM
Dee, I don't have any brand recommendations...I sometimes use painters tape, sometimes regular masking tape...whatever I have available. As long as it's only been on a few days, ordinary masking tape comes off without much problem for me.

Whichever type of tape I use, I always press it down firmly all along the edge to ensure a good bond so that paint doesn't slide underneath. Even then, I sometimes get a bit of paint bleed underneath in some places, but it's usually only a little.

If it peels paint off when you take it off, it could be that the paint isn't adhering properly or it could also be caused by a thick paint application...try painting thinner where it meets the tape.

Edit: just realized; the rougher the texture of the surface, the greater the chance of paint slipping under the masking tape.

08-26-2003, 07:26 PM
Dee, some basic points first which you might already know:<UL><LI>Thinner paint tends to bleed more than thicker paint.
<LI>If you've added flow improver or something similar it will tend to exacerbate the problem (it also weakens paint films a little, making them slightly more prone to lifting if you then paint over them).<LI>Masking tape should be burnished/rubbed down well before painting (with the back of a fingernail or the bowl of a stainless steel spoon for example) to help it stick uniformly to the surface but unfortunately this tends to help it to lift off the paint underneath when you peel it off so it's a bit of a catch-22! You can try burnishing just the edge of the tape, this isn't really that satisfactory but it's worth bearing in mind.<LI>You can reduce the stickiness of whatever tape you're using by running the adhesive side over the edge of the desk once or twice. This is often suggested in specialist painting guides as a means to help minimise lifting.<LI>Tape should be peeled back along its length (almost flat to the surface) not out at 45 or 90 as we all tend to do it!
<LI>You might also try peeling the tape off when the paint is still fairly wet which has some advantages; I've never been entirely happy with this approach but you might give it a shot, see how it works for you.</UL>What paint are you using and what surface are you painting on by the way? Both can have an effect on the two common masking problems you're experiencing. If you're painting on canvas or any textured surface it's very difficult to entirely prevent bleeding under the tape as no matter how well you rub it down you'll leave tiny gaps in the hollows of the texture. Probably the best way around this is to paint the area first with acrylic medium which blocks off the holes so when colour goes down it can't go through them any more. This works from quite well to perfectly depending on the texture, the tape and the consistency of your paint and medium.

In addition to peeling the tape back the correct way another thing that can help lessen lifting of previous paint layers is not to overthin the paint with just water, always add some medium if you're painting thinly to make the paint films as strong as possible and bonded well to what's underneath.

You could also give some specialist masking tapes a shot, these might work better for you than the typical 'crepey' masking tapes one tends to find in art supply stores. The tape section in the online art suppliers like Dick Blick have a number of options that might not be available to you locally. I have some of "The Edge" which I got to fill out an order from Blick's a while ago but I haven't had the opportunity to test it yet. You could also try electricians' tape, I have some of this in my little bag of tapes for various masking jobs. It works surprisingly well and is flexible enough to go into hollows that other tapes will 'bridge over' but as it stretches quite easily it can make masking straight lines tricky (the edge can bow as you pull it taut).

So as you can see masking can be a whole bagfull o' cats! I suppose I should mention that one doesn't need to mask at all, you can of course learn to paint freehand within layout lines. It's a bit of a crapshoot which is more tedious - lots of masking or hours of very careful painting - both approaches are used by successful painters.

Last but not least consideration should be given to spraying your paint - this will generally give a much better finish than any brush application for hard-edged work. Airbrushing has its own set of issues but is definitely worth thinking about if you're going to be doing a lot of this.

Hope it helps,