Stay Sharp- Masking Tape Tips
Updated: Apr 6, 2022
After three long years I would now call myself an expert on the matter. I thought I'd share what I've learnt along the way so you don't have to cry as much as I did when I first started out. If I can help you avoid bawling onto wonky lines and bled paint then I'll be happy. (Scroll down to the bottom for my Youtube video on this topic if you're more of a visual learner).
1. Tape choices
All masking tape is created equal, but some tape is more equal than others.
Use a high-quality low tack tape such as the delicate frogtape (the yellow kind) or low tack Deltec (the purple un). There are definitely uses for the normal green frog tape (around corners etc.) but I find the delicate tape is the best of taping over previously painted surfaces. Also when you’re painting older furniture it can help to just treat it with some love and not bate it around the place with super sticky tape. Be nice to your furniture. Bring them out to dinner, tell them they’re pretty. Some other brands I like- Axus decor and Indasa.
2. Follow tape instructions
Again different tape meets different needs, so it makes sense that different brands may have different instructions.
Frogtape needs to be removed while the paint is wet and may bleed if left on overnight. You do not want to experience the heartbreak of paint that’s bled through Frogtape, trust me. It happened to my dad and he’s not been the same since. He still cries thinking about it.
Deltec on the other hand can be left overnight without bleeding. The website says 4 months residue safe, but I think if it’s taking you 4 months to paint a locker you should probably just get someone else to do it (yes, I’m available and this is a subtle plug to hire me for the job).
3. Rub down tape
Don’t make any dirty jokes. I am SICK of it. This is serious business.
Ensure the tape has completely adhered to the surface you’re painting by rubbing it down. The tape becomes more transparent when it’s stuck down properly. This is of vital importance. Without this your paint will bleed, you’ll cry, throw the furniture at the wall get kicked out of your house and become homeless. No craic.
4. Drying time
Ensure you follow drying times if you are applying tape to painted surfaces. If the paint underneath is wet when you put tape over it, it will peel off when removing the tape. Then you’ll cry yadda yadda you get the idea by now. Just follow my tips.
5. Seal it BanyanBridges style
For any surface that is a bit rougher the tape should be sealed. By this I mean you should apply the background colour to the edges of the tape. if any bleeding results from the surface being too rough for the tape to adhere to, then the background colour will just seep through.
If you’re painting furniture and keeping the wood on show then you should seal the tape edges with varnish. This tip is from DoneUpNorth and she is the Queen of furniture.
Both DoneUpNorth and BanyanBridges explain this in more in depth detail on their Instagram.
6. Cutting Tape
Always use a sharp new craft blade when cutting your masking tape. If the masking tape is becoming fluffy when you cut it its time to change that blade!
7. Don't overload your roller/ paintbrush
If you put too much tape on the first layer it will pool under your tape. Put a thin layer on at first.
8. You can tape circles!
Yes, that's right you can mask out circles. All you have to do is trace around a plate or anything circular. Then apply tape over the line you've drawn. Then pop the plate back down and use your blade to cut the circle out.
9. Removing Tape for stripes
When the tape has done its job make sure to remove it gently, staying close to the piece. Treat it with the respect a lady deserves. For stripes, I remove the tape whilst the last layer of paint is wet.
10. Removing Paint for Complex Geometric designs
If your design is more complex and detailed I remove the tape when dry, otherwise my hands get all painty and I will destroy any of the areas I want to keep wooden.
I hope this was helpful! Remember that everything can be fixed and all the effort will be worth it.