How to use painter's tape: tips for a perfectly straight color gradient — MELANIE LISSACK INTERIORS (2022)

February 20, 2020 by Melanie Lisak Insidedo it yourself

How to use painter's tape: tips for a perfectly straight color gradient — MELANIE LISSACK INTERIORS (1)

Painter's tape - also known as painter's tape - is a wonderful DIY product that makes painting your home so much easier! Rather than relying on a steady hand to cut between your wall and ceiling or baseboard, painter's tape makes it easy to achieve a perfectly straight, sharp line of paint between two different hues. For those who like to get a little creative, masking tape is the perfect tool for adding stripes and shapes to your walls - great for use in children's rooms where you might want to add a variety of colours!

How to use painter's tape: tips for a perfectly straight color gradient — MELANIE LISSACK INTERIORS (2)

While most people are familiar with duct tape, many people have difficulty using it. Leaking paint, peeling paint when removing tape, and tape that won't even stick are common problems that can be overcome with the right advice. Over the years I've used a lot of tape on various projects and learned from experience how to be absolutely successful with tape. Below are my top tips and tricks for getting a perfectly straight, bleed-free line of color every time, with no fuss:

Choose the right tape

First things first - painter's tape isnogeneral purpose tape. Specially designed for decoration, painter's tape is easy to apply and remove without damage. If you're tempted to just buy duct tape instead of duct tape since it's cheaper - don't! Duct tape doesn't leave a clean line of paint and the material is fragile so you'll spend a lot of time trying to remove it from walls as it comes off in tiny pieces!

Painter's tape typically comes in a variety of sizes with varying levels of adhesion, so choose the right size and adhesion for your project. For example, if you are painting baseboards and want to protect your floorboards from paint stains, choose a thick, high-tack tape that sticks well and is wide enough to prevent missteps. Alternatively, if you're hand-painting a mural and need to put masking tape over paint that's only dried a few days ago, use thin, low-hanging masking tape that won't peel off fresh paint.

How to use painter's tape: tips for a perfectly straight color gradient — MELANIE LISSACK INTERIORS (3)

As a rule of thumb, I always buy some low-tack tape for general decoration as it sticks well but reduces the chance of the paint peeling off the wall when you remove it (more on that later in the post!).

frog tapeIt is probably the best known and most widely used tape on the UK market. While reviewing this tape I have tried many different types of tape in a variety of tacks and sizes and I have to say my absolute favorite is duct tapeProDec Low Tack precision edgefor his ability to get a super sharp color line every time.

How to use painter's tape: tips for a perfectly straight color gradient — MELANIE LISSACK INTERIORS (4)

Assess problem areas

One of the biggest problems people complain about when using masking tape is that it pulls out old paint or grout when removed. Used tape is often to blame. By using low-tack tape, you reduce the chance of old paint peeling off your wall — but there may be another issue to be aware of. If your wall is prone to moisture, is an exterior wall, or is particularly cold, you may have problems using tape. This is because the paint will not adhere as well to the wall on high humidity surfaces. The easiest way to test if your wall can handle tape is to touch it. Is it room temperature? Or does it feel much colder than in the bedroom? Walk around the room and feel the other walls - is the wall you're supposed to paint with tape cooler than the others? Also look out for loose, flaky, bubbling, or cracking paint—this is a sign that moisture is trying to escape from the walls through the paint. In this situation I would avoid using masking tape and hand paint with one insteadsliding window brush.A sash brush has a pointed tip, which makes it much easier to control the direction of your paint line and brush around switches and outlets, giving you more control over the spread of paint.

How to use painter's tape: tips for a perfectly straight color gradient — MELANIE LISSACK INTERIORS (5)

Perfect application of painter's tape

In addition to using the right tape, your application method also influences the quality of your painting line! After you have the tape in place, use an old credit or debit card to firmly smooth down the side of the tape that will be the edge of the painting. By making sure your tape is securely attached, you minimize the chance of ink stains.

How to use painter's tape: tips for a perfectly straight color gradient — MELANIE LISSACK INTERIORS (6)

When applying the paint, be sure to wipe the paint off the edge of the ribbon instead of painting over it. If you paint towards the edge of the tape, you can slide the paint under the tape.

How to use painter's tape: tips for a perfectly straight color gradient — MELANIE LISSACK INTERIORS (7)

If you're using masking tape to mark the baseboard or ceiling, pay special attention to the corners to get a straight, square edge. Apply the tape loosely to one side first and mark the corner with a pencil; Then peel off the tape and use sharp scissors to cut along the pencil line. Repeat for both corner edges.

How to use painter's tape: tips for a perfectly straight color gradient — MELANIE LISSACK INTERIORS (8)

WHEN TO REMOVE THE TAPE

There are many opinions as to when it is best to remove the tape. I personally think it's best to wait until the next day when the paint is dry but not cured. If you remove the tape while wet, there is a risk that the wet paint from the tape will stick to areas you do not want to paint. Removing the tape when the paint is tacky and not completely dry can remove the tape residue and ruin the perfect paint line. Give your paint 24 hours to dry, then slowly but firmly remove the tape at an angle. Keep the tape close to the paint line and resist the urge to pull one long piece at a time, as this increases the likelihood of you peeling old paint with the tape if it's pulled three feet away.

How to use painter's tape: tips for a perfectly straight color gradient — MELANIE LISSACK INTERIORS (9)

resume

If you get a jagged line or the tape is peeling off some of the old paint, it's not the end of the world. Make sure you have a small artist brush handy to correct minor mistakes.

How to use painter's tape: tips for a perfectly straight color gradient — MELANIE LISSACK INTERIORS (10)

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FAQs

How do you paint a perfect edge with painters tape? ›

After scoring the edges of the tape.

Run a utility knife carefully along the edge of the tape right where it meets the wall. You want to be careful to follow the edge of the tape exactly so you will have a straight paint line once you remove the tape.

How do you get perfect lines with masking tape? ›

Here's the trick. Paint over the edge of the tape with the color already on the wall (or whatever you're painting). So, if you're creating yellow stripes on a white wall, reach for the white paint first.

Should you peel painters tape while wet? ›

Wait until the paint is dry to the touch before removing the tape. Check the paint can for the manufacturer's dry times. Use a putty knife or razor blade to score along the edge of the tape. This prevents paint from being pulled up with the tape and from cracking along the paint line.

How long to leave painters tape on after painting? ›

How long do you leave painters tape on? The ideal time to remove masking tape from a home improvement project is when the paint is dry to the touch, usually after at least one hour. This is what we usually suggest to do to when the work is done, but this might not always be that easy.

How do you paint edges without leaving brush strokes? ›

Tip: Slap your paint brush on the side of the paint bucket instead of wiping off the tip. This keeps the brush bristles loaded so paint is being applied to your trim rather than bare bristles streaking across it. Go with the grain.

How do you get crisp lines? ›

Here's the real trick for perfectly crisp lines: seal the edges of the painters tape with some of the base wall color before painting on the contrasting color. Don't paint the whole width of the tape. Just a bit along the edge of the tape on the side where the stripe will be painted.

How do you paint straight lines between wall and ceiling with tape? ›

1. After your wall and ceiling paint is dry, apply a line of painter's tape on the wall about 1/4 inch from the ceiling. Also, apply a line on the ceiling about 1/4 inch from the wall. We love the Scotch 3M Delicate Blue painter's tape.

Is there a difference between painters tape and masking tape? ›

The most significant difference between masking and painter's tapes is that painter's tapes have a clean removal after the job is done, while masking tapes tend to leave residue behind if left up for the duration of a paint project.

Why you shouldn't use painters tape? ›

Even the highest quality tapes have been known to bleed through, allowing paint to get into areas where you really don't want it and where touch-ups will be needed after the job is complete. Painter's tape can also peel and rip during the removal process making an utter mess to your carefully painted wall.

How long can you leave painters tape on between coats? ›

Tape should be removed when it feels dry to the touch, which is ideally about an hour after painting. If it still feels gummy, leave the tape on overnight and remove it within 24 hours, when it finally feels hard and dry.

Can you leave painters tape on for two coats of paint? ›

4. Multiple coats mean multiple tape jobs. You may require several coats of paint to complete a job – this means you'll need to re-tape. For the best results, do not leave tape in place as the first coat dries; remove it and re-tape the job to prepare for the second coat.

What happens if you leave painters tape on too long? ›

Don't leave tape up too long.

Some products need to be removed fairly soon, but high-quality painter's tape allows considerable flexibility. Some can stay up 21 days or more. That being said, the longer it stays up, the harder the paint becomes and the more chance there is of it cracking during removal.

Do professionals use painters tape? ›

As a rule of thumb, professional painters advise applying painter's tape. It helps to assure clean lines with no messy edges making your painting project look more professional. But some DIY painters believe that taping takes too much time and is unnecessary.

How long can you leave 3m painters tape on before painting? ›

A thin, narrow width polypropylene masking tape for the professional painter. Designed for minimal paint build up and thin sharp paint lines. Remove within 24 hours.

How do you paint walls so you don't see brush strokes? ›

Know the correct painting techniques
  1. Paint in shorter strokes for the best coverage.
  2. Don't press too hard on the brush. ...
  3. Wet your brush with water before painting. ...
  4. Going back over semi dry paint is never a good idea. ...
  5. Always paint in one direction.
23 Aug 2021

What to add to paint so you don't see brush strokes? ›

Floetrol is an additive you can add to the paint that will help your paint stay wet longer, which will give it more time to meld together or self-level and eliminate brush strokes. When the paint dries quickly, like on hot days, it's harder to keep the brush strokes from showing.

How do professional painters paint straight lines? ›

11 Tips to Paint Perfectly Straight Lines
  • Use an Angled Brush. If you are going to try to paint a straight line with just a brush, be sure that it is an angled brush. ...
  • Don't Put Too Much Paint on the Brush. ...
  • Draw the Lines. ...
  • Use an Edger. ...
  • Keep the Edge Clean. ...
  • Use a Painter's Shield. ...
  • Use Painter's Tape. ...
  • Let Paint Dry.

Do you take Frog tape off when paint is wet or dry? ›

Remove the tape while the paint is still wet for the best results. Depending on what FrogTape® product you use, check how long your tape can stay up. Pull the tape off slowly at a 45-degree angle. If you hear ripping noises, it means you're going too fast.

When painting which is the correct order? ›

Painting

Once the room is ready to paint it's best to work from top to bottom, start on the ceiling and work your way down.

How do you paint a straight line with painters tape? ›

How to Paint a Clean Line in 4 Easy Steps
  1. Lay your tape as close to the desired line as possible.
  2. Using paint the color of the wall, paint along the edge, making sure that the paint seals the edge. ...
  3. After this dries, paint your new color over the top.
  4. Peel back the tape at a 45 degree angle and enjoy your clean stripe!
5 Mar 2019

How do professional painters tape? ›

How to apply painters tape to ceilings or inside corner walls
  1. Paint around the corner with the first color.
  2. Let dry fully (usually 24 hours)
  3. Tape your line 1/8" from the corner.
  4. Apply pressure to tape to make sure it's sealed.
  5. Start painting.

How do I get a perfect line between my wall and ceiling? ›

Method #2: Angled Brush

This method takes a little practice, but with the right paint brush and a steady hand, you can paint a perfect line where the wall meets the ceiling. Using a high-quality angled brush, apply paint to the wall about 1/4″ down from the ceiling. I like using a 2″ angled brush.

How do I stop paint from seeping under painters tape? ›

Apply a very thin coat of paint

Paint over the edges of the tape with your base coat color using gentle strokes of a paintbrush: this will create a seal between the tape and the base coat. Sealing the edge of the tape prevents any seeping and ensures that your next paint color won't bleed underneath the tape.

Do professional painters use painters tape? ›

As a rule of thumb, professional painters advise applying painter's tape. It helps to assure clean lines with no messy edges making your painting project look more professional. But some DIY painters believe that taping takes too much time and is unnecessary.

What is the difference between artist tape and painters tape? ›

However, masking tape can leave a sticky residue. So, it will have to be used and removed quickly. Artist tape is specifically designed for painting and other related applications, so it won't pucker or buckle if you paint over it. And like masking tape, you can find it in many stores.

Do you reapply painters tape between coats? ›

If your project needs multiple coats, you could leave the tape up until you finish the last layer. If you remove the tape after the first coat, you have to reapply it in the same spot as the first time. You risk ruining your line and placing tape on the painted area by mistake. Instead, leave it in place.

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