What is a good tape to use for masking curves when painting?
November 3, 2010 6:00 PM   Subscribe

I was wondering if anyone knew a good tape to use for masking curves when painting?

I need the tape to bend easily but also not leave any adhesive behind or pull up the paint below when removing it. I'm using it for fine art painting. I use acrylic paint and also airbrush sometimes. If you know a good source online to buy it at that would be helpful too! Thanks!

So far I was looking at the 3m tape here. Any thoughts?
posted by austinlee to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
You might want to look into using masking fluid, which should work with acrylics (since they're water-based).

Here's a nice tutorial on getting started with masking fluid -- it's pretty easy to use: paint it on, remove by rubbing with your fingers or with an eraser.

I'd ask at your local art supply shop if masking fluid will work with acrylics, since I'm not 100% sure (I've only used them with watercolors).
posted by k8lin at 6:06 PM on November 3, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks! I've actually been using masking fluid and love it. I need the tape for when I need to make really large curved shapes.
posted by austinlee at 6:09 PM on November 3, 2010

I think what you need is "fine line tape," used in auto body painting. It's made with plastic film instead of paper, so it's more flexible.
posted by jon1270 at 6:52 PM on November 3, 2010

...and now I see that you already found it. Yes, that's what I'd try.
posted by jon1270 at 6:54 PM on November 3, 2010

Yeah I'd give that 3m tape a try, but see if they have it in a "delicate surfaces" version, which has less adhesive and is less likely to disturb your paint.. It'll be blue tape on an orange roll.

I've actually used electrical tape to mask off curved lines before (on metal) and I was lucky, the paint didn't bleed!

I have a great trick for masking with tape -- let me see if I can explain this well in writing... So lets say your base coat is green, and you want to paint an orange stripe. First, paint your base coat. Then lay out your tape the way you want, but then instead of grabbing the orange paint, paint that same green over the seam of the tape. Once that has dried, paint the orange stripe. So if you wind up getting any bleed, it will be the same color as your base coat, and you'll never see it when you remove the tape! Was that clear?
posted by Glendale at 7:04 PM on November 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Hi Glendale, thanks for the tip! I've actually used a similar method but instead of using the same color paint I'll use matte medium which is transparent.

Thanks for everyone's help. I've used the automotive stuff before that I've purchased at an automotive store and it works great for curving but it usually pulls up the paint. I'm thinking the 3m stuff should be good but just wanted some other thoughts before I bought it.
posted by austinlee at 7:13 PM on November 3, 2010

I often use clear contact paper. Depending on what paint you're using and what the surface is you can lay it down and cut with a razor while it's on the surface, or trace the shape on vellum, then trace it on the contact paper. You do need to practice with it a bit to avoid bleeding.
If that's too convoluted (it often is), I've used the blue 3M a few times and never had any issues with it.
posted by gally99 at 11:35 PM on November 3, 2010

Frisket is probably the best thing to use as it is especially used for art boards where automotive painting products are not. It would be better than masking fluid as well.
posted by JJ86 at 8:13 AM on November 4, 2010

Response by poster: I got the 3m blue tape in the mail. It makes great curves but found that it would pull up the paint. I also ordered the K-Tape orange tape. It's a little better but still pulled up paint. I'm going to try the Scotch Green Fine Line tape next.
posted by austinlee at 7:00 AM on November 13, 2010

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