Is there paint-safe colorful wall tape?
July 28, 2012 10:07 AM   Subscribe

What types of tape could I use for colorful wall-safe alternatives to painter's tape?

I usually hang things with painter's tape (dorm rooms, so everything is very temporary). Official literature says painter's tape is all we're allowed to use. I found this look inspiring, though, and I'd like to something similar on my wall (or, worst case scenario, the front of some wooden furniture) - but I don't know what is paint-safe. Painter's tape is a type of masking tape - can I use other colored masking tapes safely? Is non-blue painter's tape available? Ideally, it would be neon, but I'll settle for colorful.
posted by R a c h e l to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You want Japanese "washi" tape. It is definitely rental safe and won't damage walls. Here are some room ideas, too.
posted by bcwinters at 10:11 AM on July 28, 2012

posted by Max Power at 10:14 AM on July 28, 2012

Response by poster: Not to threadsit - but - I've been looking at a lot of washi tape, but heard it called "super sticky" a few places and couldn't find much talking about walls/paint. Are all brands wall-safe?
posted by R a c h e l at 10:14 AM on July 28, 2012

Sorry, I should add that they have a neon green tape, called automotive finish or something like that.
posted by Max Power at 10:16 AM on July 28, 2012

Your picture looks like either washi tape (which could be OK, as bcwinters says), or spike tape, which is definitely NOT -- it's more like duct tape and I've seen it take paint off walls before.

Washi looks like masking tape to me, but the bottom line is that it's imported from Japan, and all the packaging I've ever seen is in Japanese. If you use it, you're taking a serious risk.

I've seen neon green painter's tape before, so definitely head to the best hardware store you can find and see what else is out there. You probably won't find it in neon orange though, since that's usually used for safety/alert stuff in a hardware context rather than "hey look at this cute orange tape!"
posted by Sara C. at 10:17 AM on July 28, 2012

in my experience the 3m blue tape is (unfortunately) all that really works. there are some orange and yellow tapes they make for more 'sensitive' and 'fragile' surfaces that tend to just plain not stick to anything (at all, ever), peeling themself off in minutes...and a bunch of other knock-off brands that tend to stick too well and leave gunky marks, and are also blue so you think they are 3m.

try painting the tape with spray paint. stretch it (carefully) between two tables or whatever (sticky side down) in lengths that are around 3-4 ft long (long, but still manageable) and spray the top whatever color you like...allow to dry before using. and put a dropcloth down first...and do it someplace that's outside but not windy (at a back alley) or it will stick to itself.
posted by sexyrobot at 10:18 AM on July 28, 2012

Also, I find it hilarious that your dorm only allows painters tape, considering that ten years ago my dorm "only" allowed blue-tac. I discovered (or maybe not) painter's tape independently and felt like I'd totally outsmarted the residential authority.
posted by Sara C. at 10:19 AM on July 28, 2012

Yeah, also keep in mind that your linked shot is professionally styled. That neon yellow and orange tape could have worked for about thirty seconds, but so long as they got the shot, that's all they needed. Just because you see something on Pinterest doesn't mean it's actually real.
posted by Sara C. at 10:21 AM on July 28, 2012

Frog Tape comes in green and yellow.

Painter's tape is a type of masking tape - can I use other colored masking tapes safely?

Most masking tapes leave a reside which is why they specify painter's tape.
posted by zinon at 10:27 AM on July 28, 2012

You could use drafting tape and use markers or crayons or something to color it any way you like.
Drafting tape is easily removable, even from delicate surfaces like paper. It does not leave a sticky residue when it is removed. This is the main reason engineers and architects use this kind of tape in their blueprints.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:35 AM on July 28, 2012

Artist tape is paper safe so I cannot imagine it isn't wall safe, and comes in colours.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:31 AM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

What kind of walls do you have? Mine in my dorm were cement, and electrical tape didn't seem to leave residue but YMMV.

Could you put up a large piece of paper (the kind on a roll, I think called butcher paper), and then do whatever you wanted on top of it?
posted by manicure12 at 4:22 PM on July 28, 2012

I agree with DarlingBri. Artist's tape is even less sticky than painter's tape. although because of that it doesn't stick to walls (especially textured walls) as well. If you're open to changing up your designs every so often artist's tape will probably be your best choice. Or if it's on a piece of wall that's less likely to get bumped it should stick longer.
posted by missriss89 at 5:03 PM on July 28, 2012

gaffer tape
posted by jimw at 10:09 PM on July 28, 2012

Response by poster: My dorm room walls are typical painted walls - not cement, and I don't know the finish of the paint but it's probably cheaply done.

I would love to hang butcher paper, or some other surface, but it's hard to hang anything that heavy with only painter's tape or similar.

Thanks, everybody! Too many good answers to mark best answer, but I'll be looking into everything mentioned.
posted by R a c h e l at 12:20 AM on July 29, 2012

Warning: gaffer tape will destroy the paint on your dorm room wall. Do not under any circumstances use it, unless you have a lot of money to waste losing your housing deposit.

And I say that as someone who was always pretty lax about sticking shit to her dorm room walls.
posted by Sara C. at 3:19 PM on July 29, 2012

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