We’ve all been there – you’ve been putting off a DIY job for so long that, when it comes down to it, you just want to rush through it and get it done. This can be great motivation, but can also lead to less than satisfactory results, especially when it comes to painting.
Whether you’re painting the walls of a room, a piece of furniture, garden fence, or building a DIY dressing table, painter’s tape can be an absolute lifesaver. Essentially, it keeps your lines clean and your work looking sharp and polished.
A crucial bit of kit for any DIY-er, I’ve reviewed the best painter’s tapes out there so your paint job looks professional…
Blue, Black Or White: Which Is The Best Painters Tape
Painter’s tape comes in various popular colors, so how do you know what kind to buy? The truth is, the color of the tape doesn’t really make a difference. Generally, the thickness, UV-resistance, or adhesive quality of the tape have nothing to do with its color.
However, you may consider using colors that contrast with the surfaces you will paint so that it is easy to see where the tape is. This will make it easy to ensure all surfaces are covered, and also help you spot any tape during removal.
Masking Tape vs. Painters Tape
Masking tape certainly has its advantages, but there are many reasons why masking painter’s tape is better for protecting your surfaces.
Masking tape is easy to tear, leaves clean lines, and is relatively cheap and widely available.
However, it often leaves sticky residue, especially if left on for a while. Its paper texture is not resistant to water-based paints, and may pucker or peel. There is also a risk of oil-based paint seeping through the tape.
Painter’s tape, on the other hand, is specially designed to prevent the problems that are common with masking tape. It will not pucker or peel when it comes into contact with paint. It also comes off any surface without leaving adhesive behind, even if left on for long periods of time.
Painter’s tape also comes in many specialized forms, such as UV resistant, applicable on wet paint, and easily removable after 60 days.
5 Best Painter's Tape Reviewed
1. ScotchBlue Painter's Tape, Multi-Use
3M is a well-recognized brand for a reason, and they’re my go-to when it comes to home maintenance. Their painter’s tape made my top five list for a number of reasons.
The tape itself is tough and durable, meaning you can use it outdoors and on a variety of surfaces, such as plaster, wood and metal. It also removes easily, without leaving any sticky residue behind.
More importantly, perhaps, it applies easily – you can create sharp lines without having to stretch and reposition the tape as you do with some other brands. This tape is 1.41 inches wide, so it’s good for most painting jobs around the home.
2. 3M 2090 Scotch-Blue Painters Tape
- Painters Tape: Blue masking tape is ideal for...
- Easy Application: This medium adhesion tape...
- Utility Range: You can use it on 3D printer...
- Features: Wall masking tape ensures...
Another from 3M, this Scotch tape is nice and thin (0.25 inches wide), meaning it’s great for more precise, intricate work. Residue can be a nightmare when you’re painting as it can leave the surface with an odd texture, as well as compromising the quality of the paint.
Luckily, this tape promises to leave the surface nice and clean, and with sharp, clean lines. Perfect for all surfaces, including glass and metal, this painter’s tape prevents paint from bleeding.
This is the best tape for painting work more detailed than standard paint-jobs, like creating patterns on bedroom walls, due to the thin width of the tape.
3. FrogTape 1358463 Multi-Surface Painting Tape
- Pro Painter's Tape, . 94 inch x 60 yard roll
- Twenty one day interior clean release, or up...
- Medium adhesion for use on cured painted...
- Patented Paint Block technology keeps paint...
FrogTape comes in at just under 1 inch, making it a great choice for most painting jobs around the home and garden. A budget buy for your toolbox, this painter’s tape promises to deliver clean lines, as well as high durability.
Great for most surfaces, this tape is adhesive but easy to remove once you’re finished. What makes this tape so special is its unique ‘PaintBlock’ technology, which prevents paint from bleeding by sealing the edges of the tape to whatever surface you’re painting on.
My favorite thing? You can even use it on carpet - perfect for painting skirting boards or delicate patterns around the base of the room.
4. ProTapes Pro Scenic
This beast weighs in at 2 inches wide – perfect for outdoor work and garden fences! ProTapes crepe paper tape is thick, reliable and conforms well to all surfaces.
It prevents paint bleeding, as do many tapes, but is also fingerprint resistant – it’s so tough that even using your fingertips to stick it down won’t tarnish the paint underneath. This is the best painting tape for outdoor work as it’s resistant to humidity and high temperatures.
You can also leave your painting project aside for a few days, and the tape will still be stuck in the same place – perfect for procrastinators!
5. XFasten Professional Blue Painters Tape
- Efficiently prevents paint bleeding and...
- For delicate surfaces like wood trim,...
- Stays up to 60 days and can be removed easily...
- Does not cause surface damage on delicate...
XFasten have pulled out all the stops with this painter’s tape. While some tapes can be hard to unwind, this one is easy to apply and there’s no annoying tape-curling or wastage involved.
Great for use on wood, porcelain and glass, this tape gives you clean lines, as well as a clean surface afterwards. Easy adhesion without any of the messy residue!
It’s a friendly 2 inches wide, so is great for indoor and outdoor work – especially as it’s durable through humid and hot conditions. It promises to keep lines crisp, with no bleeding, and it delivers.
Best Tape Brands Compared
A popular brand among painters, ScotchBlue designs tapes to effectively protect a variety of different surfaces. The ScotchBlue brand invented UV-resistant painter’s tape that could be easily removed after a long time in 1988. Since then they have produced and innovated many kinds of painter’s tape. In addition to their range of specialized products, they provide their customers with lots of useful information. This includes everything from the basics to tips for taping and painting tricky areas.
FrogTape is another reputable brand. It sells its products all over the world. The company takes pride in designing, developing, and producing excellent pressure sensitive tapes. Its catchphrase is “Keeps paint out. Keeps lines sharp”, and that is what it does thanks to unique PaintBlock technology. PaintBlock is an absorbent polymer which reacts with paint to form a gel micro-barrier that seals the edges of the tape. It ensures that nothing will bleed through, and your paint job will come out looking as professional as possible.
One of the most well-known brands in adhesives, ProTapes have been developing their products for 40 years. They produce any tape you could ever dream of in their stunning range of adhesives. They are trusted in markets including arts and entertainment, graphic arts and library supply, as well as general industry. They’re guaranteed to have what you need!
Advantages to Taping Before Painting
Taping before you paint is one of those “optional requirements,” meaning you don’t have to do it, but you should. Taping is a crucial aspect of any paint job and has many advantages.
For starters, you create a barrier between what you are painting and the area you don’t want to be painted. Tape lines are clean, and when done properly, won’t bleed through or leave rough edges. When you remove the tape, the painted area has a distinct edge and a professional finish.
You can also use tape to create designs in your painting. For example, you can paint a base coat of one color, then tape diagonal lines on the wall and paint another color to create stripes, crosshatching, or any other shape.
Painter’s tape doesn’t leave a sticky residue when it is removed, either. It is easy to tear, place, and remove without much effort. Painter’s tape is also strong enough to hold plastic sheeting to prevent overspray.
Finally, one of the best advantages of painter’s tape is that it makes clean up a breeze. After you are done painting, you can peel up the tape, remove the plastic sheeting or drop cloths, and your work area is clean and fresh.
How To Use Painters Tape
Clean Surfaces Correctly
Ensure that the surface is clean so that the tape will stick properly. Usually, a damp rag is sufficient to remove any dust. If the surface is greasy you will need to use degreasing detergent to ensure the dirt doesn’t interfere with the adhesion of your tape.
Applying The Tape
Apply the painter’s tape to the edges you wish to protect from paint drips and splatter. Ensure that it is consistently even, straight, and right up against the edge. To make this process easier, you can use a painter’s tape applicator. This handy tool allows you to use the edge of your surface as a guide and simply roll the tape on. When you’ve completed a length, just cut the tape using the inbuilt sharp edge on the applicator.
Press Down Properly
Use a flexible putty knife (or a similar tool) to press down the edges of the tape. Press down at a slight angle and pull the knife along the tape. This is very important if you want to prevent paint from seeping underneath the tape.
Tips to Getting Clean Lines With Painter’s Tape
Painter’s tape comes in a variety of styles, sizes, and uses. To get professional, straight, and clean lines, you need to have a practiced hand, understand where and what you are taping, and know how much tape to use.
For the best results, you want to measure the area you need to tape and use smaller pieces. Trying to put a long piece of tape over an area can easily result in off-setting or overlapping. You also run the risk of creating air pockets or folds in the tape where paint can bleed through.
Using smaller, more manageable pieces prevent the folds and bubbles. It would be best if you also used high-quality tape. FrogTape (either green or yellow) is one of the best tapes available, as is ScotchBlue. With these brands, you will get professional lines and clean removal every time.
Go slow when applying the tape, and don’t be afraid to remove a section and replace it. You can generally stick the tape four or five times before it loses its tackiness and bleed-prevention qualities.
When To Remove Painters Tape?
So when should you remove the tape?
There are two options that will lead to the best results. Either remove the tape while the paint is still wet, or wait until it is completely dry.
If you remove the tape while the paint is wet, you are less likely to peel away parts of your paint job that have dried together with the paint on the tape.
However, some paint dries quickly. If the paint is already dry where you started by the time you have finished, it is best to wait until it is all completely dry. Even if your paint dries slowly, you don’t want to have to remove the tape and reapply it between coats.
Removing painter’s tape once the paint is already dry is risky. You might peel tape away when you remove the tape.
There is a simple solution to this. Use a putty knife to score the edge of the tape before pulling it off. This breaks the bond between your paint job and the paint on the tape to ensure you don’t peel off anything extra.
Painter’s tape is an essential for anyone undertaking DIY and home maintenance jobs. Whether you’re painting the kid’s bedroom wall, the garden fence or some old furniture, tape can help you keep your painting looking professional.
Thinner tapes are perfect for more intricate jobs, such as creating patterns and lines, while thicker, more durable tapes are best for outdoor painting jobs.
Hopefully this review of the best painter’s tapes on the market will help you get round to whatever painting job you’ve been putting off for so long.