UnMasking the Secret to Successful Masking
Ahhh. The anticipation of peeling off masking tape to see crisp, clean paint lines…. Only to discover that the paint has leaked through, the lines are squiggled, and the tape is stuck… in some places… Below I will share some dos and don’ts that may just help you avoid this messy fate!
First things first! There are several different colors and varieties of painting tape or masking tape. I’ll just go over the reason for this and which tape to use where!
- White Tape: White tape is just your basic masking tape and it is commonly used to hang plastic or paper up around window sills or trim. It works well in most painting situations and can be found in different widths. It is not as highly recommended as blue; but it is much cheaper and works well in all the same situations.
- Blue Tape: Blue painter’s tape has medium adhesion and is practical for using on slightly more delicate surfaces that you don’t want to risk damaging. For example; You are painting a kitchen and need to mask off the cabinets which have been painted in the past. Blue tape is less likely to pull up the old paint. If that were to happen; then you would need to repaint the cabinets too. Not a fun add-on if you were not planning on it! Go with Purple if you’re really cautious.
- Green Tape: Green painter’s tape has very strong adhesion and is the best choice if you are relying on tape to get crisp, straight lines with no bleeding; especially if the surface you are applying it too is a little rough. It can pull up the material underneath, though; so use with discretion.
- Orange Tape: Orange Tape is Basically white tape but stronger. The adhesion level is the same but the strength of the tape (how easily it tears or rips) is a little more heavy duty.
- Yellow Tape: Yellow tape has strong adhesion that works excellent outdoors. It is waterproof and works great on exterior windows because it will not leave any residue which would later collect dust. Nobody likes dirty windows…
Now here are some tips for How to use masking tape; How to not to; and a few bonus tips at the end!
- Clean the surface you will be masking first. Your tape won’t stick to dust….well, scratch that, it will! Dust won’t keep your tape stuck to the wall though!
- Apply your masking as straight and smooth as you can. Avoid using multiple pieces of tape for the same stretch of masking. A tiny bit of uneven overlap will show!
- Be sure to press down on your tape as you go. This seems like a given; but it can be easy to get moving along a trim board or other lengthy surface and forget to press your tape down the whole way.
- Allow 2nd coat of paint to dry before removing masking. You want your paint to Just be dry to the touch so that you cannot accidentally smudge it as you roll up your masking.
- Stick in in the trash. Even obvious things can be forgotten. 😉
- Drown the masking tape with a super heavy first coat. If you take it easy on the first coat, it will help to seal the tape to the wall and give you a clean line. If you bury tape with too much moisture; it will not remain adhered to the wall. We all know what happens next.
- Forget to bolt down free edges of plastic and paper. Wind and even pressure from the paint sprayer will cause these to blow around into your freshly painted surface.
- Remove masking after each coat. It is very difficult to match your original line if you decide you want a fresh batch of tape for the 2nd coat. Apply both coats (Or more if necessary) before removing tape.
- Leave tape too long. You want the paint to be dry before you remove your masking; but if you let it dry more than 24 hours it is much more likely to pull the paint right off with it. This completely ruins that perfect line. Epic Fail. (Fear not! There is a tip below just in case this is happening!)
- Mask around lightbulbs with paper. Some people still use lightbulbs that get hot. Charred accents can be nice sometimes; but that is probably not what you’re going for if you are painting!
- Throw all your masking on the floor. Dry paint flakes make a big mess and its better to put them straight into the trash. Sometimes there can even be slightly wet paint still hanging out on the plastic; and that will make an even bigger mess.
- Get yourself one of these masking tools! It is a serious time saver that helps you get straight lines and also lines up your tape perfectly with either paper or plastic.
- If you have the time and REALLY REALLY want a perfect line; paint a light coat of the color you are hoping to protect against the masking tape’s seam (provided you have it). This will seal the tape with the color behind it, and then you can continue to paint your new color worry free.
- The Grande Finale of Tips! When you remove your masking tape; first use a blade to score the edge of the tape so that it doesn’t pull any of the new color off with it. This is especially useful in tight areas like along the inside corners and edges of window trim, or in any circumstance where you find your tape is pulling new paint up with it.
Hopefully these tips make the time you spend masking well worth it! If not; at least you will get practice at cutting in and doing touch up! 😉 Thanks for reading! Have a Great Day! If you would like to see how our team gets all the things masked off; give us a call at 541-600-2025 or click HERE to book an estimate now!!!