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Syntetyc, June 14 2020

The best tapes. Avoid damages on paper

As well as known, the scariest moment of the watercolour or gouache painting process (but not less pleasant) is the tape removal after finish. At my beginnings, I damaged many works after test many tapes, but after years I can say that I've found the perfect tapes for this process and for each kind of work. I'm going to recommend you some tapes that you can use over your works.

But, first of all, some advices before listing the different tapes. 👇👇

Stick the tape over some fabric

Before use the tape over your paper, stick it on your clothes or over any fabric two or three times. With this process you'll decrease its sticky power, but will continue to be sticky, enough to stay fixed over your paper, but not enough to damage it. You'll know that it's ready to stick over your paper when you'll see some fibers sticked below the tape. Depends of the colour of the fabric that you use to stick the tape, and the tape (if is blue tape, transparent tape or yellow tape), you'll see the tape more or less "dirt", but don't worry, that fibers won't stay on the paper when you'll remove it.

You can see the little fibers on the tape after stick on fabric

Cut a little bit more than necessary

This is optional, but It works for me and I feel more confident while painting. I always cut a little bit more to turn it to the back of the paper on the each border.

As I told, isn't a critical thing, but you know that, while you are painting, you slide your hand over the borders many times. If the finish of the tape is on the visible part, you could unstick accidentally.

Check if there are bubbles or winkles

Is obvious, but Isn't so obvious when you are going to remove the tape and you notice that the border is not perfect and there are some pigment on the margins. Check before start painting that the interior border of the tape is perfectly stick on the paper, without any bubble or winkle, sometimes is not noticeable at the first look, so you have to take special attention in this step.

The tapes

1. Standard masking tape

This is the cheaper one, and works fine, but you have to make sure that the first advice is well done applied, because this tape is a little bit treacherous. 

Stick it on fabric the amount of times that you feel necessary before put on paper, and make sure that the sticky power is considerally decreased, because after hours of painting this tape could damage a little bit the paper. I don't recommend to use this tape over serious works, I recommend to use on your sketchbook or fast studies, because normally don't damage the paper, but some times happens and is a little nighmare if you are working on your best work.

2. Scotch 3M transparent tape

There are many versions of this one, normally I use the standard one, but some times I use one specially dedicated to stick and unstick on paper without damage (is for office work, stick on documents). Is a little bit expensive than the first one, but you'll make sure that your work is safe.

This tape needs to be stick on a fabric too, but with one or two times is enough, in my case, never damaged the paper. I use this one over my final works.

Is not my favourite because is a little bit plastic, doesn't dry the pigment when you paint over it, and you could slide your hand over this wet zone and transfer accidentally to the paint.

If you use this tape I recommend you to clean the wet borders with a paper towel occasionally.

3. Scotch 3M Blue masking tape

And finally, for me, the best one.


I discovered this tape few weeks ago and I'm in love.

Is expensive, yes (7€ in my neighbourhood art supplies store), but is the best balanced one. Each roll has a generous quantity of tape, you can use it for months with one unique roll. I recommend you to use this tape for your commercial works, or works that you know that it will be exposed, because is the most reliable tape.

It sells in different widths, in my case, I use the medium size, is wider than the previous tapes but not much more. The reason that I use this size is because normally I'm going to use this tape for bigger formats, and I can add a little bit more margin than in the little sketchbook.

And this is all, I hope that It will be useful for you and you could remove the tape without any fear.

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