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What is masking tape?

Masking tapes, also known as airbrush tapes or art tapes, are a type of low-tack adhesive ribbon that is typically used for painting. It is designed to be removed easily and cleanly from surfaces, leaving no residue behind. A generic ribbon is used to mask off areas that should not be painted such as windows, and door frames, as well as to create clean paint lines. The modeling version of these types of strips is used to cover parts of your figures, busts, or dioramas while you are painting them, usually with an airbrush. It is made of a thin, paper-like material that is coated with a pressure-sensitive adhesive. The adhesive is formulated to be easy to remove, but also to have enough strength to hold the band in place while painting.

Masking tape vs painters tape

Both of them are types of adhesive materials commonly used in painting, but they are not the same thing.

  • Painters one is a general-purpose adhesive material that is typically made from a thin, yellow, or white color, paper-like material that is coated with a pressure-sensitive adhesive. It is often used to mask off areas that should not be painted, such as trim, windows, and door frames, as well as to create clean paint lines. However, Painter's one can be difficult to remove, and it may leave behind a residue when it is peeled off.
  • Low tack masking tape, on the other hand, is a type of adhesive material that is specifically designed for use in airbrush painting. It is made from a different type of paper and adhesive than a regular painter's one, which makes it easier to remove and less likely to leave behind a residue. It is also typically more expensive than a regular painter's ribbon. It is often used by professional miniature painters, diorama makers, and DIY enthusiasts because of its ability to stick well without leaving residue, it is also more versatile, it can be used on a variety of surfaces such as wood, metal, and glass and it can be used on both indoor and outdoor projects. It can also be used on curves and irregular surfaces.

In summary, while both are used in painting, the airbrush version is a better option for painting scale models and painting dioramas' purposes and detailed work because of its ability to be removed easily and cleanly, leaving behind no residue.

Masking Tape for Painting and Airbrushing

When to take masking tape off after painting?

These tapes are low-tack adhesive tapes, so it is less aggressive compared to similar others. This means that it adheres less strongly to surfaces and is less likely to damage them when removed. Most of these adhesives should be removed when the paint is completely dry, to prevent the paint from peeling off. However, it is removed when the paint is dry to the touch but still fresh. This helps prevent the product from adhering too strongly to the painted surface, avoiding color peeling. 

To remove the low-track masking tape properly, start by peeling it off from one end and slowly pull it back at a 45° to 90° angle. This way, the freshly applied paint will not tear. If you encounter resistance when removing the ribbon, you can use a hobby knife or spatula to help gently lift it off the surface. It is important to do this carefully so as not to damage the painted surface.

Does masking tape remove paint?

This product is specially designed to adhere more gently to surfaces, so the risk of marring the paint or lifting it when removing it is quite low. This may occur in particular cases:

  • Leaving this low-tack adhesive on too long. The adhesive of this product is lower than other tapes, but leaving it for a longer time than recommended can result in a stronger adhesion. To avoid this, it should be removed as soon as possible after the paint is dry to the touch. 
  • Placing it on sensitive surfaces. When it is used it particularly delicate surfaces, such as old paints or other sensitive coatings, even low adhesion could be sufficient to cause damage to the paint. In these cases, it is recommended to test the product on a small inconspicuous area of the figure to ensure that it does not cause problems. 
  • Failure to properly prepare the surface. If the surface is not clean, dry, and free of grease, the adhesive could stick stronger than expected and cause imperfections when removed or, on the contrary, not adhere enough, letting the paint go through.
  • Removing it incorrectly. Removing the low-tack adhesive too quickly or at the wrong angle could have negative consequences on the paint. To minimize risks, the best option is to follow the instructions for use at all times. 

Does masking tape leave residue? 

Many of the tapes available for purchase on the market today leave residues where they have been stuck if it is not removed very carefully, so they will stain the surface. This is synonymous with a poor-quality product. However, our low tack adhesives  has been designed to leave no residue on the miniatures or dioramas in order not to stain or spoil the dry paint layers. In addition, to cover exactly the area you need, whatever the size, we have artist tapes in various thicknesses. 

Is it heat resistant?

Thin masking tape is not heat resistant, as it is made of a material that acts on heat in a similar way to any other paper. If you need one that can withstand high temperatures, you would have to purchase a specific product with these characteristics. Therefore, it is not advisable to expose this product to high temperatures. On the other hand, those made of polyimide or fiberglass are able to withstand up to 200ºC.

In general, heat-resistant tapes are not used in model making, as they tend to have a strong adhesion to hot surfaces or environments. Placing a product with these characteristics on a colored surface would damage the paint, so it is not recommended for use in miniatures.

Is it recyclable? 

Green Stuff World masking tape for painting is made with rice paper to avoid damaging the environment, so it is recyclable. To recycle it you only have to throw it in the paper container once you have finished using it. However, it should be noted that paper painted with non-water-soluble paints is not recyclable, because if it does not melt in a humid environment, it cannot be reused to create new products. 

What is it used for?

Art tape is primarily used to protect surfaces during painting, maintenance, or do-it-yourself tasks. Among its most common uses are:

  • In painting. It is placed on areas that should not be painted to avoid soiling them by human error. In addition, it allows to create clean and precise lines with clear and sharp finishes between adjacent paint colors. In domestic paint jobs, it is mainly used to cover door frames, baseboards, switches, furniture and other similar elements. 
  • Temporary bonding of materials. Occasionally used to hold together two materials that are, for example, in the process of being glued together. 
  • Labeling. As it is made of paper, this product allows writing on it and sticking it on the desired surface to make a temporary annotation. 

Where to buy masking tape?

Traditionally, it can be purchased at any hardware store, but if you are interested in a specific one for modeling, the best option is to buy it at Green Stuff World. Our catalog has several models of this product for you to find the one that best suits the needs of your project. Not only can you buy the traditional, straight tapes in different thicknesses, but we also have tapes for curves in different sizes. 

If you prefer another type of product to cover the areas you don't want to paint, you can choose between a liquid mask or airbrush masking putty. The first one works in a very simple way: you have to apply, with a brush, a thin layer of product on the area to be protected. When it dries, it will result in a layer of elastic material that will not allow the paint to pass and that, stretching with the fingers, can be removed. The second putty, on the other hand, is a type of waterproof plasticine, so by placing it in the right area, it will be protected. It can also be removed by hand in a few seconds.

What is best masking tape for painting?

When choosing tapes for your project, you must know their characteristics and who are its manufacturers, because a trusted brand will have quality products. We can assure you that Green Stuff World masking tape is of high quality. It is designed to have the right adhesion to fulfill its function and not leave residue on the miniature or the place where it is applied. It is specially designed for airbrush painting, so it has been manufactured with different materials than traditional ones. 

One of the strong points of this product is that it can be used on different surfaces (wood, glass, metal...), even if it is irregular. Therefore, if you are looking for a thin masking tape for an artistic discipline, we recommend that you look for one specifically for this purpose, such as the one in our catalog.