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How To Use Painter's Tape

Before you start your next painting project, here are a few easy tips to follow so you can get professional results every time.

  • A Woman cleaning a white wall with a sponge


    Clean the surface with a sponge and mild soap from the bottom up, rinsing the sponge frequently. Make sure all walls and surfaces are completely dry and dust-free before you paint.


    • Make sure you've gathered your supplies ahead of time
    • Clear the area before you begin; use drop cloths or plastic sheets to protect surfaces
    • After cleaning the surface, use a microfiber cloth on the surface to ensure any remaining particles are removed
    • Repair any damage to make sure you have an even surface
  • Painter pulling green multi-surface tape up to place on corner trim


    Experienced painters can unroll the tape in one long section and keep the roll flat against the wall. For less experienced painters, apply the tape in shorter sections to avoid stretching the tape.

    Then, go over the edge of the tape with a firm plastic tool like a putty knife or plastic card to eliminate gaps and seal the edges.


    Painting on a medium-textured surface with a Paintblock® Technology treated tape? Run a damp cloth over the edges of the tape to activate PaintBlock Technology for sharp paint lines.

    • Overlap corners and edges
    • Take your time to avoid stretching the tape — this can cause poor adhesion to the surface and cause paint bleed.
    • Test in a hidden area
    • If old paint is peeling, bubbling or is applied thickly on surface take caution — this surface might not be ideal for tape application
    • Painting on a heavily textured surface? Check out this article for some application tips.
  • Pulling tape off trim at a 45 degree angle


    For best results, remove the tape while the paint is still wet. Pull the tape off slowly at a 45-degree angle. If you hear ripping noises, it means you’re going too fast.


    • Pay attention to the clean removal days — this is the number of days prior to painting that a tape can remain safely on the surface
    • Pull the tape parallel to the surface
    • Throw the tape directly into the trash — if you leave it on a surface, it might track paint residue
    • If the paint has fully dried and a bridge has formed between the wall and tape, score the tape edge with a razor blade
    • Don't remove the tape straight up or perpendicular
    • Don't rush — if you go too fast, you might have to re-paint the surface
    • Don't allow the tape to re-adhere to the surface