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Masking Tape

Masking tape is used to cover or mask areas you do not want to get paint on. You can also hold items in place or together for short periods of time, while working or setting the item. There are several things you can do to improve the efficacy of masking tape, in order to get the best results possible from your taping and finishing job.

When you begin taping, press the edge of the masking down firmly, starting from the outer edge in. Masking tape works much better from an adhesion standpoint on dry, warm surfaces, and poorly on cold or damp/wet surfaces. Old masking tape loses some of its stickiness and becomes brittle. Heating up the tape with a hair dryer or microwave for a very short time will bring some 'life' back.

When removing masking tape, pull at a 90 degree to the surface you are removing it from. If this isn't working (as in the tape surface is coming off and sticking to the surface), try pull at a tighter angle. Try to make sure all masking tape is removed as soon as possible once the project is dry, as the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to remove the tape.

Masking tape is a type of adhesive tape made of easy-to-tear paper backed with a weak adhesive. It is used mainly in painting, to mask off areas that should not be painted. The adhesive is the key element to its usefulness, as it allows the tape to be easily removed. The tape is available in several strengths, rated on a 1-100 scale based on the strength of the adhesive. Most painting operations will require a tape in the 50 range. Household masking tape is made of an even weaker paper and lower grade adhesive. The temperature range, environment, whether the tape is being used indoors and outdoors, and the duration of the painting project all affect which type of masking tape is best for your project.

Masking tape was invented in 1925 by 3M employee Richard Drew. Drew observed auto-body workers growing frustrated when they removed butcher paper they had taped to cars they were painting. The strong adhesive on the tape peeled off some of the paint they had just applied. Touching up the damaged areas increased their costs. Drew realized the need for tape with a more gentle adhesive.

Painter's masking tape allows you to create very clean paint lines. Without this more specialized tape, the paint bleeds under the edges of the tape, producing a fuzzy or varied line.