Toolipedia: Painter’s Tape

Toolipedia: Everything you wanted to know about painter’s tape

What is a painter’s tape?

Painter’s tape is a special tape used to seal edges and boundaries between walls and trim. Painter’s tape is distinct from masking tape in that it uses different adhesives and it usually has a stronger backing paper for more strength. When applied to the wall it seals at the edge of the tape and prevents (generally) paint from seeping below the painter’s tape. This gives the edge of the paint a clean, crisp line. It can also be used to create shapes, lines and designs when painting. Here are the basic parts of a painter’s tape roll:

  1. Center Hole
  2. Outside Face
  3. Inside Adhesive Face

Painters, Remodeler and DIYers all use painter’s tape when painting and edging. Painter’s tape’s adhesive does not leave a residue on the wall when removed.

How is painter’s tape used?

Operation basics

  • For Edging
    • Unroll a portion of tape and press it tightly into the corner or onto the edge of the trim
    • Paint up to the edge of the tape, allow the paint to dry
    • Remove the tape
  • For Lines and Designs
    • Mark straight edges lightly with a pencil
    • Place and press tape onto the marking
    • Paint up to the edge of the tape, allow the paint to dry
    • Remove the tape

Accessories needed

  • A painter’s tape applicator is available but is unnecessary


  • Some may be allergic to the adhesive; if so, use caution

What are the different types of painter’s tape?

  • Painter’s tape comes in a variety of width
  • Most painter’s tape is blue, though some brands are other colors

What makes a good painter’s tape?

  • Good adhesive
  • Strong paper backing

Scotch makes high quality painter’s tape.

Painter’ Tape Tip

Unless making thin boundaries use wider painter’s tape to increase the margin of error when painting. This will minimize drips and accidents.

Get more painting tips here.

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LeRoy Demarest
I have worked for over a decade as an environmental scientist working on an advanced bioremdiation clean up project. For the past six years I have also worked as an adjunct instructor for several colleges, both F2F and online, teaching a number of science courses. Finally, I have been freelance writing for a variety of publications on the topics of: gardening, environment, construction, science, science education, academics and technical work.