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The Family Handyman learns how to use automotive tape from Chip Foose

Updated: Nov. 27, 2018

The Family Handyman learns how to use automotive tape from Chip Foose, host of Velocity TV's "Overhaulin."

automotive tape
Family Handyman automotive editor Rick Muscoplat and Jr. Automotive Editor Alex Steil attended 3M’s 2017 “Boot Camp” at Chip Foose’s Garage. The full day class started with automotive tape classes covering; how to choose the right tape and use it to mask intricate designs.

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How to make a circle using automotive tape

automotive tape

Most DIYers apply automotive tape incorrectly, using several pieces of car paint tape to mask round objects. The multiple pieces allow paint to seep into the splices, ruining the paint job. Here, a 3M tape expert shows the proper way to mask inside a tight 3-in. circle using 3M’s brown crepe masking tape.

Start by unrolling about a foot of car paint tape and stick the leading edge onto the body part.

automotive tape

Hold the tape taut at about a 15° angle above the sheet metal and rotate it around the circle while pressing down with your finger every 1/8-in.

automotive tape circle

To finish the circle, continue rotating the roll and unwinding as you press the tape to the sheet metal. Notice that ordinary brown tape doesn’t conform precisely to the circle.

Try a more flexible automotive tape

flexible automotive tape

3M’s yellow crepe tape is more flexible and has a stronger adhesive, so it conforms better to tight shapes. Jr. Editor Alex uses the same unroll, rotate and press technique to wrap yellow tape inside the circle.

flexible automotive tape

Alex masks the inside of the circle in a single attempt. Notice how closely the yellow tape conforms to the circle.

90° turns with automotive tape

automotive tape 90 degree turns

Alex uses 3M’s green tape to make two 90-degree turns in a single strip. The green tape is thinner, so it wraps around curved object better. Use it to mask molding, door handles, mirrors and headlights.

How to make flames with automotive tape

flames with automotive tape

Chip Foose starts by masking out the general area of the flame on the hood. Then he draws his design using a white pencil.

automotive tape

He then masks off everything except for the flames. Chip finished making his design in about 15 minutes and then grabbed a large masking sheet to protect the rest of the hood.

automotive tape flames

Chip applied a first coat of black spray paint. He let it dry, and then hit it with a second coat. Wait about 15 minutes for the paint to dry before removing the masking tape and sheets.

For more project ideas using automotive paint visit our DIY car paint guide.

car flames

Voila! The finished product.

For more automotive tips and tricks please click here.