Watercolor artists may have been a bit late to the party but you can now get the most preferred tape for watercolor paper. With this nifty tool, you can also get the same sharp edges similar to the ones you can get when using acrylics. With the right masking tape, you can create all kinds of effects in your watercolor paintings.
Yes, you can use regular masking tape. However, if you are using expensive watercolor paper and you do not want to damage it, you should use the best artist’s tape for watercolor paper. These might be a bit more expensive. However, if you are a serious artist, you should use serious tools as well.
To give you an idea of what you should get, here are some suggestions.
Top 5 Tape for Watercolor Paper Reviews
1. TSSART White Art Watercolor Tape
When you are shopping for the best masking tape for watercolor paper, the most important thing you have to check is if it leaves any residue on the paper. The TSSART art tape is excellent in this regard.
I have used this tape for a couple of projects already and I have liked how it does not leave any sticky adhesive residue after pulling it off the paper. Even if you drag your finger over the paper, you will feel a very slight tackiness left.
Another thing that I liked about this product is that even though it does leave any sticky residue, it holds firmly on the watercolor paper. However, it peels off right away when you pick at it using your fingernails. This tape has just the right amount of tackiness to hold onto the paper’s surface and not rip it when you pull it off.
This tape is also acid-free, which helps keep your watercolor paper and paints from oxidizing. It is not like other brands that cause the paper coming into contact with them to turn brown faster than the rest of the paper. This tape will not leave any sort of mark on the paper. It will look the same as before you stuck the tape on it.
Also, if you make a mistake in placing the tape, you can peel it off and reposition it correctly. The tackiness of the adhesive still manages to stay the same even when you peel it off the paper, which is nice because you will not waste any tape.
This is important because art tape is generally much more expensive than regular masking tape so you want to use every bit of it.
2. Neeho Watercolor Framing Artist Tape
This product has an almost perfect width for masking tape. It is thin enough that I can use it for somewhat detailed masking but it is also wide enough for when I need to cover large areas from paint.
Finding the suited painters tape for watercolor paper of this size is rather uncommon, so when I stumbled upon this product, I did not have any hesitations about buying it.
The adhesive used on this artist’s tape is also rather nice. Whether you will be using this for masking areas or holding your watercolor paper down on your work surface, this tape will be holding it down securely. On the other hand, the tackiness is just enough that you can still peel it off easily without damaging the paper.
Speaking of the adhesive, when you peel off the tape, it does not leave any sticky residue on the surface, making this one of the top-notch tapes for stretching watercolor paper. Before I discovered artist’s tapes in general, I used regular masking tape and I had to deal with adhesive residue, which was quite a hassle.
This has not happened quite as often after switching to artist’s tape, and none at all with the Neeho brand tape.
If you are looking for good masking or all-purpose tapes for watercolor paintings, this one is a good choice. One of the nicest things about this tape is that it creates such a nice seal, thereby preventing even thin watercolors from bleeding under it. I liked how I was able to create such crisp borders in watercolor paintings as I could with acrylics.
3. Pro Art Artist Tape
You need to get this artist’s tape if you regularly make lots of watercolor paintings. This one roll contains approximately 60 yards of artist’s tape, which is more than enough for at least a month’s worth of projects. This is at least from my perspective. If you are like me and you constantly find yourself running out of tape, you need this in your life.
This tape is ¼-inch wide, so it is ideal for the detailed masking tape watercolor technique. For instance, if you want to make a border for your painting that uses negative space, you can create a frame out of this tape and just paint over it as usual.
You can also still use this to hold your watercolor paper onto your work surface but since it is quite thin, you might need to use more of it. Another thing I liked about this tape is that it is surprisingly tacky, even though it is thin.
However, the tackiness is just enough to hold onto the surface of the paper. You can still peel it off easily without damaging the paper. I do recommend that you press the tape on your clothes to reduce the tackiness a bit when you are using rather thin paper stock.
As mentioned earlier, an artist’s tape that is this thin is ideal for detailed masking, which is why it is also a good thing that this tape does not contain acid. Some adhesives contain trace amounts of acid, and this is bad for watercolor paper because it causes the surface to oxidize quicker.
In other words, there will be an unsightly brown strip on your paper. This washi tape for a watercolor paper will not have that issue.
4. ProTapes Flatback Artist Tape
I like using this artist’s tape to hold down my watercolor paper on my drawing table. The tackiness is almost perfect. The tape sticks securely to my work surface but not so much that you will not rip the paper when you pull it off. I have used regular masking tape for the longest time and I was so surprised at how much better this product is.
Aside from holding my watercolor paper down, this tape also works well at masking off areas of the watercolor paper. Although this product is made from paper, the watercolor does not bleed through the tape.
I used to think that you cannot use watercolors with masking tape but this artist’s tape proved me wrong. Now, I can make sharp and crisp margins in my watercolor paintings almost effortlessly.
I also like how there seems to be a lot more tape per roll with ProTapes compared to other brands. I have been using mine fairly regularly for the past month, and I do not think I have reached the middle of the roll yet.
If you are like me and you typically practice your watercolor skills at least three times a week, having a huge roll of artist’s tape will come in handy. Although this artist’s tape is almost perfect, it still has a couple of issues. For instance, if you will be practicing on regular bond paper, this tape might rip it.
The tackiness of the tape might be too much for a thin and fragile paper. One way to fix this problem is by sticking the tape on your shirt first to lessen the tackiness of the adhesive a bit.
5. Lineco L533-1015 Self Adhesive Linen Tape
This product is great when you are framing a finished watercolor piece without using staples or any other thing that can severely damage the watercolor paper. However, it is not the only use for this adhesive tape. For instance, if you have antique books that need serious repairs, you can use this tape to fix the inner hinges behind the covers.
This linen tape is not just very tacky but also durable. If you do use this product to repair and mount your artwork, you can be sure that this can last at least a couple of years before replacement. The adhesive does not deteriorate as fast as your regular glue and it remains flexible even after it dries and cures.
Compared to the usual water-activated linen tapes, this is a lot more convenient to use. You only need to cut the tape to measure and then peel off the backing to expose the adhesive.
This means you do not have to go through all the messy steps just to get the tape to stick. Also, there is no need to wait for the adhesive to dry. Once you peel off the protective cover, the adhesive is ready to use.
However, this tape only has niche uses. If you need a tape that provides excellent adhesion and flexibility, this tape is what you need. However, unlike the other tapes on this list, you cannot use this linen tape for masking purposes, or even for just holding your watercolor paper on your workspace.
The adhesive is a bit too strong and will surely rip your watercolor paper apart.
How to Choose a Tape for Watercolor Paper
Yes, there is nothing overly complicated about buying an artist’s tape. However, since these are a bit more expensive than regular masking tape, you will want to get your money’s worth. To help make your choice a lot easier, keep your eyes peeled for the following qualities:
Right Level of Tackiness
If you will be using tape for watercolor paper, you need something that has just the right amount of tackiness. This means the tape should just be sticky enough to hold onto the surface of the paper but not so much that it tears off the surface of the paper when you pull off the tape.
This can be a bit tricky and you might end up with a tape that is a bit too tacky. When this happens, you can reduce the tackiness a bit by sticking a piece onto a bit of fabric. The bits of fabric lint will reduce the tackiness of the adhesive and make it easier to peel off later.
Although masking tape is not meant to last forever, since you will be peeling it off later, it does not mean it should be flimsy. I have used a lot of artists’ tapes that were so thin they would rip apart when I peel them off my drawing paper.
This means that the tape should be a bit thicker. With that, you can easily peel it off. It also makes it better at masking areas of the paper.
Speaking of masking, a good artist’s tape should be able to keep paint from getting under it and keep the paper clean. When you are using watercolor paints, you might not be thinking about creating crisp edges, but instead, you usually make soft blended sides.
A good artist’s tape should be able to prevent even very loose watercolor paint from bleeding through it and keep the paper underneath clean. This also means that the tape itself should be water-resistant so that it will not dissolve when exposed to water.
Another important feature that you need to check when buying artist’s tape is if it leaves a sticky residue behind when you peel off the tape. Regular masking tape would usually leave adhesive residue on the top of the paper.
The residue is not just annoying but can also affect your watercolor painting as it will attract dirt. The adhesive residue is also usually difficult to remove. It often leads to damage to the paper.
Artist’s tape can be quite expensive. Some are multiple times the price of regular masking tape. Because of this, you would want to make the most out of your purchase. If possible, you should get a roll of artist’s tape that contains more tape compared to other brands.
You should also choose the right size artist’s tape for your particular use. For instance, if you are looking for a tape that you can use to pin down your watercolor paper so that it will not curl up, you need a tape that is a bit wide. On the other hand, if you will be using tape to mask areas in your drawings, it should be thin for detailed work.
Artist’s tapes come in a variety of colors. If you will be leaving the tape on your drawing, you should choose white or off-white colored tape. Otherwise, you can choose whatever color you like. Personally, I like to use bright-colored artist’s tape so that I won’t forget to remove it when I use it to mask my drawing.
As mentioned earlier, artists’ tapes are usually more expensive than regular masking tape. So, if you have a very limited budget, you should choose the most affordable one. Be warned, though, that low prices can sometimes come with commensurate quality.
If you haven’t tried using the best tape for watercolor paper, you do not know what you are missing. Instead of using plain masking tape, you should start using proper artist’s tape when you are painting. Aside from being more convenient, it will also yield better results.
Now that you have learned how to choose the right artist’s tape for a watercolor paper, you can start browsing through the dozens of options available to you and try as many of them as you can.