Can You Paint Over Tape? (Different Types)

Many painters use tapes to cover things they don’t want to paint. But, can you paint over tape?

You can paint over paintable tapes that have a textured surface. Tapes that can be painted over are thin and less sticky. For instance, painter’s tape is a tape you can paint over.

But, if the tape has a slick or glossy surface, you can’t paint over it. That’s because paint doesn’t stick to glossy or slick surfaces. If you paint over unpaintable tapes, the paint won’t stick and will peel off. 

So, which types of paint can you paint? We have explained everything down below. 

Do All Tapes Accept Paint?

Paint sticks to most types of paints. But, not all tapes accept paint. That’s because some tapes are made from materials that repel moisture, including paint. 

By design, tapes are meant to join materials together and not to be painted over. Also, most tapes have a rubber-like and slick texture that prevents paints from sticking well.

When you apply paint over tape, the paint will stick initially, but after a while, the paint coating will start to peel off. The paint will peel (or slide) off because it didn’t stick properly to the slick surface of the tape.

However, some tapes are designed to accept paints. These tapes are labeled as “painter’s tape”. Painter’s tape has a textured surface made from crepe paper material. The textured surface allows the paint to stick to these tapes. Also, these tapes have low adhesives meaning that the paint will not come off even if you remove the tape.

What Happens If You Paint Over Tape?

What Happens If You Paint Over tape

When you paint over tape, there will be poor adhesion between the paint coating and the tape. The paint will stick to the tape since paints have good adhesive qualities. However, the paint will gradually crack and peel off because of the slick texture of the tape. This only applies to regular types of tapes.

When you paint over painter’s tape, the paint will stick and dry well. That’s because these tapes have a textured surface and are designed to accept paint.

For paints to stick to a surface, the surface must be textured or rough. This allows the paint coating to bite into the surface. However, most tapes have a slick surface.

For instance, black tapes have a slippery texture, making it difficult for paints to stick. So, if you apply paint over a black slippery tape, the paint adhesion will be weak because of the slippery surface. So, the paint will peel off.

However, if the tape is textured, the paint will stick well when applied over the tape. Tapes that are textured are made from paper or crepe. This includes regular paper tape, masking tape, and painter’s tape.

So, in summary, what happens when you paint over tape depends on the type of tape.

Types of Tapes You Can Paint Over:

Types of Tapes You Can Paint Over?

Here are some different types of paint that you can or can’t paint over:

Duct Tape

Paints don’t stick to duct tape. That’s because duct tape has a slick surface, and paint won’t stick to it. Also, duct tapes are waterproof, meaning the surface won’t absorb any moisture, including paint.

The combination of the slick and waterproof features of duct tape prevents the paint from sticking. 

If you apply paint over duct tape, the weak adhesion will cause the paint to peel and fall off. Also, duct tape has strong adhesives, which will rip the paint coating when it is pulled from the surface. In summary, painting over duct tape is a bad idea.

Painters Tape

You can paint over painter’s tape. That’s because painter’s tape is designed to accept paint. Painter’s tape is made from crepe paper and has a textured surface. Since paints stick to textured surfaces, it means paints will stick to painter’s tape.

Also, the painter’s tape has a low level of glue or adhesives, meaning that the paint will not come off when you pull off the painter’s tape.

Gorilla Tape

Paint sticks to gorilla tape, but you shouldn’t paint over it. That’s because gorilla tape is formulated with rubber-based adhesives that will rip the paint off when you pull the gorilla tape.

So, you can paint over gorilla tape only if you won’t remove the tape afterward. 

Masking Tape

You can paint over masking tape. That’s because masking tapes have similar features as painter’s tape. The masking tape has a textured surface that accepts any type of paint. 

However, you shouldn’t leave paint over the masking tape for too long as it can cause issues in the paint coating. Masking tapes have stronger adhesives than painter’s tape, so there is a possibility that the paint will come off with the masking tape.

Drywall Tape

You can paint over paper drywall tape, but you can’t paint over fiberglass mesh drywall tape. This is because the paper drywall tape has a textured surface and accepts paints. However, the fiberglass mesh drywall has tiny holes and squares in the surface, so the paint coating won’t be even.

The finish will look patterned and uneven if you paint over fiberglass mesh drywall tape.

Clear Tape

You can paint over clear tape if you don’t plan on removing the tape afterward. However, if you use clear tape to demarcate the surface while applying paint, you shouldn’t paint over it.

If you paint over clear tape, it will be difficult to know where the tape is when you want to pull it off after the paint has dried. Also, the clear tape tends to leave glue on the surface that is hard to remove. 

Scrim Tape

You shouldn’t paint over scrim tape because this tape is made of fiberglass threads woven together. This means scrim tape has pores and spaces in it.

If you paint over scrim tape, the paint coating will be uneven. Also, when you remove the scrim tape off the surface, irregular lines will form in the paint coating.

Scotch Tape

Paint won’t stick to scotch tape. That’s because the scotch tape has a slick and shiny surface, and paints don’t stick to a glossy or slick surface. Also, scotch tape is transparent, meaning it will be difficult to know where the tape is after the paint has dried.

How To Paint Over Tape?

Painting over tape is easy, but the finish will become messy and uneven if you don’t follow the right steps.

Here are the tools you need:

  • The required tape (preferably painter’s tape)
  • A gallon of paint
  • A paintbrush
  • Clean rags
  • Dish soap
  • A bucket of water
  • A pair of work gloves

1. Wipe and Clean The Surface

First, wipe and clean the surface. Cleaning will remove the dust nibs and filth on the surface. If the surface is filthy, the tape and the paint won’t stick properly.

To clean the surface:

  1. Use a mixture of dish soap and water. 
  2. Pour the soapy water into a clean rag. 
  3. Use the dampened rag to swipe the stains and filth off the surface. 
  4. Rinse the surface with clean water. 
  5. Wait for the surface to dry.

2. Put The Tape Over The Surface

Once the surface is clean and dry, put the tape over it. You must use tape that accepts paints. Press the tape well into the surface to prevent bleed-through. This also helps to prevent paint from flowing underneath the tape.

3. Apply The Paint

After you apply the painter’s tape, apply the paint. 

To paint over tape:

  1. Use a paintbrush because it gives you more control.
  2. Don’t apply too many coats of paint over the tape as it can be difficult to remove the tape after.
  3. After applying the paint, leave it to dry. 

4. Remove The Tape

After the paint dries, you can remove the tape. If you remove the tape while the paint is still wet, the finish will turn messy. To remove the paint, pull one end of the tape and lift it until the tape is completely off the surface. 

You can also leave the tape under the paint. But, the tape must be thin and transparent to prevent paint cracks. 

5. Touch Up The Edges

After removing the tape, you might see patches in the paint coating. If you do, you must apply a thin coat of paint to touch up those areas. After doing this, allow the paint to dry and dispose of the tapes.

Types of Paints You Can Use Over Tapes:

Here are some types of paint you can or can’t use over tapes:

Latex Paint

You can use latex paint over painter’s tape, but not over other types of tapes. That’s because latex paint is water-based and won’t stick to slick natures like duct or scotch tape. 

Enamel Paint

Enamel paint is oil-based and will stick to tapes with textured surfaces only. If the tape is slick or glossy, the enamel paint won’t stick due to the high levels of oil the paint has. The enamel paint solvent (oil) will slide off the slick surface and won’t stick. 

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint sticks to most tapes because it has impressive adhesive qualities. However, acrylic paint is thin, and if you use tapes with strong glue, the acrylic paint will come off when you remove the tape.

Final Words

You can paint over tapes as long as you use the right type of tape. For example, paints won’t stick to tapes with slick and glossy surfaces. Also, you shouldn’t paint over tapes with strong glue because the paint will come off when you remove the paint.

A tape you can paint over is painter’s tape. The painter’s tape is thin, textured, and has low adhesives, so it won’t damage the paint coating. Masking tape is another strong tape that can be painted over.

Leave a Comment