Can You Paint Over Tape? (Explained!)

Tapes are commonly used during repairs, renovation, and other household tasks. But many DIYers wonder if they can paint over tape after using it.

You can paint over tape but not all types of tapes can be painted over. This is because tapes are made from different materials meaning that they have different textures and features. Tapes that can be painted over are usually thin and less sticky.

You should stay away from tapes that have strong adhesive qualities as the glue on such tapes remove paint when you pull the tape from the surface. It’s not a good idea to leave paint on tape permanently as doing so can result in hairline cracks in the paint coating.

This post reveals more about painting over tapes including an expert guide on how to take on the task. So, let’s dive in.

Does Paint Stick To Tape?

Paints usually stick properly to tape but you should know that not all types of tapes will accept paint properly. This is because tapes are made from different materials and have different features.

Either paint will stick to paint or not largely depends on the type of tape. The best type of tape to paint over are tapes advertised as “painter’s tape.” These tapes are designed to be paintable so the paint will stick properly.

Generally, tapes don’t accept paint. This is because tapes by design are meant to join materials together and not to be painted over. Also, most tapes have a rubber-like and slick texture that makes it difficult for paints to stick well.

When paint is applied over tape, the paint will stick initially but after a while, the paint coating will develop issues and start to peel off. This is because the slick nature of the tape prevents proper adhesion between the paint coating and the surface.

However, some tapes are designed to accept paints. These tapes are not designed to be slick. Instead, these tapes have a textured surface because they are usually made from crepe paper material.

Since the surface is textured, the paint will stick to such tapes. Asides from having a textured surface, 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 initially to the tape since paints have very good adhesive qualities. However, the paint will gradually begin to crack and peel off after a while and this is because of the slick texture of the tape.

But you should know that this only happens with regular types of tapes. When you apply paint over painter’s tape, the paint will go on fine but on other types of tapes, there will be weak adhesion.

For paints to stick to a surface, the surface has to be textured or a little bit rough. This allows the paint coating to bite into the surface. However, tapes usually have a slick surface. Black tapes for instance have a slippery texture making it very difficult for paints to stick.

So when you apply paint over black tape, for instance, the adhesion between the paint coating and the tape will be weak due to the slippery surface. This is also what happens with most types of tapes.

However, if the tape is textured, the paint will stick well when applied over the tape. Tapes that are textured are usually 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. Speaking of types of tapes, let’s check out some popular types of tapes and see if you can paint over them.

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

You should never apply paint on duct tape. This is because duct tape has a slick surface which means that paint will not stick properly.

Also, duct tapes are usually designed to be waterproof. So if you apply water-based or oil-based paint on duct tape, the tape will not absorb the paint. The combination of the slick and moisture-resistant features of duct tape means that paint will not stick as it should.

When you apply paint over duct tape, the poor adhesion will cause the paint to peel and fall off. Also, duct tape has strong adhesives meaning that the tape 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 apply any type of paint over painter’s tape. This is because painter’s tape is specifically designed to accept paint.

The tape is usually made from crepe paper material which makes the tape textured. Since paints generally stick to a textured surface, the paint will stay on the painter’s tape. Also, 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

It’s generally not advised to paint over gorilla tape. Though paint has a good chance of sticking to gorilla tape, paint adhesion isn’t the problem.

The problem with gorilla tape is that the tape is formulated with rubber-based adhesives which makes the tape twice as strong as regular tapes. So if you use gorilla tape while painting, the paint might stick. But, you can be sure that the paint will be ripped off completely when you pull off the gorilla tape.

Masking Tape

Masking tapes can be painted over. This is because masking tapes have similar features as painter’s tape. Masking tape also has a textured surface meaning that paint will stick better.

However, you should know that it’s not a good idea to leave the paint on the masking tape for too long as doing so will 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 drywall tape but only if the drywall tape is made from paper. Drywall tapes are designed to be used on drywall and the tape is either made from paper material or fiberglass mesh.

For drywall tapes made from paper material, the paint will stick properly since the surface will be textured. However, fiberglass mesh drywall tape will prove very difficult to paint over as the tape has tiny holes and squares. If you paint over fiberglass mesh drywall tape, the finish will look patterned and uneven.

Clear Tape

You can paint over clear tape but you should know that it’s not a good idea to do so. Especially, if you are using the tape to demarcate the surface while applying paint. This is because clear tape as the name implies is transparent.

If you paint over clear tape, it would be very 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 will prove difficult to wipe off or clean.

Scrim Tape

It’s not advised to paint over scrim tape because the tape is made from fiberglass threads that are woven together.

This means that scrim tape has pores and spaces in it. So if you apply paint over scrim tape, the paint coating will be uneven. Also, when the tape is removed, irregular lines will be formed in the paint coating.

Scotch Tape

You shouldn’t paint over scotch tape because the paint will not stick. One major reason for this is that the tape has a slick surface that looks shiny and painting 101 teaches that paints generally don’t stick to glossy or slick surfaces. Also, scotch tape is transparent meaning that it will be difficult to know where the tape is after the paint has dried.

Next, let’s check out how to paint over tapes.

How To Paint Over Tape?

Painting over a tape is an easy task but if you don’t follow the right steps, the finish will become messy and uneven. But not to worry, this post explains how to paint over tapes in 5 simple steps but first, you’ll need a few supplies:

  • 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

Here is a 5-step guide to painting over tape easily:

1. Wipe and Clean The Surface

The first step is to wipe and clean the surface. This step helps to get rid of dust nibs and filth on the surface. If the surface is filthy, the tape and paint will not stick properly. So you need to ensure the surface is clean before putting tape over it.

To clean the surface, mix some dish soap in water. Then use the soapy water and a clean rag to wipe stains and filth off of the surface. After cleaning the surface, ensure to leave it to dry for a few hours before moving on to the next step.

2. Put The Tape Over The Surface

When the surface is dry, you can put the tape over it. Ensure to only use tape that can be painted over. Also, press the tape properly on the surface to prevent bleed-through. This also helps to prevent paint from flowing underneath the tape.

3. Apply The Paint

With the tape properly applied, you can apply the paint. You shouldn’t put too many coats of paint on the tape as doing so will make it very difficult to remove the tape after. You can apply the paint using a paintbrush as this gives you more control. After applying the paint, leave it to dry.

4. Remove The Tape

The next step is to remove the tape but you should only do this when the paint is completely dry. If you remove the tape while the paint is still wet, the finish will turn very messy. To remove the tape, start pulling from the end and just lift it till the strip is completely off the surface.

5. Touch Up The Edges

After removing the tape, you might see spaces in the paint coating. Some areas of the paint might also appear patchy. So you’ll need to touch up these areas.

If you notice that there are many patches on the surface, you can apply a light 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 Over Tape?

You can use latex paint over tape but only if you use standard painter’s tape. This is because latex paint is water-based paint and as such, it will not stick to slick surfaces like duct tape or scotch tape.

Enamel Paint Over Tape?

Enamel or oil-based paints generally do not go well on tapes except the tape is textured. If the tape is slick or glossy, then enamel paint will not stick due to the high levels of oils in the paint.

Applying enamel paint over regular tapes is like putting oil over a slick surface. Doing so means there will be no adhesion at all. So if you are to put enamel paint over a tape, ensure the tape is textured or you can prime first before applying the paint.

Acrylic Paint Over Tape?

Acrylic paint is known to stick well to tapes because the paint has very good adhesive qualities. However, you should know that acrylic paint is very thin so if you use tapes that have strong glue, the acrylic paint will come off when you remove the tape.

Final Words

In summary, painting over tapes is possible as long as you use the right type of tape. Remember to stay away from tapes that are slick and tapes that have strong glues as such tapes can damage the paint coating and prevent proper adhesion.

The best type of tape to use while painting is painter’s tape. Painter’s tape is usually thin, textured, and has low adhesives so there is no risk of damage to the paint coating.

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