The Best Tape for Watercolor Paper for 2023

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Last Updated on February 2, 2023 by Dee

In this blog post, I will explore the best types of tape for watercolor paper in 2023 – so that you get consistently beautiful results every time.

Are you ready to unleash your inner watercolor artist? We have all seen amazing works of art online and in print, and we may wonder which tools the artists use.

One often overlooked tool is tape—yes, plain old adhesive tape!

When used properly, it can help bring your artwork to a whole new level. Whether you are creating landscape scenes with watercolors or intricate abstract pieces, having the right type of tape can make all the difference.

Looking for the best tape for watercolor paper

**This page may contain affiliate links to products I have used or recommend. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.**

Why Do You Use Tape on Watercolor Paper?

Tapin’ into one of the most timeless art tools, there’s nothing easier and more underrated than the humble use of tape in watercolor painting.

Artists are taking a cue from scenic painters who used this trick to keep the lines and edges razor-straight while laying down a wash of color.

With masking tape, you can now cleanly block off whatever space you want to be left untouched while keeping your artwork from bleeding outside its confines.

Don’t worry about ruining your paper either—the thin barrier between paint and paper keeps them safe!

Tape-masking is a great way for an artist to add precision and finesse to whatever project they’re creating without having to sacrifice their own unique artistry; it’s simply an invaluable asset for any watercolor work.

Masking tape allows artists to create clean lines and sharp edges in their artwork since it won’t lose its shape or buckle under the application of the wet media.

A repositionable tape is a good option because it will not cause any damage to your watercolor paper during removal. It is also ideal for painting on textured papers.

Top of the Line Tape for Watercolor Paper

Art 1-Inch by 60-Yards White Artist Tape

white artists tape for watercolor

White Artist Tape is an acid-free, repositionable tape that is perfect for drawing, drafting, and mixed media projects.

Its pH-neutral composition means it won’t damage the paper when removed. It is ideal for any paper surface, and it comes in a variety of sizes to suit your needs. It also works great for blocking off areas and holding paper in place.

60 Yard STIKK Blue Painters Tape

Stikk Blue Painters Tape is the industry standard for painting and decorating projects.

Its aggressive adhesion and clean release allow it to hold up to five days without peeling or coming off. This product is a reliable, long-lasting solution for any project, from small to large.

It is available in rolls that measure up to 60 yards by 1.41 inches wide, with different widths available as well.

It is made of crepe paper, which helps it adhere to rough surfaces. It’s UV resistant and stays on for up to five days without leaving a sticky residue.

I personally use this tape…

Scotch Painter’s Tape

scotch tape for artists for watercolor

On using Drafting Tape as Masking for Watercolor Painting

using Drafting Tape as Masking for Watercolor Painting

Using Drafting tape as masking for watercolor painting will give you crisp and clean lines. This kind of masking tape is easy to remove without damaging your watercolor painting.

This tape has a low tack, so it is not as sticky as other masking tapes. It will also keep your paint from seeping through.

Moreover, it can be repositioned without leaving any sticky stains on your paper.

Another advantage of drafting tape is that it does not leave any residue when removed. Therefore, you can cut it without worrying that it will tear your paper.

And since the drafting tape is a thin layer of paper, you can also use it to mask your photographs.

It does not require special tools so you can use it on your watercolor paintings. Moreover, you can also apply paint to it without any worry.

The other advantage of drafting tape is that it allows you to see the lines as thin as a 2H lead.

Watercolor wash-out tape

washout tape for watercolor

Watercolour Wash Out Tape provides an edge-free white paper border. This particular washout tape is fantastic and a good investment for your watercolor artwork.

It is the latest up-to-date version of the traditional watercolor masking tape. It is removable and will resist wet paint without damaging the paper.

Once your painting is finished, you can remove the tape. This will leave you with a clean white paper border. This way, you can keep the painting flat and avoid warping.

What to look for when buying tapes for watercolor paper?

what to look out for when buying tape for watercolor paper

There are many different types of tape for watercolor paper. There are many types to choose from, depending on your style.

Acid-Free Masking Tape

It’s a good idea to choose a pH-neutral or acid-free masking tape or artists’ tape for watercolor painting as it won’t release any acidic components that can discolor your works over time.

Unlike other kinds of masking tapes, these specialized tapes are made not to react with chemicals and keep your artwork looking sharp and bright.

Thickness & Length of Tape

You should also pay attention to the size of the tape as there are various widths available on the market, and you want to make sure you have the right size for the masked areas you want to achieve.

No Residue

When buying tape for watercolor paper, choose one that doesn’t leave any glue marks or sticky residue. The masking tape should not be too thin and should be repositionable.


A good quality masking tape should be fairly tough and won’t easily rip or tear.

Other points to consider…

Masking tape is a great way to create crisp masking lines when watercolor painting. The tape clings to the paper well, and it won’t leave sticky residue on the paper.

While masking tape is a good choice for the sake of painting, you need to be careful when purchasing it. You don’t want to ruin the beautiful art you’ve spent time on.

If you’re going to use it for a long time, you might want to get a larger roll for more convenience.

If you’re using masking tape for watercolor paper, you should purchase a water-activated one. This type of tape will stick to surfaces that are wet, so it will not leave sticky residue when removed.

It’s ideal for watercolor paper, because it will stick to any surface and won’t tear. It is easy to remove, too. Unlike ordinary masking tape, this type of tape will be easy to use on most surfaces.

Besides the wide variety of sizes, you should also be aware of the different types of tapes. The most popular one is painters tape, which comes in different colors.

A typical painters taping tape is one inch wide and 60 yards long. It has a standard width, which is perfect for most people. Its acid-free formula makes it easy to peel and applies easily.

[Related Article: Gouache vs Acrylic Paint]

While most types of masking and stretching tapes are helpful for masking, some types of masking and stretching tapes are bad for watercolor painting.

While masking and stretching tapes are great for doing all kinds of creativity, they can be terrible when it comes to watercolor painting.

Unfortunately, certain types of tape tend to lift up the color in your painting as you’re working with it, even if you don’t remove the tape itself.

Be warned: if you opt for glossy tapes or gold/silver foiled tapes while watercoloring, it can result in an uneven finish on your work that looks pretty sloppy.

Your best bet is to stick with low-tack transparent tapes that adhere nicely without leaving any residue, so you don’t mess up the results of all your hard work!

Using Washi Tape For Masking in Watercolor Paper

using washi tape on watercolor paper

If you find a washi tape that is repositionable and leaves no residue, here are the steps you can follow to create an easy geometric design in your watercolor painting…

Creating a geometric design in your watercolor painting with washi tape can be a fun and exciting way to add definition and structure to your art!

  1. To start, you’ll want to decide on the shape or pattern that you would like to create in your painting.
  2. Using a ruler, lightly draw the pattern onto your canvas.
  3. Once you’re happy with the outline of your design, use washi tape to mask off all parts of the painting that are not part of the pattern.
  4. When finished, you can begin adding color inside those boundaries using watercolor paint.
  5. For extra definition, step back from the painting and make sure there aren’t any gaps to fill!
  6. Finally, once everything is dry, carefully and slowly remove the washi tape for an elegant geometric masterpiece!

Can You Use Washi Tapes on Watercolor Paper?

Yes it is possible to use washi tapes on watercolor paper, but the results may not be what you expect. Washi tape is a type of adhesive tape that is made from natural fibers such as bamboo, mulberry, or hemp.

It is often used for crafting and decorating projects as the fiber content makes it flexible and easy to tear.

Washi tape is a great material to use when masking when painting with watercolor, but – like anything else – not all washi tapes are created equal.

When used on watercolor paper, washi tape will not hold the paint as masking tape would.

In fact, the paint may actually seep underneath the tape and cause bleeding or smudging.

If you want to ensure that the paint doesn’t bleed under the tape or create an unwanted look on your masterpiece, your best bet is to use an artist’s tape like Scotch Painter’s Tape for Delicate Surfaces.

This well-known painter’s tape allows you to secure whatever border or shape you create without compromising on quality and ensuring it comes off in one piece without any remaining residue.

So if you’re planning any masking with watercolor painting, be sure to grab some of this magical Scotch Painter’s Tape.

While washi tape can be used on watercolor paper, it’s not recommended for professional paintings because it spreads the paint.

Why should you stretch watercolor paper?

Stretching watercolor paper is super important for artists who want to start their projects.

Doing this makes sure that your paper lies flat, which helps keep the paints from running or pooling in unwanted places.

When painting on stretched watercolor paper, the surface also prevents buckling or warping once dried.

This enables the artist to achieve crystal clear, sharp lines and smooth saturation of color when using watercolors since it stays flat from beginning to end.

Stretching your paper gives you a professional finish to all your creative projects — whatever the project may be!

How to Tape Watercolor Paper to a Board

how to tape watercolor paper

Stretching watercolor paper is an incredibly important step to achieving a flat and even surface if you are painting on loose, cold-press paper that is less than 300gsm.

It’s not as complicated as it seems either – all you need is a sheet of watercolor paper, some masking tape, and a flat board such as masonite or plywood.

To stretch your paper, wet the sheet of paper on both sides to ensure it’s nicely saturated with even moisture. I usually submerge my paper in a large container filled with water for about 10 – 15 seconds.

Once that’s done, gently shake off the excess water. It also helps to pat the paper with a kitchen towel softly.

Next, you can place the paper on a solid, flat board (a masonite or plywood board).

Make sure your paper is in the correct position, and use your hands to flatten it.

Cut long pieces of your artist’s masking tape and stick them along the length of each edge. Make sure to press down firmly so that there are no air bubbles.

Cover each edge, and make sure the paper remains flat as you go along.

When everything is ready, leave your stretched paper and let it dry overnight until it has become taut and sturdy. With this simple technique, you’ll be able to enjoy creating beautiful masterpieces with ease!

tape for watercolor paper

See this Full Demo on How to Stretch Watercolor Paper

Removing Tape From Watercolor Paper

Removing masking tape from watercolor paper is a tricky task that should always be approached with patience and care.

Usually, artist’s tape like Scotch Painter’s Tape for Delicate Surfaces lifts very easily and you can slowly peel it off with issue.

However, masking tape and other tapes can be slightly more tricky.

Start by peeling the tape off in one corner, stretching, and easing it away from the paper at a shallow angle.

If the paper is lifting or starting to crumble, use your fingernails instead of going for more drastic measures like scissors.

When you have removed the main strip of masking tape, take some tweezers and pick off any remaining bits that stick to the paper.

You may also want to rub over with a soft cloth or cotton swab dipped in soapy water to help dissolve any stubborn areas.

Remember to work on this gradually so as not to damage your precious artwork!

Looking for the best tape for watercolor paper


As we’ve seen, the right type of tape can be an invaluable asset when it comes to watercolor paper art. It’s important to have the right supplies at-the-ready – as they can help us create beautiful works every time.

If you have been looking for the best tape for watercolor paper this guide should help you choose the right option. Take some time to get to know the tapes out there and find the one that best suits you — happy crafting!

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[7 Mezmerizing Watercolor Galaxy Ideas & How to Paint them]

[13 Awesome Watercolor backgrounds]

[How to Store Watercolor Brushes: 6 Great Storage Solutions]

5 thoughts on “The Best Tape for Watercolor Paper for 2023”

  1. Masking the paper edges is a crucial step in the preparation process for watercolor paintings. However, normal tapes should not be used because they may be overly sticky and cause the paper to tear when peeled. Blue tapes cannot be used on wet surfaces, therefore they cannot be used on paper that has already been saturated and stretched.

  2. The blue painters tape has never worked in my experience – tears the paper surface every time. I’m looking into painters tapes designed for delicate surfaces, as some other online artists have recommended.

    • In my article above you will see I wrote about how I personally use the purple painter’s scotch tape as this has been the most gentle and most effective. I find the blue tape to be a bit harsh sometimes too – I find that if I dab it on a fabric surface first (like on my trousers leg) then it loses some of its stickiness and it doesn’t tear the paper.

  3. I have found that heating the tape with a hairdryer before removing it slowly and carefully works very well (wish I could remember where I got this tip so I could give credit!)


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