I won’t keep you in suspense; the ‘trick’ is using tape to mask off the edges of your paper before you begin. Not rocket science, but it makes a huge difference to the look of your work. Gotta love it when things are both simple and easy. :)

I’ve always loved using masking tape when I paint on paper. The reason for this is fourfold:

  1. It holds the paper steady {handy when you paint fast and sometimes quite violently ;)}
  2. Peeling off the tape is one of the most satisfying things EVER
  3. A crisp white border shows off your work beautifully and effortlessly
  4. Mounting and framing is easier because it won’t cut off any of the painting

When I’m working on larger sheets of paper, I tape them to my drawing board so I can work upright at the easel.

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Then they’re all ready for mounting and framing. And even if I don’t do that, they still look good!

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What type of tape is best?

Masking tape varies widely. Regular masking tape tends to be very strong, and will peel off the top layer or actually tear the paper when you go to remove it, which is why choosing the low tack variety is important.

On the other hand, I’ve bought tape that’s so low tack it doesn’t actually stick to the paper or hold it down, so there’s a level of trial and error here!

Tip! If that does happen, you can use a little gel medium or PVA to seal it back down; it’s barely noticeable.

Here are three tape options:

  • Currently I’m using this green tape from Jacksons; it has just the right amount of stickiness, and as long as I’m careful it doesn’t tear off the top layer of the paper.
  • I’ve heard of people using washi tape too, which I imagine would be great since it’s designed to be peel-able, although you’d want probably want to buy the wider kind since the standard size is quite narrow.
  • Another option I’ve heard recommended is Removable Magic Tape; I have yet to try it but it looks good!

Another thing I ‘discovered’ recently, and I’ve no idea why it didn’t occur to me sooner, is taping off the pages in my sketchbook. It has revolutionised the look of it! Check it out:

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It makes a huge difference, and means I get to do more peeling. ;) {It’s possible I’m a bit obsessed.}

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I also sometimes use this technique to make cards, as it keeps things crisp and clean. Here’s the card I made for my dad for Fathers’ Day this year:

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Do you use tape for your art? If so, what make do you like best? What other little tricks do you like to use to upgrade the look of your paintings? Please do share in the comments!

 

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