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How to use masking tape when decorating

Work on pretty much any home design project and you’ll come across this reliable and multi-purpose tool - masking tape.

This trusty tool plays a big part in helping to achieve clean and shape lines when painting and saves skirting boards and adjacent surfaces from paint splatters and splodges. More on that below.

What to use

Start by choosing the right tape. There are lots of different masking tape options out there, so make sure you buy tape that’s appropriate for your home renovation needs. You can get masking tape that specifically works well with wood, metal or wallpaper. Or, you could just invest in a good old-fashioned multi-purpose masking tape that sticks to all surfaces.

Masking tape = clean lines.

How to use it

Make use of masking tape to paint like a pro:

Start by wiping down the areas you want to tape. Dip a sponge into a warm water and mild detergent mixture and use that to get rid of dirt and grime from surfaces before tape application. Leave to dry completely before reaching for that tape.

(Warning: Skip the above step and your tape will stick to dust particles instead of surfaces.)

Once you’ve got a clean and dry surface to work with, start to apply masking tape in foot-long strips. As you’re applying each section, make sure that it overlaps a little with the previous section so paint can’t seep through any cracks.

Where to use it

Affix your tape around areas you want to protect and edges where you want to achieve clean, sharp lines:

If you’re painting your walls, tape the edges of the ceiling (right where the ceiling and wall meet), skirting boards, window frames and door frames, light switches and sockets.

If you’re painting a ceiling, mask sections of the adjoining walls using masking tape.

When applying tape, apply it as close as possible to the surface you’re going to paint.

Seal tape to the surface, pressing down to make sure it’s properly stuck on. Firm application will ensure the tape bonds to the surface and prevent paint from bleeding and the tape from peeling.

Remember to leave enough tape at the end of each strip to overlap the edges of the next section, or you risk exposing small cracks in the middle.

Masking tape can also help you protect your floors when painting. Cover up your flooring with a drop cloth and use your trusty tape to secure it in place.

Take a little extra care when removing masking tape.

How to remove it

Remove masking tape as soon as you’re finished painting. Don’t wait for the paint to dry as you’ll risk peeling it off along with the tape.

Peel the tape off carefully, pulling it slowly but firmly toward yourself.

If any paint has already dried to the tape, score the area using a sharp utility knife. Careful not to cut the wall.

Left with sticky paint residue? Don’t fret - remove easily using soapy water.

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