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Which is better for clean lines: frog tape or blue tape? I do a side by side comparison in my primary bedroom and share the results!
Thanks to my primary bedroom’s new paint job (what I like to call a “paintover”), I can confidently say that I have a preference for painter’s tape. In today’s post, I’m answering a question that I get asked a lot: which is better, FrogTape Multi-Surface Painters Tape or Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape? Does it even make a difference? Based on the results and photos below, I think the answer is YES!
I recently saw FrogTape in my local home improvement store and decided I’d give it a try and compare it to the blue painter’s tape (by 3M) we are all familiar with. According to the packaging, FrogTape (made by the folks at Shurtape) has “exclusive paintblock technology” that seals tape edges for a professional paint line.
When painting walls, I don’t usually use painter’s tape AT ALL; I prefer to “cut in” (as in, I avoid tape entirely thanks to this pro painter’s technique). But when it came to painting the 1980s-era orangey-wood trim in my house, I decided painter’s tape might make the endless coats go a little faster. In the interest of simply getting the job done, I mixed both the FrogTape and blue painter’s tape around the room because I had both and knew I’d run out. Whichever was closest to my hand while taping is what I put onto the wall — it’s a big room!
Painter’s tape vs masking tape vs any other kind of tape: what’s the difference?
You may be wondering why any kind of special tape is even necessary; I’ve seen pro painter’s use no tape, masking tape, and all sorts of options that I don’t immediately recognize as a DIYer. But I suppose that’s the point: even though I’ve got the basics figured out, I don’t usually call myself a “pro”, and I know that I sometimes have my limits (based on time, or patience, or skill… the list goes on). Like many of you, I like to use products if they will help me “cheat” my way to a more professional look. Painter’s tape is essentially one of those tools I keep handy for such an occasion; unlike your average masking tape, Frogtape is considered a medium adhesion painter’s tape that reacts to the water in latex paint, creating a micro-barrier that seals the edge into a gel. (Update: I would later see this exact tech in action here). The “medium adhesion” part is important too, since you don’t want the tape you use to be so good at adhering to your walls that it peels the underlying layers of paint off. Most of these tapes come in a variety of widths and are designed for specialty purposes (exterior use or recently painted surfaces, for example).
Determining the Best Masking Tape for Painting
After painting and removing the tape, I saw a noticeable difference in the quality of each brand. For best results, here are a few tips to getting as clean of a result as possible, regardless of which brand you use:
How to get very sharp paint lines from painter’s tape:
- Peel tape strips off while it is still wet (if doing multiple coats, it’s ok to let the first coat dry but the last coat should be wet when peeling off the tape)
- Peel tape off at an angle
- Do NOT rush! Go slow and steady for clean removal; ripping the tape off quickly increases the chances that it removes some of the paint and not the tape line
- Standard professional grade painter’s tape is made for a variety of surfaces, but if you have painted the walls within the last 72 hours or so, it’s better to use the kind made for delicate surfaces (for FrogTape it is yellow instead of green; with Scotch, it’s purple). The main difference there is that these tapes are more “low adhesion” than their medium counterparts so they have less likelihood to peel off fresh paint.
Scotch Blue Tape Results
The standard blue painter’s tape can get the job done, sure, but requires touch-ups afterward in many cases. I’m dealing with old walls and trim that has never been painted before, so this means a lot of areas where the edges of the tape might not have been 100% perfect, resulting in a fair amount of paint bleed. As a perfectionist, this is not a preferred result! In hindsight, I could have helped prevent some of this by re-caulking around the trim edge and then painted the walls and trim; but that isn’t a quick fix with the amount of trim I have to cover and increases the overall cost of the project to buy that many tubes of caulk.
Frog Tape Results
By contrast, I had far fewer areas that needed to be touched up when using the FrogTape. Even my boyfriend noticed (he didn’t know I used two different tapes). “What happened there? *points to white blotches*“
FrogTape is a little more expensive and isn’t quite as perfect as it claims to be (at least in this old home’s case). But, I can definitely say I saw a worth-the-money difference. There is so much trim in this house that saving the extra effort on touch-ups will go quite far. I’m a fan! Update: I’ve continued to use many different brands of painter’s tape over the years, but I come back to FrogTape again and again for painting projects as I find the seal and results are simply better and more consistent.
Do you have any preferences for your next painting project? For even more time-saving techniques, be sure to check out my tips on how to perfect straight lines along trim and corners without using painter’s tape at all. I also cover tons of project topics like drywall, stain, and DIY 101, so be sure to subscribe for more project ideas!
Update: I also used frog tape for these 3/4 painted walls in my office slash dining room. It was definitely the best choice to get crisp lines so I knew I went with the right tape! You can check out the full before and after right here:
Learn to paint like a pro with these easy to follow quick start guides:
We did the same experiment in our living room for the trim. With the same results.
I will never use blue tape again. :)
I assumed it was a user error! ;)
Just discovered your blog from Young House Love. We painted our master two weeks ago and my sister said only buy Frog Tape. We have textured walls, so it was a must. We didn't have a touch up a thing! And it was our first time painting too!
JessieG, I'm glad you had such a great first-time experience! A lot of this has been trial and error for me, and I honestly wouldn't have it any other way. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at the blog!
Thanks! I've never heard of Frog's tape before.
I found this website trying to figure out which tape to pick because my work ethic is unapologetically messy. This was perfectly helpful. Thank you for not spending paragraphs and paragraphs on needless information. I’m a fan & now a follower.
Glad to hear you found it helpful, Quinci!
I normally use Frog Tape but purchased some Scotch Painters tape because the store was out of Frog Tape. I was disappointed with the results and will never use Scotch again.
I feel ya. I remember when Frog Tape first came on the scene (right around the time I started blogging was when I first saw it really getting marketed about and carried in stores) and tried it out. I know that Scotch has made some improvements to their tape since then, but I was pretty sold on Frog Tape after this test. I’ve since learned a lot more about how to properly paint clean lines without painters tape at all, so I don’t use it as much, but I definitely still go back to it when needed! Thanks for the comment, Robert!
Just for reference your MUST always cut the tape. I will give you a perfect edge. This is because when the paint dries it create a edge between the tape and paint that can pee when the paint is removed making it loo like paint bleed through. A lot using a paint knife to smooth tape rather than your fingers
You shouldn’t have to cut the tape, and I would honestly be pretty unhappy with tape in general if I had to do it that way. There are other methods (this post is older and so I’ll have to update it, something I’ve added to my to-do list). You should just need to press down really firmly at the edge, and NOT wait until the paint dries before peeling it off. I also don’t use a paint knife because my walls have been damaged doing it that way before. These pictures were also not a result of peel – it’s 100% bleed through (which can also be helped by first painting the other paint color first, letting it dry, then peeling your contrast color on top… all of the bleed through usually gets sealed when doing this). I learned straight from the manufacturer at some of their demos on how to get better results (I’m still not a fan of the blue tape though).
I used the blue tape all the time, if the walls are recently new and solid, it works. Older houses where you have no idea of the condition of the walls (how many paint layers are just crumbly at the edges, or in bathrooms, where years of humidity have softened the layers, I used the blue tape and what a mess! So I have purchased the frog tape and will use that in conjunction with gently pressing only at the edge. I usually let the paint dry overnight, since I have had issues with wet paint spilling over if there was too much on the tape in areas as you peel away. Wet paint on tape also gets on everything. I use a hair dryer as I peel away and have had good results with that softening the adhesive on the tape to prevent peeling.
A hair dryer is a great suggestion! Thanks for the tip.
Actually I found the expense to be the opposite. While at home depot last night, frog tape 1.41, 6 rolls was $39 while stotch sharp lines at 3 rolls 1.41 was $23. I understand the volume discount concept but that is still a big difference.
That is a large difference!