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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: