Amphibious Painter's Tape

On many of my paintings, as you can make out if you look carefully, I use techniques and tools such as templates; stencils; compasses; scribing, etc. Another technique and material I use frequently is taping-off edges, borders, grids and lines. Much of this penchant comes from my interest in finding a balance between the effort towards "perfection", and the human errors (or "happy accidents") that result from pushing the painterly envelope. I'm also interested in traditional Pennsylvania German, and other folk-expression's techniques for decorative painting, but I'll let that topic for another post...

For years, I used a brown paper-based tape, with a low-tack adhesive on half the tape...this created, in my non-rigorous testings, the best edge. Unfortunately, I have only been able to find it at one local store, and that is in my old neighborhood. Your run-of-the-mill blue painter's tape had too much tack -- even the low-tack tape -- and it required sticking it to your sweater or jeans a few times, so as not to pull off layers of paint. That being said, I often used blue tape, since it was the easiest thing to find.

And then came along Frog Tape. I receive a weekly email on DIY home repair...and the writer often mentions products that he finds to be useful and week he mentioned Frog Tape, and I was intrigued. Up to that point, I'd not seen it in stores yet. Soon thereafter, though, Lowe's began carrying it, and I was tempted...despite the higher price. Well, I have to say, it's worth the extra price, now that I've tried it. It utilizes a "paint-blocking" technology which essentially soaks up excess water found in latex paint (my usual material of choice) and prevents it from seeping through, which is when it carries suspended pigment through, and makes an annoying feathered edge.

This morning at the studio I used it over a well-cured latex coat, over which a spray-painted grid had been applied...I taped off the lines I wanted, and scuff-sanded the spray paint to aid in adhesion. The green paint I used was fairly low-viscosity (I often up the water content in my latex paints to aid in flow). So, I applied the tape, painted the shapes, let it dry, pulled it off about an hour later, and voila! Nary a seep...except where I'd not pushed the tape down hard enough against an edge; that was all me. Happiness!

So...I would normally never endorse a product unless (like good ol' Paul Harvey) I used it myself. Well, I'm here to say, it's a fine product, and I will keep using it. Try it out; I'd be curious to hear if anyone else has experience with Frog Tape.

(By the way; the name? I'm guessing they are referencing how a frog drinks (takes in water): through its skin.)

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