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Oil Paint, Tape, and Some Very Curious Results

10 thoughts on “Oil Paint, Tape, and Some Very Curious Results”

  1. I’m using PRO Premium PH Neutral black artist’s tape for masking one inch square oil paintings and for adhering primed linen to lightweight panels for plein air painting. After a year, so far so good. I’ll let you know if this changes.

    • Hi Melissa –

      Thanks for commenting, and great to hear! And yes, let us know if you ever notice anything.

  2. As a chemical engineer who worked for 3M, I suspect that it is the low adhesion backsize (LAB) coated on the back of the tape that is causing the problem. Based on reading your article, when the oil based paint is painted over the tape the LAB is probably leaching into the paint giving the halo effect around the edges.

    • Hi Keith –

      Thank you so much for commenting! Your insight confirms our own sense of the likely cause. Would you happen to know the general class of material of these LABs? One of the things that have been surprising is just how powerful even small amounts of this material can be in terms of disrupting the curing process, as well as its ability to migrate through various acrylic coatings applied on top.

    • Hi Simo –

      We are happy to say yes, as far as we have ever seen. A lot of that has to do with the fact that the tapes are largely engineered to work with water-based paints, like acrylics and latex house paints, and of course, those systems dry so quickly and by a very different means.

      Long story short, we think you can use these tapes without concern when using acrylics. And if using them for hard edge techniques, in particular, you might want to check out the following tech sheet we wrote:

      Hard Edge Techniques Using GOLDEN Products

      as well as this related (and identically titled) video:

      Hard Edge Techniques using GOLDEN Products

      And of course, if you still have any questions or concerns, just let us know at help@goldenpaints.com

    • Hi Ed –

      Thanks for the suggestion. As far as we know and from our own experiences, we have never seen issues with an interaction between these tapes and water-based acrylics. Indeed, if anything, they are engineered to perform with latex house paints, which of course are part of the same broad class of materials. But you might want to check out this tech sheet that we wrote on hard edge painting with acrylics:

      Hard Edge Techniques Using GOLDEN Products

      as well as this related (and identically titled) video:

      Hard Edge Techniques using GOLDEN Products

      After looking through those if you still have questions, just let us know at help@goldenpaints.com

      And once again, thanks!

  3. Hi, very interesting article. I am an artist who’s mainly working with tapes (TESA 4334) in order to creat sharp geometric conmpositions and I have not had any problems at all with halo or tape marks since I have been working with acrylic colors. I always work with acrylic Heavy Body Golden Paints and the result is brilliant. If anyone is interested in the process, you could watch this video:


    Right now I am working on some oil on canvas artworks and things are different, I have faced some problems and I would like to share them with this community and get some feed back.

    In the first artwork, I have used the following oil paintings (Van Gogh): Yellow Ocher, Red Cadmium, Yellow medium and Liquin Original as medium. Process is painting with thin layers and transparencies. Before putting the tape to work on other areas, the surface was left drying for 3 months. The results are brilliant. No tape marks, no halo effect. Just perfect as if it were an acrylic painting.

    In the second artwork, I am facing 2 problems. For this painting, I have used Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, Titanium White and turquoise Blue (Van Gogh). Same, 3 months of drying and letting it repose, then using tape to work on other areas. When I removed the tape, I saw, in some places, the painting of surface was randomly removed and stuck on the glued face of tape. Also, the tape left an halo effect on the painting everywhere.

    Thing is, how to remove this tape mark; it is annoying. I do not know if isopropyl alcohol would be a good idea, or just water and soap. If anyone has an idea, I would appreciate it.

    Many thanks in advance,

    • Hi Juanjo –

      Thanks for sharing your experiences and the link to your work. Quite beautiful. Also, sorry to hear about the problems with the surface of the oil painting and the resulting halos and tape marks. Unfortunately, while we have been able to document some of the issues with tape, such as halos, we have not explored what can be done to fix a piece once this defect has appeared. Plus we have been concerned that the halos might not simply be a benign surface defect but caused by an interruption or change to the normal curing of the paint. At least in some cases, we have seen the paints retain a putty-like, easily removable texture. Whether the tape marks or halos you are seeing are also signs of this would be one large concern, along with not knowing the longterm impacts. Because of that, our best advice is always to see if you can get a trained conservator to at least take a look at the piece and offer their advice. I see from your website you are located in Barcelona, Spain, and unfortunately, do not know if there is an easy to access directory of conservators in that area. In the meantime, you could certainly post this issue on the MITRA (Materials Information and Technical Resources for Artists) which is run by conservators and can be found here:


      As for attempting to remove the marks with isopropyl alcohol, we would caution against that as you could damage the surface more and get significant color lift. Soap and water might be possible if done carefully but is unlikely to remove much beyond normal dirt, and would still advise testing anything using a cotton swab in a small area.

      Lastly, on at least one of the halos in our test pieces, I was able to apply some of our MSA Varnish over the matte halo area and adjacent glossy paint and get a unified gloss surface once it was dry. So it might be possible, at the end, once everything is fully cured, to bring the piece up to an even sheen. However, we do not know if this represents a permanent fix and would be concerned that the underlying paint remains very vulnerable if varnish removal was attempted. If attempting this a spray application would be far less risky to causing any color lift. And keep in mind that we DO NOT recommend painting with oils on top of our varnish, so this would truly need to be a final layer. See this Just Paint article for more information on that:


      Hope this helps a little. We wish we had better answers for you but would rather have you work with a professional conservator than to simply speculate what might work without more testing involved.


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