Types and Features of Masking Tape

What is masking tape?

Masking tape is a type of tape typically used for painting and sealing work. Also known as painter's tape, it is made of thin paper that can be torn easily.

There are various types of masking tapes, including those that are heat resistant, those that can be applied to curved surfaces, and those that can be applied to uneven surfaces. It may be tricky to decide which masking tape to use. In this article, we discuss the various types of masking tape with a breakdown of their features. 

Who invented masking tape?

Masking tape was originally developed in the U.S. by Richard Drew, an employee of 3M. In Japan, the product was customized by using Japanese paper for making the masking tape. This type of masking tape is now widely used around the world.

What are the uses of masking tape?

Masking tape is used to mask off dirt from areas other than the painted area.  As it is designed to be peeled off, it has low adhesive strength and leaves little adhesive residue after peeling. For this reason, it is often used temporarily.

Today, masking tapes made of different materials have been developed for different applications. In addition to masking tapes for automobile painting, there are masking tapes for architectural painting, dealing with rough surfaces, sealing and caulking, and more. 

Although it depends on the manufacturer, masking tapes for sealing are generally light blue, those for architectural painting are white, and those for automobile painting are yellow.


Types and features of masking tape

Today, there are a wide variety of masking tapes on the market. It is also important to keep in mind that the suitable tape material varies depending on the painting conditions and the shape of the object to be attached. 

Here are some typical types of masking tapes and their features.

Automobile Painting

Masking tape for automobile painting has excellent heat resistance and can be used for straight and curved lines. The most common materials of the masking tapes used are Japanese paper, crepe paper, film, and soft tape.


  1. Made of Japanese paper
    Designed for general coating, it can easily be straightened and cut by hand.
    Most are around 0.1 mm thick, with an adhesive strength of 3.5 to 5.5 N/25 mm and an elongation rate of 5 to 10%.
  2. Made of crepe paper
    Its elasticity allows it to accommodate the curves of vehicle bodies. Since it has higher heat resistance than Japanese paper, it can be used for baking paint. Thickness is around 0.15 to 0.2 mm, adhesive strength is 6 to 10 N/25 mm, and elongation is around 9 to 16%.
  3. Made of film
    PVC film for curved lines and polyester film for straight lines are thinner and more heat-resistant than crepe paper, with a thickness of around 0.12 mm, an adhesive strength of 7 to 12 N/25 mm, and an elongation rate of 200 to 300%. This makes PVC film a highly stretchable material. Polyester film is around 0.05 to 0.07 mm thick, with an adhesive strength of 8 to 10 N/25 mm and an elongation rate of 140 to 180%.
  4. Made of soft tape
    Also called masking tubes, these tube-shaped materials are used to fill gaps and holes that cannot be filled with tape. It is soft and comes in a variety of thicknesses and shapes, and is used while cutting to the required length.

Architectural coatings

Tapes for architectural painting are resistant to water and solvents used for painting, but not to heat. To ensure users don’t forget to remove the tape after painting,the tape is available in easily recognizable colors such as green and purple.


Rough surfaces

This type of tape is used when painting exterior walls with rough surfaces such as siding boards and tiles. There is also a type for ultra-rough siding boards that can be used for spraying ricin, stucco, and sanded exterior walls with more uneven surfaces.


Sealant and Caulking

Masking tapes for sealants and caulking materials are adhesive and do not damage the substrate. When being used for building frames used for filling joints, there are some types of masking tapes that are suitable for concrete, ALC panels, sashes, and tiles. 


In addition to the above, there are masking tapes exclusively for printed circuit boards and films made of fluoroplastic material with excellent chemical and heat resistance.


As shown so far, there are many types of masking tapes. The key is to choose the type that best suits the shape of the object to be covered and the coating conditions, such as temperature. MonotaRO offers various types of masking tapes for all kinds of applications in a wide variety of materials and sizes, so you can choose the masking tape you need for your work with ease.