How to Remove Gummed Watercolor Paper Tape

Written by stephanie ellen
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Gummed watercolour paper tape, or butcher's tape, is a product used to stretch watercolour paper. The technique provides a perfectly flat surface on which to paint. However, using gummed paper tape can lead to problems with removal of the tape after stretching. It's best to leave a margin between your painting and the paper tape, but if that isn't possible, or you are trying to remove tape from an older painting, there are a couple of different techniques you can try.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Sponge
  • Craft Knife

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  1. 1

    Moisten the sponge. Do not over-soak the sponge: You do not want to soak the paper, especially if it has already been painted on.

  2. 2

    Dab the sponge onto the tape to moisten it. Use as little water as possible.

  3. 3

    Carefully peel off the gummed paper tape. If the paper tape doesn't want to peel off, use a light scraping action with the craft knife to release the tape.

Tips and warnings

  • Over-saturation of tape adhesive or rushing drying with a hair dryer when stretching watercolour paper can lead to problems with tape removal. Taking your time when stretching the paper will lead to an easier time with tape removal.
  • Use a larger sheet of watercolour paper than you need when stretching with gummed tape, so that you can cut the tape off the edges instead of trying to remove it.
  • Dampening the paper may ruin watercolour paintings. Instead of trying to remove gummed tape, consider mounting the paper to hide the tape instead.

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