How not to make a tape line when using masking tape when spraying motorcycle paint

Paint jobs can be expensive. However, with the right knowledge and an adequate amount of time, you can modify your motorcycle's look or customise it to fit your taste with a new coat of paint. Using masking tape when painting your motorcycle is not hard, but there are a few things to keep in mind that will give your paint job a more professional look. Proper masking also can help you avoid tape lines while allowing you to create virtually any look you want.

Purchase a low-tack masking tape such as painter's tape (usually blue). According to Family Handyman, Scotch-Blue No. 2090 works best for general masking, and it won't bake onto glass.

Work with small pieces of tape less than 12 inches at a time. Give the tape some slack. You want to avoid stretching the tape, which will cause it to leak, lift or break. Instead, lay the tape into the depressions and contours of the motorcycle.

Press down firmly on the tape with your fingernail, a putty knife or credit card. This will create a better seal and a sharper line.

Make sure the tape you use does not leak through when spray painted. It's another good reason to use painter's tape.

As you paint, apply thin coats that overlap. You don't want to apply too much paint at once or spray too close to your surface because it will create a dimpled surface that resembles the skin of an orange. A good rule of thumb is that you have enough paint on when you can see a reflection in the paint.

To avoid tape lines, raised transition lines or paint flaking, it is safer to peel off the tape as soon as you are done painting. To remove the tape, carefully peel it off at a diagonal angle instead of straight up.

If you choose to leave the tape on until it dries, make sure to let it dry completely (about four hours or overnight). If you try to remove the tape before it is dry, you risk stretching the paint, which will cause it to chip, tear or bleed into uneven lines.

Test the paint by touching the paint-stained tape. If you don't get paint on your fingers, you should be good to go.

Before removing the tape, carefully cut the thin bond between the paint and the tape with a razor blade or a putty knife. Don't push too hard. You do not want to scratch the actual body.

Dip a washcloth in hot water, then squeeze out all the water. Once it is no longer dripping, hold the moist washcloth over the tape for a couple of seconds. This will make it easier to pull off. Afterwards, dry off the taped area completely.


If you are working in a humid environment, the paint might blush or it might not dry completely. As the paint dries, moisture in the air condenses on the wet paint causing the paint to blush. Blushing creates a milky white haze on the paint film, distorting the colour and gloss of the paint. If the paint has not dried, use a hair dryer to get rid of the excess moisture trapped in the paint and bring back the gloss.


Remember to always paint in a well-ventilated area.

Things You'll Need

  • Painter's tape
  • Putty knife
  • Spray paint
  • Razor blade
  • Washcloth
  • Hot water
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About the Author

Lani Black has been writing content for the Web since 2007 and has been a freelance writer since 2010. Her work has been included in various article directories, blogs and websites. She's written for various fields including parenting and early childhood education as well as health, beauty, and wedding planning. Black has a Bachelor of Arts degree in business from the University of Texas.