Herobanner showing a masking tape not sticking properly to the surface.

Tape won't stick - troubleshooting

Tape not sticking? You’re not alone, and we have some solutions for you. This is actually a common issue for both professional and do-it-yourself painters.


Masking tape won't stick - Step by step instructions

Are you having trouble getting your masking tape to stick? Without it you risk the paint bleeding and using up more time and paint trying to fix it. Use these steps to work out what may be causing the problem and find out how to fix the issue and avoid it happening again in the future.

  • Scotch® Masking Tape shown in packaging and outside packaging
    Step 1: Choose the right tape

    Choose the right tape for the right job: whether you are decorating indoors or outdoors - we can help guide you (PDF, 1.3 MB) with the correct masking tape choice.

  • Image showing cloth, 3M masking tape and hair dryer as recommended equipment
    Step 2: Recommended equipment

    Here is a list of our recommended tools to get you started:

  • Hands testing a surface to check for moisture before applying 3M masking tape
    Step 3: Check for moisture

    Moist or humid air might be the cause. Open windows and doors to allow air to move.

  • Hands demonstrating how to clean the surface before applying 3M masking tape
    Step 4: Clean

    Wash the surface completely with water.

  • Use a hair dryer to ensure the surface is completely dry before applying 3M masking tape
    Step 5: Dry

    Allow enough time for the surface to dry. You can use a fan or hair dryer on a cool setting to help if needed.

  • Hands showing how to press the tape firmly down on the surface
    Step 6: Tape

    Press tape down firmly with a smooth edge, like a putty knife, credit card, or rub firmly with your thumb to make sure the tape is sealed to the surface.

Scotch® Masking Tapes and how you compare best tape for your project

Find the right Scotch® Masking Tape for your project

Compare all Scotch® Masking Tapes in one chart, to find the best tape for your project.


Read our other How To Tape Tips

Take a look at some of our other handy guides for using masking tape to help you paint areas such as doors and floors, and create the perfect finish.

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