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When I visited the Los Angeles home of Angelo Surmelis - popular host of HGTV's Rate My Space and now a furniture designer, I immediately wanted his striped walls in my own home.

Photo: Kathy Price-Robinson

But I knew the awful truth: Whenever I try to mask off walls to add stripes or paint trim, the paint always bleeds under the masking tape and looks awful.

However, I might had gone forward with my ambitious painting project had I known about Inspired Technologies' FrogTape, a high-tech masking tape that makes it nearly impossible to do a sloppy job. FrogTape is made with a unique polymer called PaintBlock, which creates a micro-barrier that seals the tape's edges as soon as it comes in contact with paint. When you lift off the FrogTape, the membrane breaks and you have a clean line -- no paint bleed.

Photo: FrogTape

See a video showing the technology.

So what's up with typical painter's tape? According to Frog Tape, masking tapes were developed back in the day when most interior paint was oil-based. Oil paint has a high "viscosity," which means it's thicker and doesn't spread as easily under tape. Today, most paint used in homes is water-based latex, which has a low viscosity, and seeps easily into cracks and crevices -- and underneath masking tape.

FrogTape has won so many awards that it advertises itself as "the only tape with a trophy shelf." It earned an innovation award from Popular Science magazine -- and another innovation award from Handy Magazine, which named it one of the best products for DIYers. At the 2008 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, FrogTape won two Retailers Choice Awards.

Before considering FrogTape, note that it won't work in all applications. Extremely bumpy surfaces are notoriously difficult to tape off successfully. EVen with a high-tech tape, paint bleed is common on bumpy surfaces. For best results, press the tape as securely as possible.

Also, the surface accepting the tape must be cured thoroughly -- not just dry to the touch. The timing to cure paint depends on many factors, including air temperature and humidity. Latex paint may take up to a month to completely cure.

Finally, when using FrogTape on surfaces other than smooth latex (such as on aluminum), you should test the tape first in an inconspicuous place.

FrogTape comes in two widths -- 24mm and 33mm -- and costs about $7 to $10. It comes in a recyclable container to keep it clean and nick free. It's available through Lowe's, Ace Hardware, Amazon, and building supply retailers.

SEE ALSO:

Go For The Gloss (Paint)
Painting Stripes (A DIY Tutorial)
Tips for Spray Painting


  • Karla Swoveland

    I've painted stripes in several spaces for clients and in my own home. I will definitely try this tape the next time! Thanks for the review!!

    Reply
  • Kenn

    Fantastic!! I've done quite a bit of painting over the past few years, and I'm constantly frustrated by the paint bleeding under my taped off trim and edges. I'll definitely be looking for Frog tape next time I get the painting bug. Thanks for the review.

    -Kenn

    Reply
  • Matt

    I will be painting a stripe/graphic on my son's new bedroom soon (I painted the base color a few days ago and waiting for it to cure a bit more), and i have already purchased two rolls of this tape. I still plan on putting the tape up then painting the base color over the tape just to be safe (the surface isn't the smoothest).

    my problem is making sure the lines are straight. The floor is not level so I will be measuring from multiple spots across the wall and make the lines from that rather than a truly level line around the wall.

    Reply
  • Cal

    I'm sure Frog Tape is very high quality masking tape used for this, but have not found any that does not require caulking tape edges, wiping off excess with damp rag before painting, sealing tape so does not allow paint bleed. Caulking tape edges are a trick of the trade so to speak.

    Reply
  • martyc513

    Sounds like a good product, but comments about high and low viscosities are backwards. Lava is very viscous, ie high, and water is low. Rheology is a cruel mistress and paint, like most suspensions, is a non-Newtonian fluid anyway, for what that's worth. So in the old days, the thicker, higher viscosity oil paint wouldn't 'creep' like thinner latex of today.

    Reply
  • Kathy Price-Robinson

    Thanks Marty. You are so right. I corrected it.


  • Y2K8VK

    Don't want obvious tape bleed? Paint your base coat, and lay down the tape for your stripes when it's cured. Paint a narrow band of BASE COAT along the tape lines and let cure -- that way, if there's any bleeding, it's all the same color and undetectable. Paint your contrasting stripe on top of that, and the lines are PERFECT.

    Reply
  • mark

    your comment made me wonder why i never thought of that. i like doing home improvement, but painting isnt my favorite. what you said is the most common sense reply on here. im going to try it out. thanks.


  • ricksTR561

    I tried the stuff...all $10.00 per roll of it, and you should just save your money. It bleeds paint under it very easily, only about half as bad as the blue stuff for $7.00 per roll. I don't have an answer for the problem either, but this frog tape sure isn't it. Just sayin....

    Reply
  • jones24a

    regular old painters tape works just fine, if it doesnt you just suck at painting....a trick of the trade is get good at free hand edging and use tape when someone wants ugly stripes

    Reply
  • Joann

    We tried the green Frog Tape at the high recommendation of the friendly folks at the paint store. Just for the record - it may work on slick, smooth surfaces BUT forget it if there's much texture as the paint bleeds under it. When we returned the unopened roll, the guy said it's really only for the smooth surfaces.

    Reply
  • Kathy Price-Robinson

    Darn. I looked it up but still went all dyslexic on it. Thanks a bunch!

    Reply
  • marty

    this tape might not bleed on a amooth surface but the more texture on the wall it is bound to bleed the trick is to paint your base color let it dry/cure for a few days use the blue tape or reg masking tape run your tape lines but then go back along the edges of the tape lines with your base color let that that dry then paint your stipe color

    Reply
  • Scott Kattleman

    Here is the trick to prevent paint bleed when doing stripes. Paint wall your base color. Tape off areas for your contrasting color stripes. Now here's the trick. Repaint the inside edges of the tape (the two edges of your stripe) AGAIN, lightly, with the base coat. This seals the edge with same color paint that is under the tape (base color), and any paint that bleeds is the same as what's under the tape. Let dry, then paint your stripes with contrasting color. Don't remember where I learned this, but have tried it, worked like a charm and makes a super sharp stripe edge. Hope I have explained this satisfactorily.

    Reply
  • Sally

    brillient, Scott thank you....why did I not think of that? sally jo


  • dan

    $7 to 10 a roll thats way to much, try using regular tape and caulk the edge no bleeding.

    Reply
  • Nick

    I'm glad this product is getting the advertisement it deserves. I have been able to stand from one point in a room, and peel every square inch of frog tape from my project, ceiling to floor, around door frames, without taking a step forward or backward. It sticks to itself, which is a plus, as when it doesn't, you'll be throwing time away by peeling all your masking off one little tiny piece at a time with the average masking tape. It leaves excellent edges. Not a drop bleeds through when you prepare the surface correctly. Seriously the best tape I've ever used.

    Reply
  • Peg C

    Picked up some green "painter's tape" at Lowe's last summer for a wall painting job I was doing. Not sure it was "Frog," but how many green tapes are there. When first opened, worked perfect. Week later when I opened the container to use again, it wasn't worth a darn. Will not spend money on it again.

    Reply
  • Nick

    I had a boss once that had painted for 25 years, telling us that if we had to use tape, then we sucked at painting. His master-grade painting lines were just as crooked as if any mere mortal were to have done it. I also found it to be much faster to lay down the frog tape, then use a mini roller (w/o plastic cap on end) to cut your lines along the tape. I just figure if we have the technology for perfectly straight lines, not just "hey that's pretty freakin steady hand straight lines", then why not go with the tape?

    Reply
  • Heather

    Believe me, it doesn't work as well as they say it does. I used it and I still had paint where I didn't want it to be. I had to go threw and touch up a lot of areas.

    Reply
  • 26 Comments / 2 Pages
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