Using 3M Post-It Tape

Using 3M Post-It Tape

A couple of years back, while taking an online drawing class, the instructor suggested something called “Post-it” tape for taping the edges of our paper. I'd never actually taped the edges of any paper before, but I purchased a roll for the class. After the class was over, I decided to try using this tape on the edges of a few papers for gel printing and was generally pleased with the results.

These days, depending on the final purpose of my prints, I may or may not tape the edges, but I’ve found that 3M Post-It Tape usually works for me when I need a really crisp edge and square corner on my gel-printed pieces.

(See my blog post on gel printing registration methods for ways to line up your layers without taping.)

Removing 3M Post-It on a piece of artwork

3M Post-It Tape Pros:

  • Very easy to remove on almost any paper. (It doesn’t require a hair dryer!)
  • Reusable and repositionable (to a point, eventually the back gets fuzzy and stops sticking).
  • Paper-like quality makes it great for reuse as collage material. (I save my used strips on wax or copy paper.)
  • Comes in several widths, the widest is 1”

3M Post-It Tape Cons:

  • Expensive, compared to the cost per foot or meter of other masking or artist tapes. (I justify the cost to myself by repurposing or reusing it as much as possible and I often don't need to use tape when gel printing.)
  • Very easily comes off while printing, but I can usually reapply it.
  • More prone to paint bleeding, but I find if I work in thin gel printing layers I’m OK.
  • Doesn’t come wider than 1”

The list of cons is why I sometimes hesitate to suggest this tape when people ask in the comments of my Instagram posts. I don’t know if this would be a great tape for painters. I could see it easily bleeding or moving with an aggressive brush pushing up against it. And, I've seen plenty of artists getting angry about tape fails in social media posts, so I worry about recommending something that may not meet expectations.

But, I love to be able to reuse art supplies and I’ve been able to repurpose the leftover 3M Post-It Tape from my Circle series into the backgrounds for these “Little Houses”, which I just added to my online shop.

Artwork using the same gel printed tape in 2 ways.

Like most art supplies, it won't work for every artist. If you end up trying 3M Post-It tape for your gel printing let me know how it works.

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