Masking success

I hadn’t had much success when masking delicate projects. I’d tried using blue painter’s tape and some other “delicate surface” painter’s tape called Green Frog or something like that. All those tapes would end up pulling up the surface of my finished project - especially for paper or photo mat board. I had resorted in one attempt to sticking the tape on my bluejeans prior to putting it on the project to take some of the tack out of the tape. Frustrating experience overall.

However, just tried a project with 3M 658 tape, which is essentially a 700" roll of post it note adhesive. Very easy to apply, removed cleanly, no residue. Available online, not too expensive. Worth a try if you don’t want smoke marks on your surface and it’s too delicate for painter’s tape.


You might like this if you haven’t seen it.

Thanks for that resource. The 1” tape is nice if you know where the cuts are going- in my case cutting out custom openings for photo mat board. The full 12” wide tape might be good for future projects on non proofgrade material but I wonder if those options listed would stick too well to mat board.

Hmm I feel like someone did some mat board work, I forget who it was. I assume you’ve searched the forum? Might be some tips there.

I use medium tack, but masking comes in “low tack” too.

As for using masking where you know the cuts will be, yeah I’ve used that trick before with blue tape (on plywood). It’s a handy technique.

This stuff works fine on mat board. You need to brayer it down to activate the adhesive, and when you remove it, pull it back on itself from a corner, keeping it as flat as possible.


Jules is a transferrite woman, I’m a perfectear plus man. I’ve used both, and found that transferrite smelled worse to me, but they were otherwise pretty much exactly the same. If you gave me a roll of both, I probably wouldn’t know which one it was until I cut it and got a whiff.

Just a caveat, cut perfectear plus doesn’t smell great either, it’s just slightly less offensive to me.

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A light sanding before applying masking will make it stick a lot better. :slight_smile:

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What about Digiclear? Has anyone used that with success? Says it is “low tack” vs. medium, which sounds good to me. not sure if it is laser friendly.

Heck, I didn’t realize there was something out there that smelled better…I’d definitely try something less stinky on the next roll. :smile:

Poly is probably safe, but i’d stick with paper for a couple of reasons…poly might melt into your material, making it tough to remove, and if you’re working on dark material, it can cause thickness mis-reads.

… marginally… to me. Caveat smelltor.


Just as a data point. I don’t cut mat board but I do cut a lot of photo paper. My PerfectTear masking adheres too strongly to bare photo paper, but releases great if you prep the paper with a spray varnish (which helps protect the print anyways)


Having not used either of these products - when you say “cut perfectear”, do you mean cutting it with the laser, or with a knife? The 3M post-it tape did not have any noticeable smell upon lasering.

Laser. Perfectear is a paper-based tape, so has that vaguely neutral office supply smell at first.

It’s not a huge odor when you laser cut it, but most (all?) tape adhesives give off some smell on cutting. Masking can be stinky when you are cutting a lot of it (say 200+ small parts out of a full sheet of material), it doesn’t smell like much on any one single cut – but when you do a 45-minute cutting-only job, you’ll probably notice it with any tape you might use.

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I just ordered the 695 to try. Apparently the same thing in a 2-inch width.

I have used Post-It labels (e.g., ) in different ways including masking very small areas. Mostly, for some more delicate paper cuts, I will stick them over fragile areas while peeling the the cut piece off the Seklema mat out of the machine. Even with that, I sometimes have to weaken them with a pass over an old t-shirt.

I have had similar experiences with full masking for paper cuts. I was working on a piece in a pearlescent white stock recently where the char damage ruined the pieces. I tried some medium-tack masking and, was able to get it to work 1 out of 3 times by peeling very slowly and carefully. Way too much hassle.

Frisket masking film is intended for paper and, appears to be laser-safe. I haven’t tried it (though I might already have some, now that I think about it). It is not what most would call inexpensive for any bulk use.

In the interest of Glowscience, I dug out some Frisket and, gave it a try on the same stock and design where I had tried other masking. It worked really well! Removing the masking was still tedious but, at no time did it feel at all like I was in danger of removing a layer of the surface of the paper. It even did pretty well not damaging anything while pulling it off the tiny details.

Here it is cut, with the Frisket still on it. This is about what it looks like if cut without masking.

And here it is after the Frisket is removed:

The three spirals in the little cluster near the middle of the image are about 4mm across. Obviously, this could use some more tweaking of settings and vector paths but, you can see how well the masking works.

Again, not the cheapest solution but, the best I have tried so far for this particular madness.


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