Drafting tape is often mistaken for masking tape; the price difference between the two is roughly $4.50 a roll so when I see someone at the shop using it to hang up a poster or tape a box shut I cringe. Drafting tape is a wonderful thing but it can be extremely expensive. It’s mostly used to hold sketches and drawings in place when modifications are being made to it but it’s also been used to secure plastic stencils and templates when cutting them out with an X-Acto knife. It’s also great to use on the light tables to keep things from sliding around. I have no problem with people using the tape but when they use it on the wrong things it makes me see red.
3M One Inch Drafting Tape: What’s the biggest difference between masking tape and drafting tape? The feel of both are similar, they can both be ripped by hand and they have a good adhesive property to them. Drafting tape is a bit thinner than masking tape and when it is peeled off a piece of paper or a work surface it leaves absolutely no tack behind. This is extremely important when working with anything that has lead on it, if there is adhesive left on the paper you can bet your bottom dollar that the lead will find its way on to it.
Some people will argue that masking tape and drafting tape are the same thing. I would like to see them try to get masking tape off of velum or layers of tracing paper without it leaving a tack behind or ripping the sheets of paper. That is one of the main reasons why I continually go back to the Scotch / 3M drafting tape; I know that it won’t rip sheets of paper and won’t harm things that are held in place by it. Whether you tape things down with a single piece or mount it to a drafting table with looped pieces, you can be sure that there will be no slipping or sliding.
The light boxes that we use are generally for looking at negatives; we use them to transfer flash art to velum or tracing paper when someone wants two or more designs combined. The completed image is then reversed and applied to the skin with a temporary ink so there is a rough sketch to work with. When you are working with glass, especially something that has a light source shining through it, you don’t want to use a tape that is going to leave behind a residue. Not only could it rip the original pieces but it could cause dirt and dust to become stuck to the glass. That could lead to the glass getting scratched or damaged and then I will be the one that has to fork out the money for a new one. Five dollars for a roll of drafting tape or fifty dollars for a new piece of glass? You can see one of the many reasons why I pick this tape over others.
At home this is used in my office for the same things; to hold artwork in place on my drafting table or art desk. It’s so easy to remove that I can use it on Annabelle’s coloring book pages when she wants them ripped out of the book and taped down to the table. Newsprint paper is notorious for ripping when taped but not with this product. You can also use it when painting if you are worried about overspray as well as a regular masking tape removing paint from a surface. It stays in place when it use but removes easily when you are done.
This isn’t a cheap product;.I order it in a twelve roll sleeve and pay $4.97 for each of them. Yes it is a huge chunk of money to pay at once but when you check out the prices on the individual rolls, you are saving money in the long run. I prefer the one inch width; if it is too thick I can easily rip it by hand. This is also available in quarter and half inch widths but they all come in a 60 yard length. Don’t try to reuse a piece of this once it has been ripped off the roll; there is always a chance that dirt, dust or eraser grit could get on the adhesive side and leave a mark on your art.
I have nothing but great things to say about this product and that it works perfectly every time. There are less expensive brands that you can buy but I can almost guarantee that once you try the Scotch 3M version you will be hooked on it. Most of the larger office supply stores carry this in individual rolls but I have seen it in three packs. To get the best price consider ordering in larger quantities but make sure that you will have an actual use for it. The shelf life for a tape like this is about a year but it’s rare that one lasts more than a month at the shop. You can seal the unused tape rolls in a plastic bag to keep them from drying out; we keep ours in the storage room away from heat and direct light.
Pros: Leaves no adhesive tack behind, can be used on variety of surfaces.
Cons: It’s not masking tape!!!
The Bottom Line: Whether you are an artist, architect or engineer, this drafting tape makes design work a lot easier.