Instead of comparing a piece of wood or veneer to create a board, you can do only dye, dye or paint, tape. Applying tape is not challenging, but there are some tips that make working easier and, more importantly, tidy. Let me share what I think is the best tape, tools and technology.

Before You Tape

Masking-Finish

Using stain? Daub instead of scrubbing or wiping, if possible. Here, the author is using a dark pigment stain. Note that the borders are masked

It is usually wise to dye, dye or seal the wood before the mask. For example, you may dye or stain the lighter with a colored box. Flood the dye over the entire surface, rubbing it immediately. When it is dry, seal the jacket to dewax shellac to prevent bleeding. Once dry, spread out every other piece of mask, then color the dark pigments to dye open squares or contrast paint colors.

In paint, paint applied to the entire surface of the paint is lighter in color. Once dry, mask and apply dark paint. In paints, use a delicate surface or low-tack tape.

Masking-Finish

Miniature paint rollers actually work better than brushes on masked surfaces, since they apply paint more evenly and don’t scrape across the tape dam

Miniature paint rollers actually work better than brushes on masked surfaces, since they apply paint more evenly and don’t scrape across the tape dam.The dye will creep under the tape as it passes through the wood itself. With the dyes to get a clear edge, you must first seal the area under the tape. That means recording twice, but that’s worth it. The zone of the belt will be dyed and then sealed with dewaxed shellac adjacent areas. After drying, reversing the application of water-soluble dyes before recording and undeveloped areas.

Do you work with gold or silver leaves? First create a filled-pore, high-gloss finish on the entire surface of the non-leaf color. Mask, and then apply the gold-plated workers varnish, also known as gold leaf size. Dry enough to squeak, apply gold or silver leaf, wipe clean, dry cloth before removing the hooded plaza.

Choose Your Tape Wisely

Masking-Finish

To stop dye from bleeding under tape, first seal the area that will be taped with dewaxed shellac. Here, the author has used green high-tack lacquer tape

To stop dye from bleeding under tape, first seal the area that will be taped with dewaxed shellac. Here, the author has used green high-tack lacquer tape.

Not all tapes are equal in all applications. For lacquer, shellac, or oil-based materials, I prefer Scotch™ green lacquer tape, more common in auto parts stores than home stores. For water-based, you’ll get clean edges with Scotch Edge-Lock™ tapes (blue) or FrogTape® (green). These are designed to stop water from seeping under the tape, and they do actually work quite well. In a pinch, regular painter’s tape will work.

Masking-Finish

Let it dry, then reverse; put edge seal tape (such as this FrogTape) over the shellacked border and dye the unsealed area

For paint-over-paint masking, use delicate surface or low-tack tape, which is less likely to lift the recently applied paint. Because it has lower tack or grab, make sure to smooth and press down the edges carefully after affixing it. When masking over paint, give the base color at least 24 hours to dry before masking, even when using low-tack tape.

Masking-Finish

Because many look so similar once unwrapped, write the type of tape clearly on the inside of the roll

You’ll notice I have not mentioned the traditional beige masking tape. My advice is to avoid it completely, as it yields sloppier lines and does not peel off either cleanly or easily. Apply the tape without wrinkles, then press the edges down with a brayer or squeegee. For a crisper line, let the tape sit in place overnight before you paint or stain.

Waste Tape, Save Time

Masking-Finish

Cover the whole surface by pressing down each tape edge securely using a brayer (a small hand roller that applies firm, uniform pressure)

What I’m about to describe may seem odd, but there’s method in my madness. For something like a chessboard, I’ll use wide rolls of tape and cover the entire surface rather than creating 64 blocks with many small pieces of tape. Abut the tape edges carefully, leaving no spaces whatsoever, but avoid overlapping. Sometimes using more tape and a sharp razor can actually save you time. The three photos show how that works.

Masking-Finish

Then, with a sharp, single-edge razor blade and a straightedge, cut the tape to create the shapes you desire (64 blocks for a chessboard)

Even at best, the tape edge will form a dam where paint or stain can well up and form a ridge. We want to keep that to a minimum, and thicker overlapped points make it worse, in addition to creating small spaces where finish can creep under the intersection.

Masking-Finish

When you’re ready to remove the tape, don’t just pull upward to do so: start at a corner or edge and then pull the tape back over itself at an angle away from the painted edge.

Now that you have an unending sea of tape, use a straightedge and sharp razor blades to cut your chess block squares, then peel off every other one. I buy boxes of 100 single-edge razor blades at the home store for just a few dollars, and switch to a new, sharp one frequently. Don’t worry if you cut through into the wood as well, since it will barely show, and it may even make the chessboard look more like cut blocks or veneer. After all, that’s what we are trying to mimic.

Small Dams, No Puddles

Try to brush your paint or stain away from the masked edge and towards the center. Dragging the brush over the edge of the tape will form a puddle of excess paint at the edge, which dries slower, chips more readily and leaves an unpleasant ridge of paint.

Miniature paint rollers actually work better than brushes on masked surfaces, since they apply paint more evenly and don’t scrape across the tape dam. Using stain? Daub instead of scrubbing or wiping, if possible.

Removing the Tape

Don’t just pull upward to remove tape. Start at a corner or edge and pull the tape back over itself at an angle away from the painted edge. This will give you a cleaner line with less paint lifting.

To level the blocks, build up several coats of non-amber clear finish, sand without going through to your color layer, and repeat. For water-based paint and stains, use water-based clear finish, which is already colorless.

Don’t Forget the Border

Masking-Finish

To create a “faux miter,” lay a piece of 80-grit sandpaper at 45˚ on the corner, grit side down. Start with the bristles on the paper and drag the brush away from it, through the stain.

These same techniques are used to create a miter at the board boundary. You can even add a Stringer contrasting color at the border. Glazed Miter My favorite technical border is to apply a gel stain on a sealed surface and then add a grain texture by dragging a dry brush.

Lying a piece of 80 – Courage sandpaper at 45˚ corner, perseverance side. Coarse grain will not smear glaze. Start the brush on the paper and drag the brush away from it, by staining. The sandpaper grain end is created adjacent to the bevel edge.